Roundhouse Rising Festival: What is it, and why does it matter?

Roundhouse Rising Festival: What is it, and why does it matter?

Amy Gwinnett chats to the Roundhouse Rising Festival team what this year’s festival has in store, and how you can get involved.


You may be familiar with the Roundhouse as a quality gig going venue in everyone’s favourite Borough, Camden. The disused railway engine shed turned performance space has long been the pinnacle of live music in the area, hosting, for example, the Doors only ever UK show back in the day, and a whole host of acts in recent years ranging from yer Dad’s favourites to the cutting edge. But this is not an article about looking back. This is an article about the Roundhouse Rising Festival 2017, which is all about the future.

Roundhouse Rising is a celebration of new musical talent across nine days, including live performances, workshops, talks and demos.

The festival includes an impressive bill of only the finest upcoming talent, acts who, in the words of Nicole Logan from the team ‘will be headlining stages at Glastonbury and Bestival in a few years’ time’. This includes Glaswegian four-piece Catholic Action (great name), afrobeat artist Mista Silva, Roundhouse Resident’s Edges and hiphop collective SumoChief. The success of Edges is particularly close to the festival’s heart – ‘seeing some of our current residents artists such as Edges go from their own show here at Rising to heading off on their first UK tour is just fantastic, there is always so much talent at the festival.’

The festival also provides tools for young artists looking to break through in the industry. For example, the Artist Toolkit Day on Sunday 19th February involves talks and masterclasses on topics such as how to get signed, how to create and promote your music, and how to work with agents, and is chaired by luminaries from such creatives as Alex Manzi from 1Xtra and Lily Mercer from Rinse. As Nicole says, ‘the music business is still very much a hard nut to crack’, which is why helping out new talent with events like these is so important. Roundhouse Rising is all about diversity too – ‘We at the Roundhouse always want to champion diverse art forms and ranges of thought – we believe the arts, music included belong to everyone and that it can transform lives’.

Something that makes this edition of the festival particularly special is that it also hosts the return of an act who began at the festival in 2013 – Little Simz. I was fortunate to catch her a couple of years back and she’s a firebrand not to be missed. Her performance from 2013 is Nicole’s highlight from the festival: ‘she was incredibly special then, so to see her growth over the years has been so inspiring!’.

With the festival increasing year after year it seems the only way is up for Roundhouse Rising. ‘We want to have more artists and performers that use our creative studios to perform as part of the festival and for some of those artists to go to headline their own shows in the main space,’ Nicole tells me of the future plans for the festival. ‘Also to work with more brilliant people and creative partnerships that reflect the tastes and ambitions of the creatives we work with.’

Finally, as rising talent is what the Roundhouse Rising festival is all about, I ask Nicole if she has any advice for all you struggling musicians out there: ‘work hard, be on time, be nice to people, look after yourself, spend less time on social media… as a creative it’s really easy to get bogged down in social media numbers and stunting for the ‘gram, people really do forget that it is what happens in real life that counts.’ Well there you have it. And there’s no better place to start with this real life business than getting yourself down to the Roundhouse Rising Festival, whether you’re an artist or an enthusiast.

For more information and tickets.


Featured Image: Nici Eberl



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