Exclamation Mark, one half of the duo PoP Campaign, looks back at last weekend’s Stow Fest
On the morning of Saturday 18th September I tuned into Robert Elms’ radio show on BBC London. He was speaking with one of the fine organisers of Stow Fest, Nick Bason.
Elms harked on about how surprised he was that such an event was happening in Walthamstow. It suddenly occurred to me how completely and utterly out of touch he seemed. Surely it’s yesterday’s news that Walthamstow is booming creatively? After all, E17 is the new Berlin.
This was the fifth anniversary of Stow Fest and the growth in that splinter of time has been hugely significant. The festival now encompasses hundreds of acts, from poets and orchestras to metalheads and electro fiends.
Friday night featured sets from Attila the Stockbroker (Thatcher slayer and general underground national poetic treasure) at Ye Olde Rose and Crown and Arsenic Mines at the William Morris Gallery. I made the journey to the William Morris and was not disappointed.
An evening of arpeggiated beeps and sweeps followed, alongside strings and some sublime Morris inspired visuals. If this was any other fest, it would have cost a good whack to listen, watch and drink in the home of one of the most influential artists of recent history. However, this being Stow Fest, it was completely free.
Saturday brought a flurry of music at venues throughout town including the Blackhorse Workshop. One of the great things about Walthamstow currently is the way that space is being used to foster art. The workshop is another hub that embodies that ethos perfectly.
I should probably explain now that I am one half of the act PoP Campaign who played there that night. We were on after Le Filou, an exquisite Frenchman playing found sounds and beats, and before the Eastern Front Soundsystem boys who brought the sounds of Paradise Garage and 80s New York discos to the Stow.
It was a great party, with much love on all sides. The in-house brewery, Left Bank, provided the perfect woozer.
On Sunday, there was even more going on than I can write about. The Wild Card Brewery provided the perfect setting for an afternoon sess. The Wild Card is a gem and still uncovered by many fellow E17ers. If you haven’t been yet then get yourself down there for free tunes and blistering local ale.
The afternoon featured DJ sets by a plethora of fantastic local talent and the extremely energetic Dronnigen, who closed the festival. It was soothing, banging, jumpin’, chilled and wondrous all at the same time. By the end, there was plenty of hugging, smiling and partying by the packed shed. A common feeling prevailed: this was an immense fest.
So, thank you to the plethora of volunteers and organisers who worked tirelessly to make it all possible. You deserve a key to the borough. Stow Festival is going to grow and grow; and so will the smiles on our collective faces.
To find out more about PoP Campaign visit http://popcampaign.tumblr.com/