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Festival Folk: urbanites

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Luke Warren | 23 February 2009

Species' description:
With a well-thumbed copy of their bible, the NME, barely contained in a pair of seemingly sprayed-on skinny jeans, urbanite indie kids' spiritual home is Shoreditch, east London, where trends are so far forward it's as if that gunshot you just heard was a starter pistol for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Urban festivals, to which they flock, are perfect for the indie kid, due to the complete lack of mud, prevalence of mirrored shop windows, and close proximity to electrical sockets (for the essentials; hair straighteners, mobile phones, and iPods).

Nicknames:
Hoxton heroes, Indie Cindy, urbanites

Festival drink of choice:
Lager, cider, Jack Daniels (so rock and roll), the cock-muff-bumhole (Goldschlager, Baileys and Barcadi).

Where can they be found?

Camden Crawl 2009Various, Camden, north London – 24-26 April
Crawling around Camden is a favourite pastime for countless indie kids. Now they can pay to do it together in an organised event, with over 30 hours of music in 40 venues. Previously the Camden Crawl has featured not only current artists as varied as The Cribs, Hot Chip and Lethal Bizzle, but other, more legendary stars such as Buzzcocks and Billy Bragg. Of course, the line-up for this year's event is a closely guarded secret, but surprise guests may emerge at any venue, at any moment - in 2007 Amy Winehouse was as surprised as everyone else to appear, after thinking Camden High Street had looked a bit busier than normal.

Tickets: £32.50 for one day, £55 for two.

Brighton City Festival 2009Various, Brighton, dates TBC
Like many of the other festivals listed here, the unique thing about Brighton City Festival is its varied range of musical styles, including drum and bass (grimey), hip hop (yhup) and techno (phat). Last year 100 acts played Brighton City Festival in 14 venues over three days.  

Tickets: TBC, but expect prices to be around £15 per ticket

Dot To Dot 2009Various, Nottingham and Bristol – 23-24 May
One of the more colourful urban festivals, Dot To Dot is spread across two days, 140 miles and various indie venues across Bristol and Nottingham. Rumours suggesting that when these venues are joined together on a map they depict a bandwagon sadly remain unconfirmed. As does this year's line-up, though fans can expect an eclectic mix of DJs, as well as up and coming indie, rock, dance and pop acts.

Tickets: £25 – festival wristband

The Sauchiehall Crawl 2009Various, Glasgow, Scotland – Dates TBC
Like many who find their 'inspiration' there, The Sauchiehall Crawl was influenced by the fun in Camden. Named after the Glasgow street on which the three venues, ABC2, The Beat Club and Nice ‘n’ Sleazy can be found, last year 11 bands strutted their stuff, including The Ads, El Padre and We Were Promised Jetpacks. You’ll likely to find more emerging bands in 2009, as soon as the festival dates emerge too.

Tickets: TBC, but expect price to be between £15-20.

Hinterland 2009Various venues, Glasgow, Scotland - 30 April - 1 May
A two-day festival, Hinterland features art through the day and music from the early evening, in 20 venues across Glasgow. 30 bands are due to perform, including Micachu and T4 tykes Fangs and Tommy Reilly. DJs are set to soundtrack the parties as they continue into the wee hours (the early hours, not when you find yourself about to use your wardrobe as a toilet).

Tickets: £23.50 for one day, £35 early bird (or £42 standard) for two days.

Concrete and Glass 2009Various, east London, dates TBC
And it’s to east London again, for the Concrete And Glass festival, that attempts to mate music and art (presumably because these completely separate entities weren’t already bedfellows). Across two days last year, Concrete And Glass featured 20 commissioned art exhibitions and 100 bands, including TV On The Radio, who two months previously had dropped ‘Dear Science’, many critics’ album of 2008, and Twisted Wheel, who have made the hype-mongers salivate into 2009.

Tickets: TBC but expect prices around £22.50 for one day, £35 for two.

The Great Escape 2009Various, Brighton – 14-16 May
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, especially when there’s a three-day music festival going on, with more rock in 34 venues across Brighton than can be found on the beach. 10,000 people are expected to attend The Great Escape, including 3,000 industry experts, all on a treasure hunt for the elusive ‘next big thing’ and, all the while, trying to bury the memory of the not-so-good bands. A massive 300 acts are scheduled to play, all covering a wide range of subgenres under the umbrella of indie. They all share something in common though; they are all hugely hyped, such as Esser, Pulled Apart By Horses and The Soft Pack.

Tickets: £39.50 for the super early bird three-day ticket.

Liverpool Music Week 2009
- Various Liverpool, dates TBC
European Capital of Culture in 2008, Liverpool, home of legends such as The Beatles, The Las and, er, The Wombats, saw 300 acts play in more than 20 venues, including the world famous Cavern Club, for Liverpool Music Week. Big sponsors brought in big names like The Fall, Dizzee Rascal and Vampire Weekend in 2008, but the real pull of this gem is the free gigs all over the city, which is unbelievable credit-crunching value.

Tickets: Prices vary on a gig-by-gig basis

Stag And Dagger 2009
Various venues in London (21 May), Leeds (22 May) and Glasgow (23 May)
After the success of last year’s event in Hoxton and Shoreditch, Stag And Dagger is back in east London for 2009, adding extra dates further north in Leeds and Glasgow. The buzzword here is ‘diversity’. In 2008 a range of artists featured, including untidy garage punk Jay Reatard; unabashed electronic pixie Little Boots and universally unthreatening reggae head Natty. Adventures In The Beetroot Field and Margaret organise Stag And Dagger, in association with Vice magazine, buzzwords here being ‘wow’, ‘it’, ‘must’, ‘be’ and ‘cool’.  

Tickets: TBC, but expect prices to be around £15-20

Swn Festival 2009
- Various, Cardiff, date TBC
Combining music, art, and film, Swn Festival in Cardiff featured 100 artists, using feedback (The Chapman Family), laptops (James Yuill) and turntables (Rob da Bank) to make a racket over three days in 2008. Curated by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, Swn festival is back for 2009 with more names to look out for a year later.

Tickets: Expect tickets to be around £45

Accommodation to all events is available here.

By Luke Warren

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