What can we expect from your Ritual Union set?
Simon Bailey: You can expect loads of awesome new bands and a few old favourites. Plus plenty of good vibes and loads of good places to eat up and down
Pet Sematary: Lots of reverb, lots of banshee sounds, lots of shimmering guitars. Also a lot of oversharing and possibly tears.
Knobblehead: A loud, euphoric, 9-piece-punch-in-the-ear-face. Expect a stage full of riotous minstrels, BIG guitars and vibrant hippie grooves.
The Cooling Pearls: A lot of us in a small space (we're playing the Library), scared to play songs about death but playing them anyway.
What other acts on the line-up would you recommend checking out?
Chris Barker, Premium Leisure: I caught Young Knives at the Wheatsheaf the other night and was blown away, so I would highly recommend slinging them into your day plan.
Pet Sematary: There are so many talented Oxford artists playing. Premium Leisure and Candy Says are incredible, as is Max Blansjaar who continuously blows my mind and inspires me every time I see him play (and he’s only 16 years old!!).
Julia Sophie, Candy Says: Premium Leisure are top notch. Bo Ningen make a pretty awesome noise. We're looking forward to seeing Self Esteem for the first time. And we loooove Teleman, but everyone already knows they're great, right?
The Cooling Pearls: Porridge Radio - saw them in the Library about 2 years ago and was one of my favourite live moments from a band I'd never heard of. Great to see them back in town!
What is your favourite music spot in Oxford?
Pet Sematary: 100% the Library. I’ve made so many great memories and friends in that sweaty little basement. As an indie venue it’s great for DIY shows and is a huge gem for the local scene, as well as for discovering new music. There’s a real sense of community and the people there are just the loveliest.
Julia Sophie, Candy Says: The bench outside Truck Store. It's where all the best music plans are hatched.
The Cooling Pearls: Fusion Arts, hidden behind the East Oxford Community Centre. A beautiful, broken small room so full of character and changing light throughout a gig.
Lee Riley: Great to have the Port Mahon back. Played one of my first shows there.
Knobblehead: Obviously the Bullingdon has the coolest vibe and I have fond sweaty memories at the Library, but Oxford also offers up so many nice outside spaces to play music. The fields by Uni Parks or even the Kidneys, and our favourite Official™ gig was at the Oddball which was in the fields and gardens attached to the Isis Farmhouse.
How have you found the music scene in Oxford?
Julia Meijer: Fun! I like that there are so many different venues and gigs on every week. It’s really easy to discover new music as tickets are generally cheap and there are gigs on most nights.
Pet Sematary: Inclusive, inspiring and just family really. I’ve met some of my best friends through the Oxford scene, and that’s been a continuous support from the get go. The promoters are all super great and really look out for you, as well as providing some absolutely insane opportunities, with Ritual Union being just one example.
Julia Sophie, Candy Says: These last few years there has been a great feeling of community between a lot of the bands and so many good gigs it's hard to get to them all!
The Cooling Pearls: I love it here - I've been playing on the scene since 2007 and promoting shows since 2011 and it seems as top and vital as ever at the moment. So much going on with so many artists and promoters pushing boundaries - it's great!
Who is your favourite ever band to come from Oxford?
Julia Sophie, Candy Says: Tough choice! Fixers were a great band, and we’re still big Jack Goldstein fans. Gaz Coombes is making amazing music. I guess when so many great bands have come from Oxford, we’re kind of spoiled for choice.
Knobblehead: I think I might risk the wrath of a lot of the rest of the band by not saying Radiohead, but for me I love Ride. Nowhere is one of the freshest albums I’ve ever heard and I know lots of the band agree with me on that, at least.
This is the 3rd Ritual Union, have you been to one of the previous festivals? If so, what is your favourite Ritual Union memory?
Simon Bailey: There’s been some really special moments. I think last years event on the whole was brilliant, it felt like we were really able to kick things on last year with a fantastic lineup and Steve Davis closing the whole thing with a DJ set was a wonderful moment!
Pet Sematary: I’ve been to last two so I should probably get a loyalty card by now... Whilst my memory is somewhat impaired I do remember dancing front row to Self Help at the O2 Academy, and then there’s a flash forward to me crying at Be Good’s set at the after party at the Bully…good vibes all round.
Can we expect a fourth Ritual Union next year? Would you plan on expanding further?
Simon Bailey: Yes! We’re not planning on going anywhere next year, in fact we already have some great artists pencilled in for Oxford next October and we’re in advanced stages on launching a Bristol version for March, so all feels very exciting at the mo. I think we’ll end up with 3 Ritual Unions somewhere down the line, I’d like to get a 3rd one going somewhere so watch this space!