What is it that we love about festivals? Barry Ashworth takes a light-hearted look at some essential festival survival pointers…

Blissfields Festival - DUBS

With the near-demise of the super-clubs in thew UK, festivals have emerged as the primary big dance music events. Each year there are more and more clogging up the calendar, and they’re constantly changing to beat the competition; understandably then, it can be difficult to know where to go, what to bring and what the hell to do once you get there. So, with Dub Pistols having played more festivals than you can shake a pair of wellies at, DJ Mag drafted me in to give you an expert’s guide to the muckiest season of the year.

Now everyone has their own taste when it comes to festivals; there are brilliant boutique events like Shindig, family-friendly (but with a kick) ones such as Blissfields, and of course big’ uns like Bestival and the daddy of them all, Glastonbury. But with festivals, size doesn’t matter!

What does make a good festival, then? I think it has to start at the top, with the promoter. They’ve got to be passionate about music and about what they do. When it comes to bookings, festivals boil down to two types: the corporate ones, where they just book the BBC Radio 1 (or even worse, the fucking Capital) playlist and they end up spending an absolute fortune; and then there are the ones I prefer, where the guys care about the music, understand what people actually want, and book quality music over chart music.

Places like Beatherder and Bestival are really well curated and that’s the most important thing — getting the music right.


After that it comes down to production. The days of V Festival and Reading just being able to put up two stages are well-and-truly over. You’ve got to build cities now; the top-end festivals are even bordering on theme parks. The key is to make it magical, make people feel like they’re stepping into another world. Even if you have all of the Radio 1 favourites, you have to put money into the production.

Big festivals like Boomtown, they just go crazy on the production and the theme, that’s what makes them amazing. Or take Lancashire’s Beatherder, for example — Dub Pistols have been on the bill there for the best part of 10 years, so I’ve seen them grow into one of the most formidable festivals going. They’ve got a stage in the woods — known as the Toil Trees — a Stonehenge-like circle called The Ring, and they’ve even built their own Fortress, which is one of the most incredible venues I’ve ever seen. Plus on top of that, the line-ups are always great and different from elsewhere. Two years ago the weather was absolutely baking all weekend, we got to close the festival and it was fucking mind-blowing.

Most festivals should have stuff other than the music going on too. Some have comedy stages that are wicked, or sometimes there are people that’ll just get up and perform. I love it when they stick a piano in the middle of a field and people just come along and start playing; it’s fucking amazing how many people can actually play really well… and then there are the shit ones, obviously!



There are other elements that can really make or break a festival, which you might not necessarily think of straight away. Simple things, like those dreaded toilets, and security. Back when I first started going to Glastonbury as a kid, they didn’t have a fence, and half the fun was taking on the security to try and get in. We used to line up to charge against them with hundreds of other people, it was like a scene from a war film.

You’d make a break for it, and if you got caught you’d get dragged back and you’d go again in the second wave. It used to be quite a long dash, over the length of a football pitch, security on one side and you on the other, just going at it like a big game of Bulldog. Within three or four rushes you’d make it. But times have changed and now it’s essential to get a good security firm.

They’re not there to bully and terrorise people, they’re there to look after people — hopefully — and make sure people are safe, so an experienced team is a must.

One argument that’s coming up more and more often is camping versus non-camping. These one-day and inner-city festivals have their place of course (especially if you’re feeling a bit on the skint side), but for me it’s always worth saving a bit longer and going camping.

At the best festivals, everything takes place at night; sure it’s nice to chill out and lay around in a field during the day, but at night — that’s when all the magic happens. With Adele headlining Glastonbury this year (which I think is a real shame), once again it’s going to be all about the side antics, and it doesn’t get much better than the Hell Stage. The whole Shangri-La area is next level at night!

And even when everything’s closed, it’s back at the tents that festivals really come alive – that’s where you forge new friendships, where you entertain yourself with whatever madness takes your fancy, and ultimately where the community grows. For the best festivals, it’s so important for things to be going on all night so that people can stay up. They don’t want to go to bed, they’ve paid their money and they want to rinse it 24-fucking-hours for three days!

