The mystic Derbyshire countryside is best absorbed through gin-heavy eyes in the dark of night, gently shimmering melodies and Pop hits ringing in your heart and ears at the country’s most unique and fun railway station. Here’s a pop fest like no other – Indietracks.
Clear, starry skies greeting us on the opening Friday night, we scramble out of the car filled up to our necks with cheap ciders and ASDA pasties straight into the first discotheque of the weekend, which leaves our faces glistening and hearts craving the following nights. Waking up with three heads here doesn’t matter at all, it’s straight back into the action. Another Scrumpy-filled weekend is in the making, and Chorusgirl, opening the festival for us with their Saturday midday set of instantly heart-grabbing jangle pop, clear bass lines and Silvi Wersing’s impassioned, gliding vocals, are brilliant.
Feature, a three piece from London, hit us soon after with fuzzy guitars, punching bass lines and beautifully harmonious vocals sweetly bouncing off each other, their big hammer ‘Reeling’ imprinting itself into our heads to remain long after the gig.
London’s Wolf Girl then play a little gem of a set in the corner of the merch tent, in amongst the warm glow of the zines, 7”s, CDs and cassettes. We also stumble upon the acoustic folk magic of ex-Hefner man Jack Hayter, handing back a cigarette we owed him from 1946 before shooting to the outdoor stage to see Mammoth Penguins taking it by storm, Emma Kupa’s dazzling soul voice belting out twisting modern outsider anthems.
We later find Emma on the creaking wooden floors of the packed railwaymen’s church, another beautiful touch to this festival, doing her own set accompanied by guitars and sublime banjo, faces and ears longingly glued to the windows outside in attempt to catch every single sound. The hallowed wooden interior of the church is soon to be metaphorcally, blown apart and built again by the pulsing basslines and throbbing guitar lines of Grubs, setting heads and legs fervently tapping and swaying.
Festival favourites The Wave Pictures then take me back a few years to the small confines of Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach’s bottom floor, my first and most beautiful time of seeing them. Within moments I’m thrown back to the magic of the songs that grabbed me by the heart back then, bouncing, shimmering lyrical gems like ‘Instant Coffee Baby’ and ‘Spaghetti’. These are songs that hover you in the air like a Dai Vernon magic trick. The scene has been amply set for the night’s Fortuna Pop! discotheque back at the campsite, as the scrumpy draws the curtains on all known forms of consciousness.
The monsoon that descends upon us on Sunday doesn’t matter. Covered head to toe in waterproofs and hi-vis (apart from Dai Dominoes in his shrunken silk shirt) we get to the outdoor rainy stage for Colour Me Wednesday, who play a defiant set of ballsy, upbeat feminist Pop, including the very special ‘Purge Your Inner Tory’ with it’s fine lyrical melodic sweep. Next up are Fireworks, the sheer punch and sweeping romance of heart-sweepers like ‘Runaround’ getting imprinted in the head along with Feature’s ‘Reeling’ for the foreseable future.
Sunday is big on the bold and brilliant punk ladies – The Tuts’ Nadia storming the locomotive shed stage dressed in traditional Indian attire, instantly owning it and everyone’s hearts, waving the big middle finger in the name of the essential racial diversity of Pop.
Before we hit the campsite tent for the final night of dancing at the disco, covered in glitter and dust, Martha steal the show with a hysterically throbbing set of raw, honest, punk-tinged, gender binary-blasting Pop, sealing the undying love of the massive crowd at the locomotive shed (Indietracks’ main indoor stage) for the year ahead. The scrumpy is popped like champagne and guzzled like water, and the Sunday night discotheque flies. Once again, Indietracks has felt like a long lost home for three sparkling days.
Anna Arts & Dai Diseases (Of England)