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Posted: June 12th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Indietracks is a festival where the worlds of indie-pop and trains collide. Not literally of course; that’d be horrendous. But it’s certainly a unique concept, mixing up a two-day festival of some excellent indie-pop with train-related fun. Organiser Stuart Mackay kindly answered some questions below, and even more kindly has offered a pair of free tickets to one of the lucky people that can answer the question at the end of the interview…

Tell us about Indietracks.
Indietracks predominately showcases indiepop music, which actually encompasses a surprisingly wide range of styles. We had our first night in April, a much smaller event with three bands playing on the station platform (Pocketbooks, Slow Down Tallahassee & Tottie), and in-between bands everyone went for a steam train ride with DJs (Spiral Scratch, Offbeat & Tastyzine) and dancing (and a bar!) on-board. It was an amazing success, hailed by many as the best indiepop event ever. But the formula meant it was also restrictive in numbers, and so our ideas for a second event grew and grew until they became this two day festival.

What should a visitor to the festival expect?
This event’s at a different station from the first, so visitors will need to catch a steam train to get to the festival site where there’ll be an outdoor stage and a smaller stage in a church. The festival arena, out in the Derbyshire countryside, is surrounded by museums – featuring railways, static power engines, buses and even a fork lift museum! There’s a railway shop, model railways and a miniature railway offering rides. There’s things like a signal box you can go in and see how they work, and even a petting farm and a country park. And of course there’s steam and heritage diesel trains running all day, you can go for a ride whenever you like! There may be some acoustic sets on board these trains. Everything is included in the ticket price other than the miniature railway, and family friendly. We’re not offering camping on the railway, but there is a caravan / campsite a few minutes walk away.

What is the steam train/railways connection all about?
Nothing really inspirational behind it, unfortunately. I’ve worked at the railway for a number of years, restoring old trains back to running order. We regularly hire out the train with the disco carriage for birthday parties, weddings etc. and I eventually got round to thinking it might be a place where gigs could be held. I nearly didn’t go ahead with it because of the out of the way location, and there’s no normal train service to Ripley, but I needed have worried, the April event sold out three months in advance! There’s good bus services here from Derby and Nottingham, so it isn’t that hard to get here.

Will there be more Indietracks events in the future
Fingers crossed the festival will become an annual fixture! We’re well advanced with the concept for the Christmas event. They won’t be held all that regular, to help keep them novel.

What parts of the lineup are you most excited about?
Without a doubt Rose McDowell! One of the first bands I ever saw live was Strawberry Switchblade, more than twenty years ago. I’ve listened to them regularly ever since, and so I was absolutely delighted when Rose accepted the invitation to come and play, and to include some Strawberry Switchblade songs in her set. Cats On Fire I’m also excited about seeing again, they deserve to be huge. But there are many others I won’t miss, in a way it’s quite a personal festival as I got to ask along all my favourite bands!

Visit the festival website for more information and a full line-up.

Interested in those free tickets? Just e-mail simonminter@diskant.net, along with your full name and address.

The winner will be drawn and contacted on Sunday 15 July. They’ll get free tickets, but will need to organise transport to the festival and accommodation themselves.

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.



  1. Anonymous

    I was browsing and found this.
    I think it is awesome that someone else has my name.
    Maybe some day we can meet, Rose McDowell.