Take my favourite European festival, Electric Castle – they know how to party! It’s in a beautiful old castle in Transylvania and the weather is always fantastic, but there’s just something about the Europeans… my words can’t even do justice to how much the crowd go off — the place rocks!

There are places that plod and then there are places where the crowd are just fucking mental, it’s pure energy. I stood at the side of the stage last year to watch The Prodigy and I’ve never seen anything like it. This will be the fourth year Dub Pistols have played it and we’re actually the resident band there now, we’ve almost been adopted by the country so it’s pretty special.



Of course, a good festival experience isn’t just down to the organisers, you — the punter — have got to take some responsibility too. You’ve got to have your survival kit. First off, make sure you’re fully loaded with drink (another reason I prefer camping fests). Whatever your tipple is, make sure you’ve got it in abundance, and bring other stuff for other people to share. In an ideal world this would mean you spend your weekend knacker-bare in a hot tub, with a glass of champagne, fucking rolling, but that might be pushing it a little for most.

Another good piece of kit is a camping stove (and, of course, some bacon and eggs), so you’ve got a breakfast in the morning, because for me a breakfast is essential. When it comes to who’s cooking though, you’re probably going to need to bring a chef too, because the chances of me cooking safely are non-existent.

Then you’ve got to have all your back-ups: migraine tablets, headache tablets, every kind of recovery aid that you possibly can. I’ve never been stuck without them, I’m too long in the tooth now and I know what’s going to happen. It’s not a good look laying around vomiting and holding your head, screaming “I’m gonna die!” But failing that, there’s always hair of the dog. I like to wake up and get a Bloody Mary on the go!

Don’t forget your fancy dress either. Bestival is great for that — not only is the event amazing, from getting the ferry over to the Isle Of Wight, to all the stages and the biggest disco ball the world — but the fancy dress there is something else. Come Saturday afternoon, everyone wanders back to their tents to change into their gear; it’s like Mr Benn, they emerge as someone else. Everyone takes on another persona and that’s it, game on!

The whole place is just lifted by it… plus it’s always brilliant watching a smurf dragging their sorry arse back to their tent in the morning, broken. Or the cast of Disneyland all looking really miserable and paranoid. I tend to just go with the theme; you can’t hold back, you’ve gotta get involved and do it in the best way that you possibly can, go the whole hog and make sure you stand out.


If all this comes together, there’s no doubt you’ll be in for the best weekend of your life (until next year, that is). I suppose to finish I should probably be an adult and recommend you try to get some sleep and remember to keep hydrated. Oh, and make sure you know where the medical tent is so you can find your mates!




display_Richard-Hawley-Liverpool-Music-Week-The-Dome-John-Johnson-15Fiesta Bombarda 4th Birthday

Friday, 3 Jun 2016 at 8:00pm – Saturday, 4 Jun 2016 at 3:00am

The pistols upcoming show at Fiesta Bombarda 4th birthday will sellout in the next few days you have been warned

Fiesta Bombarda celebrates their four year anniversairy with a vibrant procession of song and dance in the awe-inspiring Grand Central Dome.

We’ll be bringing one of the most popular and respected DJs in the world to the party; NORMAN JAY (MBE) alongside the notoriously high-octane live antics of DUB PISTOLS. They’re joined by NUBIYAN TWIST; the twelve-piece groove driven outfit that clashes sound-system culture with jazz improvisation and a riotous ensemble of exhilarating bands and DJs, enticing performers, facepaint and stunning set design.

7PM – 3AM


Live music from:

DJ sets by:

Hosted by:

Set design by:

& much more


Only 50 tickets left!

Get them here -

Cirque de la Quirk returns to Isle of Wight Festival

Cirque de la Quirk returns to Isle of Wight Festival

Ci5BgdKUkAA7s15Dub Pistols have been announced to headline the Cirque de la Quirk stage at this years Isle of Wight Festival

Following on from the success of last year’s Cirque de la Quirk stage takeover, The Isle of Wight Festival today announces that Cirque is back for 2016 – and this time… for the whole weekend!

