Preview: 10 Must-See Bands To See at Outbreak Fest 2024

Outbreak Fest has undoubtedly become the UK’s premier hardcore punk festival.  From its intimate roots in Sheffield to adopting Leeds as its home, it is Manchester that sees hoards of hardcore fans descend on Outbreak Fest. 2024 sees its fourteen incarnation return to Bowlers Exhibition Centre after a year away.

It considerably sees the festival serving up its most mouth-watering bill to date. The Friday line-up hones in on Outbreak‘s hip-hop arm with Action BronsonJPEGMAFIA, and Flastbush Zombies being some of the acts to open the three-day event. Nevertheless, hardcore and punk has always been Outbreak‘s bread and butter, with Saturday and Sunday bringing together influential names with DIY acts.

As a preview of what to expect, we’ve picked out 10 must-see bands to see at Outbreak Fest 2024.

outbreak Fest 2024 poster (feb 13)



Although it’s only been two years since Basement last graced Outbreak with their presence, they will always be welcomed by the festival. While it’s been six years since we had any new music, there are indications that the quintet aren’t far off from changing that. Having rejoined Run for Cover Records and US dates confirmed, could Outbreak mark the beginning of a new era for Basement?

Nevertheless, you can expect a wealth of rapturous singalongs as they step up to co-headline status with songs such as ‘Covet’, and ‘Crickets Throw Their Voice’ sure to get a massive response.

Where & When: Main (Outdoor) – Saturday – 21:40

Have Heart

Much like Basement, fellow Saturday night co-headliners Have Heart are rarely active with their appearance at Outbreak being one of five reunion shows taking place this year (and the only non-US date). Their brand of straight edge hardcore punk has become beloved, leading to legendary status with 2006’s ‘The Things We Carry’ record often cited as genre-defining.

One reason Have Heart is so revered is because of their advocacy for positivity. Their songs focus on themes of loss, death, friendship, and family, and are paired with blaring hardcore gang vocals, leaning into the community aspect of the genre. It’s something that Outbreak‘s ethos is built on, and with this being a rare outing, it has all the makings of a memorable set.

Where & When: Main (Outdoor) – Saturday – 20:20

Touche Amore

Touché Amoré

Returning after two years after their last appearance at Outbreak, Los Angeles’ Touché Amoré may have a point to prove after headlining last time out. Nevertheless, with the impassioned vocals of Jeremy Bolm and the always-impressive drum work of Elliot Babin, along with guitarists Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt, and bassist Tyler Kirby,  Touché Amoré are sure to serve up a consistent and impressionable set.

Their back catalogue is littered with heartfelt and passionately delivered blasts of post-hardcore, accompanied by hints to screamo and towering melodies. This has made Touché Amoré one of the genre’s expansive bands in recent years, yet never abandoning the emotional rawness of their early material.

Where & When: Main (Outdoor) – Saturday – 19-10

Balance & Composure
Photo Credit: Ashley Gellman

Balance and Composure

After eight years away, Balance and Composure are officially back. With a new album, ‘With You in Spirit’, set for release this October, Outbreak will mark their return to the UK since reforming last year. Despite their absence, their brand of pensive emo alt-rock still tends to compel, as shown on recent single ‘Cross to Bear’. With the distinct vocals of Jon Simmons, the Pennsylvanian group are reinvigorated, picking up where they left off with 2016’s ‘Light We Made’.

While new material is sure to get an airing, highlights during their Outbreak set are sure to come in the form of ‘Tiny Raindrops’‘Quake’, and ‘I Tore You Apart in My Head’.

Where & When: Main (Outdoor) – Saturday – 16:50

Poison the Well

Poison The Well

Before going on hiatus in 2010, Poison The Well became one of metalcore’s most influential bands. While that genre has questionably evolved since then,  Poison The Well‘s sound is rooted in metallic hardcore. Albums such as ‘The Opposite of December… A Season of Separation’ and ‘You Come Before You’ set the template by meshing melodic elements with heavy-hitting metalcore.

Their appearance at Outbreak Fest will mark their first time in the UK since 2009. In recent years, there has been sporadic reunions yet 2024 looks to be their most active. Whether it’s for nostalgic reasons or discovering them for the first time, Poison The Well are back to remind everyone of their metalcore greatness.

Where & When: Main (Outdoor) – Saturday – 18:00

American Football

American Football

If you witnessed American Football at last year’s 2000trees Festival, then you’ll know how compelling a live band the emo legends can be. While their layered and harmonious sound is considerably a departure to the chaotic hardcore that Outbreak‘s foundations lie on, American Football are sure to be welcomed when they close out the festival.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of their first eponymous record, with their Sunday headline set being part of the ongoing celebration. ‘American Football’ is rightly praised for being a midwestern emo classic; textured, rich, and intricately composed. The Kinsella brothers, Mike and Nate, along with Steve Holmes and Steve Lamos, have a history of proving doubters wrong, and they’re sure to do the same at Outbreak.

