Across the Pond: The Camden Crawl

Bertie Magit / May 15, 2012
All photos by Bertie Magit

Like coffee shops in Seattle, a surplus of pubs all over London work hard to keep thirsts quenched while acting as venues for local culture. As the clock strikes five and the workday officially ends, the pubs are swarmed with locals. So many people partake in this daily ritual it becomes almost impossible to even find the bar.

The pubs, like Seattle’s coffee shops, are a place for people to not only hide from the gloomy weather but to socialize as well. At night, a large number of these pubs serve as small-scale venues for bands to play and patrons to hear some music they might not get a chance to hear otherwise. With pubs playing such a large role in London culture and music culture it is only natural that the two would be combined on a large scale! Last weekend, Camden hosted an event of this nature called the Camden Crawl.

Unlike the pub-crawls you might be familiar with, Camden Crawl focuses more on the music and less on the alcohol. Prior to the start of Camden Crawl I had anticipated this festival to be a London version of Capitol Hill Block Party, and in a way it kind of was. Unlike CHBP, no roads were blocked off and unless you were partaking in the Camden Crawl, it would be easy to not even notice it.

Running from the night of May 4th until the early hours of May 7th, Camden Crawl boasted entertainment in the form of music, film, comedy, visual arts, and interactive entertainment. The lineup included acts such as Death in Vegas, The Cribs, the Futureheads, The Big Pink, Niki & the Dove, Glasvegas and many others.

Niki & The Dove at Koko/Camden Crawl

All the events in Camden Crawl were spread out over fifty venues across Camden, adding a scavenger hunt element to this musically inclined pub-crawl. While most of the venues are pubs with a designated stage or room for entertainment purposes, some of the venues like Koko and Electric Ballroom are regularly used as venues or nightclubs. As expected, those were the venues that housed the biggest acts.

Festivals that incorporate the area around them like Camden Crawl and Capitol Hill Block Party are special because you get to experience a highly concentrated dose of the local culture in just a few event-packed days. The only downside of the Camden Crawl was that because everything was not immediately connected together it was easier to camp out at one location than explore everything the festival had to offer.

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