Dot to Dot Festival has become one of the UK’s premier music events showcasing both up and coming talent as well as established artists.

29-May-2016: The festival has been known to be a springboard for emerging talent, with many now household names having graced the stages of the festival in recent years. Each year, Dot To Dot takes over Talbot Street and the neighbouring areas of Nottingham. With several hundred artists to choose from, music lovers disperse themselves across the city in search of catching what might be the next big thing.

The early money seems to be on the bands featured at The Rescue Rooms. A sizable crowd amassed to see British alternative rock trio Crosa Rosa kick off the proceedings. Their raw energy, no messing attitude, and heavy fuzz-fueled guitar riffs conjure up images of a Bleach-era Nirvana.

SWMRS are up next. The have made waves recently, with Rolling Stone citing them as one of the ten bands who are defining the sound of ‘now’. The band features Joey Armstrong, son of Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, on drums.

With typical punk bravado, the band rattled straight through a thirty-minute high energy show, which didn’t waiver at any point. Their explosive set of infectious pop punk centered around their debut album, Drive North, including the likes of “Harry Dean,” “Miley,” and the anthemic “Figuring It Out.” SWMRS are inevitably destined for big things.

Barns Courtney slowed down the proceedings and charmed the audience with his solo acoustic rock show. Courtney has a superb voice, and the songs to go with it. Tracks like “Glitter and Gold” really stand out and have mainstream appeal.

Courtney laughs in the face of adversity, snapping a string during his set, he declares E-strings are for losers and gives his guitar a pounding throughout the set. He brings his show to a close with “Fire” and seems to have won over the audience. It would be great to hear Barns Courtney play alongside his full band next time.

Mid-afternoon and Rock City is packed to the proverbial rafters as several British buzz bands take center stage. The Hunna stand apart from the crowd delivering a set full of anthemic indie rock numbers like “You and Me,” “She’s Casual” and “Bonfire.” The latter has The Hunna’s fans singing along before the band even starts playing the song.

If you close your eyes, you can almost hear these tracks reverberating around the fields of Glastonbury. The band will inevitably be a big hit on the summer festival circuit.

Hot off the back of a recent tour with Nothing But Thieves, the Sundara Karma are treading the same path as The Hunna before them. The band has a sound which conjures up images of early Arcade Fire, and they most certainly have the tunes to back up the recent buzz.

Sundara Karma’s latest single “Loveblood” lights the blue touch-paper in the room. Front man Oscar gets up close and personal with the fans during “Vivienne” making his way along the security fence. We expect to hear a lot more about this band in 2016.

Deep in the basement of Rock City, Australian five-piece outfit The Rubens assembled a great following, much to their surprise, and not an Aussie member of the audience in sight. The band delivers a set revolving around their first two albums, their most recent Hoops was released two weeks back.

The band sounds tight and have an infectious groove. They come into the festival off the back of a television appearance on the Channel 4 Sunday Brunch show according to the band.

One of the more established artists at the festival, The Temper Trap, closes out the festival at Nottingham Trent University. The band is getting ready to release their third album, Thick As Thieves, in the coming weeks. It has been four years since their last studio release, during which time the band’s lead guitarist Lorenzo Sillitto left the band. A large crowd in attendance to witness their return.

As The Temper Trap takes to the stage, it doesn’t take long before the audience gets their first taste of new material with the title track of their forthcoming album opening the set. The band’s set is comprised largely of new tracks and classics from their debut album, Conditions, with the likes of “Love Lost,” “Resurrection” and the drum-heavy “Science of Fear.”

New songs like “Burn” and “Fall Together” seem to sit well alongside tracks from their debut album. The band’s frontman Dougy Mandagi beats out a tribal rhythm at the front of the stage during the euphoric “Drum Song.”

As the fans would want and expect, the stage at the Trent University is brought to a fitting finale with the band’s biggest hit, “Sweet Disposition.” Mandagi descends into the audience and crowd surfs his way across the room. After four years it’s great to see The Temper Trap back, we look forward to more of what is to come from them when they release their new album in June.

After almost twelve hours of perusing the venues of Nottingham, Dot To Dot did not disappoint with its diverse array of talent. We are looking forward to next year already.

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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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