Thousands of music fans are set to descend on Penn Street as the likes of Union J, The Fratellis, Razorlight, Scouting for Girls, The Feeling and the Happy Mondays take to the stage at PennFest next month.

Excitement is reaching fever pitch with just two weeks until the music festival returns to The Big Park with its biggest and best line up yet.

And Shaun Ryder thinks fans at PennFest will be more than happy with the Happy Mondays performance when they take to the main stage on the Saturday.

The Mondays front man said: "I am looking forward to going to PennFest, I’m looking forward to all of our shows actually, it’s good fun going on stage now."

With Shaun on lead vocals, his brother Paul Ryder on bass, Gary Whelan on drums, Rowetta as backing vocalist, Mark Day on guitar, Paul Davis on keyboards and dancer Mark "Bez" Berry, the singer believes their performances are better than ever.

The singer said: "I think the Mondays are better than we’ve ever been. We’ve got all the original band members back and we’re all compos mentis now. We’re older and wiser.

"We’re not on that treadmill of press, press, press, tour, tour, tour anymore, which is great and we’re all really enjoying performing." 

The 52-year-old admits the Mondays shows nowadays are very different to their famously wild performances of the 90s.

He said: "It’s completely different now. I don’t do as much touring now as I did then but I love doing it. I don’t do the whole tour bus thing anymore. I get my driver to take me back home after a show now.

"I have discovered a whole new way of life – I can go home and get a good night’s sleep after a show now. I wish I had thought of doing that when I was younger. I wish I had known when I was 20 that you can do a show then go back home to bed."

Despite a reputation for their wild ways, Shaun is adamant that their performance will fit in perfectly with the family-friendly atmosphere at PennFest.

He said: "Our audiences are much wider now because younger people have seen us on television. We’ve already got a whole new generation of fans. We have people aged from about six to 80 in the audiences these days.

"If we do an early performance during the day, we’re conscious that there are kids in the audience. If we perform late in the evening, it’s a bit different."

The singer doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon, with tour dates that are set to take them round the world.

Shaun is also working hard with his band Black Grape, writing new albums. 

He said: "The Mondays are going to Hong Kong and Japan soon on this tour. I’ve never been to Hong Kong before so I'm excited to go there.

"Next year we’re going to drop a new Black Grape album. With Black Grape, it’s just me writing, so that album will be out before another Happy Mondays album.

"I listened to the Mondays album, Bummed, for the first time since 1998 recently and I thought wow, this is some really great stuff. So I’d really enjoy performing and touring the full album.

 "But I’m doing Black Grape as well as Mondays at the moment, so I’m just a little bit busy at the moment, yeah. It’s brilliant though.

"I have so many good memories over the years. Just getting started in this fantastic industry has been amazing. We have had a great time; I wouldn’t really change any of it.

"I’m still glad that I can go out and perform on stage now."

PennFest comes to Penn Street on 17, 18 and 19 July. For more information about the PennFest line-up and to buy tickets, visit