Futurama, the legendary post-punk festival, is returning after 40 years and will be held over two days in Liverpool in 2021.

The revived event, which is calling itself ‘a utopian festival for dystopian times’, will take place over four stages at the Invisible Wind factory/Make Arts Centre and Ten Streets Social in Liverpool on 3-4 April next year.

The Futuramas were a series of ground-breaking and innovative post-punk and electronic music festivals in the late 70s and early 80s. They were the brainchild of John Keenan, a legendary Leeds promoter who has put thousands of bands on over 40 years at his famous F Club.

In 1979, he decided to do a two-day festival at the Queens Hall in Leeds and put on all his favourite up and coming bands, curating Britain’s first alternative indoor festival.

The roll call reads a who’s who of the post-punk era; Joy Division, New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, PiL, Killing Joke, Teardrop Explodes, Bauhaus, The Fall, The Smiths, Gang of Four, Sisters of Mercy, Theatre Of Hate, The Psychedelic Furs and even a fledgling U2.

Futurama caught the mood perfectly, and not only put on many female-fronted bands, including Siouxsie and the Banshees, Young Marble Giants, Bow Wow Wow and Altered Images, but also many of the new wave of electronic and synthesizer acts, including Soft Cell, Cabaret Voltaire, OMD and Simple Minds.

The post-punk era still casts an enormous influential shadow over contemporary music, making the timing perfect for the festival to return.

To bring things full circle, Peter Hook & The Light are confirmed to play, and will perform Joy Division’s set from Futurama 1979 in full.

“Futurama was one the first festival experiences I ever had,” remembers bassist Peter Hook. “It really put Joy Division on the map and the groups on the bill were very well matched to the audience.

“There weren’t many indoor festivals prior to Futurama, so it was quite ground-breaking for the genre in the north. Funnily enough it gets talked about a lot even now. John became a legend and, in many ways, so has the festival. Let’s hope we can capture that wonderful atmosphere again.”

Peter Hook & The Light will play a Joy Division set at Futurama 2021. Pic: William Ellis.

Another link with the festival’s history are Kirk Brandon’s Theatre Of Hate, who will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of playing Futurama 3 in 1981 by returning in 2021.

With a headliner still to be announced, these iconic acts join a host of bands from the many different strains and spectrums of alternative music, with respected website Louder Than War hosting the main stage on one day, and the world’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll and punk magazine Vive Le Rock the other.
There are 4 stages at the Futurama. 

Other acts confirmed to appear include Warmduscher, The Chameleons, The Blinders, The Lovely Eggs, Spizz Energi, Imperial Wax, Just Mustard, Membranes, Evil Blizzard, Sink Ya Teeth, John, Heavy Lungs, We Are Not Devo, DSM IV, Bob Vylan, Billy NoMates, Witch Fever, Tokky Horror, Pozi, Crows, St Agnes, LibraLibra, Courting, Crawlers and Joe & Shitboys, with many more to be announced.

Early bird weekend tickets, priced £80, are on sale now from See Tickets HERE. A £20 deposit scheme and a four payments scheme are available. For more info head to www. futuramafestival.com

Co-promoter Marc Jones said: “We know nothing is certain virus wise, but by being the first festival of the year, it gives everybody something to look forward to, gives people hope that things will get back to normal, and Liverpool is such a great city to visit.”

The Lovely Eggs. Pic: Darren Andrews.
Gary Welford
ipamusic.co.uk owner