North London Food & Culture

It’s CC14 this weekend…

With star interviews, tips and quirky facts, get stuck into our coverage of the rebooted Camden Crawl festival, which kicks off on Friday over 25 venues in NW1 and NW5

Fans at the Camden Crawl in 2012. Photo: PR
Fans at the Camden Crawl in 2012. Photo: PR

Did you know a world class festival is about to kick off on your doorstep? Yes, over two days on June 20 and 21, one of London’s most underrated urban shindigs returns to north London.

It’s been spruced up and reinvented – with a new name, CC14 to boot (find out why here) – and one of NW5’s rowdiest drinking dens, Camden Town Brewery, will host the largest outdoor stage.

Brewery aside, over 25 local venues (including The Grafton and Abbey Tavern) are also hosting their own curated line-ups. And so it’s pretty darn eclectic too. Eighties heart-throbs ABC rub shoulders with singer-songwriter Steve Mason and rising north Londoner Little Simz (both interviewed below), “digital hardcore” outfit Atari Teenage Riot, grime act Ghetts, 90s dance icon Phil Hartnoll and cult US alt rock band Of Montreal.

But it’s not just music. There are comedy stages, fringe events, quizzes, and BBQs galore. In fact, a whopping 250 artists will appear in total; so we think it’s a two-day bash that should appeal to the whole community.


All week we’ll be offering up a guide to getting the best out of the festival. First off, we’ve bagged two of the artists performing for a quick chat, and underneath that, we reveal a few quirky facts about the Crawl that you probably didn’t know.

2 Minutes With…Steve Mason

Steve Mason: '' Photo: Kevin Morosky
Photo: Kevin Morosky
A singer-songwriter and founding member of seminal Scottish act the Beta Band, Steve plays KOKO on Saturday June 21 as part of CC14.

When were you happiest?
I’m always happiest working on my Lambretta scooter. Nothing sharpens the mind like building a machine you hope will carry you over hundreds of miles without coming to pieces when you least expect it.

What is your favourite sound or smell?
A Lambretta 2-stroke engine: both the best sound (especially with a large carburettor) and smell.

What is your greatest life achievement?
Knowing the right time to end the Beta Band, even under immense pressure to keep it going.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Never go back to a lit firework.

What is your earliest memory?
Splitting my head open on the Isle of Man aged about three.

What makes you unhappy?
Capitalist indoctrination.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
What would improve all our lives is a post-scarcity Anarchist society. A resource-based economy.

What is your most unappealing habit?
I never share food. It’s the feral side of me.

What has your career taught you?
Always check the books.

Describe yourself as an animal.
I’m a carcharodon carcharias (or great white shark). If I don’t keep moving forward I will drown.

2 Minutes With…Little Simz

Little Simz: '' Photo: Kevin Morosky
Photo: Kevin Morosky
North London-based rapper Little Simz (real name Simbi Ajikawo,) 20, attended Highbury Fields School, before becoming one of the most talked-about rising hip hop artists on both sides of the Atlantic. She releases her debut EP E.D.G.E this week, and plays the Beatrice on Sat 21 June 11:30pm.

When were you happiest?
When I’m with my family, making music or performing.

Where would you like to live?
I’d like to live in London for the most part, but have houses in different places in the world.

What is your greatest life achievement?
The fact that I’ve released four projects independently, with my fifth set to be released this month, and it had got me to where I am today. But I feel like my greatest life achievement is still yet to happen.

What is your earliest memory?
I have a few early memories that I can only remember vaguely: they would include going to my first dance class, riding my first bike, and nursery.

What is your most unappealing habit?
I have a habit of using ketchup on majority of all my meals, a lot of people find it disgusting, but I personally dig it.

What has your career taught you?
That you have to have thick skin in this industry, and that no one can make your dream reality apart from you.

What is your favourite dish and why?
My mum’s food. You should try her curry chicken and rice.

Describe yourself as an animal.
I’ve always liked to see myself as a lion.

Eight things you never knew about Camden Crawl

1. It’s a springboard to megastardom for many: Adele, Calvin Harris, Mumford & Sons, Disclosure, Bastille, Friendly Fires, Florence & The Machine, Plan B, Professor Green, Mogwai, Hot Chip, Laura Marling, Lethal Bizzle, Ben Howard, Eliza Doolittle, Example, Foals, The XX, Metronomy, Wild Beasts amongst others. Phew.

Amy Winehouse flew in by helicopter in 2007. © Mark Okoh/Camera Press
Amy Winehouse flew in by helicopter in 2007. © Mark Okoh/Camera Press
2. Only two of the original Camden Crawl venues from 1995 are still going. The Falcon, Caenarven Castle, The Laurel Tree have all met their demise.

3. At the very first incarnation of the CC all of the bands were paid in pies.

4. It’s Graham Coxon’s fault that the festival re-launched after a 7 year hiatus. He randomly bumped into the organisers in a pizza restaurant on Parkway.

5. Top telly and radio presenter Lauren Laverne played the very first year.

6. Most random secret gig was Squeeze doing a full band greatest hits live set in the upstairs bar of the Hawley Arms.

7. Most surreal moment? David Schwimmer camping out in Dublin Castle at CC to avoid paparazzi.

8. Amy Winehouse flew into Camden in a helicopter to do her 2007 show at Dublin Castle.

More line-up info and tickets here. Locals get 50% off by picking up our latest print issue here or inserting code NW1OR5RES here (lmtd availability). Look out for our guide to getting the best out of CC14 on Thursday, plus more interviews with stars including ABC, Atari Teenage Riot and Jeffrey Lewis

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