My first memory of this year’s Indietracks is Marianthi’s heart-shaped brooch. This sort of set the scene for the whole weekend, because, without wanting to get all Summer of Love on yo’ momma’s ass, it’s the one weekend where the love and passion of so many people comes bursting out.
It’s testament to how wonderful Stuart and Emma and Nat and Andy and Dan (and others I’ve probably missed out) are that we get to come and kick our socks off in the middle of Derbyshire once a year. And that’s without mentioning the good-natured-beyond-the-call-of-duty-ness of the volunteers at Midland Railway. As one of them said to me as he was tucking into his packed lunch on Sunday: “All we want to do is make sure people come and have a good time.” Mission accomplished, comrade. And then some.
I’m too tired to write out a proper review. And, what’s more, mere words can’t really relay how I feel about this precious festival, but here is a list of my highlights:
- Thinking, mistakenly, that the Red Shoe Diaries had stormed off stage after two songs on Saturday. When, in reality, they’d just finished their soundcheck. I’m an idiot.
- Watching my little boy enjoy his first music festival was a constant source of joy. I hope we’ve planted some kind of seed in his head and he’s not out robbing ironing boards off OAPs by the time he’s eleven, or something.
- Watching and listening to Mark Hibbett try and say “Parallelograms” in a “refreshed” state on Saturday afternoon.
- The Smittens. I never quite get The Smittens on record, but live they make absolutely perfect sense. The highlight of Saturday for me.
- Leaving early. Because of the need to get the boy to bed at a decent time, we left at about half six each day. But it was fantastic to know that you were going to sleep in your own bed each night. And to feel all refreshed each morning.
- Catching up with some amazing friends; the sort you feel like you see every weekend, when in reality some of them you haven’t seen for a year, but it doesn’t matter, because you can just carry on where you left off. I love that.
- Sunday morning on the lovely, deserted platform at Swanwick. And the little journey on the narrow gauge railway that leads to A SECRET PUB. One for next year, that.
- MJ Hibbett and the Validators. Boy, oh boy. What a bunch of pop fizz tunes. What an ace crowd. What a band. It’s only when you haven’t seen them for a while, that you realise what a gem of a band they are.
- The Cannanes. The ten or so people at the front knew what they were on about. I’m a big hairy brute, but then nearly had me in tears.
- Seeing another big hairy brute of a man sat on the floor, KNITTING. I’m all against the rosette and bunting brigade, but this was kind of special.
- The Specific Heats, who were, if anything, even better than last year, and whose new members seemed to have fitted in pretty much seamlessly.
- Standard Fare, who are now a big proper festival band, aren’t they? Yet still so meek and mild. Long may they last, and the new stuff sounds ace.
Honourable mentions go to The Hillfields and The Just Joans. I caught a couple of songs from their sets, and they sounded great on that whopping big PA on the indoor stage. And The Loves, for their highly camp half hour.
I don’t go to any other festivals any more. Partly because I can’t be doing with hordes of twats who think staying up all night, braying in a Home Counties accent, is fun. Nor can I handle the fact that everything thing on site is sponsored to within an inch of its life, including the stewards. But mainly because nothing will compare Indietracks, alright?
I’m really tired now. Is it next year yet?