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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April 2008, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Future indie stars go Camden Crawling
Damian Jones
Newbeat reporter

Foals went on to big things following their appearance at Camden Crawl
Festival-goers are set to descend on Camden this weekend for the seventh annual Crawl.

At the event 130 established acts and breaking artists will pack out 25 venues along the mile stretch from Mornington Crescent to Chalk Farm over two days.

Every year the mini-festival, which was born out of a one-day event back in 1995, sees journalists, A&Rs and music fanatics scrabbling to check out the hottest new bands.

In the past the Crawl has played host to the likes of Kate Nash and Klaxons.

But why does it provide such a great platform? How do so many top groups get picked? And which acts are likely to be destined for greatness?

Stepping stone

Music Week talent editor Stuart Clarke believes the Crawl is a warm up to the main festival season and is an important "little stepping stone" for stars on the up.

He said: "The line up at Camden Crawl gives a fair indication of where things are at in terms of which bands are going to be making it.

"A lot of bands fall by the wayside but there's always a couple of bands who go on to have a lot of success like Klaxons, Kate Nash and Cajun Dance Party. There seems to be a good little track record there."

The Crawl was launched 13 years ago with the help of a group of journalists and Camden based club promoters.

There seems to be a good little track record there
Stuart Clarke, Music Week

The event brought together British groups with the aim of supporting new music and putting them on a level pegging with the more established bands.

During that period, the event showcased early performances from Snow Patrol, Beth Orton and Mogwai.

"We came up with the idea of putting all these new bands in one place on one night so we could appeal to people who liked new music but weren't able to afford to go out that much," explained Crawl organiser Lisa Paulon.

Indie explosion

After three years the event folded following a "drought in music".

Nu-rave outfit Hadouken! are returning to the event
But it was revived in 2005 following the latest indie explosion with the The Cribs, Hard Fi, Hot Chip, The Fratellis and Klaxons all playing gigs at an early point in their career.

"I think it's important because it attracts early adopters of new bands who are interested in developing new artists and spotting great new talent," Lisa said.

"And if you look over the past few years, a lot have gone on to do well like The Fratellis, who two years ago were playing in a venue which holds 80 people.

"The event is just a bit of a leg up for the media and the industry to have a closer look at a lot of new artists."

One band who have gone on to achieve mainstream success since they played two gigs at last year's event are Oxford electro five-piece Foals.

Singer Yannis Philippakis, whose group are currently riding high in the charts with their debut album Antidotes, believes the mini-festival is great way for new talent to get noticed.

He said: "I think the Camden Crawl is really important because bands get really great exposure. It's also a really great opportunity to play to music fans who may have heard of you but haven't had the chance to see you yet.

"We did two shows there last year and they were the first outside Oxford where we got this really crazy response."

Second stint

Hadouken! caused a stir when they made their Camden Crawl debut in 2007. And they're back for a second stint this year.

Frontman James Smith said: "The Camden Crawl was quite a turning point for us. Those gigs really kicked off for us and they just go to show that if you ever get asked to play the Camden Crawl it is not an event to turn down.

"It's a good atmosphere and you get a good transient crowd that maybe isn't in to you but will come and check you out."

Camden Crawl facts
The Camden Crawl was founded in 1995 by a group of journalists and club promoters
The first event featured just five venues and 20 bands
This year 130 acts will be playing 25 venues along a mile stretch from Mornington Crescent to Chalk Farm
Klaxons, Kate Nash, Hot Chip and Calvin Harris all made early career appearances
Breakbeat double act Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, whose underground single Thou Shalt Always Kill was a big hit at the event last year, said the Crawl helped them on their way.

But they argued that the festival can be tough.

Scroobius Pip said: "Camden Crawl was really good for us because it was the first time we really noticed that things were going quite well for us.

"But it's also tough because a lot of bands are in competition with each other and they go there thinking, 'This will be our big break'. If they're on at the same time as a secret show or a big act they often find they're playing to a half empty crowd."

Hotly tipped

French singer Soko, Radio 1 favourite Sam Sparro and Toronto duo Crystal Castles are among the acts set to perform this year who are being tipped for greatness.

Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles are being hotly tipped at this year's event
Castles Keyboardist Ethan Kath said: "We're excited to play this event because it's totally new to us, we've never been before.

"I have to admit I'm genuinely surprised that people are tipping us as one of the big bands at this event. I never realised so many people knew about us and I wasn't expecting anybody to tip us like that."

Another band on the bill who are currently making big noises are West London indie trio White Lies, who are set to appear alongside Crystal Castles, Friendly Fires and Team Waterpolo on the NME New Noise Tour.

Bassist Charles Cave bass said: "What I love about this event is you're playing to a crowd where someone might take a chance on you. We're hoping that a lot of people might discover us almost by accident.

"It gets a really fair audience too because people see you for what you are without those preconceptions you might get when you're normally supporting a bigger band."

The Camden Crawl will be held on 18 and 19 April.

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