(Part 2 of our Indietracks Festival review – read Part 1 here….)
Continuing a completely joyous Saturday, queens Dream Wife take to the outdoor stage. Having not seen them for about three years when they completely blew me away at Visions Festival, they do not disappoint. Oozing their trademark empowering force, Rakel and co. take my breath away once more; such is their immense liberating power. Sparkling with her vibrant charisma, Rakel is the perfect, engaging front woman as Alice and Bella deliver frenzied, defiant hooks. With shout outs to Alice’s super cool grandma (who I was standing next to in the crowd), and a truly stirring performance of ‘Somebody’ (“this one’s about smashing gender roles that need to be smashed”), Dream Wife prove they’re an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.
After unsuccessfully attempting to get into the church to catch Spanish band Melenas (they sounded good from the door though!), we chill out for the rest of Saturday evening – preparing ourselves for a Sunday jam-packed full of some of the best new music.
Despite a rainy start, all the lush live music on Sunday certainly brightens the mood. The first example being Brighton band Just Blankets who bring their dreamy harmonies to the indoor stage; the perfect start to the day.
And the rain doesn’t stop us heading to see personal faves Wolf Girl. Alongside many “wet jokes”, they deliver their immensely infectious, thoroughly engaging indie-pop to perfection. As the crowd unites in a buoyant, albeit damp, cheer, I find that singing along to the uplifting hooks and exquisite harmonies of tracks such as ‘Middlesexy’ causes me to complete forget the weather and drift away on waves of Wolf Girl’s sunny energy.
Heading back to shelter for our favourite Feminist Punk Witches Dream Nails on the indoor stage, the DIY spirit and wonderful music continues. Despite having seen them live many times, Dream Nails never fail to totally inspire me. Treating us to a range of songs, new and old, they deliver their message as loud and as clear as ever to an adoring crowd of near 700. With her truly captivating intense energy, Janey leads the way in raging against sexual violence, misogyny and Facism, as guitarist Anya delivers impressive racing riffs, and Mimi and Lucy complete the punk-filled power of this unique band. As they deliver riotous impassioned lyrics such as “Hey mister, get your hands off my sister”, and express solidarity with those coming out as queer with uplifting offerings like ‘Swimming Pool’, a wonderful aura of unity sweeps throughout the crowd – as girls, women and non-binary people of all ages (in front of me a mother bops with her head-phoned baby in arms) dance and sing in solidarity – and I’m reminded once again why these strong-spirited wonder-women are so essential in our lives right now.
After sticking around to dance in buoyant joy to the utterly uplifting and twinkling calypso-like musicality of Tigercats, the empowering mood continues with (yet another GIHE fave), The Baby Seals in the church. With their uplifting charisma and triumphant wit, they champion autonomy and body positivity with wonderfully tongue-in-cheek (and amazingly entitled) offerings such as ‘My Labia’s Lopsided But I Don’t Mind’ and ‘Nipple Hair’, as well as mighty tracks celebrating Masturbation Month. Apologising for mentioning “tits” in a church, The Baby Seals celebrate all things female and break gender boundaries in all the right ways with their superb insightful humour and catchy musical prowess.
Sticking around in the intimate setting of The Church, we’re welcomed by another band who’ve wowed us at one of our nights at The Finsbury – the immensely impressive Sink Ya Teeth. Oozing their addictive, pulsating beats and ‘80s-inspired dance-pop hooks, they continue to prove themselves to be one of the most exciting bands around. As Maria Uzor’s smooth, intoxicating vocals soar, Gemma Cullinford’s pounding, funk-fused bass-lines provide a perfect, groove-ridden soundscape.
As the sun shines once more, we head back to the outdoor stage for North London’s Girl Ray. With their sweet, sunny charisma, each offering is a truly uplifting delight. Flowing with smooth, swooning vocals and catchy jangly melodies, they deliver their dreamy slices of gentle garage-rock with a sparkling grace, and – despite appearing to miss my personal favourite ‘Stupid Things’ – continue to cement their place firmly in our hearts.
After another welcome interlude with the owls and parrots (still not over how amazing this festival was!), final band of the weekend, Scotland’s Honeyblood, soothe our ears as the sun goes down. With a shimmering grace combined with their scuzzy garage-rock anthems and subtle empowering energy, the duo draw an end to the live music with all the perfect uplifting colour and fiery finesse we could have hoped for.
And that’s it; after spending a few more blissful hours dancing away in The Marquee, my first Indietracks is over. The most refreshing and enjoyable of weekends; one which exceeded all expectations. It was simply so wonderful to be a part of an event that so triumphantly champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres, in a beautiful location that’s not only family friendly, but a safe space for all, however you may identify.
Unfortunately, it still seems to be unusual to attend bigger festivals these days and not encounter ingrained misogyny or disrespect of some kind, but Indietracks felt like a different world; a safe, joy-filled world, and one jam-packed with all the best music (Also, did I mention there are owls and parrots?!). So, huge thanks to the organisers for creating something so beautiful, and I can only hope that more events start to take a leaf out of your book very soon!
Until next year, Indietracks…