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Go Into Wide Awake Festival With Eyes Wide Open

The UK discovery festival is boasting big names across multiple genres including Yard Act, Amyl and the Sniffers, and more.

by Sarah Morrison

While 2020 threw the live music sector through a loop, it didn’t stop live music promoters Bad Vibrations, LNZRT, SC&P, friends of Field Day, and those behind Moth Club and The Shacklewell Arms from pursuing one of their largest projects yet; Wide Awake Festival.

Combining smaller festivals into one giant behemoth, the collective of promoters have joined forces to bring us their largest project yet in Wide Awake Festival. The independent music festival, expanding from one day to two for its 2022 festivities, collects those making a splash within the underground music scene. From post-punk to electronica, techno, jazz, and more, Wide Awake provides a variety of critically acclaimed sounds.

Each festival day is carefully curated to create a unique identity. Friday will make a splash with its emphasis on electronica with artists such as Bicep, Caribou, Working Men’s Club, PVA, Scalping, and Jessica Winter, while Saturday hones in on a mixture of genres, primarily indie rock/punk with bands from Primal Scream, to Fat White Family, Katy J Pearson, Sorry, Altin Gün, Kevin Morby, and many more. 

Wide Awake Festival is known for its gender splitting bills and ‘Positive Policy,’ to create actions and efforts to help our ecosystem. The festival also provides registered BSL performance interpreters and deaf and hearing volunteers to welcome those who are deaf or hard of hearing to join in on the party.

Here is our list of must-see acts at this year’s festivities: 


Automatic’s doomy lyricism and motorik pulse rattle through their sonic post-punk and no-wave galvanism. The band has a unique line-up of bass, drums, synth, and vocals, similar to the likes of Neu! and Suicide, tearing up the notion of conventionality. You may recognize their name from one of their many impressive opening slots, touring with the likes of IDLES, Parquet Courts, and Tame Impala. The buzz and the hype have me convinced this is a quick beginning for the trio, an Automatic boom is fast approaching. 

Boy Harsher

Darkwave duo Boy Harsher’s new album explodes with cathartic and grotesque horror-synth stylings. The pair communicate through the dark emotions with an almost possessing purpose and their freeing expression creates an escapist realm. Accompanied with the new release comes ‘Runner,’ a short film that nods to pulp noir and late 80s/90s body horror. This combination release was exuberant, pushing the limits on orthodox ideals of a concept album. And while I’ve never had the chance to experience Boy Harsher live, it’s been echoed this set should be at the top of my list. 


Crows have undeniably become one of London’s most integral punk rock bands. Their new album ‘Beware Believers’ is a gloom-infused confessional, shredding with intensity. It echoes patience and perseverance and is the brutally satisfying return that we had all been hoping for. Crows aren’t afraid to let loose, breaking bones and instruments on stage and never batting an eye. It’s easy to say their performance at Wide Awake is not one to miss. 

Nation of Language 

With resonating melodies and vigorous synth lines, New York’s Nation of Language is a breath of fresh air. Their revolutionary modern take on ’80s new wave influences is a comfortable melancholy and nostalgia sensation. The trio shine with radiance and pure magnetism with every fiber of their being. From seeing them blindly at their last pre-pandemic show, Nation of Language stole my heart. I am undeniably smitten and eagerly await to see their progression. 


Each experience seeing Scalping live tells me I’m in for an exhilarating performance at this year’s festivities. Melding a live rock band performance with their Industrial-EDM music and striking live visuals, Scalping is a revolutionary act. Their thundering robotic pulse and wonderland of experimental mess is a euphoric awakening and undeniably hypnotic. Scapling’s heavily improvised, non-stop set, is sure to be the kick to what is going to be a crazy weekend of music. 

Yard Act 

Hailing from Leeds, UK, Yard Act has quickly risen and taken the world by storm with their charm and witticism. Their minimalist grooves, driven by thundering bass lines, and humorous tales of neoliberal economics sung through a relatable grit, scratches an inch you didn’t know needed scratching. Yard Act delivered a marvel of a debut album this year and their record of sold-out shows tells you this is only the beginning. And while I wasn’t sold on the band from an initial listen, after seeing the lads live in action, I’m undeniably hooked. Yard Act will deliver outstanding performance. 

Wide Awake runs May 27 and May 28 at Brockwell Park in London, UK | MORE INFO