The end of September may be synonymous with the end of the summer festival season but with so many non-camping indoor events on offer, the season is showing few signs of slowing down. Perhaps only to confirm everyone’s growing suspicion that metropolitan festivals are now an essential element of the live music ecosystem, every year sees a growing number of new festivals springing up all over UK and Europe.
In fact, with the obvious combination of favourable circumstances, such as the start of the university term, band touring schedules and cheaper easily-available holiday resort accommodation, it seems strange that such events are a relatively new phenomenon. Add to this cost advantages of running festivals in places with already established music culture infrastructure, no additional policing or recycling costs and you have a clear winner. Cheaper tickets, big bills and no camping or weather misery. Autumn festivals, here we come!
9th – 11th October 2015, Newcastle
One of the best loved events in the alternative music calendar, this October TUSK is set to bring more ‘unclassifiable international music’ to the North East. Live music, exclusive UK shows, films, talks are all part of this unusual 3-day gathering. Many names may not be instantly recognisable but this festival is all about sonic adventures and underground communities. Not dissimilar in its attitude to Supernormal festival, TUSK is also famed for curating a truly international programme, from Japanese guitar noise to afro-rock from Burkina Faso and Egyptian electronica. What’s more, for a bargain weekend away, you can book 3-nights accommodation with a full weekend ticket costing only £145.
Music Highlights: Aaron Dilloway, Ashley Paul, Baba Commandment and the Mandingo Band, Demdike Stare, Maurice Louca, Reizen, Robert Millis and Gilles Aubry, Rhys Chatham, Sax Ruins, Sleeparchive
Tickets and full line up information: http://tuskfestival.com/information/
9th – 12th October 2015, Bognor Regis
“Rock Rock Rockaway Beach / Rock Rock Rockaway Beach / Rock Rock Rockaway Beach / We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach.” Taking its name and presumably its inspiration from The Ramones song of the same name, the inaugural Rockaway Beach festival is all hepped up and ready to rock the Butlin’s holiday camp in the south coast resort of Bognor Regis.
Its appeal is its mix of heritage and new acts, with a more experimental and genre bending edge. In fact, its likely to attact both those who may have actually seen The Ramones live and younger fans with more diverse musical palette. The price of your ticket includes 3-nights chalet accommodation. No camping, no queuing for showers but all the fun of a holiday camp adventure.
Music highlights: Band of Holy Joy, Du Blonde, Echo and the Bunnymen, Johnny Marr, Nadine Shah, PinkShinyultrablast, Public Service Broadcasting, The Fall, The Telescopes, Young Fathers
Tickets and full line up information: http://www.rockawaybeach.co.uk
A Carefully Planned Festival
17th – 18th October, Manchester
Returning to Manchester’s Northern Quarter for the 5th time, ACPF is a true gem of the local DIY scene. Organised entirely by volunteers, this event has played host to the likes of the now established names like Alt-J, Everything Everything and Peace. As a result, it has acquired a significant local following and reputation for smart bookings and friendly vibe. As well as new music, expect to hear more alternative under-the-radar sounds, with this year’s very strong psych showing being a big draw. With criminally cheap weekend tickets costing just £17.50, it is a must for anyone looking to see established names as well as getting a flavour of up-and-coming talent. In addition to the bands, this year’s brand new Merch Bazaar will feature very special editions of festival posters designed by the local artist Joy Morris.
Music highlights: Ashtray Navigations, Crushed Beaks, Hannah Lou Clark, ILL, Kagoule, Moscow Transport, Marsicans, Mechanical Owl, Mind Mountain, Trembling Bells
Tickets and full line up information: https://acpfestival.wordpress.com
GIITTV archives: Interview with ACPF co-founder Matthew Boycott-Garnett
23rd – 24th October, Bristol
With venues like fire stations and prison cells, Bristol’s new festival Simple Things looks set to literally take over the city. Boasting a variety of genres from reggae, grime, techno, retro-esque rock, noise-pop, neo-punk and everything in between, this event debutant will run – non-stop – for a staggering 18 hours, starting at 12pm and finishing at 6am the following morning. Looking at the sheer variety and immediacy of the line up, Simple Things looks well on their way to making one hell of a first impression. For starters, the opening show is none other than Godspeed You! Black Emperor! It’s a separate ticket from the rest of the event but it is certainly a heavy-weight entrance. A refreshingly different concept coupled with an impressively daring line up, this event maybe a gamble but a gamble worth taking amongst a plethora of uniform multi-venue metropolitan festivals.
Music highlights: Battles, Blanck Mass, Chastity Belt, Gnarwharls, Grumbling Fur, Micachu & The Shapes, Mike Skinner, Savages, Spectres, Wire
Tickets and full line up information: http://simplethingsfestival.co.uk
Liverpool Music Week
23rd – 31st October 2015, Liverpool
Following on from last year’s unmitigated success, Liverpool Music Week returns at the end of October for what will be its 11th annual outing. This year the event will showcase no less than 150 acts playing 20 amazing events. This well-established festival launches with an opening party at the multi-venue Kazamier complex featuring one of the most talked-about experimental artist, Holly Herndon, and her fellow art-pop explorers Micachu & the Shapes, and ends nine days later with its famous closing party at Camp and Furnace with a gigantic serving of new and established international talent.
