Bushstock Exchange: 30 Bands For Under 30 Quid

Guillemots at Gaymers Camden Crawl 2011 by Milly Colley
Guillemots at Gaymers Camden Crawl 2011 by Milly Colley

Dane Cobain sets off early on the fifteen minute Central Line journey from VF Towers to Bushstock 2011 with advice, information and the customary Spotify playlist.

Shepherd’s Bush? Not exactly Donnington or Worthy Farm…
Maybe not, but it’s a hell of a lot more intimate and easier to get to with transport links to the Hammersmith & City and Central Lines and overground services to Willesden, Watford and Clapham Junction. The venues range from trendy bars to converted Edwardian toilets and even a church, and they’re all within easy walking distance of each other. You can think of it as West London’s Camden Crawl, only with more time to put your feet up.

But why can’t I just go to Camden Crawl?
Because Camden Crawl is over and has a completely different approach – you won’t get Odd Future causing a stage invasion at Bushstock, you’re more likely to fall in love with Peggy Sue (a band, not a person) or catch Guillemots perform a mind-blowing version of The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. It’s a festival for chilled out indie and contemporary folk fans who prefer perfect harmonies and melodic acoustic guitars to the screech of distortion and front men that look like they’ve accidentally sat on a pneumatic pogo-stick. Also, this year is the inaugural event – time for you to become a trendsetter.

You’re starting to convince me – who’s playing?
Thirty bands across four venues, including BRIT Award nominated four-piece Guillemots, singing violinist Marques Tolliver, anti-folkers Tom Williams and the Boat, singer-songwriter Fink and Glastonbury Emerging Talent winners Treetop Flyers.

They’re not obscure enough for me.
Well what about the rootsy soul of Michael Kiwanuka, alternative duo The Welcome Committee or Greenwich Tea Party? There’s something for everyone (except perhaps for neo-Nazi punks or goat-sacrificing black metallers), from the alternative folk in the daytime to the after-show DJs and the screening of Communion Records’ ‘Flowerpot Sessions’ video to mark the release of a three CD and DVD digipak.

I’m convinced but I can’t decide who to see!
Here, try these:

Peggy Sue – ‘Watchman’
What makes this trio great? Probably the weird percussion set-up that gives a complete sound despite the fact that you could fit the whole band, instruments and all, in the toilet of a Megabus and still expect them to perform.

Three Blind Wolves – ‘Hotel’
With a sound like a big, bad mouse trying to blow your house (or hotel) down, these guys could be the lovechildren of M. Ward and Marcus Mumford. Who cares if they can’t count (there are four of them) – at 2:10 they’re listening to Arcade Fire on the stereo and that’s good enough for us.

Tom Williams and the Boat – ‘Concentrate’
Whoever decided to put them on in the Shepherd’s Bar made a mistake: they’d clearly prefer the converted toilets of the Ginglik. If they sound like this unplugged in a urinal with only a third of the band present (Tom and violinist Geri who looks scarily at home in the gents), imagine how they sound on stage.

Sarah Blasko – ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’
Once you get past the shoddy audio and video quality, you’ll discover a gem by the Australian singer-songwriter as she showcases her own take on Crowded House’s greatest (only) hit. She’s good enough for the 2006 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, so she’s good enough for us.

Guillemots – ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’
Okay, the last two songs have been covers and we’ve already mentioned this one, but blame the VF Editor for unleashing this on the office. Make sure you don’t miss Guillemots perform tracks from their recent third album ‘Walk the River’, then get yourself to Ginglik for the after-party.

I want… no, I DEMAND more!
Calm down and check out our Bushstock Spotify playlist here.

Got any tips?
Make sure you know how you’re getting home, particularly if you’re staying for the after-party. Last tubes and trains leave a little after midnight and start up again just before six, but there’s the option of the N207 night bus, which goes from Uxbridge to Holborn. Click here to see where it stops. Alternatively, think about getting a hotel (although it’s likely to cost more than the ticket) or steal a friend’s sofa.

Anything else I should know?
Bushstock 2011 takes place on Saturday 4 June, showcasing thirty different acts across four venues in Shepherd’s Bush, West London. Tickets are still on sale at £27.50 – according to our in-house Carol Vorderman (a calculator on an iPhone), that’s less than a pound per band!

Sounds good to me!
So what are you waiting for?

Click here to view the Bushstock line-up

Click here to buy Bushstock tickets.