Dot to Dot Proves Once Again Why It’s The Best Festival Of Its Kind

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© Katie McBeth

Dot to Dot has a rich history as a mainstay in the festival calendar, dating back to its inaugural event in 2005. At that time, the festival encompassed only three venues: The Social (now known as The Bodega), Rescue Rooms, and Stealth. Since its inception, Dot to Dot has experienced significant growth, expanding to include Bristol with the festival amassing the two cities on the same weekend, with over 150 artists performing on over 15 stages in their respective cities. 

The festival has established itself as a trendsetter, with its finger on the pulse, playing a crucial role in launching some of the most prominent acts in the music industry today, ranging from Fontaines D.C. to Dua Lipa – Dot to Dot has evolved into a pivotal platform for live music. This year’s festival, which took place last weekend, featured headline performances by Jockstrap and Wunderhorse, alongside sets by acclaimed acts such as The Magic Gang, Picture Parlour, and The Dare, creating a palpable excitement among festival attendees in Nottingham city centre. 

At festivals like Dot to Dot, there will inevitably be scheduling conflicts, but fate always seems to ensure that the acts you most want to see end up playing at the same time. Despite this, the crowd at Rock City Beta was undeterred when Man / Woman / Chainsaw took the stage simultaneously with the highly anticipated Kaeto. As the six-piece band wrapped up their soundcheck, the eager eyes of a one-in-one-out crowd eagerly awaited their performance. Man / Woman / Chainsaw delivered a captivating half-hour set that showcased both released fan favourites and unreleased tracks, solidifying their status as a must-watch act this year.

At Rock City’s main room, Panic Shack delivered an electrifying performance that left the 1500-capacity venue in awe. Each band member sported a ‘Dangerous Gigs For Men’ t-shirt, a powerful nod to the Safe Gigs for Women charity. The Welsh five-piece commanded the stage with their dynamic presence, despite the audience occasionally feeling low on energy. Seamlessly blending new tracks with crowd favourites like ‘Jiu Jits-you” and ‘The Ick,’ the band’s set was a perfect blend of attitude and choreography. Notably, one of their new songs addressed the lack of pockets in women’s jeans, injecting a relatable tongue-in-cheek nod to the band’s set.

Panic Shack perform at Dot to Dot 2024

Later in the day, The Magic Gang delivered a deeply moving and sentimental performance. The band announced that they will be parting ways after their festival tour this summer, marking the end of their remarkable 10-year journey together. During their set at the Dot to Dot Festival, frontman Jack Kaye expressed heartfelt appreciation for Rock City and Dot to Dot, emphasising that some of the band’s most memorable and cherished performances have taken place at these venues and festivals. This poignant moment highlighted the significance of smaller, inner city, festivals, as they serve as crucial platforms for nurturing and propelling artists before they ascend to larger, global stages.

Headliners Jockstrap’s performance was truly captivating, front-woman Georgia Ellery was enveloped by the music as she gracefully commanded the attention of both long-time fans and newcomers. Dot to Dot marked the London-based duo’s inaugural festival headline performances, and they effortlessly proved any doubters wrong. The setlist featured tracks from their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album, I Love You, Jennifer B, as well as songs from the accompanying remix album, ‘ILYQTINVU<3’. Taylor Skye truly shined during the performance, with each song leading to a singalong, hinting at even greater success for Jockstrap soon.

Jockstrap headlining Dot to Dot 2024

Over at The Level, Wunderhorse provided over an hour of rock and roll, leaving fans grasping for an encore. Leaving no room for conversation, the band stormed onto the stage playing an instrumental introduction before going into a crowd-pleaser, ‘Leader of the Pack’, before treating attendees to new tracks from the band’s upcoming, second album, Midas, and throwing in highlights from their 2022 debut, Cub. The set also saw the liveliest crowd of the day, mosh-pits grew for fan-favourite, ‘Teal’, before an onslaught of crowd surfers arose for the band’s latest single, ‘July’.

The Dare

The excitement of Dot to Dot festival continued into the early hours of the morning when The Dare, a passionate American indie-sleaze artist, took the stage at Rescue Rooms. Despite being often labelled as ‘shy’ and ‘mysterious’, Harrison Patrick Smith’s live performances are far from subdued – they are energetic, intense, and infatuating. The set was a vibrant revival of Electro Clash, featuring a special live performance of the Girls EP, a rare treat for fans as The Dare’s shows are primarily held in London. Additionally, the audience got a sneak peek of songs from his highly anticipated debut album, rumoured to be released in June.

Dot to Dot is an exceptional festival, consistently delivering outstanding line-ups and offering music enthusiasts the chance to experience some of the UK’s top live performers in more intimate settings. Now, all eyes go what Dot to Dot have in store for their 20th year – with early-bird tickets already on sale sold out – it’s destined to be a good one. 

Katie Macbeth

katie macbeth

Katie Macbeth is a freelance music journalist for Indie Is Not A Genre based out of Manchester, presenter of @drunktankthink, and post punk enthusiast.

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