Wednesday 2 December 2009

Indietracks nominated in the European Festival Awards!

Thanks again to everyone who voted for us in the recent UK Festival Awards, and a big congratulations to La Casa Azul again for winning the Critics' Choice award for his magnificent headline set!

If that wasn't exciting enouugh, we have now been nominated for Best Small Festival in the European Festival Awards. To vote for us, visit the awards website, scroll down and click on the "Best Small Festival" category, entering your details. Voting closes on December 16.

Everyone who takes part in voting is eligible for the draw to win two VIP tickets to every winning festival from the awards!

After voting closes, the final shortlists will be announced and people can vote again to decide the overall winners in each category. The final winners will then be announced at a ceremony in Groningen, in the Netherlands in January - exciting!

Thanks again for all your support!

Friday 20 November 2009

La Casa Azul win UK Festival Award!

(La Casa Azul on the outdoor stage at Indietracks 2009. Photo: _light )

Last night La Casa Azul won the Virtual Festivals Critics Choice award at the UK Festival Awards for their performance at this year's Indietracks festival!!

The Critics Choice nominees were initially selected by Virtual Festivals and then voted on by the public, so thank you very, very much to everyone that voted for La Casa Azul. Other nominees in La Casa Azul's category included The Specials, Pet Shop Boys, ZZ Top and The Prodigy, so many congratulations to Guille Milkyway and Elefant Records!

Next year's Indietracks festival will take place on the weekend of 23 to 25 July, and we really hope you will all be able to come along.

In the meantime, to bring back some 2009 memories, here's a clip from La Casa Azul's award-winning (!) Indietracks performance:

Thursday 15 October 2009

Indietracks shortlisted for two awards!

Thanks to everyone who voted for us in the UK Festival Awards recently. We can now announce that Indietracks has reached the final round in two categories - Best Small Festival and also the Virtual Festivals Critics' Choice Award for La Casa Azul's headline performance - hurray!

Voting is now live in the final round to decide the overall winners. If you have voted already, your votes will be carried over but you can also vote again, for a final time, at

It only takes 20 seconds to vote, and you can also win a pair of VIP tickets to every winning festival next year.

Voting closes on November 4, and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the O2 on November 19.

Thanks again to everyone for all your support!

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Vote for us in the UK Festival Awards!

Indietracks has been nominated in five categories in the 2009 UK Festival Awards, including two special critics’ choice nominations for La Casa Azul's and MJ Hibbett's fantastic performances - hurray!

If you enjoyed Indietracks and fancy helping us out, it would be great if you could cast us a vote or two. If enough of you vote, we may have a fair chance of coming away with Best Small Festival, Best Family Festival or the Grassroots Festival award. And it would be even more wonderful if MJ Hibbett or La Casa Azul picked up awards!

Voting for Indietracks will really help to raise the profile of the Midland Railway charity, who host the festival every year and work tirelessly (and on a voluntary basis) to make sure everything runs smoothly. And boosting the profile of Indietracks will also help us out when we're asking some of the bigger indiepop names to play next year.

It only takes 20 seconds to vote, and you can also win a pair of VIP tickets to every winning festival next year.

If you’d like to vote, please visit the Indietracks nomination page before 14 October. If you are having difficulty using the website, you can also visit and vote there. You'll need to visit the drop-down menus on Best Small Festival, Grassroots Festival, Best Toilets, the Virtual Festivals Critics' Choice Award and Best Family Festival drop-down menus to vote for us.

The final shortlists will then be revealed and people can vote again for the final winners. Thank you!

Wednesday 16 September 2009

A short film of Indietracks 2009

We've just discoved this fantastic new video / documentary made at the Indietracks festival for Efestivals.

There's some amazing live footage of lots of the bands, some glorious shots of the festival site and the trains, and interviews with lots of the bands, Norman Blake, Stuart Indietracks, Luis from Elefant, staff and loads of festival-goers.

We've tried embedding it below, but if that doesn't work, see it directly here: Efestivals Indietracks film

Indietracks from eFestivals on Vimeo.

Thursday 6 August 2009

Reviews of Indietracks 2009

(Photo: tastinclothes)

We've been keeping an eye on all you busy bees writing for fanzines, blogs and magazines, and have rounded up a selection of our favourite Indietracks reviews and other coverage for you to check out. We've picked out some of our fave quotes and provided links to the full reviews where possible. And we'll keep updating this as the coverage comes in. Happy reading!

"Although only in its third year, Indietracks has already built up a reputation as the UK’s best festival of its size…. Indietracks is possibly the only festival bar ATP where every other act is something of a new discovery, and this year was no exception."

"There is something magical about this festival and I can't believe it's over for another year. 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."

"Gigs on steam trains, chilling in a 1950s buffet car and fanzine workshops ... is Indietracks the most eccentric festival ever? "

"Now in its third year, Indietracks has sprung up from very modest beginnings to be one of the UK’s most endearing and eccentric festivals. The line-up represents the very best of the indiepop underground."

"What more could a girl want than a tiny little festival on the Midland Railway, a little tram/train hybrid to and from the campsite, talks by Fortuna Pop and a little marquee with an ever-changing timetable of Tatty Devine rarities, band merch, brooches… ? Essentially, it’s heaven."

"Microfestivals have a reputation for being simultaneously more eccentric and meticulously thought-out than some of the majors. July’s Indietracks took place at Midland Railway in Butterley, Derbyshire, where visitors could enjoy listening to live performances by Teenage Fanclub and Camera Obscura between taking free rides on a still-operational Fifties steam railway."
The Daily Telegraph

"It's an occasion when artists and the paying public mix together as one, with no pretence, no egos and nothing of the corporate juggernaut. It's merely about the music…. If you want the continual musical sugar rush offered up here, then there can be no better event on the calendar."

"Whether it's the location, the populace or the sheer joy of pretty much all those who play, no matter what their prior experience, Indietracks does something to people that leaves them grinning."

"What made the event extra special was the cosmopolitan element. The seminal independent record label, Elefant Records, which is based in Spain, celebrated its 20th anniversary by hosting the artists who took to the main stage. These included home-grown wonders such as Camera Obscura and Teenage Fanclub, who headlined the event on Saturday and Sunday respectively, as well as a plethora of international talent."

"From its inauguration in 2007 to its blossoming existence today, Indietracks might be one of the smallest festivals in Europe, but that's its beauty. It cares not for corporate sloganeering and strives to create a diverse spectrum of music from all over the globe."

"Indietracks has mixtape exchanges, DIY fanzine and bunting activities and is put together and policed by those doing it for love - for music, for old trains or even for both. Long may it continue. "

"Indietracks festival in Derbyshire has found a particular niche: indiepop fans with a yearning for the golden age of steam."

"The atmosphere was as friendly as a Fat Controller after three Melton Mowbray pork pies, and extremely well organised with awesome, inspired music and toilets that never ran out of loo roll. Perfect."

"It’s hard to see how Indietracks will be anything other than the most enjoyable event of the year."

"I loved it."

