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Everyone Was In The French Resistance…Now! (pic by Aurelien Guichard)

There’s a lot of talk about boutique festivals at the moment, often used as shorthand for ‘smaller than Glastonbury’. But Indietracks – with a capacity of 2,000 – is genuinely tiny, and wonderful for it. By the end of the weekend, you recognise everyone there. Bands and punters alike mingle on the campsite, in the multiple nightly discos, and in the (short) queues for vegetarian food and local ales. Oh, and best of all, it takes place at a railway museum. YOU GET TO WATCH BANDS ON A STEAM TRAIN. It’s hard to imagine anything better than that.

Indietracks is a self-styled ‘indiepop’ festival. It’s a style of music which grew out of the late 80s British indie scene, and has a small but devoted following today. Think handclaps, xylophones, hairslides, girls in charity shop dresses and boys who look like librarians. Dedicating a festival to such a small genre sounds restrictive, but there were a fantastic variety of bands performing.

Eddie Argos (from 2009’s headliners Art Brut) brought his side-project Everyone Was In The French Resistance…Now! to the main stage on Friday night. Each song is a response to another pop song (a particular highlight was the imagined response of Billie Jean to Michael Jackson’s song). The stage banter was endearingly hilarious: Argos is a genuine indiepop hero.

On Saturday, bearded ukelele player Jam on Bread charmed the train carriage with songs about manatees and Swedish record labels. Antarctica Takes It! brought California sunshine with their lo-fi pop, while The Just Joans brought wistful songs tinged with Glasgow gloom. Edinburgh’s Ballboy were particularly jubilant as their drummer was getting married on Sunday morning in the Midland Railway’s beautiful vintage signal box! Sadly The Primitives didn’t have anything which matched up to their 1988 chart hit Crash.

Sunday opened with Indietracks regular MJ Hibbett. Although not a well-known artist outside a tiny scene, his witty and catchy songs had the best crowd reaction of the weekend. Like Billy Bragg if he sang about dinosaurs and dancing instead of politics. He should headline next year. Internet Forever, one of the festival’s (slightly) louder bands, impressed with flamboyant drumming and toy keyboard riffs. Sheffield duo Slow Club performed beautifully constructed rockabilly-folk-pop songs. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were touchingly excited to be headlining, but as every song sounds like a reworking of Inbetween Days by The Cure, their set did seem to go on a little long. The festival ended on a high with the classic indie disco DJing of Feeling Gloomy.

Indietracks is such a perfect festival that I almost want to keep it a secret. But as the profits go to keeping the wonderful Midland Railway Centre running, I guess I ought to start forcing everyone I know to come and join in the indie fun.

Words: Annie Scott