In the interim, there is plenty of special shows, collaborations and performances in unique spaces, such as the intimate surroundings of the Scandinavian Church and the Dome of the stunning Grand Central Hall.
Music highlights: All We Are, Baio, Deerhunter, Gang of Four, Josh T. Pearson, Holly Herndon, Meilyr Jones, Richard Hawley, SOAK, Stealing Sheep
Tickets and full line up information here: http://www.liverpoolmusicweek.com
31st October, London
A very special event is taking place in London this Halloween. Take three spectacular Hackney locations, add legions of new talent and you have a new DICE-run
festival aiming to create a unique audience experience in some of the most impressive architectural spaces of East London.
Making up the holy trinity of venues are the magnificent 18th century church of St. John at Hackney, the Hackney Round Chapel, and Oslo, site of the old Hackney station and a well-loved DHP music hub.
Lush sonic soundscapes courtesy of Rhye and Aquilo, amongst others, will fill the arena at St. John church. Hackney Round Chapel will be playing host to doom rock and proto-indie/grunge sounds of The Wytches and The Thurston Moore Band respectively, while Oslo will be the home of some of the freshest young talent including Manchester-based Belgian producer Oceaán, creative teen sensation Pixx and the pop grunge of Icelandic all-girl trio Dream Wife.
Music highlights: Aquilo, Dream Wife, Jessica Pratt, Luke Sital-Singh, Nadine Shah, Oceaán, Pixx, Traams, The Thurston Moore Band, The Wytches
Tickets and full line up information:https://dice.fm/mirrors
Club to Club
4th – 8th November 2015, Turin, Italy
Iceland Airwaves maybe the best-known autumn European festival but it certainly is not the only European autumn festival worthy of a special mention. Now entering its fifteenth edition, Club To Club, the longest running Italian festival of music and arts, is a place where avant-garde meets pop.
Born in the noughties as a one-night club circuit, the festival grew to five days of round-the-clock shows from some of the most acclaimed and visionary artists, taking over unique venues of Italy’s most elegant and regal city. Taking place during the Contemporary Art Week, this year’s addition is an impressive array of exclusive European shows and rare appearances, such as Thom Yorke’s presentation of his latest solo album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes assisted by visuals by Tarik Barri.
Music highlights: Battles, Carter Tutti Void, Four Tet, Jack Garratt, Jamie xx, Holly Herndon, Kode9, Omar Souleyman, Todd Terje, Thom Yorke
Tickets and full line up information: http://clubtoclub.it/2015-en/
7th – 8th November 2015, Cardiff
Following a year as a scaled down one day event, Cardiff’s city festival Swn returns as a weekend event spanning across two days in early November. Borne in 2007 and taking Austin’s SXSW as its inspiration, Swn has now secured its ‘musical discovery’ credentials by showcasing emerging Welsh artists alongside fresh talent from further afield. Over the past few years the festival has played host to the likes of Perfume Genuis, Toy, Ben Howard, The Vaccines and Disclosure, who later have all gone on to bigger, often international, success.
Music highlights: Barberos, Du Blonde, FEWS, Hooton Tennis Club, Mechanical Owl, Palace, Seafret, Tender Prey, The Go! Team, Tuff Love
Tickets and full line up information: http://swnfest.com
All Tomorrow’s Parties 2.0 Nightmare Before Christmas 2015
27th – 29th November 2015, Prestatyn Holiday Centre, North Wales
Two years after ending its long and illustrious association with British holiday camps, the renowned All Tomorrow’s Parties collective makes a most welcome return to the residential festival arena. Where once it was Camber Sands and Minehead, now it will be Prestatyn; come the last weekend of November this year the North Wales’ coast will see a reprise of ATP’s famous Nightmare Before Christmas event.
Curated by the English visual artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, All Tomorrow’s Parties 2.0 Nightmare Before Christmas 2015 will follow firmly in the festival’s inspired, independent, alternative footsteps to the outer limits of true experimentation and high adventure. A bill that includes German neo-classical compositions, American existential indie-rock, Aussie post-punk and Chilean cosmic psychedelia gives a strong indication of ATP’s vast geographical and musically diverse reach.
Music highlights: Blanck Mass, Built to Spill, Courtney Barnett, Föllakzoid, Grimm Grimm, Natalie Prass, Max Richter, Total Control, Viet Cong, Younghusband
Tickets and full line up information: https://www.atpfestival.com/events/atpnbc112015/view/eventinfo
28th – 29th November 2015, Brighton
Brought to you by the promoters behind last year’s Wire curated DRILL festivities, Mutations is a new multi-venue event described as “a creative mass of genre hybrids and expression, delivering some of the most inspiring, creative and interesting music the world has to offer”.
One of the most striking aspects of Mutations is its intimacy, with a range of small venues, providing an altogether more personal experience. Another special feature is the festival’s programming approach: as the day progresses, stage numbers decrease, eliminating the worry of clashes and ensuring a stress free weekend of “constant music from doors open until festival close”.
And then, of course, there is Brighton and Hove, with the latter half of the city playing host to the majority of Saturday’s proceedings, while Sunday punters will enjoy more of Brighton.
Music highlights: Chastity, Jane Weaver, Josh T.Pearson, Kagoule, Lightening Bolt, Lowly, Metz, Natalie Prass, Ought, Plastic Mermaids
Tickets and full line up information: http://www.mutationsfestival.com
Photo credit: Simon Godley