By the time you’re reading this it’ll be too late: Onslaught will have begun.
Probably the biggest event in Dunedin’s music calendar, the Onslaught punk festival is back for the 13th time and it’s huge. Eighteen bands from all over the country converge on the Crown Hotel to ensure your innards are fully liquified over two nights. If you weren’t there last night you missed out, but luckily you’ve still got an opportunity to get slaughtered today.
Bolshy McBard has been the man responsible for orchestrating the brain meltage over the past ten years, and he’s stoked with how it’s turned out.
“Initially it was a one night event and slowly it became an afternoon then night and now it’s a whole weekend”
“Basically it’s kind of become the biggest event on the New Zealand punk rock calendar, not that that was the original intention but that’s just kind of how it’s become”
The lineup looks typically killer this year. There’s your usual suspects like local punk bands Infinite Justice and Bazooka, as well as newcomers like Wellington punk band Poverty and Spit, and Wellington stoner/punk band TVX.
“I’ve always tried to have it so a new band, whether it’s their first gig or their second or third gig, have them playing, and you know, two or three bands that are just starting out, and then there’s a few bands that have been going for years and years in between… So a band that’s just starting out gets a great platform to launch on.”
“There’s never been any agro at onslaught, everyone loves it and it’s good to be able to mix with the different generations. There’s people there with their kids now kind of thing, and I think that’s a good thing.”
This year he’s had to downscale a little because of issues with the Dunedin Musicians Club and fire regulations. So instead of being split across both venues it’s all at Crown Hote;. It’ll be packed, but I don’t think that’s going to stop anyone from having a good time.
“I always try to get a bit bigger each year but this year… I dunno whether it’s number 13 or what it is, but I was confronted with more obstacles and pitfalls than I’ve ever had before”
“Just makes me more determined next year to make it even better”
With a man like Bolshy behind it all it’s no wonder the vibes are so positive. He pays for bands to fly down out of his own pocket, and even puts on a Saturday evening supper of classic NZ food like whitebait, paua, and muttonbird alongside vegan and vegetarian options so everyone’s happy. It’s something truly unique to Onslaught.
Just as well it’s not about the money for him because this sort of thing is expensive. He seemed genuinely stoked that last year he only lost a grand, apparently his smallest loss in a while. His goal is to someday break even, or turn a profit so he can distribute the money back to the people involved.
If you want to help meet that goal you should buy a raffle ticket. For $5 you’ll be entered into 50 draws for generously donated prizes ranging from t-shirts and petrol vouchers to practice amps and custom guitar pedals. I bought four tickets and I’m really gunning for that cowbell, but it’s worth it just to support such an important event.