Below is an introduction about how MTAE began, its inspiration, the ideas behind it.
More will follow in the IDEOLOGY section of this Blog that will go deeped into the politics and meanings behind MTAE!!!
WHAT IS A ‘MEANS TO AN END…’ FESTIVAL?
MTAE… DIY Punk Hardcore Festival occurs annually at the mighty 1in12 Club in the U.K. in the West Yorkshire city of Bradford in mid-October. The 1in12 Club is a self-run, autonomous social centre that has been in existence now for over 30 years and has been, and continues to be, home to many, many great bands, gigs and social activities.
The 1in12 Club
WHY IS ‘MTAE’ CALLED ‘MTAE’?
I’ve been asked this a number of times by interested folk but it really is whatever you wish it to be! The name MTAE has a number of different influences that inspired the original concept; mainly political reasoning, friendship and the band ‘DOOM’!
The origin of the festival was sparked by going to Copenhagen’s 2004 K-Town fest. There, I met so many friends, both old and new. This reminded me of the Festival’s I used to attend in the 1990s at the 1in12 Club. During that time I lived in Colchester in North-East Essex. Life there was relatively isolated in terms of there being no real punk/hardcore community to hang out with. Places like London, Southampton, Portsmouth were regular hang-outs for me during that time until I went to the first hardcore Punk Fest in Bradford.
In 1993 I travelled up to Bradford for what were soon to become regular Festival’s at the 1in12 Club. This gave me the chance to meet friends that I wrote to, traded zines with and distributed records for, most notably ARMED WITH ANGER RECORDS (AWA Records) and FLAT EARTH RECORDS. The house where Richard, who operated AWA Records lived in, was a shared house near the University of Bradford and full of active folk who were in bands such as VOORHEES, IRONSIDE and/or involved in the Bradford hardcore punk scene in various number of ways.
Going to the 1in12 Club at that time was special as in it felt really vibrant and full of great bands such as HEALTH HAZARD, later to become SUFFER; HEADACHE, BABY HARP SEAL, ONE BY ONE, WITCHKNOT. These were just some of the Bradford/Leeds bands around the scene at that time. The 1in12 is one of those places that you can soon become attached to as the level of things you can do there really is down to your own imagination, determination and willingness to get involved.
Over time visits to Bradford for festivals and gigs increased visits and led me to EVENTUALLY!, after much pondering, to move up to Leeds in 2001. Going to the hardcore punk festival’s at the Club over the years and visiting the old UNGDOMSHUSET in Copenhagen in 2004 for a K-Town Fest inspired the first MEANS TO AN END… to happen. The building at no.69 was enormous! At least 6 times as big as the 1in12 with two stages, a massive bar area, practice spaces for bands and workshops, a garden…. it seemed endless. K-Town reminded me of the feeling i used to get from going to the Club in the 1990s and all the activity there both politically and socially. That so many active folk moved to Copenhagen on the back of such an inspiring Festival and scene also had similiarities with the 1in12 during the 1990s.
Living in Leeds, a mere 20 minute train journey from Bradford, made me consider that the 1in12 could help again participate in bringing folk together as Fests of the past had once done and reconnecting old friends and hopefully creating many new ones. This in itself was the main purpose behind MTAE…
MTAE also has political ideology behind it but what is a MTAE? The means are you, me, us. It stems from an anarchist perspective that the 1in12 Club supports, namely that of LIBERTY, EQUALITY and SOLIDARITY. You can dissect and analyse the meaning and implication of each of these three words as you will, however the main concepts for myself translated to meaning:-
LIBERTY – autonomous freedom to be yourself, co-operating with others towards a free and open society
EQUALITY – that as human beings we do not subscribe to follow religious or political ideologies that influence or reduce our value or worth as a human because of what gender we are, what the colour of our skin or what disability we may have. To be treated equally and with respect for our differences and to be inclusive, not exclusive, is important to building a better place to live
SOLIDARITY – supporting each other in the good times as well as in times of struggle
With this concept behind the 1in12 Club fitting into my own ideas behind MTAE, to hold the Fest at te Club seemed the most obvious and logical step forward to highlighting both the value of the Club, and the belief of what the Festival could help build.
FRIENDSHIP and ‘DOOM’!!!
“Means to an End” is also a song by the band DOOM who were one of the first bands I heard as I discovered hardcore punk in Colchester in the lates 1980s. Ironically, despite being formed in Birmingham, the band have a strong connection to Bradford with Bri (guitarist) being the main producer at the 1in12 Club Recording Studio. Stick (drummer) has in the past worked at the Club; Wayne (R.I.P.) was a regular at the bar and supporter of the Club and current members Scoot (bass) and Denis (vocals) both have a long affinity with the Club via previous and current bands.
The words “Means to an end…Lets all be friends”, albeit a simplistic and perhaps naive perspective on life from my point of view, summed up what I hoped MTAE could achieve, if nothing else.
A MEANS TO AN END…
The ideology behind the Club that over time has helped build a space available to enable folk to create, think, be yourself and just ‘be’, has laid the foundations for what I hoped A MEANS TO AN END… Festival could also become to enable us to enhance our own lives through LIBERTY, EQUALITY and SOLIDARITY.
MEANS TO AN END… aims to promote these words and the meaning behind them both through the Festival itself, through forthcoming zines and with this Blogspot. I hope that others will join in a positive debate about thoughts and ideas. It is a ‘live’ zine as well as expression of mine, and hopefully others, thoughts.
For the past 8 years, flyers have been printed, punk forums pummelled and ears bashed to try and get folk to attend MTAE and to hopefully bring others to the 1in12 Club and see some amazing bands, meet lots of friends both old and new, inspire and create fresh energy and ideas to go home with and build your own Means to an End and Network of Friends no matter where you live!!!