We’ve just got back from Indietracks festival in Derbyshire. It was our first time there and it was brilliant! I thought I’d write a little bit about our weekend so you see what we got up to. If you’re expecting unrelenting rock’n’roll excess though you’ll probably be a bit disappointed! Some photos are also below. Robin.
The journey from Sheffield to the festival site at the Midland Railway Centre should be a pretty straightforward one down the motorway. We managed to overcomplicate things though and after missing a turn off, used our sat nav to find the next best route to the site. “Saw Pit Lane’ll get you there” it promised. An ‘Unsuitable for motor vehicles’ sign? It’ll be OK we thought. Anyway, it turns out that Saw Pit Lane is almost unpassable for motor vehicles, unless you have a Skoda that you don’t mind scraping on the uneven surface and a pair of wellies handy to test just how deep the water covering the flooded track is. A nervous 15 minutes fearing angry farmers coming the opposite way down the tiny lane in a tractor eventually passed and we somehow emerged right next to our hotel, even if we did have to sneak in the service entrance round the back.
After checking in we headed to Butterley station and onto site via a journey on an old-style train with lots of doors. Thankfully Friday’s bands were running a bit late, which meant we were there just in time for The School, who were a perfect start to the festival.
We then explored the site which was full of character and charm: basically a collection of both lovingly-restored and shabbily-beautiful railway trains and buildings in the middle of the countryside, with stages set up in a converted engine shed, a field, a tiny old tin church and of course on one of the steam trains.
After tea we spent the rest of the evening enjoying Dan’s brilliant Pop-o-matic disco and meeting with old and new friends, including loads who’d made the journey from Sheffield and the lovely people we’d met the month before at No Direction Home festival.
We started Saturday with a breakfast at the service station and then sneaked in a last-minute band practice in our hotel room. Val and Nik had both been away the previous week, so we thought it would be good to have one last run through before Sunday. The poor person cleaning the hotel room next door didn’t complain too much so hopefully it sounded OK.
Some confusion over trains at Butterley meant that we were unfortunately just a bit too late to catch The 10p Mixes play on the steam train. The next departure featuring the lovely Markie Plays Girlpop with Vinnie and Dan more than made up for it, particularly the sing-a-long Like a Virgin. We got back and rushed to catch the end of Vacaciones set, which was ace. Rafa from the band was borrowing my guitar for their train performance the next day so it was also good to meet him.
We then bagged a spot near near to the front of the queue for Verity and Andy’s cupcake decorating workshop, which made a perfect pudding after a burrito. It was slightly hurried though as we wanted to get back to see the brilliant Colour Me Wednesday. Later we returned to the indoor stage for Tigercats , who I think had one of the most animated crowds of the weekend. After an amazing Gopal’s curry we then queued to get in the church for the Italo disco-inspired Mikrofisch – who were even better than their Let’s kiss and listen to Bis song promised – and Gordon McIntyre who made us all a bit sleepy (but in a good way), particularly when he played the soothing Songs for Kylie.
Being on first is brilliant because you can get it over and done with and only spend a few hours in the morning feeling nervous. After greeting some friends who were arriving for the day, we headed for the platform. By the time the steam train pulled up, it was pretty busy and it looked like it might be a bit of a squeeze on board. Someone said that not everyone got on which was a shame. The carriage was rammed, which meant it was very hot but that made for a good atmosphere.
Our nerves soon settled, although that didn’t stop us getting a bit lost in the first song, Academical, but never mind! We also played My story, Tomorrow, Ooh aah just a little bit, Four seasons, The broad and narrow was and I look back on this city and fall in love with her again. Everyone clapped enthusiastically and timing-wise the set worked out perfectly, with the train just pulling back into Swanwick Junction as we finished our final song. Afterwards people made some lovely comments and bought nearly all the demo CDs we’d made especially for Indietracks.
The next stop after we’d finished was at the ale bar and then we got some more tasty food, this time from the burrito stall. The rest of the day was spent dipping in and out of more great bands like Doggy, The September Girls, Love Dance, Velodrome 2000, Stevie Jackson, Language of Flowers, The 10p Mixes in the merch tent and of course Allo Darlin’, who played an amazing set to accompany the setting sun, including a spine-tingling finale of Tallulah during which you could have heard a pin drop.
We loved being at Indietracks and being able to play there made it even more special for us. All the people we met were so friendly and there was such a good atmosphere on the festival site, even during the couple of rain showers. Thank to anyone who came to see us or bought a CD. See you next year…if not before!
^ We’re in this video about 1 minute in
Most of these pictures were taken on a Golden Half film camera, which gives two shots per frame. Really good for us
tight thrifty Yorkshire folk! There are also some more here from our friend Lauren.