Over the weekend of 9th-12th June, festival-goers will get the chance to step into a worry free nonsensical world. From live body painting to strutting your stuff in their popular dance off, there is something for all ages, shapes and mental states at the Circus!

You’ll be able to experience the Backstage Creation Tent, aimed to relax and rest your ringing ears by hunkering down on bean bags and pillow pits or getting involved with colouring therapy, creative workshops and face painting. Head to the Wonky Races Tent to spice up the weekend with silly, challenging and competitive games, before heading to the pièce de résistance: The Main Stage! Compered by Cirque’s very own Jackie Jibbles and Madame Molly, Cirque de la Quirk will have musical treats to get everyone bouncing and dancing for the whole weekend. Electric Swing Circus, Dub Pistols, Benny Page, Far Too Loud and Freear (Slamboree DJ set) are just a few of the artists lined up to grace the Cirque, along with circus performers from the wonderful people at Forgotten Circus. There’ll be enough to make the most statuesque of tail feathers wiggle with verve and vigour!

Plus, to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and Queen + Adam Lambert’s headlining slot on the Sunday, Cirque de la Quirk will be hosting a special tongue-in-cheek, very English (and slightly rowdy) tea party! Think bunting, chaps and moustaches with a dollop of electro swing beats provided by Cirque’s lovable favourites, Miles Metric and the Rumpsteppers!

Can’t wait ’til June? Well, a special warm up show has been announced! On Friday 22nd April at Mode in Ladbroke Grove, London, The Isle of Wight Festival will present ‘Cirque de la Quirk’s Warm Up Wiggle’. You are invited to get stuck into the music, life and festival spirit of the circus. Come and let your inner quirk shine through! Join the ridiculousness of the Wonky Races, experience the immersive performances from the Forgotten Circus and dance the night away in preparation for the start of Summer, The Isle of Wight Festival 2016!

Tickets for ‘Cirque de la Quirk’s Warm Up Wiggle’ available now from Eventbrite:

Check out Cirque de la Quirk at The Isle of Wight Festival 2015:

Cirque de la Quirk was launched in London, March 2015 by Molly McQueen and Jack Freeman. With their shared passion for the creative arts and pure determination to showcase un-seen talent, they decided to create a truly unique cabaret party. They bedazzle audiences with stunning circus performances, extraordinary musical artists and soul-enriching silliness to provide an experience to tickle all your senses!

Glastonbury 2016

Glastonbury 2016

Ci5IeO1WUAAe3_b.jpg-largeDub Pistols have been confirmed to play the most famous festival in the world GLASTONBURY!

The Pistoleros have been booked for 2 live shows including Friday night on the Glade stage alongside, Gentleman’s Dub Club and Carl Cox and will also headline the Hell Stage on Saturday night/Sunday morning. If that wasn’t enough the bands leader and DJ Barry Ashworth will play a host of specials sets on the Greenpeace boat, The Glade Spaceport and the Legendary Bez’s Acid house.

It’s going to be an epic weekender for those lucky enough to have tickets , cu down the front.

win free tickets to Shindig Weekender

win free tickets to Shindig Weekender

As this year’s festival season begins, Shindig Weekender is set to take place from Friday 27th to Saturday 29th May in a secret location near Bath.

Artists performing at the event include Dub Pistols, Andrew Weatherall, Stanton Warriors, DJ Yoda, Terry Farley, Beardyman, LTJ Bukem and Marshall Jefferson, as well as DJ Mag’s editor Carl Loben.

If you don’t already have a ticket to the Shindig Weekender, we’re giving you the chance to go for free as we have a pair for the festival to give away!

To be in with a chance of winning, simply email with your full name, phone number and postcode.

A winner will be chosen on Wednesday 25th May.

Please note, this competition is for TICKETS ONLY. You will need to arrange your own travel and accommodation. Terms and conditions apply.

You can see more of the Shindig Weekender line-up below or get full details on the festival’s website.


