This October welcomes the long-awaited live return of Fat Out Fest, which is back with all the noise, queer energy and mayhem that Halloween weekend deserves. It’s the flagship event of Salford-based promotor, Fat Out – champions of the underground who have been producing intense, challenging and downright rowdy live shows both locally and internationally since 2008.
With 60+ artists performing across five spaces in Regents Trading Estate, The White Hotel and The Old Pint Pot, the Festival is returning in true Fat Out style for their first physical edition since 2017. The eclectic line-up represents the Festival’s most ambitious and challenging outing to date, bringing a collaborative celebration of the obscure, the legendary, and the surprising in both music and visual arts.
Kicking off the proceedings on Friday 29 October, GROSS INDECENCY at The White Hotel will serve up a heady mix of drag, DJs, live bands and performance art. Performers include Bertie Marshall, the frontman of post-punk boundary-pushers Behaviour Red, plus autodidactic Bristol-based producer and vocalist Grove, who melds elements of punk-infused dancehall, jungle, bass and pop. You can also catch a set by Manchester’s own Witch Fever, who concoct a potent sonic assault that recalls the foreboding darkness of Black Sabbath, Savages’ monochrome post-punk and the dirty breathlessness of Bleach-era Nirvana.
Onto Saturday 30 October, we’ll see a rare live show from CROWW. Occupying a liminal space between ambience and aggression, light and dark, the ever-evolving nature of their live set means that you never really know what you’re going to get on the night, but it’s always pretty thrilling. There’ll also be an AV show from post-apocalyptic sonic explorers UKAEA, plus a DJ set from Ifeoluwa, full of twisted electronics and club styles pulled from across the globe. The night will be capped off by Fat Out’s legendary Karaoke Dungeon.
The closing day of the Festival brings sonic and visual over-stimulation from AJA, while Gnod’s new live band incarnation brings crushing, cataclysmic new protest music. All before a change of pace in the form of Manchester-based collaborators The Untold Orchestra performing the music of Nina Simone. Later on comes the official after party, curated by Creatures of Catharsis, who’ve lined up a bunch of DJs from High Hoops, Manchester’s utopian club hedonistic blend of house, disco, techno, electro and all the genres in between. You can also catch the inimitable vogue collective House of Ghetto, Banksie, Jungle Julia, and many more.
Weekend and day tickets are on sale now, and there’s also an online element which showcases new digital art. Since first venturing into cyberspace in 2020, Fat Out is continuing its exploration of the digital sphere for 2021 with a free programme of original film commissions, curated in collaboration with the artists, and published day by day in the run-up to the physical Festival. Expect a film from Ailie Ormston and Lucy Duncombe that looks at the music making process and speaks to a sense of travelling between digital and analogue, a collaboration between AJA and Bora which promises “the visual of high NRG fierce techno”, plus a multi-dimensional collaborative film version of Dorcha’s new album Honey Badger.
There’s so much going on over the course of the weekend, we’ve only managed to scratch the surface of it here. Do take a look at the full programme via the button below.