Concert Review

Dunoon’s Punk on the Peninsula hosts a feast of talent old and new

The Cowal Peninsula juts into the Firth of Clyde on the West Coast of Scotland. Sea lochs and the wide expanse of the Firth encompass three sides of the peninsula and the mountains of the Arrochar Alps and beyond form the northern backdrop. It is here in southern Argyll where the peninsula’s main town of Dunoon hosts an annual festival of Punk music.

Words and Pictures: Clive Braham CB Music Photography

Now in its eight year, Punk on the Peninsula is the alternative music event of the year in the seaside town which used to throng with holiday makers heading ‘Doon the Watter’ in the 20th century.

The festival has grown over the years and this time hosted 50 bands from across every corner of the UK over four days and in four venues. Dunoon Burgh Hall hosts the Thursday evening show and this time the stage was headlined by original 1970’s Punk Rock legends GBH. The old hall, with its stained glass window high above the stage, is usually a little more sedate, but was filled with punks having a great time and rocking to the hardcore anthems of the street punk pioneers, and four other bands including outstanding sets from Hotwired and Panic Attak.

The main event takes place from Friday to Sunday in a marquee set up on the water’s edge at the pier, where the sea gently laps at the sea wall only a meter below the dance floor and the transparent walls on the seaward side of the huge tent make the most of the location and add to the experience for the invariably delighted crowd.

On each of the four nights the party continues into the wee small hours at the Victoria Bar where there’s even more live music with four punk bands playing to a full house – an integral part of the festival which is a highlight to many as they describe the great atmosphere among good friends, good beer and great live music.

The Friday bill was jam packed with nine bands taking to the stage, including Foreign Legion and Criminal Damage. An outstanding and exuberant set from Birmingham’s Face Up was followed by the evening’s headliners, Cockney Rejects, who were debuting, in the UK, their new line up with Toy Doll’s Olga on guitar.

Saturday kicked off at lunchtime with twelve bands gracing the stage in a well oiled procession, including Resistance 77, Fire Exit, Wolf Bites Boy and Knock Off. The penultimate act of the evening was Crashed Out who played a raucous set of Angelic Upstart classics to an adoring audience. With the early summer light now fading it was time for headliners Control who had the large crowd singing along to their set of hard hitting Hooligan Rock and Roll.

The backstage pace continued on Sunday with eleven bands lining up to give it all they’ve got on the main stage. The Ramstampits delivered their set of home grown Celtic Folk/Punk songs with accordion, fiddle and pipes in the mix. East Town Pirates, Roughneck Riot and Sinful Maggie continued the theme. Bite Me – an up-an-coming all girl punk band from London played their blistering set with gusto and gained a whole load of new fans. 

The finale on the main stage saw the ever popular XSLF playing all of the hits and crowd pleasers with the chatter of the inimitable Henry Cluney entertaining the eager crowd between songs.

Control and The Ramstampits are fronted by the festival owner and organiser Iain Kilgallon (formerly of Beerzone and Intensive Care) who deserves every ounce of credit for bringing this annual extravaganza to the hidden gem of Dunoon, for the economic impact on the town and the ambience those who attend from far and wide create. Everybody I spoke to were at pains to say how much they enjoy this punk festival in particular, for its atmosphere where old friends meet up annually and make a whole bunch more, and for the setting which is quite unique.

The ninth Punk on The Peninsula is taking place 22-25 May 2025, for all info visit

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