Thursday, 12 April 2012

Camden Crawl 2012 - Preview

The UK festival market is depressed and over saturated, the evidence is clear and damning – last year Truck festival went into liquidation, Standon Calling was reportedly well undersold and this year we’ve already seen the cancellation of big guns such as Big Chill and Sonisphere.

Yet one breed of festival that appears to be relatively untouched by cancellations as yet is the multi-venue urban festival. The concept is simple. Buy a ticket, exchange for a wristband plus timetable and set off to see how many bands you can catch over the course of an afternoon / evening. In austere times the advantages to your wallet with this type of festival can be significant. Tickets are cheaper, you can avoid paying exorbitant prices for food from vendors that have got you over a barrel in a restricted market and travel and equipment costs may be lower. Plus there’s the advantage of the possibility of a comfy bed at the end of a long day with no one off their faces bawling their head off in a half collapsed tent covered in puke two feet away from you.

There’s a sense of history with the Camden Crawl – it is the original multi-gig event having initially run between 1995 and 1997. Then it was just one evening and ran between just a small number of venues, with no corporate branding, no queues to get in and showcased some of the newest indie bands, with the ticket price including a compilation CD of all the acts playing. The ’97 event was known as the Intercity Crawl and hop skipped and jumped from Camden (Wednesday) to Manchester (Thursday) and Glasgow (Friday). After that the crawl ran no more until 2005 when it relaunched with 40 bands playing in 10 venues over the course of the evening. Since then it’s continued to expand to this year’s bank holiday extravaganza that encompasses over 300 artists and events, an opening party at Koko, comedy and spoken word, pop quizzes, a record fair, hip hop karaoke, musical bingo and much more all within a 2 mile stretch of north London.

Like any multi-venue festival the usual rules apply, namely when the more popular acts play in small pubs they are likely to be over-subscribed, so plan in advance as soon as you get your timetable (unfortunately times are not released in advance) and get to those locations early if you want to see those bands.

And talking of bands, here are 4 recommendations from Breaking More Waves of acts appearing at this years Camden Crawl. Our Camden Crawl 2012 review will follow very shortly after the event.

Lucy Rose

An acoustic chanteuse with just a smidgeon of indie rock and a big dollop of acoustic beauty in her sound, honey voiced Lucy Rose has been regularly featured on Breaking More Waves, including being named as one of our Ones to Watch for 2012. So now it’s 2012 why not go watch her as we suggested as she warms up for what will her very busy summer and a forthcoming album.

Lucy Rose - Night Bus (Acoustic Demo)

Willy Moon

Another solo act that we put in our Ones to Watch 2012 list, Willy Moon is currently the smartest dressed man in pop and very much occupies his own niche – a mix of 50’s retro Bo Didley rock and jive mixed with more modern hip-hop beats. It was his loose limbed videos that first got our attention back in August 2011, but the question is will his live show match up?

Willy Moon - She Loves Me


For those who want something a little scuzzier, something that maybe sounds a little more like the bands that appeared at the original Camden Crawl back in 1995, then Novella fit the bill very nicely indeed. Novella is Sophy Hollington, Hollie Warren and Suki Sou. They met in Brighton and formed the band in February 2010 before moving to London. Fuzzy guitars, swirling tunes and lovely listless female vocals, Novella are probably the least commercial of these four recommendations and all the better for it.

Novella - Santiago

St Lucia

Our final choice is St Lucia, who is Brooklyn based Jean-Philip Grobler, although he’s originally from South Africa. His electronic pop sounds are awash with summery vibes typified by Closer Than This streaming below, and he’s bringing them to the UK for the first time this May, including the Camden Crawl. His debut EP is out now on the boutique label Neon Gold.

St Lucia - Closer Than This

The Camden Crawl is on the 4-6th May (opening party only on the 4th) and tickets are available here.


Andy Von Pip said...

"the advantage of the possibility of a comfy bed at the end of a long day" Which wins it for me ! And we have Sound City in Liverpool soon.

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

And of course you can leave your wellies at home too !