Maddy Horsley

This dissertation examines how the original protest songs came to define a music movement and how protest that can rail against the establishment deals with modern sociological issues such as sexism, the economic climate and far-right politics, and whether or not true punk protest can affect the issues of the time. It aims to dissect the protest song, from Woody Guthrie’s original ‘three chords and the truth’ through to the more modern, less well known folk and punk protests of today from musicians like Non Canon, Ben Marwood or Chris T-T – as well as those who certainly fit into the bracket, but shy away from the ‘protest singer’ label because of political difficulties or ideals in the eyes of the audience that they feel that they cannot meet; in particular, Frank Turner. Turner is definitely one of the foremost ‘folk punk’ musicians of the 2010s but doesn’t like to label himself as a political protest singer. While there have been surveys and research projects done into the political leanings of young people, they are still somewhat glossed over as a voting populace. The plight of the younger generations that the older generations stereotypically don’t seem to care for, which leads to the fallacy of young people’s apathy and lower turnouts for younger generations at elections. Punk and protest is usually seen as a ‘young’ genre thanks to the fashion and countercultural boom of the mid-to-late 1970s, proving that young people did have a voice they could shout against the system with.