We had a chat with Nat, one of the organisers behind the fantastically unique Indietracks, taking place later this month:
Now in its 13th year, Indietracks seems to go from strength to strength, getting bigger and better every year! What is it that drives you each and every day?
Like the rest of the team, I work for Indietracks voluntarily on top of my day job, and a number of things drive me. Firstly, just the opportunity to work on such a friendly event that people seem to love and return to each year. Secondly, the need to raise as much money for the railway charity as we can - it's such a precious venue, and we're really proud to be able to help every year. And finally - it's fantastic to work on an event that is able to showcase some of the newest and most exciting bands coming through at the moment. If we can play just a tiny part in helping them to get more exposure, then our job is done!
The music festival choice in the UK at the moment is huge, and this number is growing every year - being able to differentiate is the key. How is Indietracks different to any other and what can we expect for this year?
Well, we're definitely a lot smaller than most music festivals - we have around 1,500 people over the weekend. And of course our venue is also very unique - I don't know of many music festivals held in the grounds of a steam railway! However, I think our main unique selling point is our independent, creative ethos - while a lot of the bands we feature are very successful, they're not necessarily signed to major labels and retain independence and artistic freedom to what they do.
With this in mind, does it get more difficult every year to attract the attendance?
We're very lucky that we have a loyal crowd of fans who return each year, and also that we manage to book exciting and new bands each year which also bring in new visitors too - who often go on to become regular attendees! Indietracks feels like a big annual reunion of friends and communities - it really is a lovely atmosphere and great to see so many familiar faces every year.
This year you’ve got some fantastic music including Stealing Sheep and Martha, how do you go about compiling the line up?
Every year we decided pretty early on on the headliners and larger bands that we want to invite, but we also invite open applications through our website and social media. We have more than 500 applications every year, so sifting through them is a pretty enormous task, but it's also a brilliant opportunity to discover new bands that we may not have otherwise heard of!
Being around the music festival scene for a while, what would you say are the three essential aspects to a successful one?
Music is definitely the most important aspect - booking a range of both established and new and upcoming bands, to hopefully keep everyone happy! Secondly - always being willing to listen and learn! Every year we look to see what we can do to improve Indietracks and make it a better experience for everyone. And finally - steam trains, haha! You can't really go wrong with a few beautiful old steam trains around :)
Lastly, what would be in your music festival survival kit for the weekend?
Firstly, the Indietracks Spotify compilation to get ready for the weekend, secondly the Indietracks app so that I can schedule my band viewing, and finally definitely both a cagoule and suncream so I'm prepared for all weathers!