The Birmingham music festival ‘Beyond The Tracks’ ran for the first time this year, from September 15th – 17th. The event was a success by all means, and showcased the finest local and national talent across three days of musical madness, but organisers say that the event will not be returning next year.
‘Beyond The Tracks’ was located within Eastside City Park, a tiny triangle of green space set within the urban districts of the city centre. The park borders Park Street, Fazely Street, New Canal Street and Millennium Point, and is less than a 10-minute drive from the Bullring and the Grosvenor and Genting casinos. (Of course, festival goers should be aware that the proper etiquette for hanging around in casinos is very different than for the muddy fields of festivals!)
The festival site also happens to border the site for the future HS2 station, which is why the festival will not be able to make a return in 2018.
Organiser John Fell said during an interview that the new HS2 is set to go through the current ‘Beyond The Tracks’ festival site, meaning that the park will not be available next year. Fell is optimistic and says that the year off will allow time to reflect and the opportunity to come back the following year with a bigger and better event. The likelihood is that the festival will simply relocate.
John Fell says, “We’ll assess everything after this year’s festival and see what we can improve on for 2019”.
‘Beyond The Tracks’ had a capacity of 10,000 people per day, although the aim this year was for the festival to have around 5,000 attendees on each day. Along with two stages, the festival also had bars, toilets and a nice mix of stalls and independent street food stands, many of which were run by local businesses.
The two-stage setup received notable scepticism at first, as both were situated very close to each other. Staggered set times solved this perceived problem, with bands never clashing, but instead flowing into each other seamlessly to give a continuation of music that became a highlight of the festival.
The lineup also had a distinctly local feel, with Brummie bands, both emerging and established, joining A-listers from elsewhere to forge an unforgettable lineup of legends and newcomers.
The Friday night had a rave-like feel, with Orbital filling the headline slot. They delivered a powerful performance with equal parts dreamy melody and driving beats. Some fans have waited over 20 years to see Orbital live, and the wait was finally over on the Friday.
Who better to join the 90s dance troupe than Leftfield, who did a spectacular job of wooing crowds with their Leftism performance. Faithless also spun a DJ set to make the night a continuous flow of unmissable dance acts.
The Saturday nights were all about Birmingham’s finest, with headline appearances from homegrown talent Ocean Colour Scene, The Twang, and the fresh faces of Superfood. They were joined by out-of-towners Maximo Park and The Coral.
Sunday night featured a stunning performance from Editors, widely considered as one of the most talented bands to come out of Birmingham this century!
‘Beyond The Tracks’ succeeded in bringing back the summer vibes, despite being late in the year. Punters had a great time dancing away to an undeniably top-notch lineup of artists. ‘Beyond The Tracks’ is helping to put Birmingham on the map as a creative and musical hub. It might not be making it back next year, but the plan is for this festival to become an annual event. If this year is anything to go by, this could be one to watch out for in 2019, and well into the future.