Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Indietracks Interview

With just one month to go until Indietracks, the Indiepop Festival that takes places at Midland Railway Centre, we had a quick chat with Organiser Stuart Mackay about how the festival came to be...

What was the inspiration for creating Indietracks?

There wasn't really any inspiration, it was something that happened by chance, and if anything it was born out of laziness. After endless travelling around the country to shows I thought why not have the bands come to me?

What is your background; are you a musical type branching into business or a business man branching into music festivals?

Just a railway enthusiast who enjoys music!

With so many festivals taking place, especially smaller, niche festivals, how important is it for a festival to have a USP?

Don't know if we have a USP anywhere, is it something we should have? I guess I should investigate. Is it something that connects to a computer like a USB?

Indietracks has carved itself a rather ‘Twee / Indiepop’ space in the market. Do you think smaller niche festivals are the future, as opposed to massive events like Leeds Festival that try to please all the people all the time?

But we all have different tastes, the majority of the population have a broader musical taste and so bigger festivals suit them. There's always been niche events, blues festivals, country and western shows etc so we're not really starting anything new really.

It may seem a strange question, but how important is the actual music at a music festival? It seems that Indietracks works as hard to provide an exciting and comfortable atmosphere as it does on its lineup.

We don't really work hard to provide that atmosphere, it just happens. The audience brings it with them, it's just the nature of indiepop people. The music is important to us and we work hard to provide a balanced bill of old and new, big and small from home and abroad. But I know what you mean, the music isn't that important to some of the audience who'll spend a lot of the time not watching bands but just enjoy being there with so many like minded people.

Is previous business / organisational experience essential in organising a festival?

Seems not since I didn't have any, common sense should be all you need, you can seek out all the info you need quite easily. I tackled it by thinking what would I like/expect if I was to turn up at an event like this?

This year I have organised my first large scale festival. Is it normal to have sleepless nights worrying about the tiniest of details?!

Yep. All part of the fun!

With the current economic situation I am treating festivals such as Indietracks as my ‘holidays’ this year. Do you think that is a common view and has it helped you ride the financial storm at all?

Well it'd be a pleasing thought if people thought it was more important to give up proper holidays in favour of indietracks, but not sure how widespread it is.

Do you find the pressure of selling X amount of tickets, signing contracts and negotiating fees diminishes your love of the music and festivals in general?

Yes, dealing with booking agents and the commercialisation of the industry sucks, all they're interested in is how much money they can screw out of you. We have a capacity smaller (1,000) than regular touring venues, yet mention the word festival and all they see is pound signs in front of their eyes.

What has your proudest moment thus far been?

Getting Team Indietracks to tackle all the organisation, leaving me with just interviews to do :)

Indietracks was Rhubarb Bomb's festival of 2010:


More info on this years lineup (including Edwyn Collins!) can be found here:

Dean Freeman

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