We asked our writer Emma Davidson to spend the day of May 5 experiencing the sights and sounds of SFTOC – here’s her review of our 15th birthday party
It was the morning of the 5th of May, and a sneakily sunny corner of Salford was about to turn into the best paradisiacal place this side of the pond. A place where beer is poured from the inside of a caravan, Britney Spears is belted out the door of a portaloo and tequila is shot straight into your gob from the spout of a water pistol. It is, of course, Sounds From the Other City 2019. Here to celebrate its 15th birthday, I donned my Dr Martens for a day at Regent Road.
Arriving at the site early Sunday afternoon, I’m greeted by a man in a flattering blonde wig asking if I’m Jenny and “did I order a L-Uber?” to which he gestures at the empty shopping trolley he is moving backwards and forwards beneath him. Unfortunately, I had to tell him that in fact, I was not Jenny, but I was sure I’d just saw her standing on the corner of Unit 2 looking a little lost! Off he went into the eye-catching site, decorated in glittering tinsel moving in a gentle breeze briefly catching a quick glimpse of your cheesy festival happy reflection. It’s not quite the flip flop weather we were graced with last year, but It’s the perfect place for a bunch of artists from far and wide to gather under a tin roof that on every other day of the week houses a printer’s and a paint stockist. Sounds From the Other City fits right in with its similar DIY ethic and a plethora of overalls.
I start my day at unit 2 catching the remarkable Aadae who played a beautifully, industrial poetic set that comprised of only her and her drummer. The bass driven performance had notes of afro-beat, at times drawing a stark contrast to Ibibo Sound Machine who Aadae has just recently finished a set of dates with. Her songs provoke an emotional response from the packed-out crowd that are huddled into this warehouse like a herd of cattle, and her presence is enough to provide an angelic atmosphere to warm us ready for the rest of the afternoon.
With a vocal as powerful and poetic as it is, it seemed only natural that Aadae breaks into a beautiful Etta James cover which transfixes her audience and displays just how incredible her voice is. Her music has the ability to give everyone that pleasant groove and happiness, a familiar feeling that usually washes over us after the first couple of beers on a sunny afternoon.
Feeling cleansed and super excited to see what the rest of this year Soundstown has to offer, it was time to check out Yorkshire based garage punk rockers Avalanche Party. Residing in unit 3, the band have already started when I arrive, the walls dripping with the sweat of their frontman Jordan Bell, who is in the crowd topless and completely lost in the bands energetic dynamic. Their performance is theatrical at times with each member in a possessed state, angst driven and wildlife-like. Avalanche Party create a frenzied environment that I could watch for hours, the perfect band for any frantic festival goer.
Sneaks was next on my list, an enigmatic character that took to the stage of unit 5 hidden behind a pair a darkened sunglasses, clearly prepared for the 11 degree heat that just wasn’t showing up. I was intrigued by what I was about to witness as she danced robot-like to songs such as ‘Look Like That’ which merges pogo punk bass lines with trap beats. Her performance is somewhat minimal compared to what I have already witnessed, but her celestial hip-hop transports the room to the realms of outer space, overlooked by a huge grey planet that hangs above her as she plays. Maybe if I stay here long enough, that’s where I’ll end up?
After Sneaks’ captivating stripped down aesthetic, Babii was next to take to the stage at unit 5. Another one-man band, she had been top of my list to see since I’d first taken a look at this year’s lineup. Her on stage set up is like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Drum pads, machines, pedals, buttons, cables, lights, similar to that one draw we all have in our kitchen that houses everything from cellotape to a charger for that phone, emotionally parted with in 2007. However, Babii has an insane talent starting her set with the industrialised ‘SEiiZURE’ that sees her beautifully portray an electro-pop paradise, using every possible limb to bash out beats that could have been recorded under the roof of this very warehouse.
She sheepishly explains how she is surviving on only two hours sleep but that in no way affects her performance. Her music is refreshing as her sweet vocals lie beautifully over the dark, layered synth sounds she has managed to curate so uniquely. Babii was undoubtedly my favourite performer at this year’s SFTOC, I was not only amazed by her music but by her performance. There was so much to focus on that as an audience member you also felt fully immersed and engrossed with every movement. Her set was flawless and incredibly exciting to witness, it’s hard to even compare Babii to anyone else on the current music spectrum. If you haven’t already, then please grace yourself with her mind-boggling music.