"Près de 50 groupes ont joué avec ferveur, sans égo, constamment mélangés aux fans (jusqu'à dormir dans le même camping pour la plupart, ce n'est pas tous les jours qu'on croise Emmy The Great allant prendre sa douche) et partageant un amour sans failles de la musique. "

"Indietracks 2009 was, in these eyes, an utter triumph…. You could probably leave your Nan on her own at Indietracks whilst you went to buy a pint, and you'd come back and not only would she be chatting to her new best friends; she'd have a Smittens t-shirt on, too. And the best thing is - no-one's got a clue where this atmosphere comes from."

RadioNowhere Indietracks podcast
RadioNowhere aired an Indietracks 2009 Special on Monday August 10th. You can now download the show as a podcast, which includes music and conversation from Camera Obscura, Teenage Fanclub, Au Revoir Simone, The School, Emmy The Great plus much much more!

We'll be adding to this list over the next few weeks, so pleased drop us a line if we've missed anything interesting.

Friday 31 July 2009

Thank you card/photobook for the railway staff

(Photo: The Midland Railway Centre)

We're pulling together a card and/or photobook for all the Midland Railway Centre staff, to say a big, big "thank you" for all their efforts this year.

If you'd like to add a comment, please can you send your contributions to before the end of this Sunday? (August 2)

The railway is staffed by volunteers who maintain the railway, drive the locomotives, work in the shops and bars and do hundreds of other activities that provide such a wonderful location for the festival. You'll have seen lots of them around the site over the weekend wearing claret polo-shirts and lovely smiles!

It would be particularly good to hear of any fond memories you have of the staff. Ooh, and if anyone's got any good photos of the railway staff going about their business around the site, they would be most appreciated too. Thank you!

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Indietracks on film...

Wow! Haven't you lot been busy? We can't believe how many wonderful photos, blogs and videos you've already posted online! We're back in real life now, but reading and seeing everyone's favourite memories has certainly warmed our little cockles!

We're still gathering in reviews, but in the meantime here's a selection of some of our favourite videos:

Chris Gilmour's annual film digest of Indietracks (becoming a firm festival fave at Indietracks Towers)

Everyone singing along in the HDIF tent when the power cut out:

And, of course, the mass danceathon that was La Casa Azul's cover of "Love is in the Air":

More to come over the next few days - so do keep visiting!

Monday 27 July 2009

Thanks for coming - see you next year!

Camera Obscura playing the Outdoor Stage (photo: acb)

Whew! What a weekend! Can you believe it's over? It seems like just a few minutes ago that we were packing our sunglasses and pac-a-macs, readying ourselves to enjoy all our favourite indiepop amongst the beautiful, rolling hills of Derbyshire.

Like you, we're totally overcome with that magical combination of exhaustion and happiness, but we've already been looking through the photographs, reviews and videos that you've all been kindly posting up!

We'll be publishing a selection of reviews over the forthcoming week, so do keep checking out the blog! In the meantime, if you'd like to share your thoughts and memories, why not visit the Anorak forum and tell everyone about your personal highlights? We'll also be posting up some of our favourite Indietracks photos, so do please upload them to our Indietracks Flickr group if you can!

Before we go, we just wanted to say a massive "thank you" again to Stuart for organising such an amazing event, all the bands, DJs and workshop leaders, the Midland Railway staff, the volunteer stewards and, most of all, YOU for helping to make it such a fantastic weekend.

Roll on next July - we already can't wait to do it all again next year!

Friday 24 July 2009

Greetings from Indietracks!

Well, by the time you read this, Team Indietracks will be travelling to the festival site. The stages have been built, the programmes are printed, the refreshments have arrived and people are travelling from literally all corners of the globe to descend on the Midland Railway Centre.

Here's a few last-minute pieces of information:

Tickets: weekend and day tickets will be available on the gates.

Cancelled train strike: the latest information we have at the time of posting this is that the East Midlands train strike - scheduled for Friday and Monday - has been cancelled. Please visit the East Midlands Trains website for the latest information.

Schedule: the timeslots for the bands and workshops will be printed in the festival programme and are also listed on the Indietracks website.

Mixtape swap:
don't forget to bring your mix CDs for the mixtape swap.

Follow the festival on Twitter: we'll be tweeting during the festival @ indietracksfest, and guardianmusic will be doing so too. If you're also tweeting from the festival, apparently if you put '#indietracks' at the end of your tweet it'll make all the festival tweets easier to find. Or something.

Weather: the BBC says 'sunny' on the Saturday and 'light rain' on the Sunday, so please come prepared for both!

See you at the festival! Choo Choo!

Thursday 23 July 2009

East Midlands Trains – strike action cancelled

We understand that ASLEF, the Train Drivers Union, have now suspended planned strike action for Friday 24 and Monday 27 July 2009. East Midlands Trains will now operate normal train services on both days on all routes. For further information visit the East Midlands trains website.

See below for previous information about the strike.

Preparations are being made to provide special train services on the following routes:

  • Sheffield – Derby – Leicester – Kettering – Wellingborough – London
  • Nottingham – London
We have checked with East Midlands Trains, who confirm that any seat reservations on these services will still be honoured. If your train is not running, your ticket will still be valid on the next most convenient service.

A revised timetable for these services can be viewed here:

Replacement bus services will be provided on the following routes:

  • Worksop – Mansfield – Nottingham
  • Matlock – Derby
  • Loughborough – Leicester
  • Derby – Stoke-on-Trent
  • Nottingham – Newark – Lincoln
  • Nottingham – Grantham
  • Peterborough – Lincoln
  • Lincoln – Grimsby
Revised timetables for these services can be viewed at the following page:–Friday24JulyandMonday27July2009_.htm

Other train operators will be running on the following routes:

  • Nottingham – Sheffield – Liverpool
  • Grantham – Peterborough – Norwich
  • Stoke-on-Trent – Crewe
  • Lincoln – Doncaster
Please call the number below for information about these services.

More information

For more information on services, please call 08457 125 678.

Up to date information can also be found at the East Midlands Trains website:–Friday24JulyandMonday27July2009_.htm

You can download and print the above information, which may be useful to you when travelling, from here.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Indietracks interview #27: The Smittens

The Smittens are a six-piece indiepop band from Burlington, Vermont and a DIY twee pop explosion. Formed in 2002, The Smittens have been winning the hearts and minds of indiepop fans and discerning critics in the U.S. and abroad with an impressive and rapidly expanding catalog of fresh and fancy bubblegum-inspired revolutionary twee pop.

Accomplished songsmiths all, the six Smittens Max Andrucki, Colin Clary, Dana Kaplan, Holly Chagnon, David Zacharis and their newest member Emily Hilliard - switch instruments and songwriting to create brilliantly lyrical and hyper-catchy pop songs of all colours, shapes and sizes. The band's third album, 'The Coolest Thing About Love', is out now on Athens, Georgia’s indie institution Happy Happy Birthday To Me.

Today we're joined by Max from the band, and be warned, there's a surprising amount of swearing in this (ie, some swearing).

Hi Max, tell us a little bit about The Smittens
We're all white. Except that Dana is Jewish. And David is Greek.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
Swedish dance pop, anything WeePop puts out, The Chiffons, The Free Design, M.I.A., The Just Joans, Suburban Kids with Biblical Names, and along with all the other "Brooklyn" hipsters, we kinda like The Drums.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past?
On a mother-f__kin' BOAT. In Bristol, UK. And at a kickball game.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
Sweden. and two inter-band weddings. and Max is gonna finish his PhD. And have lots of crazy sex. And as a band, we are doing some recording soon - a Tullycraft cover for a tribute comp, and some songs of our own... yet to be written. We are playing with the following song titles: 'F__ you and your crafts', 'Drama queen', and 'Whack it 'til the candy comes out'.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
We are really good at impromptu kitchen dance parties, and nonviolent interpersonal communication.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?
Half a bottle of franks red hot.

