Indietracks Festival - Derby - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Indietracks Festival - Derby

by Hiro Master Rating:9 Release Date:

Indietracks is possibly the most unique festival you'll find on the British Isles these summer months. Combining indie-pop music with steam trains seems like an unusual combination but actually works brilliantly. For anyone who appreciates listening to songs about broken hearts and dinosaurs, the addition of steam trains just makes the festival even more magical.

Set in the East Derbyshire countryside, a short steam train ride from Butterley, where the festival organisers the Midland Railway Trust, site their museum, the festival is what the word twee was invented for. Girls walk around in vintage dresses, tents run workshops on making accessories out of junk, there is an indie-pop quiz, and actual dancing in the mosh pit.

The site is tiny. It's so tiny, in fact, that it doesn't have a campsite, but there are real camping sites (with a shower block and 24-hour bar) sited close by and it's close enough to catch the bus from Derby or Nottingham.

The line-up never consists of many familiar bands but you can be quite sure that all the music will be indie-pop. So throw away the timetable and just wonder about and see what can be found. This year MJ Hibbett & The Validators returned for the fourth year to sing some quirky songs about giant robots. Sitting with a pint of cider on the grass whilst the sun was shining, they were thoroughly entertaining. Internet Forever sang in what looked like an aircraft hanger, where the sound quality was poor, but this only really added to their lo-fi charm. The Loves went for a full-on spectacular with go-go dancers and Shrag's affectationately shambolic performance kicked off the dancing later on that day.

But seeing a gig on a steam train is what Indietracks is all about - no other festival will offer this. Whilst watching The Middle Ones wasn't easy (the carriage being so cramped you can't see anything and the steam train was so loud you can't hear anything), it was defiantly still a festival highlight.

Headliners were The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and 90s cult band The Pooh Sticks, who'd reformed just for the festival. Their self-deprecating take on indie-pop was perhaps a little baffling to younger festival goers like myself but The Pooh Sticks certainly seemed to be a crowd favourite with enthusiastic sing-a-longs, whilst the crowd waved placards the bands had brought along saying things like; 'Don't bore us, get to the chorus'.

There are no riots at this festival, nothing gets stolen; there aren't even any crowd surfers. In fact this is probably the politest and most mild-mannered festival ever. If there was a competition for the most twee festival then I'm sure Indietracks would win. You can count the indie pretentions on a checklist: girl-boy vocals - check; glocks and violins - check; songs with dry irony about failed relationships - check; boys in band t-shirts and girls in vintage dress - check. If this all sounds like wimpy indieness to you then this festival would be hell but if it sounds like fun then it's twee heaven - where indie kids go to dance and personally I love it (with hand drawn hearts on).

Comments (5)

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Really great review!

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Sounds goddamn idyllic to me. Must make it there next year.

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Sounds goddamn idyllic to me. Must make it there next year.

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I want to go to this next year, sounds great. Balls to Glastonbury and it's 'vibe', who the hell wants a Singstar stage with Belinda Carlise and Vanilla Ice, how is that the best festival in the world?

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Did you get to see Secret Shine Jennifer? One of my fav bands from the early 90s, wanted to go to Indietracks just to see them but couldn't!!

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