A celebration of gritty grassroots culture, innovative music, art and community – that’s Foundations Festival 2018 - the creation of local alternative labels AnalogueTrash and Valentine Records, along with a whole host of performers. This two-day event takes place across Manchester’s Northern Quarter independent venues The Peer Hat and AATMA on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th December 2018, with tickets still available online.

Unlike many festival formats, there isn’t a bland band in sight. Foundations is fully focused on creating an immersive, accessible event which encourages interaction with a range of culture – from Martin Christie’s Electronic Music Open Mic to music from the likes of Promenade Cinema and Dirty Freud, as well as HAUNT Manchester’s very own Black Christmas (curated by Helen Darby). There will also be an art exhibition from Manchester Gothic Arts Group.

Headliners for Foundations include Goteki, ILL and a DJ set from Max Tundra, as well as the Community Action Stage of panel discussions during Saturday daytime, 12-3pm. And there is a whole array of weird and wonderful delights to watch out for including…

Still Forever

Set to open Foundations festival on Friday night (downstairs at The Peer Hat) with immersive dark sonic soundscapes is Still Forever – the music project of Amy Griffiths, who is also a guest contributor on the St Lucifer 2018 album Music Is Violence. Still Forever is drawn to dabbling in the experimental world of music production and the Eurorack modular synth format, reaching out through her own eclectic combination of vocals, synths and keyboards. With a bold, bristling build to the tracks and fully charged with pulsating depth, prepare to get into the Foundations feel of things. Amy had this to say about performing at the festival:

“As a complete newcomer, it’s an honour and a delight to be involved in such a culturally diverse event - and it’s demonstrative of the inclusive and welcoming nature of the grassroots music scene in Manchester. I’m massively looking forward to all the other acts and events that are part of the festival, it promises to be a joyous and fascinating weekend."


The band you have to see, even if you can’t pronounce their name. What does it mean? It’s a German noun for ‘the thing that is almost the thing you want… but not quite’. Creators of experimental, industrial noise which sets out a soundscape, Simon and Tiffanie are ex-partners of each other; with music-making a continued aspect of their redefined relationship. In 2017, Mark (D.E.P) joined the band full-time and they have continued to push the parameters of their sound, often inviting guest vocalists and musicians, as well as delving into darker reaches of industrial noise, with delightful results. See them on Friday night at The Peer Hat.

Wrapped In Plastic

A deliciously destructive duo from Birmingham who came to the debut Foundations festival in 2016 with a show that was daring, depraved and delightful all in equal measure. Known for serving up a seething sort of electronica and electro-acoustic, they are shaking things up even more this year… as have been invited to return to Foundations 2018 – with an installation piece. It’s going to get messy in The Peer Hat Bar on Friday night…

Photo credit: Nixies Dream

Lethal Gem

Having won Miss Alternative 2018 at The Alternative Model of the Year Finals, Lethal Gem is a highly-anticipated guest at Foundations festival – where she will take part in Saturday daytime’s Black Christmas celebrations (3pm-7pm), as arranged by HAUNT Manchester. Lethal Gem is not just a striking alternative model known for her celebration of fashion for individuals of all sizes and represented by Manchester’s own Rogue Model Management, but she is also a powerful performer and photographer in her own right. With plenty of burlesque and circus-inspired performances under her belt and previous events including ‘Peaches Christ Presents All about evil’ and ‘Manchester Gothic Ball’ (to name just a few), audiences can expect an electrifying presence.

Neil Milton

Lanarkshire-born now Warsaw-based Neil Milton is an enchantingly eclectic musician set to display a whole other aspect of his talent at Foundations – via an immersive art installation ‘A Promising Future Behind Me’. Expect intense sound and visuals as his project unfolds upstairs in The Peer Hat (along with a 20-minute live performance – catch it if you can!), during the course of the festival. This mixed media installation features music from across his extensive back catalogue, which is due to be released through a career-retrospective album coming early in 2019 on both his own Too Many Fireworks label and Valentine Records.