And finally, do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?
No. In a good way!

Great - thanks Max.

Workshop interview #8: The Bunty Collective

Name: The Bunty Collective (Gillian Elam and Xtina Lamb)

Name of workshop: Bunting Making Party

A little bit about you?
We are both designer-makers with a passion for bunting. Xtina Lamb is an artist and illustrator producing lovely prints and books with her Japanese Print Gocco Machine. Gillian Elam is part of Fabric Nation, recycling vintage fabrics into nostalgic and vibrant homewares and accessories including a collection of cats, dogs and other strays from the 1950s and 60s.

Description of your workshop:
The buntees (bunting makers) will be have a choice of kits (£2 to £4 to cover the fabric costs) to make bunting to deocrate their tents, cars or themselves. The bunting will be ready-made and materials provided to customise and decorate it. There will be a prize for the best. We will also be holding a competition to design an 'Indietracks' camping pennant in the style of old camping and caravan club pennants. We will have a little collection of these on display as well as Xtina's fabulous gocco printed bunting. The winner will have their design printed up and everyone taking part will receive one!

What are you looking forward to the most at Indietracks?
Its hard to choose, such a wonderful combination of woodlands, steam trains and fab music and meeting lots of new people with a waeakness for bunting!

Do you have any camping tips?
Decorate your tent! Bunting, flowers, flags, glo-sticks.

Have you been to the festival before? Do you have any Indietracks stories/gossip you'd care to divulge?
We are first-timers, but know all about you!

Thanks! You can catch the workshop at 2pm on Saturday, in the Workshop Wigwam.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Indietracks interview #26: Downdime

Downdime are a noisy, psychedelic indiepop band formed in Leeds in 2004. Taking inspiration from the C86/indiepop bands of the 1980s and 90s such as Rocketship, My Bloody Valentine and The Wedding Present. They have so far released two 7" singles: Seeds of Hopelessness (Squirrel Records, 2005) and Hate the Morning/Joanne (Squirrel Records, 2006), and their debut album Knowing Too Much is out now, also on Squirrel Records.

Interesting pop fact: singer/guitarist Ged played drums with indie stalwarts Boyracer for several years in the 1990s.

Hiya, tell us a little bit about yourselves

We are an indie pop band from Leeds that likes to play joyous full-on noise with occasional quieter interludes. We’re into bands like The Wedding Present and Action Painting! Ged sings while he fights his guitar into submission. Ste apparently plays bass like he’s being electrocuted. Liz was once described as aloof but has since figured out how to rock it without getting her hair tangled in the keys. Eddy is our dependable metronome as long as no-one feeds him nuts right before a gig (this happened once. Not fun, but he lived to tell the tale). Having released a couple of singles (Seeds of Hopelessness; Hate The Morning/Joanne), we recorded our debut album ‘Knowing Too Much’ in the Brudenell Social Club, which is practically our living room and one of our favourite gig venues. The album was released on Squirrel Records earlier this year. Onstage we’re upbeat, loud and occasionally a little ramshackle so expect some feedback and maybe some falling over.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past

We just played a gig with Jeffrey Lewis and The Junkyard at The Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, the only gas lit cinema still in use in the UK. The four of us were balanced in a row on a narrow strip between the footlights and the screen. The crowd had to sit and listen quietly; it was great to have a captive audience where the only thing distracting them from watching us was their huge buckets of pop corn. It was a really memorable experience, with the added bonus of then watching Jeff perform with his homemade videos projected onto the big screen.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

Ged: I am a trained tight rope walker, my dad has worked in the circus for many years and he taught me this very useful skill. Thanks Dad.Liz: I once performed in The Royal Albert Hall. I was seven years old, and I was dressed as a parrot.Ste: I swore onboard the pope mobile.Eddy: My dad runs a religious cult with Blondie's Gary Valentine and Jah Wobble.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

Indie pop and steam trains, what’s not to love about that? We haven’t been along before, but friends who have say we will fit in well, and lots of them are going again this year so we’re looking forward to having a really good time together. We love indie pop and the people involved; more and more great bands have been added to the bill, so it just keeps getting better. We’re going to fit in as much free train travel as humanly possible. It’d be rude not to...

Exactly! And here's a free Downdime MP3 to download: Knowing Too Much

Workshop interview #7: Craft Guerilla

Name of workshop:
I'm still working on this but how about "Craft Guerrilla hosts Crafternoon - a DIY Craft Event"

A little bit about you?
Craft Guerrilla is a group set up to work with independent Crafts People, Artists and Designers Makers of quality hand made goods. The aim of the Craft Guerrilla is to join forces with other creative individuals and set up craft events in vacant or unused venues and associate with "friendly" businesses and other Craft groups. The Craft Guerrilla Army is taking on the world for a better hand made existence! We've had enough of soulless, mass produced tat and so has the average consumer.

The Craft Guerrilla was born out of a shared idealism with regeneration, recycling, sharing of knowledge and the revaluation of the hand made movement at its heart. We want to show people the true meaning and value of quality hand crafted designer goods through our ethos and principals of cooperation, collaboration and experience
gained by working within a creative community. We're all for learning and that's why we are promoting our DIY craft events and our work shops - "classes for the masses". We're a peaceful bunch but we're looking to create opportunities, we're ready to take action, take over and DIY our own opportunities.

Description of your workshop:
At the workshop we will be selling our craft kits for a small fee which we have made especially for the Indietracks festival. The kit will be to make a felt mix-tape badge and is exclusive to this event. Everything you need to make the badge will be included in the kit and the Craft Guerrilla tutors will be on hand to help with the threading of needles, which stitches to use and anything else that you need to help you in making your badge.

What are you looking forward to the most at Indietracks?
All of it! We're stupidly excited about the festival!

Do you have any camping tips?
Put matches for lighting your camping stove in an old film canister so they don't get wet and use Swan Vestas so they can be struck on anything.
Keep your loo paper in the plastic wrapper it comes in and make a small hole at the bottom to pull it out of so you have your own waterproof toilet roll dispenser.
Keep a few black bin liners around, they're great for making emergency wellies and raincoats out from. (Why do my camping tips all have to do with keeping yourself and your kit dry? Must be the English weather!)
Finally, an inflatable mattress and electric pump will ensure the best nights sleep you've ever had when camping. Well worth the extra rucksack space!

Have you been to the festival before? Do you have any Indietracks stories/gossip you'd care to divulge?
I haven't, but ask me again next year...
Thanks! You can catch the workshop at 4pm on Sunday, in the Workshop Wigwam.

Workshop interview #6: DIY Fanzines!

Name: Pavla Kopecna/ Twee as Fuck

Name of workshop: DIY fanzines!

A little bit about you?
I run Twee as Fuck club, fanzine and record label together with Rory and Elaine, which involves putting on, releasing and writing about our favourite indiepop bands. One of the funnest parts is putting together the quarterly fanzine, where we interview our favourite musicians and other characters from past and present.

