Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Bushstock 2016 - Preview

Now in its sixth year, West London's Bushstock has now become an automatic slot in my diary. Put together by the team behind independent record label and promoter Communion, this one day festival sells itself on both the strength of line up and the relaxed and easy going nature of the event. Starting off as primarily a 'new folk' affair, Bushstock has diversified to embrace a wider perspective of music that includes styles such as pop, soul and indie. 

Whilst every year there are some bigger names at the top of the bill - this year Bear's Den (hear their new single by clicking here) and the upwardly rising / Breaking More Waves favourite Shura (her new single is here) - for me one of the main thrills of Bushstock is being able to catch some exciting emerging talent lower down the bill. In previous years I've watched the likes of George Ezra and Jack Garratt play early afternoon sets and convert plenty of new fans in the event's centre piece venue St Stephen's Church, still on the rise Bastille perform to just a handful of punters in the Defector's Weld pub and Layla (one half of Oh Wonder) charm a small crowd in the Sinndercombe Social before she went on to bigger and better things. 

For 2016 there's an abundance of quality on the festival's undercard. Here are my 5 ones to watch of the newcomers, all carefully selected to ensure there are no clashes.

Joseph J Jones  (14:00 – St Stephen’s Church)

I featured Joseph J Jones on just the previous blog post (click here), so no introduction should really be needed, but just in case you missed it, he's a former boxer turned crooner with a rather lovely soulful tone. That should be perfect for St Stephen’s church. (Tip for the church – if you’re planning on staying there to see more than 1 act, take a cushion, the seats are very hard!).

Shells  (15:00 – St Stephen’s Church)

Singer and producer Sarah Sheldrake aka Shells recently wowed the blogosphere with her debut track Gold and it's easy to see why. A perfect match of emotive cello,violin and electronics it was a flawless start. With an EP to follow in September, Bushstock will be the first opportunity for music lovers to see what Shells is all about.

 Seramic (16:00 – St Stephen’s Church)

Another act that's taken the blogs by a storm, Seramic is the project of Marcus Foster, a singer who is no stranger to Bushstock having played the festival under his own name in 2012. Having already witnessed Seramic at The Great Escape festival in Brighton a few weeks ago, I'm eager to experience him again. Raw and from the heart, his music is a mix of big gospel voices, hard-riffing guitars like Prince used to do and soul by the bucket load.

Rationale (21:00 Bush Hall)

Rationale, like Seramic is another 'new' act from the past. In fact I wrote about Tinashe way back in 2010 (here) when he was banging out songs that had some soul but also messed around with clattering scrappy indie sounds reminiscent of Jamie T and Vampire Weekend. Now his sound is slicker, more soulful and it's already earned him a slot on Later....with Jools Holland. His debut album follows later this year.

 Vant  (21:45 – Defector’s Weld)

Raucous indie rock group Vant will probably demolish the rather small Defector's Weld. You're advised to wear your health and safety gear as they bring the noise, but with some decent songs too.

Bushstock takes place on the 18th June 2016. The final tickets are available from this link. Be quick though, it nearly always sells out.

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