Isaac Maya: Real Gangsters Remix Free Download

Isaac Maya: Real Gangsters Remix Free Download




Bestival 2016

Bestival 2016

The legendary Port remains missing, its whereabouts unknown but Bestival’s brand new, revolutionary monolith of sound, The Spaceport, is shaping up to be the greatest dance stage ever! Throbbing to an intergalactic soundscape of epic proportions, our seven storey symbol of the future will transmit Bestival’s unique vision of our dancefloor destiny as we unveil the crack squad of space cadets, who will be joining previously announced Spaceport headliners Diplo, Carl Cox, and Fatboy Slim & Dub Pistols sound system to blast us into the unknown this coming September on the Isle of Wight.

Bestival rave-master Rob da Bank says: “Prepare for lift off my futuristic friends, this is going to be the stage of the summer of UK festivals. A dream team of Josie da Bank, our mate Paul Normandale, who’s Bjork and Coldplay’s lighting designer, super set designers Spatial and a host of madcap inventors are building an incredible imaginary Spaceport for you to rave at and take off into The Future. In that rocket will be no less than rave veterans Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Diplo, DJ Yoda and Candi Staton propped up by newbies like DJ Barely Legal and Mele and Monki… The Future is almost here”.
Following an out of this world opening ceremony, we’ll be heading into orbit as we ramp up the rave action with a cavalcade of advanced selectors including Benji B, Destructo, DJ Barely Legal, DJ Yoda, Dub Pistols Soundsystem, Eats Everything, James Zabiela, Kenton Slash Demon, Klose One and Mella Dee.

And hitting the decks to take us beyond the solar system of sound will be Mount Kimbie, Mumbai Science, Norman Jay MBE, NRG Flash: Monki & Mele, Oneman going back to back with My Nu Leng, Purple Rave Prince Tribute from Heidi, Rob da Bank & Tayo, Riton, Sink The Pink presents No Limits with Candi Staton & Livin’ Joy, Skream and The Heatwave.

The epicentre of the inevitable and the future of the dance, The Spaceport is where the party’s at. Don’t miss it.

Charity Day success

Charity Day success

TWS0098Last week the Dub Pistols returned to Meribel in the French Alps to take part in the annual 3 Valleys Charity Day.
The fifth annual 3 Valleys Charity Day (& 15th charity event since it started in La Tania in 2002) that was held on Wednesday 6th April 2016 in Meribel Village last week was another outstanding success.
After three years of incredible sunny weather at the event this year we were faced with an uncertain & unsettled forecast for the actual day. The Gods smiled upon us as always though and the rain held off for the entire day. The lack of sunshine certainly did not dampen spirits on the day or hamper advance ticket sales. Thanks to Luke and the guys at Alpine Intent we had a large tent in place covering the majority of the venue in case of the rain that was forecast. Despite the forecast by 14.00pm the venue was almost full.

This year we saw a record attendance of almost 2000 people at this year’s event. The increased attendance certainly made a difference with the Pub Le Ski Lodge bar serving a pint every six seconds throughout the day!
Many thanks to everyone from all the different stations of Three Valleys that attended and bought a ticket either in advance or on the day. You have all made the event such an incredible success again.

This years slogan of we could be heroes this years was inspired in the most part by David Bowie’s sad passing in January. We did feel though that the message of we could be heroes was a really positive one for our event and could in some way spur us onto greater efforts to raise even more money for our two charities The Sebastian’s Action Trust and the Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer
For the first time in the history of our event our Ziggy Stardust motif inspired tee shirt design meant that the official charity day tee shirts were a total sell out. This is an incredible effort so thanks to everyone who bought a charity day tee this year meaning that even more profit goes direct towards our charities.

12963901_10209351898661172_1315331443312196655_nRadio DJ legend and Glastonbury presenter Jo Whiley returned again this year as our main presenter and MC bringing us a brilliant presence on the main stage and a wider level of recognition & credibility to our event.
The Dub Pistols who have now become synonymous with our event returned this year to headline the line up and brought the house down once more with their set to close out the event. Many thanks to Barry and the guys for their enthusiasm and their big love of our event!
Alongside Jo Whiley and the Dub Pistols we had our usual line up of incredible local bands. It’s worth stressing that many of the local bands on Wednesday gave up paid gigs and their own time to play at our charity day. It cannot go without saying how much we appreciate all the local bands for doing this and without you the event would not be the success that it is. You all know who you are so to quote Barry from the Dub Pistols – Big Yourself Up…

