DOT TO DOT NOTTINGHAM – Review

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To review DOT TO DOT by reviewing the bands would be to do the festival a massive disservice. Like Glastonbury & unlike Reading/Leeds, Dot to Dot isn’t about individuals or headliners, it’s about the event itself. Dot to Dot also epitomises what living in Nottingham is all about, the city has never really been about guns, drugs or men in tights; it’s the music scene that beats hard at the city’s heart. As well as having an arena & more independent music venues than most small countries, at its core is the Rock City which is in my opinion the UK’s best music venue, especially since they knocked down London’s Astoria (& there’s a special kind of hell for the people behind that move).

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Now in its 10th year the Dot to Dot festival has become something rather quite awe inspiring. Spread over almost 20 venues and with a canny knack of booking acts just before they break, or in some cases who break in the days running up to the festival, it’s the place to go to discover the next big thing & take all the credit. Outside Spanky Van Dykes, one of the many participating venues, was a board that read “ED SHEERAN: Will not be here. Ever.” It was funny but also rather ironic as Mr. Sheeran played the festival a few years earlier, filling The Rock City to capacity at what should have been a quiet afternoon slot.

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But it’s not just the radio friendlies that the festival is known for, or even its heavier acts, it’s the sheer scale & quality of the line up. This has expanded to the point where it’s not only impossible to see every act but a Herculean feat to pay every venue a visit. For the bands who play Dot to Dot it has to be a defining moment. Some will make the big time, some will make a living doing what they love whilst others won’t be so lucky, playing Dot to Dot however will be a career highlight for all.

The best time to visit the festival is early afternoon, starting at the excellent Rescue Rooms, settling in with the first of many pints & catching as many bands as possible whilst movement between the venues still flows freely. This is where you’ll see the real gold & where reputations are made, with the best acts treating it like they’re headlining Wembley – in life there’s no small bands, only those who don’t seize the opportunity & “fake it till they make it”. Although not quite fitting into the punk/garage rock remit of this site, a special mention must go to Saint Raymond who played what was widely regarded as his best ever gig & where singer Callum Burrows transformed himself into a bone fide rock star during his headline set.

Dot to Dot makes me proud to live in Nottingham and is fast becoming the festival of the year, & that includes you Glastonbury.

Rating: Nottingham Rocks