Small Festivals > Big Festivals. A look at ArcTanGent and A Carefully Planned Festival

Credit: Carrie Hodgson Walker

Photo Credit: Carrie Hodgson Walker

This year I’ve been to three festivals. One was a well known, mega corporate, advertisers dream, and whilst I had a really good time at this festival (the tickets being free certainly helped…), its usual price, coupled with the size of it and lack of interesting acts generally puts me off. The other two were completely the other end of the scale. Much smaller in size, but with a mouth watering line-up of acts at a price that you literally couldn’t say no to (I tried with the latter, but the price was too ridiculously low…)

First up, Bristol based ArcTanGent. The sister festival of 2000 Trees, ArcTanGent was born the 29th of August this year, and much like the birth of our Lord and Savior, it was a monumental beginning! I don’t think I’ve had that much fun at a festival before. Three days (or two, if you didn’t have the ‘early bird’ ticket) of incredible music, all within walking distance from your tent – and when I say walking distance, I mean we were less than thirty paces from the same tent that housed both Cleft and The Physics House Band melting faces over the weekend.

Photo Credit: Ian Percival/Trashmonkey Pics

Photo Credit: Ian Percival/Trashmonkey Pics

Tickets for the festival were just over the sixty quid mark, and couple that with booze for the time you’re there (which you can take on site), you’re still looking at a fraction of the price it costs for tickets to any one of the major festivals (and if you don’t drink, you’re quids in!) Not only that, but the food and merch available was top notch, with lots of little stalls open, offering not only top quality grub (walking from your tent to go and get a massive steak sandwich is living the dream), but wicked band shirts and other wares from Big Scary Monsters, Alcopop Records and other brands. So if you were after one of those shite “I’m a lesbian in a man’s body” shirts they normally sell at festivals, you would have been disappointed.


The festival to round out the year came about this October, and was not field based. In fact, it’s pretty far from any fields. Manchester based A Carefully Planned Festival is now in its third year, and each year just keeps getting better and better. A number of pubs and bars in the lovely Northern Quarter are taken over for a whole weekend, with bands setting up shop early afternoon and not leaving till the wee hours. Unfortunately, I never make it till the end with ACPF, as I get on the booze too quickly and lose my head after the headliners…But if you’re smart and know your limits, there’s always a host of activities and DJ sets going on after the bands have finished.

With advanced tickets going for a staggering TWELVE POUNDS, it’s easily the cheapest festival I’ve ever been to, and the value for money is incredible. I first found out about A Carefully Planned Festival last year, and the amount of top bands playing was staggering (Gulliver’s being home to Bad Grammar, Alpha Male Tea Party, Cleft, &U&I and Shapes over the weekend) This year was no different,  with some top stuff on (I particularly enjoyed AXES, Beard of Wolves, and Delta Sleep)


With big festivals like Sonisphere (who?) going down the pan, and your run of the mill Summer festivals upping their ticket prices every year (It’s a grand to go to Glastonbury next year, I think), It’s great to see such an influx of smaller festivals brimming with great line-ups coming about. There’s a great atmosphere to be found at both festivals, with everyone seemingly in high spirits and enjoying the music (and the extra dosh they’ve pocketed)

So what are you waiting for? Tickets are already on sale for the second ArcTanGent, and there are festivals popping up all over the land (and further afield) – Carefully Planned even put on gigs the whole year round (TTNG in December), so fuck off the wellies and don’t worry about having to take out a loan to go and see whoever is popular in the NME this week. There are other options available to you…


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