Interview – Matty Williamson talks about the Half Drunk Club festival at Firebug on the 16th & 17th October

This coming weekend, iconic Leicester venue Firebug is being taken over for two days of Ska infused Punk n’ Roll. Expect pulsating horns, two-tone beats, a skanking dance floor, and copious amounts of fun. For fans of bands like Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Specials, this weekend is yours.

MIL sat down with, Half Drunk Club festival organiser and Last Edition frontman, Matty Williamson to hear all about it.

So Matty, Half Drunk Club . . .what’s it all about?
I’ll start at the start – when we came off stage at our 10 year anniversary, we almost instantly said “we have to do this again” – so the will to put on a similar event started back in 2018. The name comes from Last Edition’s latest single – released 19th July 2021. The song itself is “about” teamwork I guess and listening to those closest. So when it comes to the festival, I guess Half Drunk Club is “anybody” that happens to be at the event at that time – in essence, anyone and everyone is “in” Half Drunk Club. We are hoping to run Half Drunk Club as a yearly event, and then who knows outside of that – I guess we’ll see!
The overall genre of the weekend is Ska Punk but obviously, there will be a lot of different sounds within that.

Can you tell us a little about the bands and the various styles over the weekend?
We’ve got a good mix. Perhaps doesn’t stretch to each end of the sub genres within ska punk but enough to tickle the tastebuds of most punk or ska fans. Our main headliners The JB Conspiracy have been at the forefront of the ska punk genre for a good decade – they’re certainly a band we have looked up to over the years. They bill themselves as ska-punk synth-rock – their new album is an absolute rager!

Your own band Last Edition have always been a heavily gigging band, how did you all manage to survive lockdown? And what’s next for the Last Edition gang?
Zoom calls! Ha. It was tough – but I don’t think we realised until we did a socially distanced gig in October 2020 at Firebug. That escapism is absolutely unrivalled. We’ve played 5 gigs since restrictions have been lifted, and they’ve all been incredible.

What impact has the pandemic had on the Ska Punk in the UK? Will it bounce back?
I guess probably not too dissimilar to other genres really. I think (like most genres) adversity makes the scene stronger – we’ve definitely felt that since we’ve been back that people are showing how much they’ve missed it.

Leicester has seen many great local bands come and go but Last Edition have remained one of the city’s most established bands. What is the key to longevity and any tips or advice for young bands starting out?
That’s very kind! We are all really good friends – we try to do things as a band and not make it always about being “the band”. I think our longevity comes down to how much we love the genre, the people in it and enjoying the time we have together on stage. Writing songs and getting to perform them to like-minded people is such a privilege and we’ve always been so grateful to anybody that has invested any time into our band.

Anything more you want to tell our MIL readers Matty?
Just that I hope to see them at Firebug on Saturday. Firebug have been so supportive of our band and many others over the years. I’d love to pack it to the rafters and show people how Leicester is a great place for underground music.

Half Drunk Club takes place 16th & 17th October at Firebug, 1 Millstone Lane, Leicester. Tickets are priced at: Full weekend: £25.00, Saturday: £15.00, Sunday: £12.50 and are available from

Interviewed by Cain Barriskill