We are in the midst of showcase festival season and I completely sympathise with how overwhelming these testing times can be. However, there is one festival on the horizon that looks to be providing a pretty stress free experience. Making the move from Winchester to The Big Smoke, the second CloseUp Festival takes place this Saturday (13th May) at Hoxton's Square Bar and Kitchen. So let me emphasise the ease of this event: it's central, the lineup is phenomenal, and tickets are dirt cheap. The day sells itself really but just in case you're still not quite convinced I've put together a guide of some of the acts playing along with the drinks you might like to consume as you're watching them. (You see, Hoxton Square Bar has quite the cocktail menu.)
Miss Williams was actually the inspiration for this totally original piece of content given that her name features in the name of my personal favourite of the venue's cocktails. Jerry Williams headlines CloseUp's acoustic stage and honestly it's the kind of platform that she was born for. She released her third EP at the end of last year, and the five tracks encapsulate every aspect of her music making personality perfectly. 'Velcro' is a particular highlight, and as Williams usually performs it as just her and a guitar, no doubt it'll sound exceptional on Saturday.
Recommended drink: Very Cherry Jerry - it's a no-brainer
The festival's latest lineup addition is my favourite London based self-titled band. This will be the quartet's third time playing live in Hoxton in the last eight months so they will undoubtedly be right at home on the CloseUp festival stage. Fours have just released their second single of the year and arguably (although, I don't know who would contest it) their best song to date, 'Stella'. Hopefully bringing the sun from their recent band holiday to Shoreditch, Fours' summery pop songs are the perfect way to brighten up your afternoon.
Recommended drink: It would be a Stella if it were on offer, alas, it's going to have to be Earl of Jamaica - think summer, and rum, and the sun, and holidays
I'm currently finding Glass Peaks' songs very endearing but I'm struggling to pinpoint exactly why. The band are a "melancholic alt-pop" trio from Kent, but I don't think alt-pop quite does what they do much justice, they seem a bit... deeper than that. They claim that two of their influences are Joy Division and Foals, and to be honest, that's kind of what their new single 'Home' sounds like a mixture between. Glass Peaks are playing the main stage this weekend, and I'm quite intrigued about what they'll sound like live.
Recommended drink: Based solely on one Facebook post Glass Peaks seem hyped about Jagermeister being in conjunction with this event. I hear there's a Jager cocktail happening... opt for one of those.
Martin Luke Brown
I've never seen Martin Luke Brown live, which is almost criminal actually, it's just never worked out... until now! Brown will be playing the acoustic stage on Saturday, which, akin to Jerry Williams, will no doubt work in his favour. The singer's more recent releases, 'Shadow & Light' and '65 Roses' are far more stripped back than his debut EP and the collaboration he released with Sody last year. Although he's one of those artists with vocals so strong any setting will probably work for him.
Recommended drink: Whisk Me Away - something straight up to sip as you're serenaded
Where better to conclude than with the main attraction, Saturday's main stage headliners, Ekkah. In the hotly contested UK female duo category, Ekkah are definitely one of my favourites. Their sound and aesthetic quite literally sparkle, setting the tone perfectly for their 80s infused synth pop. As I say every time I mention this pair, they're so fun to watch because of their low-key dance routines and solid pop harmonies. A perfect way to end the evening.
Recommended drink: Lavender Vida Loca - it sounds pretty sophisticated and in terms of wanting a blue drink for eighties throwback purposes, this is the closest we're gonna get
Other acts playing this wild all-dayer: Kyko, Model Aeroplanes, The Bulletproof Bomb (I read that this band were from Croydon. I looked at a picture of them and didn't recognise any of them. They're actually from Sutton. Sutton is not Croydon. Can't believe someone would literally feed me fake news in such a manner.), Marsicans, How's Harry (No question mark... which makes me even more concerned for Harry's welfare.), JAKL, Sasha Brown
You can buy tickets on Dice, Dice is really good, literally don't bother buying tickets anywhere else. They're £13 which is so criminally cheap for an entire day of music in central London. Come on! Grab em here.