Feature: Indietracks Festival 2011

As Indietracks Festival celebrates its fifth year, Pete reviews the eccentric Derbyshire Indiepop festival for Hatch'd.

Last weekend legions of indie-loving folk from all over the world descended on Butterley’s Midland Railway Museum for Indietracks Festival 2011. Billed as “an Indiepop Festival, with TRAINS”, there is no ambiguity in what Indietracks offers up for its eager attendees.

Throughout the weekend carriages trip up and down past the site while bands play in either a corrugated tin chapel, a huge train shed (recently refurbished using donations from last year’s festival) or on the main stage – a large, outdoor stage at the bottom of a sloping lawn. The site itself sits in the picturesque Derbyshire countryside and with the age of festival-goers raging from toddler to pensioner, and craft workshops taking place throughout the weekend, Indietracks has a distinctly safer, more family-friendly vibe than your average festival.

Indietracks was kicked off in style on Friday night by Pocketbooks and Swedish duo, Suburban Kids with Biblical Names, while Saturday bought with it glorious sunshine and a particularly special moment as two hot air balloons drifted slowly through the clear blue skies over the main stage during the summery, Mancunian six-piece, Help Stamp out Loneliness’ afternoon set. Not even a generator failure moments before The Hidden Cameras set could dampen the buoyant mood as the Toronto-based group belted out their set regardless, the crowd drawn in close and deathly quiet in order to hear every moment of their beautiful, Jens Lekman-esque folk pop (they later played in the fully-functioning indoor stage, but the intimacy of their earlier, unplugged set had arguably been the bigger treat).

Edywn Collins headlined Saturday playing much of his latest album, ‘Losing Sleep’ amongst a handful of old favourites and inevitably, finishing with ‘Girl Like You’, which was eaten up by an enthusiastic crowd.

On Sunday, the weather grew warmer still as Frankie Machine took to the church stage to kick the day off with some beautiful acoustic tunes about relationships and Derby pubs. Another of Derby’s own, Haiku Salut played the sweltering church stage shortly after, performing a particularly charming set accompanied by strings and percussion courtesy of A Little Orchestra, and James Machin from My Psychoanalyst on guitar. Next up came my personal favourite moment of the weekend, New York City’s Jeffrey Lewis, who provided some much needed rock to the proceedings with a chaotic and upbeat set, complete with cameo from Herman Dune’s David-Ivar. Lewis was well received by the packed out train shed, particularly when performing his ‘Mosquito Mass Murderist’ rap and a fantastic cover of Sonic Youth’s ‘100%’.

Finally, Herman Dune appeared on the main stage (with Lewis returning the favour and making a guest appearance on guitar and vocals for a couple of tracks) and finished the weekend in suitable fashion, the John Peel-championed Frenchmen entertaining the crowd with a beautiful hour of poppy anti-folk.

Other notable highlights of Indietracks were Papa Topo, Moustache of Insanity, Sloppy Joe, MJ Hibbett and Ace Bushy Striptease, as well as the great post-band discos that took place each night (I’ve only just got all of the dust from the marquee out of my sinuses!) When not being aurally entertained, hungers and thirsts could be satiated by the delicious home-made curry, falafels and wedges available from the food stalls, and the amazing selection of incredible beers and stouts on offer.

If real ale, a friendly environment and indie-pop music are much more your bag than sex, drugs and rock & roll, Indietracks is well worth keeping an eye out for in 2012. I’m looking forward to it already.

To find out more about Indietracks, visit:



Photos by Matt Spalding.

Tags:  Music Gigs Live Bands Indietracks Derby Derbyshire Derbyartists

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