Almost 40 years after it was last staged, the legendary Futurama festival is planning a return in 2021.
The revitalized event, billed as “a utopian festival for dystopian times”, will take place at the Invisible Wind Factory/Make Arts Centre and Ten Streets Social in Liverpool over the Easter weekend of 3-4 April.
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 one-man, 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 of his favourite up and coming bands , thus setting up the first alternative indoor festival in Britain. Nearly all of Britain’s most important and influential independent bands played these festivals with the roll call reading like a “who’s who” of alternative music at the time, including Joy Division and 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. The Futurama festivals caught the zeitgeist 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, Simple Minds, Clock DVA and Vice Versa who later became ABC.
The post-punk era still casts an enormous influential shadow over contemporary music, making the timing perfect for the festival to return, combining both legendary acts from the festival’s history with the absolute best in up-and-coming talent.
Bringing Futurama full circle, Peter Hook & The Light are confirmed as the first headliners for the 2021 reincarnation 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. “John Keenan became a lifelong friend. He was one of the first legends. The gig was the first time I’d ever seen caravans used as dressing rooms indoors, but it had a great atmosphere. 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.”
Also linking the festival’s history are Kirk Brandon’s Theatre Of Hate who will be celebrating their 40th anniversary of playing Futurama 3 in 1981.
With the second headliner still to be announced, these iconic acts join a host of bands from the many different strains and spectrums of alternative music over four stages:
- Invisible Wind Factory Main Stage: headline acts and supports
- Substation Downstairs in IWF: electronic, synth and experimental noise
- Make Arts Centre: some of the best new and vintage post punk bands on the circuit
- Ten Street Social: The AF Gang hosts the up and coming stage plus DJ sets
Other acts confirmed to appear over the weekend 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 tickets, costing £80 for the weekend, are available HERE, with a £20 deposit and four payments scheme in place
The revitalized Futurama is being curated by Marc Jones, a Liverpool band and club promoter who went to the later Futuramas and who has had every crazy haircut going , approached John Keenan to bring it back in 2020 after a 40-year absence but the pandemic and lock down sadly put pay to that as it has to everything else in 2020! Marc says the festival’s had a huge influence on him growing up and inspired him to be a promoter.
Keep up to date with further announcements HERE.