Photographer: Laura Patterson // Words: Jon Robinson

Nottingham’s sixth Dot to Dot Festival took place over the bank holiday weekend and was the biggest and best yet. It’s an indoor city festival, organised by DHP and took place in a number of venues across the city – Rock City, the Rescue Rooms, Stealth, Nottingham Trent University’s Students Union and the Bodega. The festival showcases a wide range of new bands, including a number of up and coming bands from Nottingham. Dot to Dot Festivals also took place in Bristol and Manchester over the weekend.

Local band Baby Godzilla opened the festival early in the afternoon on stage in the Rock City basement in front of a good crowd. Their loud, screeching thrash-punk was full of energy and included an early trip into the crowd mid-song for several members of the band.

Baby Godzilla @ Dot to Dot Festival

Long Dead Signal had the first slot on the main stage in Rock City. Having won “the Future Sound of Nottingham” and played at the city’s Splendour Festival last year, this local band were well known to many of the crowd. Their tuneful and melodic songs, with hints of Muse and Radiohead influences, along with their avant garde dancers, who were like walking pieces of art, were very well received.

Spotlight Kid, another Nottingham band, had the opening slot at Nottingham Trent Students Union. Their indie music with a gothical edge was performed to an eager crowd. Female vocalist Katty Heath had a voice like crushed silk. The band had hints of Curve but very much had an ethereal sound of their own. It was nice to see the bands all supporting each other and enjoying the rest of the festival, with Spotlight Kid spotted at lots of the later gigs.

Spotlight Kid @ Dot to Dot Festival

Swimming were back on the Rock City main stage, only two months after their successful visit there while supporting Killing Joke on tour. John Salmon’s vocals were strong and clear, the drummer was full of energy and the guitarists really did bring it, in front of this near-capacity crowd at Rock City, whilst the keyboardist gave the band a futuristic, synth-pop edge. “Island in the Sun”, with the stage bathed in red light, made a dramatic finale for this Nottingham band.

Rock City was packed for cool singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran’s late afternoon appearance and the crowd was really enthusiastic. When you are this good, all you need is a soulful voice, a guitar and a backing track, as Ed proved, with his blend of acoustic meets folk, meets R&B, interspersed with hip hop chatter and beatboxing. Ed performed a stunning cover of folk song “I’m going there” which he recently performed on “Later with Jools Holland”.

Dananananaykroyd took to the main stage at Nottingham Trent Students Union in the early evening. These Glaswegian indie rockers were full of energy, starting off by jumping off the stage and hugging many of the front row of the crowd. Further visits into the crowd to perform, the screechy vocals and frenetic energy made for a very entertaining set by this lively band.

Dananananaykroyd @ Dot to Dot Festival

The Joy Formidable were next on the Students Union stage. This three-piece from North Wales performed a lively and dynamic set, full of strong melodies, for a big crowd. Ritzy Bryan is a little firecracker of a lead singer/guitarist, bursting with energy, with a strong and beautiful voice. A high octane drummer and a powerful guitarist made up the bands’ wonderful sound.

The Joy Formidable @ Dot to Dot Festival

Frontiers are another of Nottingham’s great hopes. They were on the Rock City basement stage mid evening. Their brand of classic British indie rock and pumping hard tunes went down really well with the audience, who appreciated their fast and loud performance.

Frontiers @ Dot to Dot Festival

British synth-pop band, Hurts, were the headline act on Rock City’s main stage. The band performed all their hits to a really enthusiastic crowd. Their stylised pop ballads, which wouldn’t be out of place on a movie soundtrack, sound even better live than they do on the album and the new songs were really well crafted.

Hurts @ Dot to Dot Festival

Theo Hutchcraft’s powerful voice and Adam Anderson’s hauntingly beautiful piano playing (and occasional guitar playing), give Hurts a really individual sound and added up to a very classy performance. Where much modern music sounds shallow, these tracks are like beautiful paintings of a cold, frustrated society.

The fantastic set by Hurts was a great finish to the day, though Dot to Dot carried on well into the early hours for those with more stamina!

The Joy Formidable @ Dot to Dot Festival

The Joy Formidable @ Dot to Dot Festival

The Joy Formidable @ Dot to Dot Festival

Swimming @ Dot to Dot Festival

Spotlight Kid @ Dot to Dot Festival

Spotlight Kid @ Dot to Dot Festival

Hurts @ Dot to Dot Festival

Hurts @ Dot to Dot Festival

Frontiers @ Dot to Dot Festival

Dananananaykroyd @ Dot to Dot Festival

Ed Sheeran @ Dot to Dot Festival

Dananananaykroyd @ Dot to Dot Festival