FEATURE: Remembering Give It A Name Festival!
May 1st, 2016
Even if you know just a little bit about the music industry, you’ll know that it’s a ruthless machine that sees acts, labels, and pretty much anything else that lives and breathes as a part of it going as fast as it came to fruition. Festivals are no different; just this year Hevy Fest announced their already announced 2016 plans weren’t going ahead, and they were calling it quits for good.
Another once high-profile touring festival that bit the dust is Give It A Name. Named after an At The Drive-In song of the same name, the event originally came to the forefront in 2005 as a one-day festival to promote post-hardcore and punk rock bands, headlined that year by Funeral For A Friend.
The festival quickly flourished. The following year – arguably the year that Give It A Name really gave itself a name – it expanded to a two day and two site event, making a second home in Manchester alongside London, and this time around bringing headline slots from My Chemical Romance and (time to shudder for obvious reasons) Lostprophets. This also marked the first major UK festival appearances for the now far more well known Paramore and Panic! At The Disco, both of whom at the time had not long released their debut albums.
Having released their album ‘Louder Now’ less than a week prior to the festival, Taking Back Sunday put on an energetic and ultimately memorable performance, albeit not for the greatest reasons. Whilst frontman Adam Lazzara was swinging around his microphone at the London date, he struck bassist Matt Rubano in the head, knocking him out cold, who was then escorted off the stage to be treated. Rubano returned to the stage shortly after with a bandage around his head and a notable amount of blood to finish the set.
Not content with the level of expansion, 2007 saw Give It A Name branch out to not only 3-dates in London and Birmingham, with one of those day line-ups also making an appearance in Glasgow, but also branched out with varying line-ups in Europe, specifically Cologne, Berlin and Paris. Across all of these varying bills some bands remained constant, with names like AFI, Jimmy Eat World, The Used, Saosin, The Sleeping, and Enter Shikari all getting involved in the UK and Europe.
Though Saosin frontman Cove Reber was able to perform the band’s set that year at London, he suffered a vomiting attack shortly after coming off stage, and was rushed off to hospital with severe gastro-intestinal problems. Despite Reber being released from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital the following day, the band were unable to perform their scheduled set at the Birmingham date of the festival. In their place, Brand New played an earlier and shorter set on the second stage.
It was from here on, however, that Give It A Name started to take a bit of a nose-dive back down to Earth. Dates in Europe were completely scrapped for 2008, remaining with just two dates in the UK, this time London and Sheffield. Paramore returned for a headline slot, a big step-up from the mid-day second stage slot from 2006 thanks to the success of sophomore album ‘RIOT!’, and Thirty Seconds To Mars heading up the main stage on the other day. Though the line-up still remained relatively strong and enticing, unfortunately tickets sales didn’t say the same, and unfortunately expected sales weren’t quite met.
The festival was majorly downsized for 2009, and was even renamed a little bit. The slightly rebranded Give It A Name Incoming was held at smaller academy sized venues – London Brixton Academy and Manchester Academy – and kept to one stage of 7 bands each. Still, the ethos of Give It A Name remained intact; to promote up-and-coming acts across the world of post-hardcore and punk rock.
The main event(s), however, were preceeded by a short tour across the UK, showcasing four of the smaller acts on the bill from across the pond and to give a bit of a taster beforehand. The four bands who composed the bill of this 7-date showcase tour – Lights, Whole Wheat Bread, In This Moment and VersaEmerge – would later be opening across the two dates of the main event.
2010 turned out to be the final year of Give It A Name. Now removed as a festival and transformed into a 5-band touring line-up headed by The Swellers, the Give It A Name Introduces tour was a 10-day stint across the UK in April and May of that year. It was assumed at the time that this would be a pre-cursor to a fully-fledged Give It A Name Festival to take place later that year, or even the following year. However, now in 2016, Give It A Name is yet to (and for the foreseeable future) make its return.
It must be said that Give It A Name was a pinnacle event in its peak years for fans of the genres it flew its flag high and strong for, and certainly acted as a kick-off for now giants in the scene, namely Paramore, Thirty Seconds To Mars, and even Enter Shikari.
If Give It A Name is to never return, at least it’s now in good company alongside Taste Of Chaos, and most recently Hevy Fest. In a scene that is arguably so saturated with new festivals nowadays, the question is: what other festival casualties are we going to see in the coming years?
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)