★★★★★ – The Guardian ★★★★★ – The Arts Desk
“The mother of all British underground festivals” – The Quietus
“Supersonic is ahead of the curve again” – The Wire
We cannot wait to celebrate twenty years since Supersonic’s inception. Our internationally recognised event will be returning to Digbeth, Birmingham from 1-3 September with a lineup of crucial and innovative acts. And today is the day we reveal those formidable artists performing at our 2023 edition. So without further ado, drum roll please…
75 Dollar Bill / Ashenspire / Avalanche Kaito / BIG|BRAVE + Jessica Moss / Blacks’ Myths / Divide and Dissolve / Ex Easter Island Head / Godflesh / Hey Colossus / Horse Lords / Jessica Moss / Josephine Foster / Lankum / MC Yallah + Debmaster / Ragana / Shovel Dance Collective / Taqbir / Un.Procedure + more tba
A message from our Artistic Director, Lisa Meyer…
“In 2003 we naively created our first edition of Supersonic Festival, a one day event that reflected our own curiosity as music fans. This lineup included LCD SoundSystem, Coil and The Bug with the Warrior Queen, set in the warehouse spaces of post industrial Birmingham. The last 20 years have been a right old rollercoaster but we’ve held on with determination. The weight of the pandemic, the political situation locally, nationally and globally and another financial crisis could have done us in for good. Instead we’ve channelled that heavy energy into the festival and look forward to celebrating 20 years, gathering as a global community for one weekend, and joyfully embracing adventurous music.“
Introducing our headliners for 2023…
[LANKUM – credit Sorcha Frances Ryder]
Supersonic is proud to welcome critically acclaimed Irish quartet Lankum who will make their long awaited appearance this year, bringing with them their close vocal harmonies, instrumental interplay and dramatic storytelling. Their gritty updates of folk standards bring anger and contemporary viewpoints to traditional elements. With a diverse set of influences as disparate as Sunn O))), they show that folk music can be angry, progressive and is a vital force today.
“Supersonic is a unifying experience of this culture I exist within, and us as a band; Godflesh, but all in my/our hometown/birthplace, Birmingham. Besides that fact, it’s run by a stellar collective and feels warm and homely.”
– Justin Broadrick, Godflesh
Supersonic welcome back Godflesh whose origins are deeply entrenched in the backdrop of post industrial Birmingham, and who have had a huge impact on heavy music. Godflesh’s storied history is legend, forming in the West Midlands, alongside the first incarnation of Napalm Death, to create landmark releases like Streetcleaner, which laid groundwork for other extreme and experimental metal releases. For the festival’s 20th edition, Godflesh will perform music from an expected new album.
[BIG|BRAVE & JESSICA MOSS]
Following stand-out performances at the 2022 edition, Divide And Dissolve will return with their incendiary work towards indigenous rights and the end of white supremacy, and BIG|BRAVE are also back to carve out their singularly gigantic sonic space of dynamic heavy minimalism. BIG|BRAVE shall perform a special collaboration with fellow Montreal-based violinist Jessica Moss, a collaboration exclusive to Supersonic which we cannot wait to witness. Jessica Moss will also perform a solo set over the weekend, her distinctive melodic sensibility channelling Klezmer, Balkan and Middle Eastern tropes, with an ear for textural grit and timbral noise forged from her 15-year tenure in political post-punk band Thee Silver Mt. Zion.
“One of the first things that struck me about entering the festival as a space was how at ease I felt with regards to how diverse, inclusive and authentic everyone attending and working there seemed, not to mention with regards to the music! The bill was incredible!”
– Robin Wattie (BIG|BRAVE)
Supersonic champions creative subversion from all walks of the underground. Shovel Dance Collective weaves queer, proto-feminist and working class narratives together in a new kind of folk music. Storytelling and tradition get upended in the playful music of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Josephine Foster whose music challenges perception.
Supersonic celebrates artists who are portents of hope and solidarity, like Ashenspire’s challenging and abrasive musical textures of violin and saxophone in an enraged progressive, post-black metal framework that demands attention and argues for change. The queer and antifascist idiosyncratic black metal of Ragana is heavy, dark, beautiful and punishing in its expression. Paying tribute to the female pioneers of the UK punk scene through a riot grrrl lens is the absolutely vital Taqbir, who are working against a culture that deems their music an insult, and instead they create a space for people like themselves to freely express their anger.
This year’s edition promises to bring the stamina of krautrock and math rock, fused with aspects of jazz in a variety of joyous performances, with the elemental rhythms from 75 Dollar Bill, the airtight grooves of Horse Lords and the frenetic sound world of Avalanche Kaito, both traditional and experimental in nature. Blacks’ Myths will meditate on the history of blackness via their frantic collisions of free jazz, post-rock and dissonant noise. Local to Birmingham, Un.Procedure creates a post-apocalyptic sound through an avant-jazz filter, with 70s rock influenced grooves and heady, sci–fi tinged soundscapes. MC Yallah and Debmaster will bring their high energy performance with rapid flow and rugged beats.
Returning to the festival after some time are two distinct acts; Ex Easter Island Head, whose live performances have been praised for their hypnotic energy and unique spectacle, and Hey Colossus – also celebrating their 20 year anniversary – promise to put on a special performance.
“Supersonic/Capsule have done everything in 20 years. They put their minds to it. They’ve built a world. People travel miles to visit it, to visit the home of metal. This will be our third time playing the festival. Cannot wait to play again, cannot wait to see who else is playing, the unpredictable variance is one of the many attractions. Happy Birthday Supersonic.”
– Joe Thompson (Hey Colossus)
For your listening enjoyment, we’ve created a 2023 Line-up Playlist – a great sonic introduction to this year’s acts…
More of the programme will be revealed in the coming months!
Visit our line-up page here for further information about the artists.
For more information on hotel deals, and festival information visit here.
We’ve thought carefully about ticket pricing, and we want to make sure the festival remains accessible. We recognise that not everyone has equal access to live events and that the cost of entry is a barrier to some people. We are working to create an inclusive space which is accessible to all, regardless of their financial situation. Find out more about our ticketing options this year to support those people in our music community who are on low wages or are unemployed here.
We’re an independent festival, we achieve a huge amount through good will, hard work and amazing support from our community.
Thanks and see you on the dancefloor!