Organiser Lisa Paulon guides Gigwise through festival's history...
jason gregory
12:25 20th April 2011

The London borough of Camden will once again welcome in extra influx of music lovers later this month for the Camden Crawl, which this year will feature performances from the likes of Razorlight, Odd Future and Tinchy Stryder.

In addition to a stellar line-up, the festival also has extra reason to celebrate this year as it reaches its 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion Gigwise sat down with organiser Lisa Paulon to find out a bit more about the history of the event.

You can see Paulon's 10 most memorable moments from the Camden Crawl below, alongside some photos of some of the bands who have perform at the event over the years.

For more information about the Camden Crawl and all this summer's festivals, check out the Gigwise Festival Guide.

  • MOMENT 1: THURSDAY 16TH NOVEMBER 1995 - This was the date of the first ever Camden Crawl. There were only 5 venues (Dingwalls, The Monarch – now Barfly, The Laurel Tree, Castlehaven Community Centre and Dublin Castle) and only 15 bands for a fiver and a CD. The line up included Kenickie, Bis and Gallon Drunk amongst others, but what I remember most was The Wedding Present’s closing show. We had the bright idea to stagger all of the venues so that they were the last and only one’s on to finish the night. Sadly, none of us geniuses had the brain cells to work out that the 1000 people that attended wouldn’t all fit in the 500 capacity Dingwalls. We closed with a bit of a riot you could say!

  • MOMENT 2: THURSDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 1996 - This was the year I decided it was a good idea to hold the Crawl on my birthday and also the same year I became obsessed with Scottish bands. Of the 20 acts we had on that year 6 of them were from Glasgow (AC Acoustics, Delgados, Eska, Mogwai, Prolapse and Urusei Yatsura). I think this is why I ended up missing Beth Orton play one of her first London shows as well as Moby’s set at the Electric Ballroom.

  • MOMENT 3: THE 3-DAY CRAWL ROADSHOW 1997 - Things were going so well for the event thus far, we decided to take it on the road and change the name to the Intercity Crawl. On Thursday 17th September in Camden, Friday 18th in Manchester and Saturday 19th in Glasgow (still a Celtophile I guess). It wasn’t the greatest ever year for music for me with ‘Big Beat’ taking over the universe, but we still had some great stuff on with the key highlights for me being Echo & The Bunnymen, Tanya Donnelly, Mouse On Mars, Snow Patrol, Ultrasound and The Wannadies all playing that year. We decided to follow the bands up from London in a transit with all the rider in the back which I seem to remember resulting in us literally crawling through Glasgow airport to catch our Easyjet flight back on the 20th.

  • MOMENT 4: SEVEN YEARS OFF 1998 – 2004 - After moment #3, we decided that the Crawl was to be no more. I had a full on day job and the event had just become to much to manage for something we mostly did for a laugh. It wasn’t until the end of 2004, that a manager mate of mine somehow remember that 2005 would mark 10 years since the first Camden Crawl. He convince me that we should re-launch the Crawl as a one off for a laugh to mark 10 years since the first one. As I had set up my one business by now and had completely forgotten what a pain in the arse it was to put on, I agreed. Besides, there were a load of great new bands at this time.

  • MOMENT #5: THE RE-LAUNCH 10TH MARCH 2005 - What swung it for me, really, in making the decision to go ahead with it was bumping into Graham Coxon in a pizza place on Parkway. I mentioned that I was thinking of doing it and he responded by saying “Can I play Dublin Castle?”. I couldn’t say no and this is what started the annual tradition of re-uniting exception surprise guests with the Dublin Castle. This year’s line up for the most part booked itself as we were doing street teams for most of the bands at the time and it was easy to reach them. It was a pretty impressive line up when you look back at it as well which included: Hard-Fi, Hope Of The States, Hot Chip, The Kooks, Maximo Park, Mystery Jets, The Cribs, The Magic Numbers and The Subways in addition to Graham, The Wedding Present and Buzzcocks.

  • MOMENT 6: START AS YOU’RE MEAN’T TO CONTINUE – 20 APRIL 2006 - What we hadn’t done in 2005 is predict how well it was going to go. The festival was bigger than it ever had been before and sold out with very little effort. Because of this it seemed to make sense to keep it going, but we hadn’t prepared to do so at the time. So, we decided ahead time that we would make a long term plan. And, if it went well this time, we would keep it going and continue to grow it at a manageable pace. With another strong line up which included the Futureheads, Guillemots, Klaxons, Paolo Nutini, Plan B, Supergrass, Sway and Lethal Bizzle amongst others the event sold out again and continued to grow.

  • MOMENT 7: THE AMY WINEHOUSE YEAR – 19TH & 20TH APRIL 2007 - As part of our plan was to extend across a weekend rather than being just a Thursday night event, we moved to a Thursday & Friday to accommodate some daytime events to see if they would work and squeeze ourselves toward the weekend. It was as pretty stripped down programme that year during the day and was mainly a couple of acoustic and an unsigned band stage and a few pop quizzes and a comedy venue. These events seemed to add the extra sparkle and move us away from being tagged as an ‘Indie’ music event to a festival. This year was most remember though by the mob scene which was Amy Winehouse’s show at Dublin Castle. There must have been at least 30-40 paparazzi outside with Amy, Suggs and David Schwimmer all trapped inside. I got a telling off by the police for having a go a the paps…which evidently you’re not supposed to do, curiously. And, it made me miss The Damned at Koko.

  • MOMENT 8: THE YEAR OF GLOBAL WARMING - 18TH – 19 APRIL 2008 - This was the most awesome year simply because it was baking hot with temperatures reach 28 degrees both days with glorious sunshine. Everyone was happy and the vibe was amazing. I think I spent most of the time sitting out on the balcony in Lock 17 soaking up the atmosphere and the free Red Stripe. The highlight shows for me though were definitely Cage The Elephant at The Earl Of Camden where they did most of their set from the top of the bar and seeing Florence & The Machine for the first time!

  • MOMENT 9: THE YEAR OF MADNESS – 24TH – 25TH APRIL 2009 - We partnered up with BBC 6Music this year and they were amazing. They managed to book Madness to do a secret busking tour of Camden culminating in a free open top bus show on Inverness street. It really was the gig of a lifetime and created a scene never before witnessed in Camden. It was also the first year we added the Roundhouse as venue and started to pull in some serious ‘headliners’. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kasabian, Maccabees, 808 State, The Fall, Echo & The Bunnymen and Idlewild all played and Billy Bragg did the most amazing set at Dublin Castle.

  • MOMENT 10: FULFILLED AT LAST & THE YEAR OF NUMBER 1’S – MAY DAY BANK HOLIDAY 2010 - Last year I finally fulfilled my long term desire to have one of my favourite bands appear at the Crawl. It was an unbelievable experience to have Teenage Fanclub finally perform and they did a storming set at Koko that I won’t forget anytime soon! It was also the year which saw us have 3 acts with number ones performing at the Roundhouse. Pendulum had just released their new no. 1 album, as did Plan B and Professor Green had the number one single at the time. Sadly it absolutely pissed it down with rain over our outdoor stage, but the upshot was that we are completely prepared for that for the future now. It had never rained at a Crawl in its 9 year history.


Photo: WENN.com