Indietracks: 26th-28th July 2013, Ripley

[wide]4777389 | Indietracks: 26th 28th July 2013, Ripley[/wide]Taking place on the weekend of 26th-28th July at Midland Steam Railway in Ripley, Indietracks is one of the friendliest and most unique music festivals in the UK. Predominantly focussed on indiepop, Indietracks is a very relaxed festival with a great party vibe. So far this year, the line-up is is looking extra special with Camera Obscura, The Pastels, bis, Helen Love, Brilliant Corners, The Lovely Eggs, Still Corners, The Wave Pictures as a great selection of bands from the UK and around the world.

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Ahead of the festival, we spoke to one of the festival organisers Andy Hudson:

{Counterfeit} You’ve excelled yourself this year with the bookings so far. You must be pleased getting the likes of The Pastels, Camera Obscura and BIS on board?

{Andy Hudson} Thank you! Yes, we’re delighted with this year’s line-up. We’ve been asking The Pastels and Bis for a while so it’s brilliant that they can make it. Camera Obscura will be really special too, having first played here four years ago. Quite a few bands on the line-up are releasing new albums this year – such as Still Corners, Helen Love, Haiku Salut, The Understudies, The Magic Theatre and The Ballet – and there’s a few really new bands that we’re really excited about, including The Tuts, Fear of Men and Martha. It’s going to be brilliant!

{CF} You have a lot of international acts on the line-up this year. Any bands we should particularly keep an eye out for?

{AH} All our bands are amazing of course, it’s hard to pick any out! I’m really looking forward to The Ballet, who are from Canada and are playing their first shows here since 2009. Their Mattachine album is incredible and we’ve heard great reports about the new one. Monnone Alone (Mark from Australian indiepop legends The Lucksmiths) will be an amazing intimate show, and it’s also The Secret History’s first trip over from the USA. I’m also personally looking forward to Making Marks (Norway) and Alpacha Sports (Sweden), but others on our team will have their own favourites.

{CF} Indietracks is renowned for its friendly atmosphere. What do you put this down to?

{AH} I think the steam railway location helps, and the fact that it’s staffed by wonderful, friendly railway volunteers. We’re really lucky that the Midland Railway are happy to host a music festival at their site each year – it’s a beautiful location! We seen to attract a very friendly crowd, which I think is shared with lots of other indiepop events. There’s a similar welcoming atmosphere at events like London popfest, Wales Goes Pop, the OddBox weekend, Now We Are and pretty much every indiepop gig I’ve been to. I can’t really explain it, but there’s definitely a special atmosphere.

{CF} Do you ever think: “hell, let’s just book a metal band?”

{AH} Haha, it would be fun to throw a few wildcards in each year. I think people might really enjoy it, but we’ve only a limited number of slots and it would mean dropping a band we really like. There’s quite a lot of fuzzy noise, screaming distortion and punk at Indietracks though – Flowers, Helen Love, Cars Can be Blue, Good Grief and Martha will definitely keep people awake!

{CF} Who are you most excited about seeing this year?

{AH} There’s a few bands playing rare shows that I’m really excited about. It will be the first ever show from The Magic Theatre, the first Helen Love show for over 10 years, and the first time The Secret History have visited the UK! The Pastels and Bis are also making rare appearances, and I’m also really looking forward to The Wave Pictures.

{CF} I know many people who faithfully attend Indietracks every year. What do you ascribe this loyalty to?

{AH} Lots of people have been really loyal, and we just feel really lucky and grateful that that’s the case. We just try and make the festival as attractive as possible each year, and hope that people keep coming along. I’d like people to feel that the festival belongs to everyone. Lots of our regular attendees post suggestions on the Anorak messageboard each year for bands they’d like to play, and we always take that into account when booking bands. Over 500 bands were suggested on that forum this year, and we managed to book lots of the most popular suggestions. Hopefully things like that make the festival feel inclusive and show that we’re listening.

{CF} What’s your favourite band that’s played the festival over the years?

{AH} Possibly La Casa Azul, who closed the outdoor stage in 2009. I had no idea what to expect, but from the moment he stepped out in a motorcycle suit it was clear it was going to be a special performance. The songs and delivery were captivating and the visuals were amazing. I also loved Standard Fare last year, Edwyn Collins and The Hidden Cameras in 2011 and Stars of Aviation in the railway church in 2010.

{CF} Which bands would you love to book for the festival? Is there anyone you’ve been trying to get for a while?

{AH} Well, we’ve actually booked pretty much our dream line up for this year. We’ve been asking The Pastels, Bis and Helen Love for a little while and were so excited to book Camera Obscura. Otherwise, it’s not really possible to talk publicly about bands we haven’t booked yet. We’ve some great ideas that will hopefully happen one day. Stuart Mackay, who originally founded Indietracks, always said he really wanted “a certain ex-Sarah Records” band to reform for Indietracks. I’d love us to make that happen for Stuart, but honestly don’t know who he meant. This has reminded me to ask him!

{CF} Has anyone ever just come for the free train rides?

{AH} I wouldn’t rule it out – the trains seem really popular! If anyone was coming to the railway just for the steam train rides, they’d probably pick a quieter weekend, but they’re very welcome to Indietracks of course! We’ll have them dancing in our discos before the day is out!

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Read last years Indietracks highlights