Head-banging Bolsheviks, partying proles, anthem-loving anarchists, radical ravers and toe-tapping Trots — all are welcome at Leftfest Inverness! Going on four years now, Leftfest Inverness has been the Highland capital’s premier proletarian party organisers, raising funds through banging gigs and comradely culture to support Inverness’s best charities and social movements.
Leftfest Inverness began in the summer of 2018, inspired by the very successful events run by Leftfest Dundee in 2017. We have since run three rocking radical events raising over £1,400 for a number of causes across the Highlands. With ‘LeftFest 4 – Left 4 Bread’ just around the corner, it’s a good time to look back on where we came from, our political message and the impact we’ve had in building a radical socialist culture in Inverness.
Politics meets culture
Leftfest has its origins in Dundee, starting in 2017. Socialists and community activists got together to organise an all-day festival in the Reading Rooms in Dundee, filled with incredible bands, poets and trade union and community groups. The event was a fantastic success.
Inspired by this, a few of us Invernesians decided to bring the same mad Marxian musical madness to the Highland capital. Starting with just a band of three and growing over the years, Leftfest Inverness was founded to give a much needed boost to radical politics in the Highlands. Our mission is to build up a radical group of folk to organise, agitate, educate and party!
Politics in the Highlands is dominated by ‘small-L’ liberalism, but has a great radical past. We believe that through organising gigs and other cultural events, we can help strengthen our communities in the Highland and raise a good bit of money for some very worthy causes.
Leftfest Inverness advocates for a socialist vision for society which puts people before profit and we hope to support as many good causes as we can. Our gigs are all self-funded through donations and ticket sales, and all of the money goes to whatever cause we are funding raising for.
We want to be as open to as many people as possible so we run three different ticket prices for unwaged, waged folk and a solidarity price. However, we also recognise that the local music scene is incredibly exploitative towards musicians and we make sure that everyone that plays at our events are paid for their work — it’s unfortunately not a lot at the moment (£10 per person), but it’s something and the bigger and bigger we get the more we want to pay our acts more! In essence, Leftfest is all about making the world a better place and having an absolute rammy while we do it.
Over this mission, Leftfest has had the privilege to host three amazing events, starting in October 2018 with our ‘Never Mind the Boo-geoise’ food bank fundraiser. It was a massively successful event raising over £450 for the Highland Foodbank — sadly one of the busiest food banks in the UK — and featured some amazing acts, from the hilarious acoustic storytelling of Hamish MacDonald, to the French/Scottish fusion of On the Black, the introspective protest pop of Josephine Sillars to the funky, punky loser anthems of Table for Four, topped off with the rocking, thrashing and crashing of riot grrl locals Bratakus.
From this, Leftfest only got bigger, hosting our ‘Citizens of Nowhere Brexit-day Jamboree’ on the 29th of March (which cancelled Brexit — so much for the tolerant left, aye!), with Teya-Jean Bawden and Will and Donald doing wonderful acoustic sets, On the Black back to get us all up and dancing and capping it off with heavy rockers Monsters in The Ballroom and Central Scotland’s favourite hardcore punks Get It Together. We also had our very first ‘foodbank fringe’ event with comedy, art and spoken word building up everyone’s expectations for the main event. All of this raised a good chunk of change for Highlands Supports Refugees and Highlands and Islands Migrant and Refugee Advocacy.
Last, but certainly not least, was our ‘Near-end of the Year/World Disco’, once again raising money for the food bank — a not-to-be-sniffed-at £600, along with bags and bags of goods. Our foodbank fringe came back with not quite as much gusto and success but the main event was a banger, featuring acoustics from the gentle, moody tunes of The Project and the toe-tapping sing-a-longs of Alan Kells; cranking up a gear with Leftfest regulars On the Black and Table for Four; and rounding off with the rampaging, ruckus of Inverness’s premier punks The Signal. Overall, it was our most successful event yet despite the slow start to the fringe.
Left 4 Bread
But LeftFest is not done yet and we are gearing up for our fourth and latest event, ‘LeftFest Presents: Left 4 Bread’ — our 2022 October foodbank fundraiser! With the return of The Signal, Bratakus and introducing the politically charged dance-driven rock of Pandacar, the riot grrl-inspired riffs of queer, feminist punks Fingering at the Disco, and absolute mad antics of Maraan and the Wildcats, rest assured we have a sensational socialist spectacular planned for all of you proletarian partiers!
Left 4 Bread will be taking place on the 1st of October at the Tooth and Claw In Inverness with the main event starting at 7pm but the foodbank fringe starting earlier. Tickets are now available at £8 for waged persons, £4 for accessible tickets and £10 for solidarity tickets, with donations for the foodbank always welcome!
Leftfest Inverness is a collective of sound folk running awesome gigs and raising money for worthy causes — with a bit of loonie leftie shenanigans thrown in.