Contains flashing images.
18 May 2024

Yungblud launches his own affordable music festival

Culture Correspondent

Channel 4 News has spoken to acclaimed singer Yungblud about his new music festival ‘Bludfest’, which offers cheap, and even free, tickets to people from all backgrounds.

The Doncaster-born rock star says he wants to take music to people across the UK, not just in London.

To his fans, Yungblud is the voice of Gen-Z, the face of pop-punk, a global superstar but a local celebrity.

We spoke to him at The Hawley Arms in London, a pub synonymous with stars like Amy Winehouse and many more. And it is his local.

We asked one of Doncaster’s most famous sons about the lack of opportunities for the next generation of Yungbluds, after Channel 4 News exclusively exposed that the arts are still disproportionately based in London.

Minnie Stephenson: I feel like this pub is your spiritual home.

Yungblud: I love it here. I think it was like one of the first places I found when I came to London, so I haven’t really left. I lost my touch with my hometown because it didn’t have enough opportunity to uplift me as much as it did down here. So a lot of people initially in my career didn’t know I was from Doncaster, they thought I was from London, especially in America on the radio they’ll be like ‘oh, you’re from London?’ And I’m like, ‘no.’

Minnie Stephenson: The accent won’t give you away?

Yungblud: No. I’m thinking internationally it doesn’t matter. Because I sound British, don’t I?

I think the thing about [Doncaster] is you join a band. You play the same four venues. And you can’t play them all the time if you want to kind of get to bigger places. And there’s obviously The Dome, but when you’re in a young band, you can’t go from like 200 to like 3,000, you know? I think there’s not a lot of in-between, not a lot of opportunity to grow.

A new space for music

Yungblud is starting his own festival this summer for the masses in Milton Keynes with cheaper tickets, after the rock star found the festival circuit had just become too expensive for fans.

Yungblud: I feel like it’s got really corporate and really sterile and really privileged. I think I was in America and we played Coachella and it was £800 for a ticket. And it made me feel sick. We’ve worked with Tickets for Good to be able to provide free tickets for people of low income, because I genuinely believe the whole point of this festival is to set a precedent that music is for everybody.

I genuinely believe arts cannot be cut from schools as much. And arts cannot be cut from universities as much. I believe music should be for everyone. Fact. It should be for absolutely everyone, or at least accessible to everyone. Because you could have the f****** next Morrissey, you could have the next f****** Bowie, you could have the next thing. And if they can’t get access to an instrument or access to a place to express themselves, it’s f*****.

Grappling with mental health

Minnie Stephenson: Now you were diagnosed with ADHD relatively young compared to some people. There’s obviously since been this explosion and awareness around it. I just wondered, has that been comforting for you?

Yungblud: I think what’s been amazing is like there was a groundswell of a movement within young people, from sexuality to mental health to gender, like whether you like it or not. And it was unbelievable to be a part of that. When I was young, it was not like that, you know what I’m saying? It was just like, ‘that kid’s a lunatic.’

Notable cameos

In one of his new music videos, Ozzy Osbourne makes a cameo in Yungblood’s aptly named song ‘The Funeral.’

Minnie Stephenson: How did Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne running you over in your music video come about? Was that your creative position?

Yungblud: I just sent a message to Kelly [Osbourne] being like, ‘do you fancy being in my music video? I want you to run me over.’ She’s like, ‘I’m going to be in Iowa rehearsing with Sid [Wilson], but I just spoke to my mum and dad, and I think they’re up for it.’ And I was I was like ‘shut the f*** up.’