I would also like to thank Rich, Westy, Stevie, Gareth and Dougal of the newly formed Piste Productions Audio for the hours they put in on the Tuesday and Wednesday to make the sure the event sounded absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure those petit vin blancs at 11.00am on Tuesday during set up were a good shout though…

At Wednesday’s event there were too many highlights to mention here individually so make sure you check out all the photos of the action on our facebook page

TWS0009The fancy dress competition went down a storm this year with some great costumes on show during the day including a white walker from Game of Thrones, the Alpine Elements minions and various characters from Star Wars The Force Awakens all representing. The winner of the best fancy dress though as voted by the crowd was the homemade and truly unique upside man by Tom Flack. Well done Flacky!
As always at the 3 Valleys Charity Day it’s all the volunteers that assist me and give up their own free time and lend their support to make the event happen that are my true heroes. A massive shout as always goes out to everyone who helped me organise this event this year – again you all know who you are!

On a personal note thanks to Tim “one take” Wall for providing advice, support and the usual comedy value including the hung over radio jingle at Radio Meribel, one of my highlights of this years preparations.

To finish then on a year when we could have been heroes – thanks to all of you that attended the event and partied hard and those who gave up your own time and volunteered, you all were indeed heroes…

See you all next year!

Ralph Corner
3 Valleys Charity Day

Festival Q&A

10320491_682606701818311_7537205211882659362_nThe Big Issue caught up with Barry Ashworth ahead of this summer’s festivals

This summer the six piece band play an impressive number of festivals, but Barry Ashworth tells Big Issue North why Beat Herder, in Lisburn Forest, 15-17 July, is the one they call home.
How would you describe your sound?
Our sound is a blend of dub, reggae, hiphop and electronic. We fuse many styles but live we like to keep the shows full of energy.

Tell us what you’ve been up to since last summer?
We have been recording a new album, which is almost finished, we have been to Jamaica to record with Beenie Man and Cutty Ranks as well as working with other artists such as Earl 16, too Many Ts, Navigator and the Ragga Twins. I think this is sounding like our biggest album to date. We have also been touring the world non stop, including our first ever live shows in Australia and New Zealand which went down a storm.

1535699_10204145360140963_571325750426692267_nWhat festivals are you playing this year?
Our favourite and a place we call home – Beat-Herder – as well as Glastonbury, Kendal Calling, Blissfields, Isle Of White, Electric Castle (Romania) and Exit (Serbia), to name a few.

Who else are you excited to see at the festivals?
Primal Scream, Easy All Stars, Chronixx.

If you could curate your own festival with artists dead or alive what would the line-up look like?
Nirvana, Bob Marley, The Jam, Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Stevie Wonder, Prince, David Bowie, Chemical Brothers, The Specials (original line-up), Red Hot Chilli Pepers, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Marc Bolan.

What’s your best festival memory?
Always hard to have a memory after most festivals as the brain cells have normally been destroyed, but this year’s show at New Zealand’s Spore festival was pretty special. It was the first time we had played in the country, the main stage was set on a beach in the middle of a national park, which is breathtaking, and the crowd just went crazy. It really was one of those moments that will live with you forever.

What’s in your festival survival kit?
Lager, vodka, cocktails, headache tablets, a torch, bacon sandwiches and a spare phone charger.

Apart from music, what should the ideal festival have?
For me festivals are not about bands – they’re about meeting strangers and everyone entertaining each other. I love the crazy things people do when they get in a field, I love it when people dress up and take on a new persona, so I would say a good fancy dress shop.
Antonia Charlesworth
- See more at: – See more at: – See more at:



12049665_971275499625233_3711496941771466024_nCongratulations to our good friend Father Funk who picked up a UK Glitch Hop award this week for his amazing remix of Dub Pistols “Real Gangster”. The track taken from the bands “return of the pistoleros” was released as a single in July 2015 we a string of remixes commissioned and the father funk remix reached number 1 in the Beatport Glitch Hop sales charts.
Real Gangster remixes available here