As we say hello to June, Camden’s pubs, bars and music venues opened their doors over the weekend to welcome Camden Rocks Festival goers. Everywhere you turned you could hear music and see people dancing and enjoying themselves, it created an atmosphere around Camden which was truly electric!
Arriving in Camden
On arrival at Camden Town Station, my friend Ellie and I walked to The World’s End pub to collect our wristbands, press passes and programmes. The whole process was really quick and easy, taking no more than a couple of minutes which was fantastic – no queuing… Yay!
Venues and Music at Camden Rocks Festival
The venues for the festival were dotted around, mainly branching off Camden’s main high street, but all were pretty easy to find as you could just follow the music… literally!
The sound quality at all the venues was fantastic, and I was impressed with the different setups and the number of speakers, amps, instruments and mics each place had! The types of venues differed hugely. Some were larger music venues like the Electric Ballroom, which had a maze of rooms, a huge stage and multiple dancefloors. Whereas others were the total opposite, bands were playing in small pubs and intermate bars creating a totally different vibe. I felt that each setting complimented not just the band and their music style, but also the vibe of the crowd – it all worked really well.
The Electric Ballroom was nuts! People were jumping and moshing and throwing all sorts of shapes. It was loud, it was high energy, and it was exciting – everything you would expect from a large venue like that. Plus, whether you were stood on the balcony, right at the front amongst the action, or singing along soaking in the atmosphere from the back, it was a fantastic venue! Not only that, with multiple bars all over the venue you never had to wait long for a drink – result! We saw the fantastic Ash and Deaf Havana play here and it was unreal! The energy of the bands and the crowd was electric, the sound filled the huge space perfectly and everyone was having the best time!
The Camden Assembly, aptly named ‘Camden’s finest boozer’ was another fab venue, playing host to the likes of Miracle Glass Company, who got everyone on their feet and smiling! The venue itself had a ‘secret underground party’ vibe which made it feel intermate and exclusive – it made for a fantastic gig!
Voted the ‘Best Rock Pub’ on Trip Advisor, The Devonshire Arms lived up to its name! Repair to Ruin played a fantastic set – their lead singer has a voice which reminded me somewhat of Nickleback, that husky tone in that venue was amazing – I was up and dancing put it that way!
Brewdog was an acoustic stage, it had a much more chilled and intermate atmosphere, people were toe-tapping along to the likes of Daniel Coburn and Natalie Shay, singing along to covers of popular mainstream songs, it was fantastic. Pair that with craft beers galore it created a fantastic setting for acoustic music!
The Dublin Castle is a well-established music venue in Camden and regularly hosts some big-name acts. During Camden Rocks, they welcomed the headbangers that are X111 Weeks and the guitar heroes of Janus Stark. Both bands are heavier music than I would normally listen to, but that’s one of the amazing things about this festival – you wander around and discover music you wouldn’t normally come across!
Gabeto was one of my favourite venues of the day! It was huge, with a bar stretching from end to end and a fantastic array of art all along the walls. The music there differed hugely throughout the day but the venue adapted to the different styles really well. It went from absolutely nuts with a highly energetic performance from Luka State, to a much more laid back and calm set by John J Presley.
The Red Stripe Stage at The Monarch welcomed one of my favourite bands on Saturday, Flight Brigade! Having seen them numerous times at other venues I knew their set would have been amazing so was gutted to miss them this time around. As a venue, it was fantastic. Warm lighting, plush leather interiors and being close up to the bands made it feel like an exclusive club which brought the audience and the bands closer together.
Dingwalls Canalside was a venue perfectly located to venture into after sampling some of the surrounding market food stalls. As you can guess by the name, it was right by the canal amongst the hustle and bustle of the market. You could see people overhearing the music from streets away and starting to gravitate towards the venue which was amazing. We saw a fantastic band there called Priests to Pilots who really included the crowd and got everyone moving!
There was such a variety of music throughout the day, that whatever your taste, preference or poison you could always find something you’d like. One of the best things about Camden Rocks, which was unlike any other festival I have been to before, was that you could wander around Camden and find yourself at yet another venue! Wherever you turned you could hear music which pulled you in and made you want to dance, drink and have a fantastic time!
The only thing I would have liked to have seen, (or seen less of in fact) were plastic cups – every bar used them! I understand that glass was off limits, however, I think a reusable cup would have been a great idea and something that you could have taken around with you throughout the day! A reusable, branded, plastic cup, perhaps with all the different venues names on it which you could tick off, would have been a great way to be more economical, encourage you to go to every venue, and would have been a nice memento of the day!
Overall, Camden Rocks was a lot of fun, and a festival I would certainly recommend! It really opened my eyes to numerous bands I hadn’t heard of or seen live before and made me try loads of different genres of music I wouldn’t normally have listened to. It was impossible to see all the artists, venues and stages as there was just too much to do, but for me, this only means one thing… it’s left me wanting to go back for more!
Sophie – TFB
This was an affiliated post with Camden Rocks who provided me with Press accreditation for the festival. Thank you to Camden Rocks for their support!