This year, Indietracks puts out its strongest line-up to date. A celebration of all things twee, the only festival to be held on the site of a train museum has honed in on its strengths to put together a weekend that encapsulates the essence of discos filled with anoraks and awkward fringe-sweeping glances. In partnership with the heralded Slumberland Records, once home of The Aislers Set, Hood, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Black Tamborine, there is a heady blend of indie-pop and C86, with the occasional slithers of folk and rock that offers focus to both the roots of the scene and its modern purveyors.
14 Iced Bears, one of the foremost artists on the original "C86" cassette tape distributed with the NME from which many bands still draw so much inspiration, bring their fuzzy jangle-pop to the site of the Midland Railway Centre over two decades after their original demise. Also making a surprise comeback are The Jasmine Minks; one of the first signings to the Creation record label and the least known of the trailblazing Scottish trio that also included Primal Scream and The Jesus & Mary Chain.
On the flipside, the ramshackle Sheffield-based trio Standard Fare and Evans The Death, who resemble The Long Blondes on a heady diet of punk-rock riffs, offer vitality alongside the hazy dream-pop of Fortuna Pop's Allo Darlin'. But Indietracks isn't all about the music; there are myriad treats to indulge in over the entire weekend. Here, Andy Hudson of the Indietracks team gives his five top tips:
Ride on the steam trains!
A visit to Indietracks includes as many trips as you like on the Midland Railway's 1950s steam trains! It's a beautiful journey through the Derbyshire countryside and, if you ask very nicely, the drivers might let you pull on the cord that makes the 'choo choo' noise. You can watch bands playing acoustically on the steam trains in the afternoons or simply relax in a quieter carriage and enjoy the scenery. This is an essential part of the Indietracks experience, not least because you'll be catching the train for the short journey from the entrance to the festival site!
Get creative at the arts and crafts workshops!
They run a wide range of fun and interactive workshops for both children and adults. In previous years they've had mask-making, stop-motion animation videos, song-writing workshops, knitting, rubber band-powered rockets, children's sing-alongs, pop quizzes and loads more. There's definitely going to be a chance to learn Lindy Hop dancing at this year's festival and we've got loads of other exciting ideas. It's a really popular part of the festival and a fantastic way to keep the kids entertained.
Visit the transport museums!
No, wait, come back! The museums are possibly the best kept secret of the Indietracks festival! You don't need to be a massive railway enthusiast with an engineering degree to appreciate the elegance and majesty of a nineteenth century locomotive. There's a huge collection of trains covering steam, diesel and electric power from the 1860s to the present day. There's also an impressive model railway - and everyone secretly wants a model railway at home, right?
Dance the night away at the discos!
If you're worried that you enjoyed the museums and model railway a little bit too much, it's time to sample the local real ale (responsibly) and then pull out your best dance moves (irresponsibly) at our late night discos. Every night we've got a selection of DJs spinning indie-pop, 60s soul, chart pop and lots more. Just remember to pack your dancing shoes and that the last train home leaves at midnight!
Go for a walk in the country park!
The Midland Railway has an award-winning country park with 35 acres of interesting wildlife, footpaths, marshes and gorgeous scenery. It's ideal for a leisurely afternoon stroll but, if you've danced so much you can't face walking, there's a free light railway that will carry you around. As an added bonus, the light railway goes straight past the main stage so you could witness the whole of the main stage audience waving at you as you sail past!
Indietracks takes place on the 6th-8th July at the Midland Railway Centre near Ripley. For more info visit: