As purveyors of fine wines will tell you, if you want to get the best vintage you have to go to the vineyard. If music is our tipple then surely Camden is our Napa Valley. Each year from this bustling multicultural corner of the metropolis come acts that become renowned worldwide. Music is so important to the area that there are dozens of venues, large and small within walking distance of each other. This focus on creativity, the myriad choices of musical genre is why the Camden Rocks Festival is perfectly placed to have grown from a handful of acts in 2009 to the 250 which will be gracing the venues on Saturday.
GIGsoup are here to be your audio sommelier (a wine expert, still going with the extended metaphor) so you get as much from the festival as possible.
Firstly, research. Get onto the Camden Rocks festival Facebook page and dig deep. For example, you may know who FEEDER are but have you heard of Secret Cameras? No, then that’s what YouTube is for. Conveniently the festival have their own playlist too, get on it, have a listen but be ready to skip, the purpose is discovery not nostalgia. If you’ve heard it before, you have an opinion, move on. Now having heard lots of new acts and reminded yourself of a few older ones it’s time to get your geek on. Make two lists, one is ‘must see’ (keep it small) and one your ‘would like to see’. Having whittled it down from 250 to probably around 30/40 its time to consult the stage times. Start at the top of your list of acts and fill in your timetable for the day. Here’s where you have to be clever, bear in mind different venues require walking and queuing. Aim to go at least one act early for your ‘must sees’ or at least be ready to queue.
The organisers do try to put compatible acts on after each other, you wouldn’t have Shea (acoustic) opening for Cute Cute Death (very very not acoustic) so you may only have one or two venues to visit with your particular tastes.
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Secondly, eat. Camden Market has some of the best street food in the world. The added bonus of UK health and hygiene standards means if you’re eating a grasshopper it’s food not a visitor. Theres even a Morrisons so no excuses if you have the pallet of a 12 year boy and will only eat cheese and onion crisp sandwiches.
Thirdly, talk, make friends. Everyone is there for the same reason, they love music. You may have more in common with the tattooed rocker/ square looking geek you’re stood next to.
Be safe. People die of alcohol related accidents, drug overdoses and adverse reactions. You know your limits and by all means push them but if you push it too far you could ruin someone else’s day too. Don’t leave your bags unattended, they may be blown up and while it’s an inconvenience if your chicken caesar salad wrap gets detonated there may be another bag elsewhere that needed to be checked. Don’t become part of the problem.
Finally, be adventurous. Try that food, risk that drink, go see the band with the weird name (Death and The Penguin anyone?), you maybe about to experience your next favourite thing. Festivals are about communities of people sharing a moment, be part of it, be in the moment, not checking yourself in on Facechatbook (sic).