Undercover interview with Mick Moriarty

THE eighth and final Undercover Festival takes place at Woking’s Fiery Bird on Friday and Saturday, and we talk to the man behind the event – Woking-born Mick Moriarty.

Mick Moriarty is about to run his final Undercover Festival

Why did you start Undercover?

I used to be the production manager for the VLR Stage at the now sadly departed GuilFest and when GuilFest went we thought let’s do something like this ourselves. We did three years at Bisley, then went to Brighton, Margate, London, and a two-dayer at the Fiery Bird in September. It’s been a rollercoaster and I’ve loved it.

What’s the best performance you’ve seen at Undercover?

It really is difficult to single out anyone, but one of my all-time musical heroes is and was Tom Robinson, for his music and definitely for his politics and his ability to wake up people to the ills of society at the time.

In the ’70s, even in a “nice” place like Surrey, being gay and being out was very dangerous. When Tom sang Glad To Be Gay it was ground-breaking and, through music, educated so many heterosexual men – me included – about the need to change society to make it more tolerant and equal.

So I was pretty chuffed to be able to welcome him on stage a couple of years ago for an awesome performance, one of those hairs on the back of your neck moments.

Is there anyone you wished you’d booked?

Joe Strummer – each and every day if he was still alive. But look at the bands we did manage to book and it’s a pretty phenomenal list, so I really don’t have any regrets.

Why stop Undercover?

It’s been a labour of love, but I think now is the time to say it’s been a great journey and, like all journeys, it has to end.

Are you really stopping?

This will definitely be the last Undercover Festival. I may put on a few pub gigs if the mood grabs me. We really should have moved to the Fiery Bird before, as it’s a cracking venue. Elaine McGinty and her team are great to work with. In fact, watch out for a special night on 27 June.

The line-up at the final Undercover features Roddy Radiation (ex-Specials), Menace, Johnny Moped, The Hot Rods, Chelsea, Subhumans and many more. Details at http://www.fierybirdvenue.org.uk.

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