trains, tunes, La Casa Azul, and Teenage Fanclub at Indietracks

Indietracks Music Festival 2009 review

By Julie Weston | Published: Thu 30th Jul 2009

La Casa Azul

Saturday 25th to Sunday 26th July 2009
Butterley Station, Butterley Hill, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3QZ, England MAP
£55 for the weekend, day tickets £35
Last updated: Mon 17th Nov 2014

We have Steam Trains, engine sheds, Casio keyboards by the dozen and a whole load of twee, so we can only be at one festival this weekend... Indietracks!

around the festival site
This is my second time at this festival and on arrival I immediately notice some welcome additions from last year, one being that I'm stood onsite on Friday night, it does make sense to put a few bands on tonight as most of the festival goers are camped down the lane at Golden Valley campsite so an extra nights walk is no trouble. Another big change is that the truck from last year has now been replace with an all singing all dancing main stage which sits impressive in the middle of the festival site, which is sponsored by Elefant Records to celebrate their 20th Anniversary.

The things that I truly love about this festival are it's unique setting, and the fact most of the staff working on site in the shop and café are all volunteers who give up many hours throughout the year to keep Midland Railway at Butterley going, and to preserve some fantastic trains and buildings, and they also do a fab chip buttie.

The brain child behind the whole event is Stuart Mackay, who used to volunteer at the railway himself before stumbling over Indiepop and having a Eureka moment to combine his passions, although the essence of the festival haven't changed since its beginning in 2007, the link with Indie label Elefant this year had definitely brought in a few acts that I'm doubting would have otherwise made the trip to the Derbyshire hills.

Rose Elinor Dougall
Friday night saw just 3 bands hit the main stage Rose Elinor Dougall was the first one I managed to catch, most of you would no doubt have seen or heard Dougall in her past life as one of the Pipettes, she has managed to shake the image rather well but I was still hoping for her to burst into some impromptu dance routine but it wasn't to be. The night was finished off with Au Revoir Simone who are a trio of synth loving girls from Brooklyn, a good set for me and I had to smile at the fact that at no other festival would a band on the main stage stop their set to put new batteries in their keyboard... only at Indietracks.

As I arrive on site Saturday despite the forecast the sun is shining and the smell of Gopals Curry Stall hit me, I promise myself a visit later in the day. The day kicks off with Japanese band Sucrette, lead singer Shiho is like a little doll and when she reads of a script with very broken English and cute voice it makes your heart melt. I stay to catch the start of Tender Trap but then decide my time has come to hit the steam trains so make my way over to Swanwick platform and await the next arrival. The full round trip takes about an hour but there is a bar on board again manned by volunteers, and if you're lucky some of the mail carriages contain bands to listen to as you chug through the countryside.

around the festival site (craft workshops)
Throughout the day there are various craft workshops on in the marquee, where I can make bunting, a brooch, jewellery and various other usual items but seeing as most of them involve the use of a needle and I've been on the cider I decide not to participate but admire the creations of others instead.

Camera Obscura take to the stage early evening and the crowd were packed on the bank overlooking the main stage, with their new album 'My Maudlin Career' not long out many of their tracks like 'French Navy' got a good sing along going and front lady Tracyanne Campbell's vocals were pitch perfect throughout.

La Casa Azul
The last act on the main stage was La Casa Azul, I'll be honest I had never come across them before but from the minute Milkyway took to the stage they will never be forgotten. What can I say about them that will do them true justice? One man, a giant screen, a helmet and a keyboard doesn't sound so good but when he was pumping out was a whole new ball game. Lloyd Webber if you're reading this (if only) ditch the leggy piece of work from last year and get this guy for Eurovision, he may not be British but if we win who will care, plus he is amazing.

As I walk back to the car I still can't believe what I witnessed in La Casa Azul, it's not often I still buzz for so long after finding someone new to fill my ipod with but these will keep me going until tomorrow when I return for more.

Saturday was sunny, Sunday is raining, which gives me a chance to catch some of the bands on the indoor stage in the engine shed. Brother and sister combo Eux Autres are first on my list and they seem to enjoy treating us all to antidotes about their past.

around the festival site
I decide to escape the relentless rain by having another ride on the steam train, this time I get the first class carriage and get treated to a 6 seater private cabin with lovely comfy seats, and also an entertainers comes round and gives me a great rendition of 'Tomorrow' from Annie, in exchange for a button in her tin.

The Smittens
The rain just doesn't give up and The Smittens, and Pocketbooks both get good size crowds which is more than can be said for the poor guys playing outside on the main stage.

Disasteradio or Luke Rowell as he's known to his friends is next up what he does is great but I can't help thinking about how he compares to last night's headliner and am slightly disappointed.

Art Brut close the now packed indoor stage for another year, and give the crowd an energetic performance to finish off in style, this band are always unpredictable but everyone seems to leave in one piece so alls well today.

Teenage Fanclub
The final act of 2009 are Teenage Fanclub, it's hard to believe that these guys are currently working on their 9th album, despite the rain the bank is packed with many an umbrella being waved across the field, there is something magical about this festival and I can't believe it's over for another year.

I really hope this festival doesn't go all commercial in years to come as I think it would rip the heart out of it, improvements are made every year and I think Stuart and his team deserve a nice long holiday after this one as they've done a superb job yet again, the outdoor stage and craft workshops were a great addition and the team always make us feel welcome, and with the help of the staff of Midland Railway who seem to wear smiles 24/7, who wouldn't want to return for more next year.

around the festival site
review by: Julie Weston

photos by: Julie Weston

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