The underground takes centre stage — From reggae and dub to trip hop and bass music, Bristol’s contribution to the global music scene has been monumental. Huck picks the best of BBC 6 Music Festival.

There’s always something brewing in the Mild, Mild West. Bristol’s reputation for having a more chilled outlook than the rest of the country conceals a powerful energy that lies under the surface.

Bristolians get shit done and they’re not afraid to fight for what they believe in. There’s a strong culture of resistance – as the 1980s St. Pauls riots through to the so-called ‘Tesco riot’ in 2011, showed.

This fiery streak has no-doubt played a part in keeping Bristol’s vibrant multicultural melting pot burning and its contribution to music has been enormous.

The city’s underground has been instrumental in driving things forward, from reggae and dub to late ‘70s post-punk, through to the import of hip hop and development of trip hop in the ‘90s, on to jungle, drum & bass, dubstep and today’s thriving bass music scene.

There’s no better location to celebrate the best of independent music than Bristol – which is why the BBC 6 Music Festival, kicks off here February 12–14.

It features a roster of established and emerging local artists including Roni Size, Tricky, Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and Pinch, playing alongside outsiders such as Primal Scream, Bloc Party and others.

Here’s are Huck’s top picks.

Frank Turner

Punk troubadour Frank Turner is an exciting addition to the lineup. Watch above as he gives Huck an exclusive acoustic performance of Sweet Albion Blues shot at Hackney’s Round Chapel.


This will be the iconic Bristolian trip hop pioneer and one-time Massive Attack rapper’s first performance in his home town for four years and a chance to catch the first UK performance of material from his new album Skilled Mechanics.

Young Echo Sound

This 11-strong collective of progressive producers give a sense of where Bristol’s bass music scene is at right now. The list of genres they play around with – dub, bass, drone, grime, noise and techno – is almost as long as their list of monikers and side projects, including Vessel, Kahn, Neek, Ossia, Ishan Sound, Jabu and El Kid.

Roni Size & DJ Krust

Bristol-born producer and Mercury Prize winner Roni Size reunites with long-time collaborator DJ Krust to showcase the original jungle sound of Full Cycle – eight years after the label’s demise.


A new discovery from Bristol’s trusted Howling Owl Records, Wenonoah channels raw honesty into pop – with echoes of Portishead’s haunting Beth Gibbons. Sometimes dark, sometimes peaceful, sometimes funny but always fresh.

Check out more of the BBC 6 Music Festival, Bristol, February 12–14.