Description of your workshop:
In this workshop you'll learn how to put together and put out a simple fanzine and maybe even try your hand at making your own on the day.

What are you looking forward to the most at Indietracks?
Camera Obscura and The Bobby McGees! And the general mayhem and larks that apparently go on.

Do you have any camping tips?
Two words - "Thermal Underwear".

Have you been to the festival before? Do you have any Indietracks stories/gossip you'd care to divulge?
I'm afraid this is my first time. I was going to go last year, but my car broke down about 200 metres into the journey dammit.

Thanks Pavla! You can catch the workshop at 3pm on Sunday, in the Workshop Wigwam.

Workshop interview #5: Buttons For Eyes

Name: Faye Cooke and Leonna O'Neill

Name of workshop:
Buttons For Eyes

A little bit about you:
Fast friends from Edinburgh. Faye has a bob. Leonna smells of patchouli and good deeds.

Description of your workshop:
We enjoy a bit of crochet and knitting, especially of the variety which involves buttons for eyes! If you'd like to join us making the little woollen characters we call 'dweezils', learn how to make a dress from a vintage pattern, or just have a brew and chat about holding jarvis cocker for a wee while, it would be lovely stuff. We're nice and have lots of yarn!

What are you looking forward to the most at Indietracks?

Help Stamp Out Loneliness covering Jane Wiedlin, fingers crossed!

Do you have any camping tips?
You can be too thin or too rich; you can never have enough bog roll or bin liners.

Have you been to the festival before? Do you have any Indietracks stories/gossip you'd care to divulge?
Indietracks virgins...

Thanks Faye and Leonna! You can catch the workshop at 5pm on Sunday, in the Workshop Wigwam.

Indietracks interview #25: Nick Garrie

Three days to go until the festival: three interviews left to bring you! Nick Garrie-Hamilton, better known as Nick Garrie, is a British singer-songwriter best known for his extremely rare 1969 debut album, 'The Nightmare of JB Stanislas', which is considered by many to be an exemplary piece of psychedelic baroque pop. Original copies of the album, which was reportedly only available in France, are known to have been very expensive, and it wasn’t until 2005, when Rev-ola Records issued it, that it was available on CD.

Forty years after this debut, Nick Garrie is back with '49 Arlington Gardens', his long-awaited new album, released on Elefant Records. Nick will play on the outdoor stage on the Sunday afternoon of the festival.

Hi Nick, Indietracks is a pretty unique location - tell us about an unusual place you've played a show in the past
I seem to have played in unusual places most of my life, on mountain tops in the cold setting sun, in little portugese cafes lapped by the sea and last night in a solitary petrol station to a homesick Sri lankan.

Tell us about your plans for this year
September will be 40 years since I recorded Stanislas and Elefant are re-releasing it along with "the cuts" - six songs which never made it onto the album. I've also been recording with Duglas and the BMX Bandits; one session was finished in a little studio up in the hills in northern Portugal and the rest was done in Glasgow over the recent half-term week. It will also include a short memoir I've written called 'I'll read the book'

Do you have any surprises planned for the festival?
If enough kids turn up I'm going to bring them on stage to sing The Clockmaker. And if my lovely daughter is brave enough (from the Twilight video) she'll sing When Evening Comes with me.. a lot of ifs!

What are you looking forward to at the festival?
I'm really looking forward to it and grateful to Luis for asking me. I've played everywhere except festivals and I hope my little songs don't get blown away. I went to boarding school on steam trains and wrote 'Twilight' and 'Nook and Cranny' on trains. I'm looking forward to hearing every band at Indietracks and I wish us all well.

Monday 20 July 2009

Indietracks warm-up gigs this week

(Cats On Fire: coming to Glasgow on Thursday)

The festival is now less than a week away! And if you fancy getting into Indietracks spirit even sooner there's a range of warm-up gigs taking place across the country for you to choose from this week. Here's a list of all the gigs we're aware of. Please let us know if anything's missing or just plain wrong, and we'll add it or amend it accordingly. See you down the front!

Monday 20th July

The Smittens, The Just Joans, One Happy Island, The Specific Heats, Maple Leaves
Half My Heart Beats @ The Flying Duck, 142 Renfield Street

Tuesday 21st July

The Lovely Eggs + The Momeraths + The 18 Carat Love Affair + Yokoko
Club Fandango @ The Dublin Castle, Camden

MJ Hibbett + Chris T-T
Dinosaur Planet official launch! @ The Wilmington Arms

The Smittens + One Happy Island + Pete Green
The Autumn Store @ The Victoria, 48 John Bright Street

Wednesday 22nd July

The Smittens + One Happy Island + The Melting Ice Caps + Standard Fare
Everything Shining Bright @ The Wilmington Arms

Thursday 23rd July

Cats On Fire + The Paraffins
What's That Noise presents... @ Flying Duck Kitchen Bar, 142 Renfield Street

Rose Elinor Dougall + MJ Hibbett
Twesta Promotions @ Firebug, 1 Millstone Lane

Pocketbooks + Northern Portrait + Standard Fare + Moustache of Insanity
How Does It Feel To Be Loved? @ Jamm, 261 Brixton Road

The Smittens + One Happy Island + The Wednesday Club + The Seven Inches
The Packhorse

Specific Heats + Give It Ups + Sarandon
A Fog Of Ideas @ The Hand & Heart Gallery, Derby Rd

Friday 24 July
(if you're not already at the festival, which kicks off that night!)

The Specific Heats + Friends + Countryside + The Understudies
The Beat Hotel @ The Buffalo Bar, 259 Upper Street, N1 1RU

Sunday 19 July 2009

Indietracks interview #24: Le Man Avec Les Lunettes

Le Man Avec Les Lunettes is an Italian project, born in the winter of 2004, arranged as a six-piece band that plays sweet POP with awesome melodies! They have toured Italy and Europe extensively, including trips to France, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

In 2008, after some EPs, split singles, and compilations in different formats, Le Man Avec Les Lunettes released their debut album Plaskaplaskabombelibom in Italy on My Honey records and Zahr records, and in Germany by Cake and Coffee records. We're joined by Alessandro for a quick interview.

Hi, tell us a little bit about yourselves
We started four years ago. In the beginning there was only two people, Ale and Fab. They met during a boring universitylesson and they found they had the same musical taste. Actually we're six in total... with a cello, synths, accordions and so on. So we're happy because now it's much easier to reproduce live the layers of sounds that you can hear in our records !

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
We played at "Tjuren - camp" at the Emmaboda festival 2007 with Utah Rangers/Salty Pirates, g.o.o.f, Emil from Scaredycat, Lätt som en plätt, Milkman, Klas, The Young Untold, The Besties, Rough Bunnies, Kin and The Faintest Ideas (we found the list on Nils Folke Valdemar's website). It was so nice cause we played among tents and all theartists were almost also the audience. During this "handmade" festival there was sun interrupted by rain and then sun again, so artists were in a tent during the rain and outside during the sun - it was really funny!

What exciting things have you been up to so far this year?
Well... in April we toured the UK for the first time (thanks to Liz from the amazing band The School). Also there was a Japanese release of our album "Plaskaplaskabombelibom" in April by Friend of Mine Records. So our plan for the autumn is to organize a tour in Japan... awesome!!!