Known for his recent explorations in indie-pop (having left Warsaw post-rock band The Frozen North in 2016), Neil has partnered up with Seattle-born émigré to Warsaw Jules Jones – together going  under the title ‘Milton and Jones’ to release This Life (This Christmas) backed with the b-side, Love Actually on Neil's own Too Many Fireworks label (out 30 November). Unapologetically catchy, this is a break-up tune that rather than bathing in negativity, reaches new heights with bathos and beat.


Self-described as ‘like a rough and ready Prince with a rudimentary approach’, Manchester’s own HUSK (aka Alfie Austin) is a musical artist unfurling enchanting melodies infused with sensual synthpop for a sonic experience. Performing on the Friday evening of Foundations at The Peer Hat, HUSK’s music stands-out in its ability to switch on an audience to soaring vocal verses, simmering snares and wide synths working as a soundscape to narratives of love, life and sexuality, through transgender experience. According to the artist himself:

“I’m so excited to play Foundations! Grassroots music and art are where inspiration is born for me. The other artists you see do so many interesting things, from Punk to Pop, and even more so with it being based in my adopted home of Manchester! And you know that the people who have come to see you are genuinely enjoying what you’re doing with the energy they give you; you can just feel the music and the words you’re saying. Also, with AnalogueTrash having a hand in it, there will be lots of synths around, which, naturally, I love!”

Photo credit: Rachel Saunders

Rosie Garland

Recently announced as the first ever writer-in-residence at Manchester’s John Rylands Library, Rosie Garland is another esteemed guest at HAUNT Manchester’s Black Christmas celebration at Foundations. Rosie will be delivering a spoken-word driven performance, much-inspired by her work, which to date includes five volumes of poetry, three novels (including 19th Century Manchester-inspired The Night Brother, which recently branched out to a walking tour in the city) and a number of other creative and critical writings. Rosie is also a performer in her own right, bringing twisted cabaret as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen, which is sure to enchant audiences.

Photo credit: Benjamin George Photos 

Joshua Hubbard

A highly talented and tantalizing choreographer, dancer, actor, model and Mother of House of Decay, Joshua Hubbard will be treating audiences to very special performance during HAUNT Manchester’s Black Christmas at Foundations – with plenty of twists, turns and shocks along the way. Joshua is no stranger to delving into deep, dark and daring themes, having performed at 2018’s GOTHIKA ball as part of a highly-popular Gothic Manchester Festival 2018.

He also recently starred in the moving solo dance show Dali’s Guest with Hype Dance and also choreographed and starred in the short film Crashing Waves, directed by Emma Gilbertson – which was commissioned for Channel 4’s Random Acts series and nominated for multiple awards including the BAFTA recognised Best of British category and nominated for the Iris Prize 2018.  

The Tilted Fiction Stage

Get ready for a stage on the Saturday evening (over at AATMA) full of experimental music charged with a pop energy and plenty of avant-garde electronica and synthpop, curated by Tilted Fiction – a Manchester based promoter established in 2016. Featured artists for Foundations are Jeuce, Izambard, Rotten Bliss and Cynthia's Periscope, sure to enchant and electrify in equal measure.

Photo credit: Helen Darby

Liquorice Black

A performer and Drag Queen known for channelling Gothic vibes and delightfully dark artistry, member of the Family Gorgeous. Liquorice Black is a highly-anticipated part of HAUNT Manchester’s Black Christmas celebrations, having also featured at The Gothic Manchester Festival 2018’s GOTHIKA ball at The Great Northern Warehouse. Expect an intense and powerful performance from one of the city’s finest Drag artists.


A Bournemouth-based duo featuring Ade on vocals and Rich on bass, overlaying bold basslines and beats with searing spoken word. Poetry shot through with a punkish sensibility and turned up loud. STOCKSNSKINS deliver sound which speaks of topical life stories and felt experiences, bold imagery bristling out of their tunes. Their debut EP Them Today was released on AnalogueTrash in 2018, followed by another EP Dizzy Heights later in the year. Foundations is their highly-anticipated Manchester gig debut – on Saturday evening at The Peer Hat.


Val/Kyrie is QueerArtNoise, a project bringing something sombre and striking to Foundations, taking place last on the bill at AATMA on Friday night - something which will not be forgotten, cannot be erased. Two Val/Kyrie albums are already out there, Scenes Of An Adult Nature and 2/Censored to Death. Find them for yourself and get prepared.