Located in the midst of a steam railway museum on the edge of The Peak District in Derbyshire, Indietracks is the ultimate fan run festival. It's been running since 2007 and we have lucky enough to attend it on four occasions. This year was was a perfect of example of why this indie music festival works so well. Firstly it's an amazingly friendly weekend, a lot of the bands that play here are in terms of sales and media coverage so far off the radar that the radar doesn't even exist. Imagine their excitement then when they suddenly find themselves playing to hundreds, if not thousands of people who LOVE their band. The fans know all the words, where the handclap breaks are, the melody of that whistling solo. The bands are often visibly shocked to see such recognition of their work.
Fear not though if you haven't heard of the latest indie sensation from Norway. The person standing next to you in the audience will be happy to bring you up to speed and tip you off about two other bands that you need to hear as well. Then you can go to merch tent and actually buy the vinyl album, CD's , 7" and 12" singles of all your new favourite bands.
Now it may be coincidence (actually, no it isn't) but Indietracks appears to become a mini Scottish enclave. For those of you that can't get all the way to Scotland, here is a place where it comes to you. Teenage Fanclub, Camera Obscura, The Pastels, Stevie Jackson, Edwyn Collins, BMX Bandits and many more have appeared over recent years, which can't be bad.
It's so small that by the Saturday lunch time you practically know everyone there by sight. They are all as excited as you are about seeing bands from all over the world that they thought they would never get the chance to see. The fans can't believe it, the bands can't believe it, it all makes for a very happy experience. The biggest danger is that lock jaw could set in from all the grinning that you will be doing. Oh and I forgot to mention, to get from the car park to main site you go on a train, there are gigs on a train, there is a bar on a train, ok so it's a static one but you get a seat and a table. These are often lovely old trains and there are few finer ways to travel than this.
All aboard for 2014!
The End Of The Road
This is a festival that has been on our radar for several years and this year we finally made it. The chance to see David Byrne and St Vincent, Belle and Sebastian, Jens Lekman, The Leisure Society and Eels finally made us throw our hands up in the air and say, ok EOTR we are coming. What a good decision that turned out to be.
We understand that the capacity has been sneaking up over the past couple of years and is now at around 14,000. Now this is huge compared to Indietracks but you can tell that the people behind EOTR really care about every single person having an amazing weekend. They are blessed with a beautiful site and The Garden Stage is a uniquely wonderful setting in which to watch a band.
They also score very heavily on their range of food and drink outlets. Unlike so many festivals, the place is bursting with interesting, tasty, well priced options. Within minutes of reaching the main site we were eating some wonderful Slovenian food and supping on a hot cider with ginger from Somerset. The rest of the weekend resulted in a lot of tricky decisions on the food front.
There are some really lovely walks around the site. The woods, beautiful by day are really magical at night as some spectacular illumination turns them into a place of wonder. Deep in the woods you can find a most unusual disco where the DJ's play from a wooden boat to a happy crowd dancing on the illuminated dance floor. No walls, just an overhead screen high in the tree's, it's a wonderfully atmospheric place. Also dotted around the woods are a comedy stage, a healing area and some interesting art installations. The staff and stewards were all very helpful and friendly. As we were staying off site, we drove in and out everyday, without any problems or delays. And I almost forgot to mention the host of lovely Peacocks that you encounter constantly. They remarkably unstressed about the whole festival business, so will you be, should you choose to attend.