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival?
La Casa Azul, Speedmarket Avenue, Pocketbooks, Camera Obscura, Emmy the Great, Fitness Forever, One Happy Island, Lucky Soul, Little My, and lots more!
Great - see you next weekend!

Indietracks interview #23: Bonne Idée

Formed in a Gothenburg basement in 2006, Bonne Idée are an unsigned band with a modest but promising output. They haven’t released an EP or album yet, and there are only a few songs on their MySpace page which are sung in Swedish and English. ‘Glassbåten’, which can be found on the Birdsongs, Beesongs... Volume A compilation, has an intro that sounds like it could have been lifted straight from Nico’s Chelsea Girl LP as the song has a wonderful melody and delightful accordion. ‘It Will Be Back’, soars with a delightful chorus sung in French complete with ‘ba-ba-ba-ba’s’ bouncing along until the songs end. They are playing a handful of London dates before Indietracks at the Goonite Club, Fortuna Pop and Twee as F....

Hi guys, tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
At the beginning of the year we played our song Glassbåten in a tram. Trams a bit of a symbol for Gothenburg, where we all live. For us it is the most common way to transport ourself. Here is the video:

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Olle, the bass player, works as a tramdriver.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?
Abba - Dancing queen, Ted Gärdestad - Fånga en ängel, Håkan Hellström - Himmel blå, himmel blå, Steely Dan - Peg, Studio total - Oh no, El perro del mar - Coming down the hill, The Velvet Underground - There she goes again, Orange juice - Rip it up,

Thanks - look forward to seeing you at the festival!

Indietracks interview #22: Alaska

Alaksa are Torben, Christoph, Patrick, Björn and Carsten, and are based in Hamburg, Germany. They released their debut album 'Nouveau Liberty' on the influential Marsh-Marigold record label in 2005, and also released an EP 'Kings of the Class' on the same label in 1999. The band have dedicated themselves to the fine popsong as a sensitive carrier of beauty and memories. Having said that, Torben's singing is perhaps reminiscent more of the young Billy Corgan than of Stuart Murdoch or even Nick Drake. Torben has joined us today for a quick interview.

Hi, tell us a little bit about yourselves
We are the band Alaska from Hamburg (as there are several bands with the same name all over the world). We started in 1994 (under the name Mrs. Wallace). In 1999 we signed to Marsh-Marigold Records (Hamburg´s eldest indie-pop label). On stage we present a classical line-up (including drums, bass, two guitars, organs). We were influenced by bands such as The Beatles, all bands from Sarah records, The Cure, Belle & Sebastian, The BMX Bandits, Cinerama, The Delgados etc...

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
At the moment we love to listen to: The Draytones, MGMT, The Morning Benders, Friska Viljor, Guillemots, The Divine Comedy, Cinerama, Get Well Soon, Camera Obscura, Pelle Carlberg, Belle & Sebastian, Eugene McGuiness, The Bishops, Benjamin Gibbard, The Deadly Syndrome, The Delgados, Catatonia etc.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
We once played in the engine's area of an old fire brigade ship at the Hamburg harbour!

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?
We are really looking forward to seeing The BMX Bandits and Camera Obscura, because we love their music and we are big fans. And of course "Nick Garrie" - no explanation needed ;)

Thanks Torben. And here's a free MP3 from the band's 1999 Marsh-Marigold EP: Kings of the Class

Saturday 18 July 2009

Indietracks CD/mixtape swap!

Here at Indietracks HQ we like to keep tabs on what you'd like to see happening at the festival, and a number of you have mentioned that you'd like to see a CD/mixtape swap. Well, you'll be pleased to hear that we'll be leaving a nice big box at the merch stall in the main shed for exactly this purpose!

So, if you need something to while away those last few days until the festival, why not make a mix CD or tape of whatever you like, you can even decorate it or design your own cover (or just leave it blank and mysterious!). Drop it in the box when you arrive at the festival, and come back on Sunday night after the bands to receive a CD/tape in exchange!

Once you've dropped off your mix in the box, make sure you take a ticket to show that you've done so.

For those of you only coming for the Saturday, just bring your ticket to the merch stall before you leave and you can take a mix away, or just find a member of Team Indietracks to help you (we're the ones with yellow lanyards)!

Have fun!

Workshop interview #4: Hey Ho Let’s Sew

Name: Eithne Farry

Title of workshop: Hey Ho Let’s Sew

A little bit about you:
I am a writer and a freelance journalist. When I’m not writing about books, films or the world of crafting, I am dreaming of the next dress I am going to make. My book, Yeah I Made It Myself is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson £12.99. It’s a no-fear guide to making stuff.

[Popfact - Eithne was also in tweepop legends Tallulah Gosh!]

Description of your workshop:
Ummmmm. Lo fi sewing, A joint venture of making some festival bunting and some rosettes, corsages type of thing.

What are you looking forward to the most at Indietracks?
Wandering around, seeing my favourite bands, heading to other peoples workshops. Tispy dancing, daisy chains.

Do you have any camping tips?
A flask, a comfy sleeping bag and a torch, all essential pieces of equipment

Have you been to the festival before? Do you have any Indietracks stories/gossip you'd care to divulge?
No, but I’m really, really looking forward to this year.

Thanks Eithne! You can catch Eithne's workshop at 4pm on Saturday, in the Workshop Wigwam.

Friday 17 July 2009

Stuart Indietracks writes for The Guardian

(A rare picture of Stuart relaxing and actually watching a band! Photo: Trev McCabe)

Just a quick post to let you know that Indietracks organiser Stuart Mackay has written a blog piece for The Guardian.

Stuart's written about how he started up the festival from scratch and the interesting and bizarre things that happen when you're trying to organise a pop festival on a 1950s steam railway. Do pop over and have a look if you get a chance!

Thursday 16 July 2009

Indietracks interview #21: Pocketbooks

You might have spotted that we recently published a full schedule for the festival, so you can see when each band is playing and plan your weekends. The festival will have four stages (including the trains), workshops, a selection of discos after the bands, stalls, and 50+ bands ranging from bright new indiepop bands like Northern Portrait and Bonne Idee to household names like Teenage Fanclub and Camera Obscura. Phew! All things considered, it’s been quite a journey since the first Indietracks event in April 2007, when Slow Down Tallahassee, Tottie and today’s interviewees Pocketbooks played to a hundred or so people on the Ripley station platform.

Pocketbooks will be returning to the festival to play on the indoor stage this year. They’re a pop band from London who recall the melodic sounds of bands like the Housemartins and The Sundays. The band has just released their debut album, Flight Paths (How Does It Feel To Be Loved?), as well as a recent single ‘Footsteps’, which they’re giving away as a free MP3 below.

Hi Emma and Dan, tell us a little bit about the band

Emma: We’re two parts Geordie, one part Haddock, one part typical 1930s suburbia and one part wherever Jonny appeared from. We've been playing as a band for a few years now and even managed to get an album together which is coming out this week just in time for Indietracks (massive plug!).

What music are you enjoying at the moment?

Emma: I can’t stop listening to the new Liechtenstein album - it’s brilliant! But apart from that, a lot of rockabilly stuff.
Dan: I have been listening to "the poor man's Captain Beefheart" Tom Waits, getting my ear bent for not listening to Liechtenstein enough and fixating on 60s pop (again...).

