Monday, 25 July 2011

Question Time 4: Tips for Indietracks?

Welcome back to Indietracks Question Time, pop fans. Last time we asked our panel which artist gave the best performance they've seen at Indietracks so far, and why? For this edition we're pooling their experience for the benefit of festival newcomers. The question is: what tip would you give to anyone coming to Indietracks for the first time this year? See what they reckon and post a comment below.

Don't be shy. Everyone's really friendly and nice at Indietracks.
Tim Hall, Belfast (Words and Smiles blog)

Say hello! We're all friendly here!
Carys Kennedy, London (The Give It Ups; Fall Out Make Up DJs)

Speak to anyone you feel like. Everyone at Indietracks is your new best mate.
Ray K, Birmingham (City Sacker zine)

I hope you don't feel like you have enough friends, because you're about to make a lot more. Also, a mac-in-a-bag is only about a fiver from Primark and they're quite handy.
Will Fitzpatrick, Liverpool (The 255s)

Bring spending money, as you will want to buy tons of records. You will discover loads of bands who you have never heard of before, who will have limited edition CDs/vinyl/merch with them that you will NEED to buy. Oh, and you will also need a fair chunk for the ale as well, because the selection of beers is always SUPERB. And a must know bit of inside information – if you drop Sean Price's name into any conversation you have with people you don't know then they will accept you as an old friend.
Dan and Hannah, Manchester (Pull Yourself Together gigs/DJs)

Make sure you leave some time to see the trains, and do make the most of the railway! There's lots of little brilliant things to discover around the site, from the souvenir shop and the big shed full of old engines, to the Golden Valley Light Railway and the model railway museum. Ooh, and don't forget to try the cheesy chips in Johnson's Buffet. They're HEAVENLY.
Nat, London (A Little Orchestra; Team Indietracks member)

It would have been to book the Premier Inn or Travelodge months ago. That's really unhelpful, isn't it? Maybe to find out about the train times. If you turn up at the end of the track, you may have to wait for quite a while before you can reach the main festival site by train.
Daniel, Sheffield (pop fan)

Have a gander at some of the bands beforehand and get an idea of who you want to see. There are some real good 'uns at this festival and it would be a shame if you missed them and heard about them afterwards. I did the same thing with Red Pony Clock and was a bit annoyed that I missed them.
Robert Fairs, Derby (Seas of Mirth; Alice Ferguson; Dayglo Tokyo; Apples For Discos gigs)

It's absolutely essential that you put the running order into a spreadsheet and highlight all the bands you want to see, flagging up any potential clashes to avoid undue disappointment. What do you mean, that's just me? If they’re camping I would highly recommend bringing earplugs so that they get a good night’s sleep.
Colin Meney, Glasgow (Half My Heart Beats DJs)

Don't get too attached to any of the beers – they may run out! Start a conversation with anyone you like if you're that way inclined.
Chris Gillies, Glasgow (The Hermit Crabs)

If you're camping and don't like queues, get up really early if you want a shower. And stay away from the real ale. The Sweet Nothings want to drink it all.
Dan Hartley, Sheffield (The Sweet Nothings; Pop-o-matic DJs)

Don't be afraid to say hello to people, everyone's lovely! Also if they have that orange atomic cider again this year, get in there fast because it sells like liquid gold.
Toby Marshall, Birmingham (but from Wolverhampton)

Advice that I ignore on a regular basis – the beer won't run out by Friday night so you don't need to drink your own body weight on the first night; drink lots of water, plan your trips to see bands in the church; bring healthy snacks and, if you're camping, earplugs.
Jane, London (pop fan)

Bring cocktail-making equipment, and then stuff to make Martinis. That way, when I run out we can share. Also camping is more fun, the dancing is better.
Josh Owen Morris, Cardiff (Grand Canonical Ensemble; Eruption Button DJs)

If you're gonna go dancing in the tent, amongst the rocks, DON'T wear your favourite white patent maryjanes. They will be destroyed forever and hanging on to them in the hopes that they'll be 'fixed' won't bring them back from the dead.
Sandy Gill, London (Stolen Wine Social DJs)

Go and sit on the train next to people you don't know and talk to them. The stationary bar carriage next to the loco shed is especially brilliant for that. And make the most of the free train rides. And tell the railway volunteers how much you love them at every opportunity. And the bands.
Marianthi Makra, London (Atomic Beat Records; Spiral Scratch gigs and DJs; Team Indietracks member)

Get to the church on time!
Linda Chapman, Washington, Tyne & Wear (dressmaker and pop fan)

Book the Premier Inn or the Travelodge if you don't like camping, and try the Sainsbury's cooked breakfast at least once. Also take a fan and lots of fluids if you're planning on sitting in the church for more than five minutes. It gets hot!
Hayley, Nottingham (A Fog of Ideas gigs)

Indietracks is so stress-free that thankfully you don’t have to worry about when you’re going to take a shower, use the loo or eat. All of those necessities really are available and accessible. If someone was attending for the first time, I would recommend really digging in and investigating the line-up in advance, particularly the bands they don’t know. Don’t just stick to watching the bands you do know because there are lots of incredible international gems of bands that don’t perform together any more or never in the UK or are just playing a one-off gig. This year, you can’t miss Sloppy Joe and Next Time Passions!
Jennifer, London (Colour Me Pop DJs and gigs)

I'd recommend talking to people in toilet queues.
Paula McCann, Nottingham (artist and superlative baker of cakes for popshows)

By Sunday, make sure you allow a good five or ten minutes extra to get anywhere in order to allow for bumping into the lovely people you'll INEVITABLY meet over the the weekend.
Gareth Ware, Anglesey (pop fan)

If you've been to Indietracks before, what's your tip? If you haven't, what do you want to know? Shout up in the comments and we'll get all the world's problems solved by teatime.


  1. 1) See at least one band on the trains, even if you have no idea who they are.
    2) If you're camping, go on the Golden Valley Happy Express. Especially if it's late. It's a lot of fun.
    3) Buy the indietracks compilation. I think it's download only this year, though.
    4) Definitely do not buy cheese and keep it in your tent. One of you will roll around in it and stink for a while.


  2. If you do get stuck at the wrong train station and it's a nice day, there is a footpath that runs alongside the train track. It's a lovely little walk on a nice day and only takes about ten minutes. If you're new to it, don't try it in the dark for the first time though. It involves a bit of ducking between locomotives and crossing train tracks. (At designated crossing areas, obv.)


  3. I saw bunnies on that foothpath!