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Supersonic Festival unveils the first names for its 20th Anniversary edition

This year is one of intense celebration for Supersonic Festival, as the internationally recognised event will celebrate 20 years since its inception and has prepared an impressive line-up that explores an array of crucial and innovative acts. At the very forefront of this announcement, we have two headliners. On one side, we have the critically acclaimed Irish quartet Lankum, who will make their long awaited appearance this year, bringing with them their close vocal harmonies, instrumental interplay and dramatic storytelling. Their gritty updates of folk standards bring anger and contemporary viewpoints to traditional elements, and with a diverse set of influences as disparate as Sunn O))), they show that folk music can be angry, progressive and is a vital force today. On the other side of the coin, we have the return to the festival by the mighty Godflesh, a duo whose origins are deeply entrenched in the backdrop of post industrial Birmingham, and who have had a huge impact on heavy music. Godflesh’s storied history is legend, forming in the West Midlands, alongside the first incarnation of Napalm Death, to create landmark records such as Streetcleaner, which laid the groundwork for other extreme and experimental metal releases. For the festival’s 20th Anniversary, Godflesh will perform music from an expected new record.

Following their stand-out performance at last year’s edition, Divide And Dissolve will return with their incendiary work towards the end of white supremacy and indigenous rights, and Big Brave are also back to carve out their singularly gigantic sonic space of dynamic heavy minimalism in a ver special collaborative performance with fellow Montreal-based violinist Jessica Moss, an exclusive to Supersonic which should not be missed under no circumstance. Jessica Moss will also perform a solo set over the weekend, her distinctive melodic sensibility channelling Klezmer, Balkan and Middle Eastern tropes, with an ear for textural grit and timbral noise forged from her 15-year tenure in political post-punk collective Thee Silver Mt. Zion.

As many are already aware, Supersonic champions creative subversion from all walks of the underground, and celebrates artists who are portents of hope and solidarity. Shovel Dance Collective weaves queer, proto-feminist and working class narratives together in a new kind of folk music, and storytelling and tradition get upended in the playful music of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Josephine Foster whose music challenges perception. Both will be performing at the 20th Anniversary of Supersonic, as well as Ashenspire, with their challenging and abrasive musical textures of violin and saxophone in an enraged progressive, post-black metal framework that demands attention and argues for change, as well as Ragana (on the photo above), whose queer and antifascist idiosyncratic black metal is heavy, dark, beautiful and punishing in its expression. Also confirmed, and paying tribute to the female pioneers of the UK punk scene through a riot grrrl lens, is the absolutely vital Taqbir, who are working against a culture that deems their music an insult, instead creating a space for people like themselves to freely express their anger.

The 20th Anniversary of Supersonic also promises to bring the stamina of krautrock and math rock fused with aspects of jazz in a variety of joyous performances, with the elemental rhythms of 75 Dollar Bill, the airtight grooves of Horse Lords and the frenetic sound world of Avalanche Kaito, both traditional and experimental in nature. Blacks’ Myths will meditate on the history of blackness via their frantic collisions of free jazz, post-rock and dissonant noise, while Birmingham local Un.Procedure creates a post-apocalyptic sound through an avant-jazz filter, with 70s rock influenced grooves and heady, sci–fi tinged soundscapes. Last but by no means least, the announcement is completed by MC Yallah and Debmaster, who will bring their high energy performance with rapid flow and rugged beats, as well as the return  to the festival by two distinct acts; Ex-Easter Island Head, whose live performances have been praised for their hypnotic energy and unique spectacle, and Hey Colossus, who are also celebrating their 20 year anniversary and promise to put on a special performance. More names will be unveiled in the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled for further announcements.

Supersonic Festival 2023 takes place in Birmingham, UK, on September 1st-3rd. Three-day tickets are now available for 160 pounds and can be purchased online via the festival’s website, here.


Photo credit: Winona Phoenix


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