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past

Dan: We recently played at the Big Pink Cake indiepop weekender, which was in a cinema. We had the film "Bicyclettes de Belsize" showing on a big screen behind us as we played. It was really exciting to have them allow us to do that, the film felt as though it was made just for us to play along to!
Emma: Except we all had our backs to the audience at certain points because we wanted to watch the film! We also played out the front of Hornsey Town Hall once, to an assortment of bemused Saturday shoppers and confused kids. Oh, and Jonny has played a rendition of the Bob The Builder song to primary school kids!

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

Dan: Well there’s the aforementioned album coming out. Then we’re recording a Jonathan Richman cover, and off to do some shows in Berlin, Glasgow and Nottingham. Then maybe we’ll have a bit of a rest to watch some telly.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

Dan: Emma can mimic any TV advert jingle you should choose. My favourite is Calgon.
Emma: Dan has an ability to make ageing rock stars laugh, most recently Robert Plant.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?

Emma: Hmm, probably the Indietracks compilation, so I can sing along to the bands and look all knowledgeable at the festival!
Dan: I'll be revisiting some old favourites from the nuggets set, maybe a bit of Slade and some old ska records.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?

Emma: We have a special guest joining us on tambourine this year. If you knew who it was, you might understand how this could potentially steal the show!

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?

Emma: Art Brut, Mighty Mighty, Teenage Fanclub, Northern Portrait, The Specific Heats, Friends, The Smittens, and the lovely Elefant bands of course. Just about everyone really! Oh, and my entire family, who have all decided to come along this year and pull faces at me from the audience.

Thanks! And here’s a free MP3 of their recent single: Footsteps

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Indietracks interview #20: The Understudies

It's now just over a week the festival opens its gates! Hopefully you've now booked those travel tickets, blagged the Friday off work, and found somewhere to sleep (not forgetting our handy accommodation quiz of course). So you can now sit back and relax as we continue to get you better acquainted with some of this year’s line-up.

The Understudies are Brian, Bree, Graeme and Kris; a London collective, by way of Scotland, who make the kind of dreamy indiepop that Felt peddled in their prime, tinged with a caustic wit last seen dribbling from Luke Haines’ mouth. The band released a single, Flicknives, on Cloudberry Records which was described by Indie MP3 as follows: “"If you have ever fallen for bands like The Magnetic Fields, Camera Obscura and Butcher Boy - you'll be right at home with The Understudies and their beautifully presented indiepop. 'Flicknives' is one of those pop songs that manages to drill itself into your brain - making itself comfortable and refusing to leave - it's fabulous little song and one I can't stop listening to. They're a cracking little band"

Graeme and Bree have kindly popped by to answer a few questions:
Hi, tell us a bit about yourselves...

Graeme: The Understudies are Anglo-Scottish melodic indie pop, we're still unsure if twee is an insult. Bree does have a stuffed fox but the rest of us fantasise about being in Grinderman, we have a glock but Brian has a big muff. Our influences go from Arab Strap to Sixties girl groups to Scott Walker, and Brian likes Guns and Roses but we don't talk about that.
Bree: Graeme and I met working in a bookshop, actually that's a bit of a Rock Family Tree story as there are three other people playing this year's Indietracks who have worked there too, bizarre! A railway-related Understudies fact is that singer Brian works on South-West trains when he's not being a quiffed rock god, so if any of the steam train drivers need a hand.....maybe not a good idea after too much fizzy pop though. To sum up, I think that if The Understudies were a song we'd probably be The Rubettes by The Auteurs.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?

Bree: Some of the bands I'm enjoying at the moment have ended up playing Indietracks, which is really exciting for me, like Cats on Fire and Wake the President. I've also just bought The Leisure Society, Grizzly Bear and Jarvis' new album. I have to have a physical copy, I've never downloaded anything in my life, I can't bear not having an inlay card to obsess over.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

I ended up joining Aberfeldy a few years ago when the girls in the band left. I helped them out with some summer festivals in Scotland but, what with me living in London, logistics meant that it wasn't to be. I was a massive fan so it felt very odd but I had an amazing time. It's always funny when I hear Summer's Gone on that bingo advert now....
Graeme: Many years ago I once went on holiday to France with a group of people including Eddie Izzard. I chronically name dropped him for years afterwards until one day I saw him walking towards me down the street, I ran into a nearby hat shop because I was scared he would or maybe wouldn't recognise me. He followed me in and started looking at trilbys. I bravely looked at some bowlers for ten minutes. Moral: never go on holiday with your heroes.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?

Bree: Indie pop and steam trains, are you kidding?! We love the sentiment behind the whole thing as well, it just seems really down-to-earth. There are so many great bands out there who don't get the exposure they deserve and not everyone wants to go and not-quite-see The Killers whilst being crushed and sodden. Brian got in contact last year and we nearly ended up playing but missed out. I was having kittens when we were asked to play this year, I still can't believe it. It's going to be an amazing weekend!

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Workshop interview #3: Make Your Own Souvenir Jewellery with Tatty Devine

Name: Tatty Devine

Title of workshop: Make Your Own Souvenir Jewellery

A little bit about you:
We design and make art jewellery, mainly out of colourful acrylic, and we love to collaborate with people like Betty and the Werewolves, Rob Ryan and Gilbert & George. We're very excited to be working with Indietracks on some special festival jewellery, which you can buy at our stall. Come and turn your souvenirs into jewellery at our free workshop too!

Description of your workshop:
Turn your festival souvenirs into jewellery! The Tatty Devine girls are here to help you create a brooch or necklace from festival finds.

What are you looking forward to the most at Indietracks?
Camera Obscura, the campsite jacuzzi, and sleeping in our new camper van!

Do you have any camping tips?
Yes, lots!

Tatty Devine's Top Camping Tips
- Check to see what time the sun sets and rises before you go. Very useful to know.
- Don't camp on a slope. Harriet once did, and she nearly fainted.
- Put a foil blanket underneath your tent to keep you extra warm and dry.
- Bring bin bags - for rubbish, for sitting on, and for wearing on a rainy day. Not glamorous but it works.
- Hang a room tidy in your tent like a mini wardrobe, so everything's off the ground.
- Take your own mug to the tea stall so you can get a proper mug of tea instead of a polystyrene cup.
- There's no need to rough it if you don't want to; Rosie brings an espresso maker, a duvet, pillows and an airbed.
- Make sure you know where things are in your tent before it gets dark (and keep a loo roll, pyjamas and a torch handy for when you tumble in at 3am).
- Don't get too drunk on Saturday night, so you're ready to seek out local car boot fairs bright and early on Sunday morning. Buy the local paper to help locate them!
- If all else fails, stay in a b&b.

Have you been to the festival before?
Yes, last year's was brilliant!

Do you have any Indietracks stories/gossip you'd care to divulge?
More of a tip - if you're travelling through Derby, stop off for some of the best charity shopping in the country!

Thanks - some good tips there! You can catch Tatty's workshop at 3pm on Saturday, in the Workshop Wigwam.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Jonathan Rocky Nest reminisces about last year's festival...

(Jonathan from The Rocky Nest outside the tea tent last year! Sigh....remember the sunshine?)
Can you believe Indietracks is only TWO weeks away? Nope? Neither can we! If you're anything like us, you'll be deciding whether or not to make that all-important welly purchase, checking that you're stocked up on waterproofs AND suntan lotion and making those all-important compilations for the journey there.

