Punk festival captures people’s imagination

Ribble Valley Punk Festival
Ribble Valley Punk Festival

Ruts DC will provide the big headline act for Clitheroe’s third punk and new wave festival, Into the Valley, next spring.

And the UK Ramones – a thunderous tribute to Joey, Tommy, Dee Dee and Johnny – will bring an evening of Rockaway Beach nostalgia to the town’s Grand Theatre on April 22nd, providing the main support slot to Ruts DC.

“It is a big coup getting the Ruts to come, they are supporting The Stranglers on their nationwide tour in March before they come to Clitheroe,” said Into the Valley founder Stephen Porter.

“The Ruts always embraced a wide spectrum of sounds: reggae, ska, dub and punk music.

“They are certainly one of the best live acts on the circuit and will bring the house down at the Grand.”

The Ruts’ snarling anthems, Staring at the Rude Boys and Babylon’s Burning, provided the band with top ten hit singles, while their latest offering, Psychic Attack, is a pile driving three minutes and six seconds of unrelenting punk fury.

The Ruts’ short career took off when John Peel championed their debut single In a Rut, blossomed in the summer of 1979 when Babylon’s Burning made the top ten, and it all but ended when their leader Malcolm Owen died in his bath of a heroin overdose months later.

The remaining Ruts continued to perform for a while under the name Ruts DC, but the group collapsed and Jennings went on to have a successful behind-the-scenes studio career, notably with the Chemical Brothers, while drummer David Ruffy played for Aztec Camera and Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

But when original guitarist Paul Fox was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer several years ago, Jennings and Ruffy agreed to do a benefit gig for him, and they have continued to play ever since under the Ruts DC moniker.

The UK Ramones are festival favourites too, the English doppelgangers firing out those monster tunes - Sheena is a Punk Rocker, Teenage Lobotomy and I Wanna Be Sedated – faster than you can mutter Gabba Gabba Hey!

Porter – who is also the driving force behind the Ribble Valley Mod and Soul Weekender – says the punk bash, named after The Skids’ song, has proved just as big a hit as the autumn scooter celebration.

And a host of other bands are expected to play in the town over the weekend.

“We’ve had groups from all over Britain asking to play Into the Valley and that’s brilliant because there are a lot of good groups about,” he said.

“I think we’ve created a great vibe and a good feeling with the Mod Weekender, but the punk festival has really caught everybody’s imagination.

“There’s a lot happening in the Ribble Valley, with the Grand Theatre hosting so much great music and there’s the Beat-Herder festival too.

“A festival can bring so much into a town and Into The Valley is getting bigger every year now.”

Into the Valley Festival, Clitheroe’s The Grand (Ruts DC and UK Ramones) plus other venues in Clitheroe. April 22nd. 01200 421599 or www.thegrandvenue.co.uk