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Blog: Farewell To Indietracks

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After my long lay-off from blogging I wasn't expecting to be writing three blogs in such close succession, but then I wasn't expecting to see yesterday's announcement that Indietracks is calling it a day.

It was really sad news, but it wasn't a huge surprise. Getting our Indietracks application in has been part of The ROCK Year for The Validators ever since the festival started, closely followed by the months of waiting to see if we'd get in and then dismay/jubiliation according to the results. I've spent the past few weeks checking their site every couple of days to see if they'd put the call out yet, and was beginning to suspect that something might be different this time.

I can fully understand why the Indietracks Team would see this as a time to bring it to a close, especially after two years off. It must have been an ENORMOUS amount of work and it's been an incredible run of festivals so it's good to go out while you're ahead, but CRIKEY it's sad to think that we'll never get to go there again. Indietracks was the one and only festival where we felt like ROCK STARS - it was the one place where pretty much everybody who gave a monkey's about MJ Hibbett & The Validators would all be in the same place together, and we could play a proper big stage show like what you see on telly. It was the centre of The Validators' ROCK year - the argument about what our walk-on music could be for next time started pretty much as soon as we'd come off-stage!

It was also the only place where I felt like we truly fitted in as a band. We were never part of any scene when we started, and have been around so long that we've out-lived most of the bands we've played with, but when Indietracks came along, and especially when it included bands like Allo' Darlin', Standard Fare, The Smittens, The Just Joans, The Pete Green Corporate Juggernaut and all the others, it felt like a group we could be part of. To me that scene will always be "Indietracks Bands" because that's where I got to see them, on stage but especially in-person before and afterwards, and it was wonderful to feel accepted, like we were a part of it all rather than our usual position of That Band Who Were On Before The Band We Came To See.

That's probably why it's the home for some of my favourite memories of Actually Doing Gigs. As anyone who's ever seen me live, and especially anyone who came to see My Exciting Life In ROCK, will know, my favourite bits of ROCK have tended to be the stuff AROUND the gigs - the stupid adventures getting there, the crazy people talked to afterwards, or the ludicrous mishaps that happened during. All of those things happened at Indietracks too, but we also got to play some proper Actual Amazing Gigs. With The Validators we had the time on the main stage when we got everyone to tweet "happiness" at the same time, inventing Friday nights with the full band version of My Exciting Life In ROCK, the day we played to the the biggest crowd we ever had (and two very bored Pattison daughters), and all the post-show hours in the Merch Tent when lovely people came along to Actually Buy Stuff. Then there was the year when me and Emma sang with A Little Orchestra, or the time I had to force my way into the train carriage to do my own gig because it was so full.

Best of all though, for me personally, was in 2011 when I played in The Merch Tent. I was really nervous beforehand, and was even more so when I arrived to find that the tent was packed out with people. Gigs in The Merch Tent are Totally Acoustic, and there's all sorts of noise going on from the festival around it, so I had no idea how I was going to make myself heard in what I assumed was a crowded tent full of people chatting and buying records. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, especially when it proved to be difficult to get in due to the mass of people, as I prepared myself for a miserable set, shouting in a corner to people who didn't want to hear - I've done this many times in my illustrious career, but it didn't seem fair to be doing it at Indietracks!

As I pushed my way through I said to somebody "It's very busy!". "Yes," he said, "It's rammed because MJ Hibbett's going to play."

I could have cried then and it still makes me well up now. That was Indietracks - a place where a band like us, and people like us, and people not like us at all, could all come together and actually BE the International Rock Stars we are in our heads, if only for a weekend. It's sad that it's gone, but it's wonderful that it was ever there at all. Thanks Indietracks, you were the best!

posted 16/11/2021 by MJ Hibbett

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Thank you for this, it sums up how I feel about Indietracks from the audience side. I recall some band member saying from the stage that it was the only festival they could leave their guitars lying around. So inclusive and friendly.
posted 16/11/2021 by Richard Pittam

1st time we came to indie tracks was 2010, actually because we wanted to go to a festival and had seen that Pains of being pure at heart were playing. After leaving the train in Alfreton we wanted to get a taxi, but didn't know that we had to make a call to get one. A girl came over to help us. I asked her if she was also going to indietracks and she told, that she was playing there in a band. Which one I asked? She said "Betty and the werewolves" and I said "Hey, you are one of the bands we came over for". From that time we have had a drink together @every indietracks over the years. When we arrived we saw just a few people lying on the grass and almost tripped over Eddie Argos who was one of them reading a book. The 1st day was fantastic and for me the best indie tracks Friday ever. Over the weekend we made so many friends, even some others from Germany and it was flashing us totally. The bands, the music, the tent, John, Sean, Elizabeth, the church, the trains and everything including the weather was perfect. That was also the year when we saw the Validators the 1st time and became big fans. It ended with me coming up on stage of my own festival singing "Have a drink with us" together with you in German. Crazy, priceless and totally motivated by Indietracks.
posted 16/11/2021 by Marcel

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