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Public Image Ltd and Maximo Park set to headline Camden Rocks

More than 200 bands will play across multiple venues as musicians roll into town for festival

01 June, 2018 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Maximo Park will headline Camden Rocks on Saturday

THIS weekend Camden will be filled with even more music lovers than usual as the likes of Public Image Ltd, Maximo Park, Twin Atlantic and Echobelly roll into town for Camden Rocks Festival.

One person who has been working non-stop behind the scenes to makes sure everything goes smoothly, co-ordinating a timetable for more than 200 bands across multiple venues in Camden, is festival founder and former Three Colours Red guitarist Chris McCormack.

Chris, who is also behind the successful Jubilee and Camden Rocks club nights along with Libertine Carl Barat, is busy finalising details as Saturday’s (June 2) festival approaches.

He said: “It’s just the final planning, making sure the production is all watertight and we’re all on the same page. There’s so many staff on the day that the co-ordination is absolutely vital for this to go smoothly. Fortunately, I have a great team helping me – it would fall apart if it was left to me.”

Public Image Ltd

Chris has had to deal with some last-minute line-up changes but that comes with the territory.

He said: “A couple of smaller bands have dropped out this week but we have plenty of bands in the wings ready to jump in. With 200 bands and 1,200 musicians, I accept that there’s always going to be a few that drop out in the final stages. People have family issues, lose voices, chop their fingers off, so it’s inevitable. Raging Speedhorn pulled out this week due to a serious family health issue, which is a real shame, but family always comes first, of course, and hopefully they can play next time round.”


As well as checking out the talent on the day, Chris will have a starring role.

He said: “I’ll be running around for the early part of the day watching as much of the new bands as I can. I’m playing at the Electric Ballroom with The Professionals at 4.30pm. I’m very excited about seeing Public Image Ltd again and also Beatsteaks, from Germany, later in the day – both incredible live bands.

“The after-show this year is at KOKO where the lovely Carl Barat from The Libertines is DJing.”


Chris added: “I’m not sure how much I’ll get to see, as that usually depends on where I’m needed on the day, but I’ll hopefully get to see some of Twin Atlantic and The Lafontaines.”

One huge strategic task in the planning is scheduling the many acts on the line-up.

“That’s one of the most difficult things to get right,” said Chris. “With 20 venues, there’s bound to be some clashes of bands with a similar fanbase, but it’s impossible to avoid completely. When we release the stage times I prepare myself mentally for the complaints. I haven’t heard any complaints this year so maybe I’m getting better at it – or I’m learning to avoid the online discussions.”

And look out for a special announcement on the day.

“There’s something nice but we’re not announcing that until the day of the event so I need to keep schtum. It’ll be in the programme that everyone picks up free on the day and will take place Gabeto in Camden Market.”

He added: “As always the event is about pushing all the great new bands coming through, so my only advice would be to get down at 12pm and see as much as you can and support new music. There’s so much choice and talent to get through, so make a day of it.”

The bands to look out for…

With so much to choose from in just one day, here are some of Chris’ top picks…

NEW BANDS: “I recently heard this great band called Bryde on the Radio One Rock Show. I booked the band within 10 minutes of hearing the song. I love it when that happens. She has such a great voice and she’s different. They’re at the Black Heart at 4.30pm. Black Map, an American post-hardcore supergroup based out of San Francisco, are made up of ex-members of Dredg and Far and the songs I’ve heard so far and fantastic. Rews are this brilliant Irish female duo with super-catchy songs. I think they’re a band that could break through and do really well if they put the work in. The Soap Girls: a DIY punk band from South Africa who spend half the year in the UK. They never stop working and touring and have built up a strong fanbase through sheer hard work and dedication. I saw them at the Monarch in Camden a couple of months ago and loved them – great energy. The Bongo Club, from Sweden: Swedish bands know how to write the best pop melodies. The band are starting to explode all over Europe so I’m sure it won’t be long before you hear them on UK radio all going well.”

MORE ESTABLISHED ACTS: “Having Public Image Ltd play the festival this year is a real buzz for me personally as John Lydon was the inspiration for me getting into music. I wasn’t interested in music at all until I heard the wonderful snarl of Johnny Rotten’s voice coming through my brother’s bedroom at nine years old. Totally life-changing. Twin Atlantic are always amazing live and they have so many great anthems so I’m sure KOKO will be buzzing when they play. Beatsteaks are absolutely massive in Germany. I love this band. They sell out huge arenas in Germany but have never broke over here. I think when people hear them, and see their live show, that’ll change. Mallory Knox have recently parted company with their singer, which is a detail they forgot to tell me at the time of the booking! I think their guitarist has taked over vocal duties so it’ll be interesting to see how that’s affected things. Maximo Park: I’ve never actually seen them live but people say they’re very good – they’re headlining, so they’d better be!”


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