Then I was suddenly transported to unit 4. Emerging from the tinsel that provided the perfect Instagrammable entrance, I was greeted by four bearded men dancing to the baby mobile beats of Tirikilatops’ ‘Snail Party (Wah!)’. The set is a blur, with one member of the band slumped, confused in the corner of the stage only leading me to question if he was part of the performance or a mere festival goer that had possibly peaked too early. Anyway, their set was a crazy explosion of neon hues and cult kawaii inspired costumes. With this being my first ever introduction to Trikilatops, the experience was eye-opening and a little over whelming but nevertheless they’re a band who fit perfectly into the SFTOC sphere that inhabits all things weird and wonderful.
After witnessing the world of Trikilatops I found myself in a lengthy queue for the hidden toilets inside unit 4. You may think that my toilet experience is completely irrelevant, but I doubt you’ve had one like it. I could already hear the bass pounding from behind the closed doors of each cubicle. As I stepped foot into the bathroom, three people dressed as red chillis and a couple of makeshift coppers armed with water pistols full of tequila were dancing hard to ‘You’ve Got to Show me Love’. It was a secret rave that provided the best post poo party going.
It was now nearing the end of SFTOC 2019 so it was time to head over to unit 3 and immerse myself in the 90’s dream pop of The Orielles. Packs of festival revellers stormed over to watch the quartet who had filled the unit to the brim and made everyone forget about the unfortunate beer shortage that had just hit the bars. The Orielles painted the walls of this bare venue with their positive, pastel pink garage rock that has grown so organically from the back rooms of local sweaty bars. Their sound is new but nostalgic with undertones of Luscious Jackson in the slick riffs and baby-faced beauty that the band so elegantly portray.
Songs such as ‘Bobbi’s Second World’ are a stand out on stage performance with funk fuelled melodies showcasing the bands unique post dance punk firmly rooted in nostalgic disco. They’re having an absolute blast on stage with guitarist Henry Wade transforming into a Dr Feelgood – Roxette-esque dance jolting his body in time with his stiff guitar playing, and front woman Esme Halford’s sweet spirit projects across this venue filling it with vibrancy and those proper festival vibes that are hard to find anywhere else.
Sounds From the Other City is a one of a kind experience, giving you everything you could ever dream of from a festival situated in a sunny little corner of Salford. It celebrates everything about the city and the artists that inhabit it, it’s welcoming, charming and completely incomparable to any other festival that is around at the moment. Living in this spectacular city is already an honour, but to be able to celebrate everything I love and share an undying passion for on my doorstep is an absolute blessing. Again, SFTOC has outdone itself. If you haven’t allowed yourself to dance around a car park, sipping cans and immersing yourself in art and culture from every corner of this small world, then really, what the hell have you been doing?
We want to make SFTOC the best festival it can be so we’ve put together a survey which will go towards shaping the future of the festival – we couldn’t do it without you and we want to know your thoughts and feedback.
Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a prize draw for a cash prize of £50.
You can complete the survey here or in the page below.
That’s a wrap! Thanks to all the bands, volunteers, vendors, art directors, stage managers, bar staff, and everything else beside who made our Quindecennial such special celebration of all things Sounds – but most importantly, thanks to all who came down, drank, danced, and got involved with all the things that make our festival everything we know it to be. Thanks for sticking with us through a few hiccoughs (we’ll order more beer next year, we promise – and more toilets), and for carry on partying regardless. We’ll see you next year, down on Chapel Street, Sunday 3 May 2020.
Merry Christmas, everyone! SFTOC 2019 – and our Quindecennial celebration – is finally here! Doors open at 2pm, with our first act at 2:45pm: anyone looking to ensure they’re in to see that would be advised to turn up early, as there is likely to be a queue for entry for the first hour at least. You’re also reminded that it is highly recommended that cash is brought with you, as all of our bars are cash only due to limited wi-fi coverage. For more on does and don’ts, our last minute essentials post has got you covered. We’ll have a programme on the door for everyone to pick up, and you can plan your day in advance with our Clashfinder here.
Once again, there will be NO TICKETS AVAILABLE ON THE DOOR, and Skiddle’s resale option goes offline at midday: this year’s capacity is super-limited, and we’re unable to make any exceptions.
Before we move on from bars – we’ve also got our menu available to peruse, in conjunction with our good friends at Magic Rock. Those 3 for £10 offers might just be the most popular act at the festival
We’ve also got a LAST MINUTE ADDITION to the bill: All the way from São Paulo, Brazil we present a last minute and super exciting addition to the Band on the Wall stage at caustic coastal. Don’t miss a super intense DJ takeover in-between bands, bringing you the latest sounds and moves from across the Atlantic.
