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Miscellaneous - Interview with Stuart Mackay

  by John Clarkson

published: 1 / 6 / 2010

Miscellaneous - Interview with Stuart Mackay


John Clarkson talks to Stuart Mackay, the founder and organiser of the Indietracks Festival, about the continued development and fourth year of his indiepop festival, which is situated on the grounds of 1950's train museum in Derbyshire

Now in its fourth year, the Indietracks Festival is an indiepop festival that is situated on the grounds of the Midland Railway, a 1950’s heritage train museum in Butterley in Derbyshire. This year’s three day festival will take place from the 23rd to the 25th July and will feature headline performances from Everybody Was in the French Resistance...Now, the Primitives and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Amongst the other fifty acts that will be involved are ‘Allo Darlin’, ballboy, the Blanche Hudson Weekend, the Orchids, Pale Sunday, the Pooh Sticks, David Tattersall of the Wave Pictures and Veronica Falls. Pennyblackmusic spoke to founder and organiser Stuart Mackay, in what is our third interview with him, about the continued development of his festival. PB: Indietracks started out very much as a festival put together by fans. You have said in a previous interview with us that you began Indietracks as much as anything else as a way of saying thank you and giving something back for all the pleasure that indiepop has given you. It seems to have very much continued in that course. Would you agree? SM: Yeah. We've stuck to the same principles, keeping it as one big celebration of indiepop music. It seems to be working so we'll leave it at that! PB: The line-up this year features headline performances from Everybody Was in the French Resistance...Now on the Friday night, the Primitives on the Saturday night, and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart on the Sunday. There also going to be performances from acts such as the Blanche Hudson Weekend who haven’t been to Indietracks before, and those who have such as ballboy and David Tattersall. How have you decided who and what is going to make the bill? Is there some sort of way or criteria you have used for establishing this? Is there anyone that you are especially proud and excited about putting on the bill this year? SM: In previous years I had hand picked all the acts. This year I had almost no involvement in the selection. Instead it was the collective decision of the other Indietracks team members, and they chose a mixture from the biggest current indiepop acts, old favourites and up and coming acts. And of course we always try to put in as many foreign acts as we can. We're extremely excited to have the Pains of Being Pure at Heart on board. They were conceived about the same time as the festival and so have grown to be a tremendous success alongside us. We are also excited to have the Pooh Sticks, who have reforemd and who will also be playing, back together again. PB: The organisation of a festival like Indietracks must involve months of work and planning. When did work on putting together this festival begin? Was it pretty much as soon as the last one had ended last July? SM: I normally leave the festival site with ideas for the following year, but we really do very little until after the Christmas holidays. This year is probably the easiest as we're not expanding on last year, so everyone pretty much knows what they are doing. PB: One of the highlights of last year’s festival was the induction of workshops, which included seminars of glam jewellery making and how to run a record label. Are you going to be running those this year and what will this year’s workshops be on? SM: There will be workshops again for sure. I haven't been involved in the applications but I'm pretty sure it'll be a similar mix to last year. PB: With weekend passes costing £60 and day tickets costing £30, your tickets seem almost ridiculously cheap compared to other festivals of a similar size and with acts of the same kind of calibre. How have you managed to keep your costs so low? SM: We're forced to keep the prices low as we can't offer our own camping, and the local campsite is quite pricey so it can already be an expensive weekend. We aim just to break even on ticket sales against the festival costs, and the fundraising for the railway comes from the bar sales. PB: Thank you.

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