Indie stomping ground: the Camden Crawl returns

More essential viewing than the Royal Wedding, Daniel Lomas looks ahead to Gaymer's Camden Crawl 2011.

First things first, what’s it all about?
This May Bank Holiday weekend will once again see Camden hijacked by hundreds of bands, artists, comedians and fans of all those things, as the colourful north London town hosts a two-day celebration of live music and entertainment.

Camden Crawl 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the event, which was named Best Metropolitan Festival at the UK Festival Awards last year, so you could say it has much to live up to.

Where’s it all happening?
Camden is synonymous with live music and alternative culture. The gigs take place at around 30 of its famous pubs and clubs, from the dingy to legendary; from the Hawley Arms, to the Electric Ballroom and Koko, the whole place will be heaving with punters watching live acts.

Who is playing that I might know?
Long-running US alternative rockers The Lemonheads and Killing Joke are up top of the bill alongside Razorlight and Blur man, Graham Coxon. The View, Guillemots, Miles Kane and Lethal Bizzle are all there too, but Camden Crawl is more about discovering new music. Your pass is valid for any show, so you’re free to duck in and out of gigs at your leisure; you never know, you might even happen upon the next big thing playing to lucky handful in one the town’s toilet venues.

Excellent! Got any tips for a first timer?
Get there early for any gigs you want to see. Entry is first come first served. No amount of diva-fitting will get you in once the venue is full and don’t forget to keep your eyes and ears open for surprise performances at any venue, at any time.

Make time to look around Camden’s markets, stables and goth shops too, it’s all part of it. Also have a drink down by the Lock if the sun is out. It might not be in the spirit of the festival, but you can’t spend all your time indoors if there’s some precious British sunshine.

We also suggest you get involved with the daytime entertainment. There are pub quizzes, comedy shows and various things going on all over the place, so get into town early on both days.

Oh, and finally, don’t bother seeing Razorlight.

Who should I watch then?
Well, try to catch this lot:

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All
Everyone’s talking about them, and as Tyler The Creator, Hodgy Beats and Co. bring the madness to our shores at last, you’d be well advised to get a spot as early as possible – you could be witnessing the future of hip-hop.

Dry The River
Heart-on-sleeve, emotional alt-folk with soaring choruses, the five-piece seek to give the Mumfords a run for their money.

Marques Toliver
Discovered busking on the streets of New York, and now based in London, Toliver’s dextrous and compelling live show combines his soaring voice and violin to create soulful baroque pop.

The Peckham rapper’s menacing, guttural delivery, gritty lyrics and ferocious beats will send the crowd wild, if the police will actually let him play this time.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Absorbing, contemplative, dreamy folk-pop – fans of Bon Iver or Elliott Smith will find much to enjoy here.

I want to hear more!
Then check out our Camden Crawl Spotify playlist here.

When is it and can I still get tickets?
It runs from Saturday 30 April until Sunday 1 May with the Bank Holiday Monday to recover. Tickets are still on sale, weekend tickets are £68.60 with single day tickets priced at £42.65 for either day.

Click here to buy Camden Crawl tickets.