Hope & Glory 2017: Review, a Rant and a Thank You

We’d love to say that in ten years time we can look back and laugh while saying to ourselves “we were at Hope & Glory, that shitshow”, but it’s not as simple as that.

It sounds woeful, but if this was a smaller festival in the likes of we’d be annoyed but it wouldn’t be as upset as we are today. 

It’s not a great day for our city’s music scene and you know what, it’s not even our fault. 

Arriving at Hope & Glory yesterday, based at city centre landmark area St. George’s Hall, we were met by a gigantic line reaching around the block. The fact the gates had been open for about two hours by that point, was a bad sign. How weren’t they getting people in? 

Reaching the gate, we noticed that the gate was smaller than it should be, for a capacity of 12,500 people anyway. 

Entering was the worst part. The bottleneck area showed this festival’s unpreparedness and general dismay for safety. Entering trough the only entrance straight into the way of the main bar area, into a crowd. 

I quickly noticed that The Membranes were finishing. The band were meant to be playing long before we arrived. We noticed the times were all off.

Unsure if that’s because of gates or just general awful stage management. 

The Pigeon Detectives took the stage, preforming song after song quite quickly. “Welcome to Hope & Glory, where nobody owns a fucking watch” exclaimed frontman Matt Bowman, there were already alarming signs so early. However, the band played to their best ability with awful sound quality. 

Following them, Badly Drawn Boy played a small set after stating “none of this is working but I’m not going to get mad, going to stay calm”. He was really speaking to us, but tried his best preforming a small set doing what he could. 

Still no words on how they’re making up time, by our count we won’t be able to see all the main stage bands before the 10:30pm curfew, yet the festival refuses to inform anything with anybody. 

Embrace, photography by James Ainsworth.

Embrace were scheduled to be next. They walk on to Guns N’ Roses‘ “Welcome To The Jungle” and the crowd erupts, while the festival is already shocking, the bands are trying their best. 

…and their equipment doesn’t work. They wave and leave. We’re unsure about what the fuck is actually going on by this point. By time they come back on, the band cracks out four songs in brilliant fashion having the crowd sing-a-long the entire time. 

Fantastic performance before they’re ushered away. 

The View bounces on, almost forty minutes later (still no information). Their performance is wild, their punky rock gets the crowd bouncing around and singing almost every word. 

The View, photograph by James Ainsworth.

Their hit “Same Jeans” goes down like a bloody storm, barn burner in-fact. Their electric performance is a highlight of the festival and we’d love them back soon.

Finally, we get somebody informing us about the times. The screen showed none of the times anymore and was missing Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon

The stage hand informed us about when the next bands would be on, but didn’t mention the removal of Church. We were disgraced to hear that she had been kicked off. 

The Fratellis entered next, fifteen minutes after their rescheduled time. The band crashed onto the stage playing a set to seemingly adoring fans. 

Their forty minute set was brilliant from start-to-finish, playing the usual greats from their catalogue like “Chelsea Dagger“, “Henrietta” and loads more. 

The Fratellis, photography by James Ainsworth.

However, noticing the side of the stage we saw the sound guy, who was doing a dreadful job all day anyhow, yelled at the Fratellis‘ bassist. 

Razorlight were up next, a band who many years ago headlined shows at Manchester Arena and sold-out tours are now out of their peak. 

Although, you wouldn’t think so watching them. 

The band bouncing out tunes from yesteryear while an adoring crowd sung every word, from “In The Morning” all the way to “America“. 

However, I decided to take a walk and find myself in the brilliant EBGBs basement to see Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon (who were fucking brilliant, by the way) while our photographer James Ainsworth took writing duties for headliners James
Then the stange Manchester indie rock legeends hit the stage, of course later then expected, as is the theme of this festival. Though we’re sure not James’ fault. Netherless, James came on to a huge round of applause as the crowd had been waiting for this all throughout this long, delayed day. 

Lead singer, Tim Booth lapping all of it up. He said a qucik hello the crowd and jumped right into it, obviously not wanting to waste any more time. Booth was his usual self, thrashing around the stage like a demented pigeon, putting on a hell of a show. During the second song, Booth jumped into the pit, being held up by his leg by an estactic member of the audience. 
James of course played the usual classics such as “Sit Down”, “Getting Away with It” and “Nothing But Love“, despite being cut short and unable to play their hit “Laid”. It can be said that in spite of the awful events of the festival. James gave us the show we’d all been waiting for all day, and gave us the perfect end to a not as perfect day.

James, photograph by James Ainsworth.

Speaking to the festival promotors and organisers, namely Lee O’Hanlon, I’d just like to say a decent heartfelt sarcastic thank you. 

Thanks for creating a bad image for our city in a matter of days, from putting our city’s music goers and even visitors in danger at your so-called “festival” to being an utter unprofessional, unpleasant swine on your social media accounts. 

The striking fact is that you’ve informed us that you’re a professional and were capable of holding this festival, while the actual fact is none of those were true. You knew before people arrived that the site wasn’t set up, and knew when we were watching the bands that danger could be afoot and you let everybody in and stay. 

Now it’s somebody else’s blame? 

That’s brilliant, sure we’ll believe you and we’re sure you’ve ran home with your pink flamingos in-tow and we’ll never see you in the city again, well unless this develops into a court-type deal which I wouldn’t blame people on creating. Hell, I had a press pass for the weekend and I want my money back, the money I didn’t pay. 

However now I want to actually thank the city’s music-minds who are usually underground or behind curtains actually creating a safe, live music experience for city-livers and those who come for fun.

Yesterday morning we had quite a lot of people attempting to fix the fuck-up caused by Hope & Glory. From Liverpool Loves, Cavern Club, The Magnet and all sorts offering stages, to Popped Music, even ourselves trying to find gigs for bands left in the dirt to restaurants and bars offering major discounts to festival goers all the way to the Zanzibar and EBGBs for hosting gigs for free in the night. 

We shouldn’t have to fix your mess, but that’s what our city’s music scene does. We’re often a tight-knit, band-together City who will do nothing but make it work and make people happy. 

Yet Hope & Glory gets all the attention for their fuck up. The non-scouse enterprise who decided to come to Liverpool and create an utter mess and then leave it for everybody else to fix. 

In ten years time, I’d love to look back and laugh at this saying “oh, I was at Hope & Glory” and I will. However, I’ll also be thinking “and remember when EBGBs threw Charlotte Church on at last minute, and the Red Rum Club the next night? Remember when The Lightning Seeds and Clean Cut Kid played the Zanzibar? Remember when we tried to fix it.”

Refunds and everything else is still on-going and likely will for a while now, hell even the abuse of James frontman Tim Booth may stay on-going by the Hope & Glory promoter on Twitter? 

…but we’ll leave you with the thought that Liverpool will do three things: A quick moan (we’re great at that!), help one another and laugh about it profusely.

Review and aftermath words by Jack Cinnamond, photography and James‘ review by James Ainsworth.

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