Handmade Festival keeping Leicester’s music scene on the national radar

handmade festival
Leicester’s biggest independent music festival returns this weekend as Handmade Festival takes over the city centre on Sunday 5 May.
Following a number of years at the O2 Academy, this year Handmade returns to its roots of being a multi-venue event and they’ll be taking over various venues across town.
The venues taking part are 02 Academy 1 and 2, Attenborough Arts, The Y Theatre, Firebug, The Cookie, The Soundhouse, The Shed and Dryden Street Social, all of whom have a brilliantly curated line-up of talent, which is lead by headliners Metronomy and The Futureheads.
We caught up with John Helps, one of the festival’s organisers, to find out more about this weekend’s event. 
handmade festival

How are the final preparations going for Handmade Festival this year?

Great, yeah! Having so many stages all over the city is a real mission to organise, but we’re getting there with time to spare before the weekend. We’re starting to feel genuinely excited now.

What made you return to a multi-venue festival model?

A few things really. A lot of people loved that model when the festival first started – darting from venue to venue catching different acts in different environments – but O2 Academy Leicester really opened up the scope of what we could do. Combining both of those things is hopefully the best of both worlds, and a whole lot more. We’ve brought together almost all the city’s music venues behind the project this year and that’s such a lovely thing.

Are there any acts on the line-up this year that have been in your sights for a while?

Jamie Lenman and Martha both spring to mind. Both of those have been asked multiple times over the last few years but we haven’t managed to make it work until this year! It’s great to have The Futureheads back playing shows again, so they were an obvious ask, and Metronomy are just an incredible festival act to top things off. I already have a 2020 wish list so that gives you some idea of how long we spend trying to get the acts we love on to the festival.

jamie lenman
Jamie Lenman will play at Dryden Street Social

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

That’s an impossible questions to answer for us I think! We got to bring more than 60 acts we love to the city… We’d watch all of them if we could.

You’re working with a number of the city’s independent music venues this year and have local acts on the bill too, do you think that the local music scene is in a good place at the moment?

Leicester’s music scene is so brilliantly supportive and collaborative. It was so easy to get the venues to work together on this, and that speaks volumes for the city. We’re proud of Leicester and it’s music scene and we love to shout about it.

What’s the most rewarding thing about running Handmade Festival?

We’ve been covered by almost every major newspaper and music publication, been nominated for multiple respected industry awards, and made it through seven years, and the most rewarding thing is still the fifteen minutes after you open doors when people are streaming in to venues feverishly clutching clashfinders working out who they’re going to see that day.

Doe will perform at The Soundhouse

Aside from the headliners are there any key up and coming acts playing this year that you think festival goers should know about?

Aside from stuff we’ve already mentioned, my personal picks are Mono, an instrumental band from Japan that last played the city in Leicester Cathedral, Doe who are a brilliant indie punk band playing Leicester for the first time, and Ibibio Sound Machine who promise to be INCREDIBLE live.

Sum up Handmade Festival in 5 words.
Completely independent, totally brilliant. Come.
There are so many brilliant artists throughout the day crossing indie, electronica, punk, rock and folk, as well as supporting the rising stars of Leicestershire’s own musical talent pool. The perfect chance to find your new favourite band, support your favourite venues and enjoy the best day of music Leicester has in the year. 
Every guitar band worth their salt is playing handmade!” NME
Remaining tickets are on sale priced at £35 and you can grab yours HERE.
Make sure you don’t miss anything at the festival by downloading the official Handmade Festival app, which is the place to find all stage times and receive notifications on acts you ‘favourite’. There’s also a special Google Map to help you navigate the venues. Download on iOS or Android