We know you need something to get you in the mood so - with that mind - we roped in the very lovely Jonathan from The Rocky Nest to share his memories of last year's festival - his first ever Indietracks. Now due to play this year with t'Nest, he remembers the high points of last summer and looks forward this year's fun - from both sides of the stage!

Take it away Jonathan......

I never made it to Indietracks 2007 and when I heard about the sort of weekend it had been, I knew I'd made the gravest of tactical errors. Twelve months later, after the glorious Indietracks of 2008, I went home with a new list of bands I was in love with, a healthy pile of CDs to rule my stereo, and enough fond musical memories to help me through the long winter months.

But if a mysterious stranger had sat down next to me in the tea tent and suggested that just one year later I'd be back at Butterley, on stage, and plugging in my long-neglected bass - I would have laughed, set down my masala chai and taken a sip of whatever they were drinking.

As it turns out, the correct response would have been to ask this modern-day oracle to help me secure the winning raffle ticket for that beautiful Dansette turntable. I still can't believe I missed out by a mere 200 tickets.

Months after Los Campesinos played out the festival and the last train set off back to the real world, I had somehow joined my favourite band from my current home-town. When I first saw The Rocky Nest, by happy accident, they gave me that Indietracks feeling right away. You know the one - you've just discovered a new musical gem and you are not going to let it out of your sight. They hit upon the idea of asking me to join them when they needed a new bassist.

Now, after six-months of gigs, my bass has new strings, the dust is long gone, and The Rocky Nest are on the bill for this fantastic festival. I still can't believe it. When I arrive in Alfreton this year it won't be as a punter, I'm actually going to be playing - as well as trying to get around as much of my, already extensive, must-see list as I possibly can. It is a challenge I am delighted to be facing.

I have to ask myself - am I living in some sort of feel good movie? If I am, the soundtrack is well and truly sorted.

Thanks Jonathan! We'll look forward to coming to watch the set - and good luck! Our must-see list is getting bigger every day too.....

Indietracks interview #19: Ray Rumours and the No-eyed Deers

Ray Rumours is Ros, the bassist from Electrelane, who has released two albums on Stitch-Stitch Records. The most recent was this year's 'Le Pont Suspendu', which was recorded in one week at a friend's house in St Martin d'Ardeche. The album takes its name from the suspension bridge that spans the Ardeche river, and was recorded in the winter of 2007 and spring of 2008, using only acoustic instruments, including a grand piano and a cardboard drum kit. It covers themes of loss: half-forgotten friends, disappearing memories, missed chances and bitter rejections.

Personalities from the recordings surround the songs: an underwater trumpeter, laughing backing singers, footsteps clattering down the stairs and the shredding of a newspaper mid-song.
Ros has joined us for a quick interview on the blog.

Hi Ros, what music are you enjoying at the moment?
The Light Sleepers, Francois and the Atlas Mountains, Marine Girls, Heavenly, The Madrigals, Bambino.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
I once played in a slaughterhouse in Madrid. It had been turned into some sort of art place but it still felt strange and wrong.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Gill who plays drums wrote 'the Axis of Evil cookbook'.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?
Camera Obscura, because I've never seen them before and I'm excited about seeing them with Francois (of my favourite band Francois and the Atlas Mountains) playing.

Indietracks interview #18: Countryside

Today we welcome Stephen from Countryside, melodic shoegazers who have been described as producing “epic and dreamy synth-tinged rock” with “hints of Grandaddy and Guided by Voices topped with heavenly laconic vocals and a heady psychedelic sensibility.”
The band recently performed at the Big Pink Cake weekender in Bristol, and we can’t wait to see them in the Derbyshire countryside –surely their natural setting!

Hi Stephen, tell us a little bit about yourselves..

We're an indie rock band from Somerset, currently based in Bristol. We've recently supported Athlete and Secret Machines and are currently finishing off some recordings for a double EP. We're trying to find our way, a bit like a mountaineer without a map or GPS, using the landscape as a guide…

Ooh, and what music are you enjoying at the moment?

Err loads! Chad van Gaalen, Flaming Lips, Earlimart, Built to spill, Super Furry Animals, Metric, Elliott Smith stuff, Built like Alaska...

Sounds like a good line-up to us! Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past.

We played indietracks a couple of years ago in the little church, which was quite weird... we've also played in bowling alleys, tents, fields, bedrooms, strip club, boats and cow shed, so its almost unusual for us to play in a normal venue!

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?

Yes! Nasa have been kind enough to...

OK Stephen – we’ll leave it there! We've got lots more band interviews coming up, so do keep on reading!

Friday 10 July 2009

Indietracks interview #17: The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut

Maybe it’s just us, but it’s been an unusual old week, with the bizarre spectacle that was Michael Jackson’s funeral, weather of freakish proportions, people posing for hours as Trafalgar Square “statues” and……Indietracks getting a mention in Urban Garden magazine! The lovely mag, which gives lots of great tips about saving the planet, decided to feature us in their festival guide in amongst all the articles about gardens, solar panels and the like. Woo! Our own Stuart was also interviewed by BBC Radio Nottingham’s (and Mercury Music Prize judge) Dean Jackson, a massive indiepop fan who’s planning to bring you lots of exciting live broadcasts from the festival this year.

Phew – we can’t stand all this excitement! And it’s still only TWO weeks away – how will we contain ourselves until then? A man who knows all about the magic combination of excitement and steam trains is Sheffield’s Pete Green – who has put in two cracking performances at Indietracks previously and is returning this year with his band The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut – yay! Inspired by Indietracks back in the early days, Pete wrote the fantastic, poignant song Hey Dr Beeching, which talks about the man who originally closed down all of the railways, and which is now available to download. It’s completely free (see details of the mp3 below) but steam train fanatic Pete is asking if fans might like to make a small donation to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway.

We caught up with Mr Green himself to find out a bit more about his and t’Juggernaut’s plans for the festival…

Hello there Pete Green and your Corporate Juggernaut!! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut do sparkly pop songs about love, trains, pubs, patience, optimism, lower-division football and the NME being rubbish.

I write and sing the songs and play the guitar and I like trains and cats and Stephen Fry and stripy tops and lots of predictable things like that. People call me twee but I have an inner emo, so all my happy-sounding pop tunes are secretly about decay and death. Dan plays the bass (he plays it very well, in fact), comes from Rotherham, has an extensive wardrobe of excellent T-shirts and is always getting poorly and nearly fainting at band practice. Rob doesn't really like indiepop but he used to be in Monkey Swallows the Universe and I really liked them, plus you have to make allowances for drummers really, don't you? He can play the drum beat from 'Walk This Way' as well, which is frankly amazing.

The three football teams supported by the three members of the band – Grimsby Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton & Hove Albion – were all relegated together from the same division in the same season a few years ago. This means we're like football and music blood brothers. Our fates must remain entangled until doomsday, or until Rob's job means he has to go and live in bloody Middlesbrough, whichever comes sooner.

