Tuesday 17 June 2014

Camden Crawl 2014 - Preview

The Camden Crawl is a multi-venue festival with an identity crisis. It stretches as far back as 1997 when after 2 years of being a relatively straightforward event in North London (the first in 1995 had 5 venues, 15 bands and a CD for £5) it rebranded itself as The Intercity Crawl and stopped off in Manchester and Glasgow as well as Camden and used one London venue that wasn’t even in Camden at all (Kentish Town). Last year it went one further and relocated to Ireland (yes and renamed itself Camden Crawl Dublin) before returning to its scuzzy London home in 2014 with a new moniker; CC14.

CC14 has some noticeable changes to previous years. First, the date has shifted from its traditional May Day Bank holiday time-slot, when competition with other similar events was fierce. Second there’s been a shift back towards its indie and underground musical roots, although the inclusion of 80’s pop act ABC stands out like a very curious and sore thumb on the bill. In fact it’s the line-up of the festival that continues to give the event an identity crisis. With each venue being given to a different so called ‘tastemaker’ organisation who were given open briefs to curate their own line-up, the Camden Crawl has little sense of cohesion, something that other similar festivals still manage to achieve, sometimes from providing a more expansive line up, other times from settling for one particular niche.

It probably explains why The Camden Crawl has been offering 2 for the price of 1 ticket deals recently just a few weeks before the event. Despite having been one of the first UK multi venue wristband access festivals it hasn’t really capitalised on its status. The constant rebrands, its lack of clear direction and a line up that lacks the wow factor (a quick search on twitter finds very few punters tweeting about their excitement for the event) make it look a lesser cousin compared to many of its original imitators.

However, that’s not to say that Camden Crawl won’t be a highly enjoyable event. With day time comedy acts and late club nights fleshing out the festival it still has plenty to offer. But on face value, in what is now a very competitive market, this festival is going to need to stand tall, not crawl, to reassert itself as a market leader.

Camden Crawl 2014 takes place on Friday 20th June and Saturday 21st June 2014. Tickets are still available here. We’ll be publishing a review very soon after the event finishes. Check back then to see what the reality of the festival was like.

In the meantime here are two recommendations of acts to see that might suit readers of Breaking More Waves:

Violet Skies - The Lock Tavern - 7.45pm-8.30pm Friday

D/R/U/G/S - Electric Ballroom - 11.15pm-12.15am Friday

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