Indie Tracks Indiepop Festival 2008 review

By Luke Seagrave | Published: Tue 29th Jul 2008

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Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th July 2008
Butterley Station, Butterley Hill, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3QZ, England MAP
£45 for the weekend, day tickets £25
Last updated: Tue 29th Jul 2014

During the festival season, most people will opt to go to one of the dominant names in music festival events, Leeds/Reading, V festival, Download, or even the mighty Big G! (Glastonbury, for those who weren't sure!).

Whilst sandwiched in between these giants of festival events is a smaller festival called Indietracks, which is still in its early infancy. However being the open minded festival punter, I decided to go and give this one a try.

Whilst looking up this festival it looked like it could be completely different to any of the other festivals that I have ever been to. The website has photos of the stages, one of which is in a church (hope the bands don't swear) and the other is in a warehouse sized shed, and then there is a stage which is basically the side of a lorry, and also a few artistes in train carriages. So to say it is different would be an understatement.

We packed our car and made our way to Butterley Station, in the blazing hot weather. So dripping in sweat we managed to find the train station, and drove straight into the car park, it had ample parking, which was absolutely free!!!

Once we had got out of the car, we were slightly confused as to where we go to get to the event due to the lack of signage. However the staff at the station were very helpful and explained that we have to catch a train which we will take us to Swanwick Station which was where the event was being held.

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At this point it was like we had been transported back in time, as we were greeted with a beautiful Victorian steam train in full working glory chuffing away. This was to be our transport to get us to the event. How many festivals can claim that they put on a steam train for punters?? Even better, the volunteers/enthusiasts who keep the old steam engine and stations working were in old-fashioned costumes.

After an enjoyable ride on the steam train, we arrived at Swanwick Station. In comparison to all other festival fields this was microscopic to say the least. But as we all know size isn't important.

We went up to the entrance ticket office, well, a temporary gazebo which was where we exchanged our tickets for wristbands. The field which is situated in the heart of a disused steam railway museum was a surreal place to host a festival.

around the site

So in summary, the festival was very small, set in the heart of a museum, and attendance was just over 1,000 people. The stages consisted of a church, a lorry, and a shed. Logically speaking, this festival really shouldn't work. But I guess that's where the magic is, because it worked like a well-oiled steam train wheel.

Once the wristbands were sorted, you were free to roam around anywhere on site, there were about 4 security guards in total, who were laid back and helpful.

Everything about this festival indicated that the person/people who organise it, have clearly thought about what a festival should be and made it happen. Children, pets, cameras, camcorders, food, drinks (provided it wasn't glass) were all welcomed into the arena.

As it got to lunch time, we had that dreaded feeling that it was time once again to phone our bank manager to arrange a loan to cover the cost of the food, however the food and drink places were charging normal prices, especially the café, which served up cooked to order food for a very good price.

At this point I think the volunteers of Midlands Railway Museum should be mentioned as they kept everything running smoothly and in the blazing heat still continued to make sure all of the punters were happy. Especially the volunteers who worked incredibly long shifts in the Café.

With the sun blazing down and frying any human skin on display, it was an energy draining effort to walk from one stage to the other, despite them being so close together. This is where I spotted the only problem with this festival, there was absolutely no shade, it was impossible to hide from the sun, and hence why there will be a lot of red faced punters this week.

Tortoise Shout

No festival would be complete without music, and I can honestly say that all of the bands that played were enjoyable to listen to, I didn't catch one bad band all weekend. Which I think is a unique attribute to Indietracks festival, as at the bigger festivals, there are always a few bands that you don't particularly like. Whereas at this festival all of the bands were a pleasure to see.

Town Bikes were a vibrant energetic pop-rock orientated band, that managed to impress a lot of people with their version of 'C'est La Vie' by Bewitched which was sang to the music from Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. Hopefully the Town Bikes will go onto get a lot more attention in the following months.

PocketBooks were another band that were memorable for all the right reasons, their blend of summer feel good melodic riffs, and sweeping choruses were certainly infectious and with killer tunes this good, they should have possibly been given a higher billing on the Saturday.

Comet Gain grabbed my attention for the wrong reasons, it looked as if the singer was reading her lyrics from a piece of paper taped to the stage floor, and even then she seemed to be slightly off key, and at times I felt as if she was slightly drunk.

The Wedding Present

The headliners in the Shed or main stage, were the Wedding Present, who as much as it kills me to admit it, did put on a sterling polished performance.

Returning to the festival site the following day, absolutely bathed in suncream, as the day was turning out to be even hotter than yesterday, I thought I'd pop into the church stage seeing as there was room for me to squeeze in and catch a band by the name of Dirty Fingernails, who hail from Finland and have a euro-pop synth sound. They have the right ingredients to make it into the mainstream. However I didn't watch all of their set as the church was boiling and I was dehydrating, so off I trundled to the café for a nice chilled drink which left me with change from £1- fab!

Once again the lack of shade was causing problems with the punters as they took shelter under the signboards to escape the Sahara-esque heat.

The Deirdres seem to have a good following as they attracted a huge crowd for their set, however to my ears it just sounded like a group of people shouting down microphones without even trying to be tuneful, maybe the sun had just made it a thousand times harder for me to sit through their performance and appreciate their songs such as 'Sir Micheal Of Aspel', maybe I'm just in the minority, but I know what I like, and this wasn’t something I liked!

Los Campesinos!

As the temperature started to dip ever so slightly it was time for the main shed... ooops I mean main stage headliners Los Campesinos! I wasn't expecting much from these but thankfully they were impressive to watch and anyone who is brave enough to wear a T-shirt slagging off the other headline act wins brownie points in my book, if my memory serves me correctly, the vocalist wore a T-shirt saying "The Wedding Presents Songs all sound the same".

Los Campesinos! Pressed all the right buttons and won over the crowd with their energetic synth sounding music. A superb way to bring the festival to a close.

Indietracks is clearly a festival goers festival, and it felt like the person who organised it clearly thought about what punters would really like at a festival, and sure enough it ticked all the right boxes…

Free Parking... Tick
Free Train Ride into event site... Tick
Security that were polite and helpful... Tick
Stages that were easily within walking distance... Tick
Food and Drinks that don't require a bank loan... Tick
Uniqueness... Tick
Great Music... Double Tick.
Freedom to move to anywhere onsite... Tick

Would I like to go back next year? Hell yes!!! A festival punter's paradise!!!

Special thanks to all of the volunteers/enthusiasts at Midlands Railway Museum, and a special thanks to Natalie Davies for doing her best to ensure we could run this review.

around the site
review by: Luke Seagrave

photos by: Julie Weston

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