Our first gig was in May 2008 (although I was playing solo for a little while before that) and we've done 22 altogether now – I just counted. Every single one of them has been fun but the Juggernaut loves playing in Nottingham and Hull the best, I think. None of us has got a car so we go to all our gigs by public transport. Last autumn we did a tour and I spent about a week on the National Rail website working out how to get the cheapest advance tickets. It's a bit of a clat but it means we can spend quality bonding time on the journey talking about our favourite bridges and whether you can still buy long johns and stuff like that.

We're a Sheffield band but hardly anyone likes us in Sheffield. Dan and Rob know loads of people from the Sheffield in-crowd as well, which you'd think might work to our advantage, but no, still nothing. I think all the cool kids here must see the world through irony-coloured spectacles and my songwriting must just be too honest and pure to work on that level. Or too rubbish. Pure, yeah, that's it. Pure. Ahem.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past

The other year I did a couple of solo gigs in Grimsby, which is a very unusual place indeed. I grew up and played in my first band there, and went back twice in 2005 to play live there for the first time since I left in 1992. It isn't always a welcoming place, but God bless it, it's been through a lot. The buildings on the fish docks where my dad used to work have been standing derelict for years – a constant, crushing reminder of failure and neglect and being left behind by bigger, grander places. So the Google Street View car was chased out of Grimsby recently by angry locals waving pitchforks and blazing torches, but I got a bit nicer reception than that – although any unpleasantness would have been dealt with swiftly and decisively by my mum.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?

We're halfway through recording an album with the very lovely Pete Bowers out of Horowitz, which we hope will be finished in the autumn. Unfortunately, that's exactly when Rob will probably have to leave the band because of his job moving. He turns off power stations so they can do the cleaning. So our exciting plans for the rest of the year will mostly involve trying to find a new drummer instead of promoting the album with a marathon global tour of the East Midlands. If anyone's reading this who plays the drums and lives within the South Yorkshire commuter zone, please do get in touch! While we're at it, the same applies to any girls who can play keyboard and sing a bit. Ta!

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?

Rob does the hardest high-fives in the world. Do a high-five with Rob and your hand will sting like a bastard for about a week. If he could hit the drums that hard, he'd be in a death metal band instead.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?

To coincide with the festival we've just released a download of 'Hey Dr Beeching', the train song I debuted when I played solo at the 2007 Indietracks. It's completely free but we're inviting people to make a small donation to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway when they download it! It's available right now at

There are one or two other things which may or may not happen. Dan is contemplating an interesting item of stagewear which would mark him out as an Indietracks hero, but I suspect he might bottle it. We might play a shocking cover. I'm trying to sort out some live samples for 'Beeching'. And we're intending to become a four-piece for part of our set by borrowing a member from another band who seem to be quite popular around Indietracks way. It's not yet clear how we'll manage to rehearse, as the other band are based a couple of hundred miles from Sheffield, but then so is my brain during most of our practices, so we ought to muddle through somehow. See you in the queue for a veggieburger. Eeeeeeeeeee!

Thanks Pete – we’re super excited to see what you’ve got in store for us! Make sure you download Hey Dr Beeching from asap - it’s perfect for your travelling-to-Indietracks compilations. And don’t forgot your donation – please help to undo a little bit of the damage wrought by the Beeching Axe.

Thursday 9 July 2009

Art Brut added to bill!

Flamboyant art-punk superstars Art Brut have been announced as an additional Sunday night headliner for this year’s Indietracks. The festival takes place at the Midland Railway in Ripley, Derbyshire on July 24-26.

The band will join headliners Teenage Fanclub, Camera Obscura, Rose Elinor Dougall, Emmy the Great and Au Revoir Simone at this year’s festival. Over 50 bands will play across four stages, with other bands playing including BMX Bandits, Lucky Soul, Frank and Walters, Help Stamp Out Loneliness, Butcher Boy and Manhattan Love Suicides.

Art Brut are fronted by the charismatic and controversial Eddie Argos, once described by the NME as “Britain’s best post-Jarvis pop star”. The band lit up the music world in 2004 with classic pop singles ‘Formed A Band’ and ‘Good Weekend’, and recently released their third album, the confident and confrontational ‘Art Brut vs Satan’, produced by The Pixies’ Frank Black.

Helene, described by ex-Cocteau Twins and Bella Union head honcho Simon Raymonde as the ‘greatest lyricist in Britain right now’, and acclaimed Berlin electro-rock duo Stereo Total have also just been added to the bill. The full band timetable and stage times can now be viewed at

This year, Indietracks will also introduce its ‘Workshop Wigwam’, hosting a wide range of fun activities. Festival-goers will have the chance to make jewellery with the cult label Tatty Devine, write a song with The Smittens’ Colin Clary, get crafty with the Craft Guerrillas and The Bunty Collective, find out about making clothes with Eithne Farry, and win some serious prizes in the poptastic pop quiz! You can view the workshop timetable at

This is the third ever Indietracks festival. The site houses a whole range of lovingly restored steam diesels and locomotives. Festival goers are allowed to have unlimited rides on the steam railway over the weekend and full access to other railway attractions including a farm and museum.

This year, Indietracks is teaming up with legendary Elefant Records as part of the indiepop label’s 20th anniversary celebrations. The Madrid-based label, which was launched by Luis Calvo in 1989, has picked a number of bands to play on a special Elefant stage over the course of the weekend.Weekend tickets cost £55, day tickets cost £30 and both are available to buy from Ticketweb or by calling the railway direct on 01773 747 674.

Monday 6 July 2009

Workshop interview #2: The Only Way to Write A Song (and at least 10 other ways to do it)

Name: Colin Clary

Title of workshop: The Only Way to Write a Song (and at least 10 other ways to do it)

A little bit about Colin:
Colin Clary plays and sings with The Smittens, Let’s Whisper, and on his own and loves to make up songs and help other folks figure out how to make up songs, too.

Description of your workshop:
I will answer questions and try to facilitate discussion on various approaches to writing a song and offer quick tips and tricks and methods for getting song ideas to flow in a fun and natural way. If we are lucky, we will make up a song together or make up a number of songs. If you’ve never written a song, or if you’ve written loads of them, or just want to pick someone’s brain about the process or want to collaborate on making up a song today, you are welcome and encouraged to come.

If you can sing, or have an instrument, or an idea or an open mind, this could be a fun way to spend part of a sunny day. This will hopefully be a constructive and non-intimidating experience and maybe we can even make up a song together to sing around the campfire or on the train platform.

What are you looking forward to the most at Indietracks?
Well, I’ve never seen Camera Obscura live before, so that is sure to be a highlight! Honestly, though, I’m pretty much looking forward to ALL of Indietracks – last year’s fest was such a magical experience and I can’t wait to see some of the folks I met there last year and to be surprised by bands I haven’t seen yet. I am interested in seeing the MLS acoustic set and Gordon Mcintyre’s solo set and Northern Portrait and Tender Trap and Butcher Boy, too!

(Colin then goes on to list practically every band playing the festival, we get the picture Colin!)

I’m also psyched to play on the train with Let’s Whisper and on the big stage with the Smittens!

Do you have any camping tips?
Drink some water before you go to sleep!

Have you been to the festival before? Do you have any Indietracks stories/gossip you'd care to divulge?
Last year’s fest was the highlight of my summer! I don’t think I know any gossip.

We think Colin is hiding something there, we hear he was the centre of all the campsite rages last year!

Colin's workshop will take place at 12.30pm on Saturday, in the Workshop Wigwam.