Where & When: Main (Outdoor) – Sunday  – 21:10

The Hotelier

The Hotelier

Occasionally an album comes along that simply connects with an audience, becoming so highly regarded that its creators know they’ll never repeat such a feat. ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’ is one of those albums. From its release in February 2014, its reputation grew by word of mouth, considerably becoming the album of the mid-2010’s emo revival.

Fast-forward to 2024 and The Hotelier are making a rare trip overseas to celebrate ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’s 10th anniversary. Outbreak is the ideal setting for the album to be commemorated, due to its emotional weight and occasional anthemic delivery, like on album highlight ‘Your Deep Rest’Along with ‘In Framing’ and ‘The Scope of All of This’,  The Hotelier‘s second album dwelled in tales of guilt and optimism, paired with its anthemic tendencies, it has all the makings of a memorable set.

Where & When: Main (Outdoor) – Sunday – 16:10

Thursday 2024
Photo Credit: Jessica Yurko


At one point in the 2000s, Thursday were one of the leaders of post-hardcore. With Geoff Rickly’s anguished vocals along with a rapturously sonic sound that equally borrows from hardcore as it does post-rock, Thursday‘s discography is packed with honesty and rawness. While Rickly’s poetic words continue to be relevant today.

Their second and third albums, 2001’s ‘Full Collapse’ and 2003’s ‘War All The Time’ are career highlights, so it’s no surprise that Thursday will be playing tracks from both as they close out Sunday’s second stage. However, as recent single, ‘Application For Release From The Dream,’ shows, this won’t be a one-off blast to the past. Be prepared to truly welcome back Thursday.

Where & When: Second (Indoor) – 20:30

Movements 2023
Photo Credit: Anthony Purcella


California’s Movements have emerged as one of melodic post-hardcore best new bands in recent years. A hat-trick of records has seen the quartet gradually expand their emotionally wrought sound with last year’s ‘RUCKUS’ incorporating pop, shoegaze, and grunge elements. At their core is vocalist Patrick Miranda, who has constantly shown he is not afraid to bare his soul.

In a live setting, old favourites ‘Colourblind’ and ‘Daylily’ are certain to stir up a reaction from the Outbreak crowd. While newer cuts, ‘I Hope You Choke,’ ‘Lead Pipe’, and new single, ‘Afraid To Die’ utilise the same raw energy.

Where & When: Main (Outdoor) – Sunday – 17:10

Photo Credit: Deanie Chen


With its members co-headlining on Saturday night, Have Heart‘s Patrick Flynn and Shawn Costa, and Alex Henery of Basement will join the other members of Fiddlehead for a Sunday afternoon set. Their return to Outbreak comes off the back of last year’s ‘Death Is Nothing to Us’ record, the conclusion to a trilogy of records that focused on the theme of mourning. As a result of Flynn’s exploration into grief, Fiddlehead‘s back catalogue is threaded together by a sense of catharsis.

Collectively, Fiddlehead‘s style is measured, leaning into a more melodic side with a raw hardcore undertone. Fan favourites such as ‘Million Times’ and ‘Sleepyhead’ thrive with poignant melodies, made to unite through grief.

Where & When: Main (Outdoor) – Sunday – 14:30

Best of the Rest

With Outbreak Fest being a must-see destination for hardcore, punk, metalcore, and underground hip-hop, its line-up is stacked with noteworthy acts beyond the 10 listed above. The weekend is crammed full of highlights, including:

  • Show Me The Body – Second (Indoor) – Saturday – 22:10
  • Hot Mulligan – Main (Outdoor) – Sunday – 18:50
  • Joyce Manor (‘Never Hungover Again’ 10th Anniversary set) – Main (Outdoor) – Sunday – 18:00
  • Nothing (‘Guilty of Everything’ 10 Year Anniversary) – Main (Outdoor) – Saturday – 14:35
  • Higher Power – Main (Outdoor) – Saturday – 13:45
  • Chat Pile – Second (Indoor) – Saturday – 21:00
  • Bib – Third Stage – Saturday – 19:00
  • The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – Main (Outdoor) – Sunday – 12:50
  • Angel Du$t – Main (Outdoor) – Sunday – 13:40
  • Gouge Away – Second (Indoor) – Sunday – 15:50
  • Split Chain – Second (Indoor) – Sunday – 14:55
  • Bugbath – Second (Indoor) – Sunday – 12:00
  • Ceremony – Main (Outdoor) – Saturday – 15:40

Outbreak Fest 2024 takes place from 28th – 30th June 2024 at Bowlers Exhibition Centre Arena, Manchester.

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