Munkyfest was an independent, NPOV, DIY music festival held in Cheshire, England. The festival grew from a small private party to a nationally known event held on a farm. The festival hosted a range of bands, from local unsigned artists, to more well known bands, including Hot Club De Paris, and even bands from outside the UK, such as Persil. The festival was acclaimed by members of music scenes around the UK, and on occasion the mainstream press.
There were 8 Munkyfest events, held annually from 1999-2006, the last ever Munkyfest was held on 5th August 2006. Each festival took place over one day, with overnight camping.
Munkyfest was conceptually quite different from the majority of music festivals, owing to its origins as a private party. The events were all organised by a small group of friends, who worked on a voluntary basis. The DIY ethic extended to the construction of the stage, the choice of bands as well as the strictly not for profit organisation. Since the organisers were entirely independent, and not aiming to make a profit unlike larger festivals, they were able to chose whichever bands they wanted to play. This led to a widely known reputation amongst underground music scenes throughout the country.
The idea of a music festival has its roots in an attempt to launch an independent record label. This was unssuccesful, since the people involved lacked the necessary funds. They decided instead to launch a small music festival.
The first three Munkyfests were private parties held in the organisers' parents' domestic gardens, in the villages of Kingsley and Helsby in Cheshire. At the time of the first Munkyfest (Friday July 16, 1999), the organisers were 17 year olds. The event was extremely small, approximately 25 people attended and would not be of interest were it not for the subsequent growth of the festival. Four band played: The Fucks, The Handy Jackoffs, the Honey Shop Screamers and The Splitpins.
Two more Munkyfest events were held in the organisers' gardens - on Saturday July 15, 2000 and Saturday August 4, 2001. The 3rd event was the first to attract signed bands, with Zen Baseball Bat and Hyperjax playing.
After Munkyfest 2001, it became clear that the festival had grown too large to be held in a domestic garden, and plans were made to form a larger, fully licensed event on a farm.
The fourth event was held on Saturday July 27, 2002, and was listed by The Guardian newspaper's North edition as the number one pop music event of that week
Saturday 31st July 2004, Spring Farm in Helsby, The Posh Girls, Tigers!, Our Beautiful Ridiculous Plan, Hooker, Vegetables, Lords, The Wow, Graham Jones, This Aint Vegas, Flamingo 50 - 3 minute margin, Tokyo Adventures,Victor FME, Zen Baseball Bat, For Tomorrows, Countryside Alliance Crew
On Saturday 6th August 2005 - the 7th Munkyfest was held on a farm in Kingsley, the following bands played: The Rise Of China:How To Cope (a.k.a. The Fucks), Ian Baxter, The Box Set, The Retrospankees, Redbank, Cowtown, Brown Owl, The Unpleasants, Vegetables, For Tomorrows, Umlaut, Voo, Tokyo Adventures, Hot Club De Paris.
The final Munkyfest (Saturday 5th August 2006) was held on the same farm as in 2005. The following bands played on the main stage: You're a leper, don't touch me (a.k.a. The Fucks), Redneck Zombies, Meow Meow, , They Came From The Stars I Saw Them, Voo, For Tomorrows, National School, Honey Ride Me a Goat, Persil, Hot Club De Paris, That Fucking Tank, Tokyo Adventures.
For the first time, the festival featured a second smaller stage, which showcased a variety of different acts (e.g. TNJX, Arms, and Redbank) with set times offset between the two stages so that there was almost constant live music throughout the day.
There was also an acoustic tent, something that became a constant and popular feature in later Munkyfests.
Although the bands which played the first event were direct friends of the organisers, the diversity of music and range of its origin soon expanded. With its growth, the organisers became able to attract more well known bands to play, despite their inability to pay performers due to tight financial constraints. The festival became a meeting point for bands from all over the country, featuring a range of music DIY scenes from around the UK, and on occasion other European countries. The pooling of bands and audience members from a number of small music scenes from around the UK (such as those in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield in particular) meant that the bands were able to play to larger audiences at Munkyfest than they might normally attract to their own gigs. The lineups of latter Munkyfests were a mixture of local unsigned bands, and those who were more well known, Hot Club De Paris, Persil and Zen Baseballbat being some of the best known.
With the passing of time, the bands and musicians who had been associated with Munkyfest since its days as a small party had themselves started to enjoy wider popularity. Two of the bands most closely associated with the festival are Tokyo Adventures, who played at Munkyfest event in 2000 and performed their final gig at Munkyfest 2006, and Honey Shop Screamers - a little known band who split up in 2001, but were represented at subsequent Munkyfests by the members' new and more successful bands, such as Hot Club De Paris, Voo and National School.
A total of six CD-R compilation albums were released at Munkyfest events. This practise began at Munkyfest 2002, the CDs were compiled each year in collaboration with Keith Records, a local independent record label. The CDs were prepared in advance of the events, and featured one track from each of the bands playing - they were then given out free to entrants at the event. Tracks from the CDs have been played on BBC radio
|Munkyfest Four||Munkyfest Five||Munkyfest Six|
| || || |
|Munkyfest Seven||Munkyfest Live bonus CD (issued at Munkyfest Seven)||Last Ever Munkyfest|