Static are independent music producers DJ Akinn and DJ Shaolin will bringing the best of Brazilian funk. They will be joined by dancers from coletiva ocupação who are in the city to perform their show When It Breaks It Burns.
Remember to tag us in on social media – we’re @SFTOC across the board – as well as to enjoy SFTOC responsibly. Merry Christmas – we’ll see you from 2pm until… well, whenever we all get to bed.
Well, we’re almost there: the best day of the year is tomorrow. We know your heart is ready, but there are some last minute essentials that will help you get the most out of our Quindecennial celebration. Here’s all you need to know ahead of the day itself – we’ll see you at Regents Trading Estate tomorrow.
ENTRANCE & WRISTBAND EXCHANGE
Opens at 2pm – Last entry at 9pm.
Wristband exchange takes place at the entrance to the festival site on Oldfield Road. For sat nav purposes the nearest point of reference is Mr Cook, 1 Regent Trading Estate, Oldfield Rd, Manchester M5 4DE.
Please download or print out your tickets to help speed up the entrance process. Early on, there will likely be queues at the entrance which we will endeavour to move through as quickly as possible – so if you want to see the opening acts, including the one-off BBC Philharmonic x Young Identity show at 2.45pm, we advise arriving early. There will be NO TICKETS available on the day: resale is available through Skiddle at face value here: https://skiddle.com/festivals/sounds-from-the-other-city/ Please be aware that scammers selling false/non-existent tickets has been on the rise on social media in recent years for all events, and we strongly advise against buying tickets through any means other than Skiddle – doing so through any other platforms puts yourself at the risk. Find out more about resale here: https://www.soundsfromtheothercity.com/2019/04/30/sounds-from-the-other-city-quindecennial-tickets-are-sold-out/
We strongly advise bringing cash on the day. Due to limited facilities on site, all of the bars will be CASH ONLY. There is no cash machine at Regent Trading Estate but there are nearby ATMs at the Co-Op (closes 10pm), Costcutter, Sainsburys and some local newsagents. Be warned that ATMs in the local area often end up with large queues and a shortage of available funds – so bringing cash on your way to the festival is advised.
There will be bag and wand checks at the site entrance, therefore we request that bag size is kept to a minimum in order to reduce delays.
As we’re on an enclosed site for this event there are some items that we can’t allow through the entrance: please don’t bring food or drink into the festival, there will be a great selection of food stalls and bars to take advantage of (see below). No controlled substances please. No glass, cans or metal containers. Nothing that could be explosive, flammable or is likely to be used as a weapon.
FOOD & DRINK
There are four food vendors at Regent Trading Estate: Honest Crust pizzas, Dim Sum Su, Seitan’s Kebabs and Diamond Dogs hot dogs. We are operating a 50% veggie/vegan menu across the site. All of our bars will be serving a choice of award-winning Magic Rock craft beers (all vegan) plus Swansong Coffee will be offering a selection of tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Find out more here.
Unfortunately dogs (other than assistance dogs) and all other pets are not permitted at this year’s festival as we feel we are unable to offer a suitable environment for the welfare of our animal friends at Regent Trading Estate.
Once you have collected your wristband you are free to come in and out of the festival site at Regent Trading Estate at any time. Please note however that you will have to undertake a bag search each time you enter the site and there will be no fast-track queue for wristband holders which may mean another wait at peak times. We’re also a fringe event at The Eagle Inn, which you can find out more about here: https://www.soundsfromtheothercity.com/2019/05/01/sftoc-fringe-event-vam-street-party/
SITE CONDITIONS & ACCESSIBILITY
Regent Trading Estate is relatively flat and on one level, but due to its nature the terrain is rough and uneven in places – please wear appropriate footwear. The area is wheelchair accessible and there are seating areas around the site. If you have accessibility requirements and have any specific questions please contact us at email@example.com.
Entry to all stages are subject to capacity. If our security team advise you that the venue is at full capacity they will employ a one-in one-out policy for your safety so please be patient with them.
If you want to plan your day, a clashfinder is available via our website – you can find it here. There will also be programmes available at the Entrance gate which will include stage times so make sure you pick one up. Line-ups and running times are all subject to change – you can listen to our official Spotify playlist to get yourself in the mood here.
Our official afterparties take place from 10-4am at YES and 11-5am at The Pint Pot. SFTOC wristband holders will have priority entry, subject to venue capacity.
Read all about them here: https://www.soundsfromtheothercity.com/2019/04/26/9-days-til-sftoc-afterparty-run-down/
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow for our Quindecennial celebration!