Sound City 2016: Perhaps the best yet?

Once again the weather held out for Liverpool Sound City, the festival based in Liverpool which relocated from the city centre to Bramley Moore Docks last year. The sun was shining, the crowds were smiling and above all great music was playing.

There is no denying that last years festival had a few teething problems which seem to have been almost completely ironed out this year. There was a new layout which greatly improved last years sound issues and it seemed that overall the festival had more structure than last year. The useless fairground was gone and the festival also changed from a 3 day event to only 2 days this year but still kept the talent.

Winners of the Brit award for British Breakthrough act, Catfish and the Bottlemen were headliners for the Saturday night and they did not disappoint. This was their first ever festival headliner but it all seemed natural to them. Van Mccann has an amazing stage presence, that along with the infectious songs such as Pacifier, Soundcheck and Twice had the crowds going wild. It was obvious that most people had bought a ticket just to see them as the festival was full of people flying the flag wearing their merchandise.

The Coral was the Sunday headliner and perhaps the most highly anticipated after their reunion in 2015. The only problem with this was that it overlapped with another festival favourite, Pete Doherty. Which meant you either picked your favourite or did a bit of a half and half. A power cut from the generator resulted in The Corals set to be cut short but all was resumed and they continued to play once the electrics kicked back in. 

Libertines front man and 'Bad boy' rocker Pete Doherty took to the North stage slightly after The Coral began. He walked on stage to a crowd full of cheers and screams played one song and went off stage again. This left the audience in anticipation wondering if that was all they would get the chance to hear. He walked back on slightly after but this time with a glass of wine, keeping in with his 'bad boy' image. Having never seen Pete Doherty play live before I was pleasantly surprised and in awe of how he came across on stage. A bad lad with a sort of vulnerability about him. 'Last of the English Roses' saw the crowd singing along in admiration for him which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy. 

In-between of all these headliners was an array of talent from bigger artists like Circa Waves and Band of Skulls to smaller emerging artists such as City Calm Down and Goodbye Brighton.

A new feature was the Tim Peaks Diner which incorporated the Sound City conference with the main festival. This allowed festival goers the chance to learn and get an insight into the music industry. I sat in on the Circa Waves talk who were set to be playing the Atlantic stage later that evening and learnt an awful lot about them. I think this feature is such a great idea, its rare to be able to listen to an intimate interview with one of your favourite bands, artist or DJs and I think this really added to the whole Sound City experience.

There was also an art installation which encouraged festival goers to pick up a pencil and draw some life drawings as 2 men sat half naked in a chair. Some of the results for this were actually quite amazing and it was great to see people getting involved in this.

Yes the festival has a few changes to make and I wonder how much longer it will be able to stay in this location as the festival increases in popularity each year but overall it is a brilliant festival which showcases new talent and gives them a platform to reach more people. It also allows audiences to experience the intimacy of a small festival with top class heading acts like Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Coral and Pete Doherty.

If there is one thing that can be said about Liverpool is that it can be one of the friendliest cities to go to. Wandering around a festival alone can be quite daunting but I was pleasantly surprised with the sense of community that the festival has. Yeah, people came with their groups of friends but people also mingled.
What ultimately makes the festival is the people that go, the atmosphere was brilliant. What the festival is all about.
Same again next year?


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