Napa Live: can indie kick it in the Med?

We send Phil Brady to investigate...


United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Phil Brady | 29 June 2011

As the mud-caked boots of the Glastonbury faithful dry out on doorsteps and the jeans that we bought especially for it are left behind amidst the flooded tents and stray wellies, the echoes of what has so far been a wonderful UK festival season wash over us.

It is midsummer and the sun is shining, but in the UK we will never be safe from the inevitable downpour that can turn a blissful tan-drenched adventure into a mud fest. So what is the answer?

Maybe the pioneers of the dance culture had it right by taking our young revellers out of the country and across to muck-free territories to spend the summer dancing to the background of a Balearic sunset.

Now we’re witnessing a change of scene as our festivals try and decamp to these dance territories and take the bands with them, leaving the rain to fall on fields in a green and pleasant land.

“I have been here 10 years,” says promoter Chris Topliss. “About three years ago we opened The Live Lounge and started putting on live bands. Last year we did Napa Live for the first time. Although Ayia Napa is famous for urban garage, there is funky house as well, there are loads of nice restaurants here, the beaches are beautiful, there is always something going on."

Just as Ibiza Rocks and Mallorca Rocks before them have seen some success, Chris tells us it is getting easier for them. “We are following suit from Ibiza Rocks. This venue is like a spiritual haven,” he goes on to tell us. “Napa will always be famous for urban but Ibiza was always famous for dance music and now it is just as famous for Ibiza Rocks.”

So as the better-known festivals take hold of the other Mediterranean islands, it’s Cyprus’ turn for a stake in the festival pie. “It’s a little bit cheeky but because Ibiza Rocks have already done it, it’s been a little bit easier for me, it just puts it into people’s minds that Napa Live is the same as Ibiza Rocks but it’s in Ayia Napa, they have done the ground work already and that helps people understand what it is,” Chris adds. "It’s been a little bit easier to push the idea especially getting travel companies to help you."

Ayia Napa is the busiest resort in the med now, so it is just a matter of time before the kids catch on to what has been a billion pound industry back home.

"When the garage thing got going ten years ago, a lot of clubs got onto it and became millionaires in two seasons so everyone started following suit,” Chris remember. “When that scene died, they’d made a lot of money but didn’t know how to evolve from there. So I saw a gap and thought no one is putting live bands on, and at the end of the day, live indie music is forever."

The Twang are one of the groups playing this year’s event. Their bassist player, Jon Watkin, joins in the discussion. "I think there is a lot of shit music around and I think it is a good idea to put bands on in a place like this. I remember when it all kicked off with a couple of big tunes out here and it got moody, so I think something like this will change the whole atmosphere and get people listening to live music again. "

Cypriot’s may appreciate the change of scene too. "It must be hard for the locals as the English come and just take over their town,” Jon adds.

We ask him if The Twang plan on playing many more festivals back home this year. "The highlight of this year has been finishing our record. We fell out with the guitarist and sacked him so we recorded it without him. I had to fill in on some of the guitars and the lad that recorded us is playing on there too.

“Then it’s the final artwork debate and deciding on the title. We think it will be called ‘Come Unstuck’ unless someone comes up with something better,” he adds.

Napa Live is a refreshing change for the outfit. “We are not doing any festivals this year, we played Reading and V a few times, we can’t just keep playing them,” Jon says.

As we mentioned in part one
, Andy Metcalfe, frontman in Sound Of Guns threw a TV from his hotel balcony while out here, what antics hairy antics have The Twang been up to? "I have done some stupid things while on tour,” remembers Jon, “I got fined a grand last week by our label for smashing a tour bus windscreen through."

But the question remains. Do we really want to leave our green and pleasant land for sun scorched horizons? Isn’t getting a bit wet all part of our unique festival experience? Well, let’s wait and see as this year’s festival season continues to unfold.


Related Artists

Hide Search Results

Festival Search

Festival Mobile App


All Festival Tickets