Set on the edge of Etherow Country Park in Compstall close to Stockport and Manchester Blackthorn Music Festival is almost a showcase for young up and coming bands.

The relaxed atmosphere in the tranquil surroundings of Whitebottom Farm sees many bands hanging out together and often camping for the whole weekend. With none of the silly food and drink prices seen at the bigger festivals, Blackthorn, at £55 for the weekend is a real bargain.

This year the main headliners were Maximo Park and Stereo MC’s but with over 70 bands playing over 4 stages there was something for everyone.

Its impossible to mention every band so these are just a few personal favourites. Saturday saw great sets from Billy Bibby, Ist Ist and The Larkins whilst No Hot Ashes were truly amazing (a review of their whole set to follow). Dub Sex often deemed one of the “lost” Manchester bands closed the evening for me with a dark brooding set showing what an underated band they were.

Sunday was a quieter day but great sets from Stillia and Sly Antics fired up the afternoon crowd and early evening saw Cabbage hit the Meadow Stage with their post punk mayhem. Armed with a saw (and at one point a toddler passed from the crowd), Lee Broadbent belted out songs from their EP Le Chou with singles Kevin and the darkly comic Dinner Lady already sounding like classics. October and November sees the band on tour, catch them if you can.

Following Cabbage was always going to be difficult  but The Tapestry were equal to the task with a set of their classic songs and covers ending in a riotous stage invasion.

As always a great weekend and I left with the feeling I’d seen a few bands who are going to be very big in the future.

No Hot Ashes

Getting bigger and boulder all the time, every gig is a step upwards and onwards for No Hot Ashes.

On a hot Saturday afternoon at the Blackthorn Festival NHA draw  a good crowd into the marquee that is the Paddock Stage, with their steamy,dirty funky sound. Lead singer Isaac Taylor delivers his lyrics with a passion and energy that makes everybody sit up and listen. Kicking of with Cigs an older song they soon have the whole tent in the groove and by the time they get to Skank a fan favourite the tent is rocking. All the influences are there from the Chilli Peppers to James Brown but NHA have developed their own unique sound which won’t fit into a category.

Rock, Soul or Funk it doesn’t really matter to NHA as they close the set with their last 2 singles Cool Cat  and the massive Goose, with the band being dragged into an adoring crowd of fans.