North Meets East at Dalston Music Festival

Written by: Claire Holly Davies

The border line between North and East London crosses Dalston. On one side is the N16 postcode and one hop, skip and a jump later and you’re in E8 territory. The Dalston Music Festival (on this weekend) straddles the two territories – the jets and the sharks ain’t got nothing on this. There are two distinct personalities going on at play here. Moving further North you’ll find yourself in Stoke Newington, with its villagey feel, artsy culture, and approachable yet cool businesses. Back towards the East you’re right in the heart of Dalston, the epicentre of underground music, a melting pot of culture underline with a gritty realism. The Dalston Music Festival is located at the epicentre of all of this.

Dalston Music Festival, North Four, North London Magazine

The festival’s participating venues, whilst largely N16 by postcode, are proudly Dalston focused – working together to produce an event that is more focused on pulling together their community than any commercial benefits. The people behind the festival pay every one of their performers (you may be surprised to know this isn’t exactly the norm). They work with community groups who produce highly creative musical projects that are programmed into the festival in such a way that people often at first don’t realise that what they are observing has been created by children or young people – such is the quality of the production. Part of the festival is free, open to all of the public so that even those with limited access to the arts can take part, including all day workshops, kids activities and the live stage on Gillette Square (the spiritual heart of the festival) which this year will host live bands and DJs. A £20 ticket will get you access to all of the participating venues, including the elusive Dalston Boys Club – a space that’s not usually open to the public, each curating a different genre and vibe. The line-up is a diverse mix of musical output, likely to appease even those with the most niche tastes (although we are disappointed to report a distinct lack of mathcore).

Indie electronic trio Zombie Zombie, techno titan Not Waving, Hackney’s very own Roger Robinson and founder of London’s most iconic reggae haunt, Four Aces, the formidable Newton Dunbar. Sam Willis of WALLS will be performing the first live performance of his solo project Primitive World, and hip-hop-come-Afrobeat-come-jazz-collective (try saying that three times in a row) Ruby Rushton will also be performing. Your wristband will get you into eight live music venues until the early hours of Sunday, all within a two-minute walk of Gillette Square:

POND Dalston (psych/electronic)
Dalston Boys Club (polymorphic pop)
Servant Jazz Quarters (pop, not slop! with DEEK Recordings)
Dalston Jazz Bar (hectic late-night
Arcola (ecstatic dancing)
Tipsy (spontaneous electronic)
Club Makossa (tropical beats)
Stamford Works (experimental)

For Hackney and by Hackney, Dalston Music Festival is a community event intent on bringing everyone together in the name of music. In partnership with Dalston Studios & London Borough of Hackney, Dalston Music Festival is a celebration music and culture. The organisers would like to thank Arts Council England, Hackney Council, Goose Island and Pauline Le Divenach for all of their help and support.

Full details
Date: Saturday 9th July 2016
Time: 1pm – 6am
Place: Gillett Square, London, N16 8JN
Tickets: £20 adv, £25 OTD // available on Billetto, YPlan and Dice // final release
Further information:

Photographs: Julien Bader

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