Smoothly run – with handpicked bands, vibrant venues, and a huge number of excitable punters waiting with bated breath to find out which new band they’ll discover today – I think A Carefully Planned Festival may have lived up to its name!
Spanning Manchester’s Northern Quarter, ACPF#6 was, by all accounts, a huge success. Created by Matthew Boycott-Garnett and instigated with the help of many hard-working volunteers, ACPF has survived six great years. With over 600 artists showcased at the past year’s event and guest numbers of over 2,000, you can see how the DIY approach, perseverance, and genuinely good music taste can propel your success rate super high!
“A Carefully Planned Festival is still absolutely incredible. It’s hard to hit home just how impressive an achievement it is if you’ve never been yourself – the huge range of bands, the incredible atmosphere, and the fact that it’s all completely DIY, put together by a small group of friends with very little outside input. Every year that they continue to keep it going for us is another year that we are truly lucky.” – Musical Mathematics
There were so many bands and artists we really wanted to see over the two days and nine venues. The timetables for the weekend were helpfully laid out to make sure we got to see all our old favourites and maybe stumble upon a new one. The stages were compiled beautifully, meaning that if you were watching a particular band or genre of music that you love, then the next band wouldn’t be a million miles away! You could happily stay in one venue if you didn’t fancy an adventure, or dot between a couple to make up your own mini-festival.
The latter was my plan. I caught a glimpse of all my favourite billed bands and caught a couple more purely because I loved the rest of the stage’s line-up.
I felt completely at ease and in safe hands during the festival. I can only commend Matthew and his glorious team for putting together and running an expertly devised festival. Matthew organises occasional all-dayers and one-off events, and has learnt a lot in his years as a promoter – this shows in his end result. He lists his ‘what matters’ top tips on his website, which is awesome if this is something you’re looking to start doing.
But back to the actual weekend – the bands definitely impressed and there were packed out venues everywhere I went. It’s often the case at a medium-sized gig or dispersed festival that the crowds aren’t as animated as at an outdoor summer festival but I have to say that this experience was worlds away from my assumptions. Every crowd that I became a part of enjoyed every beat of every song, and it was so clear that each punter was having an amazing time. I was pleasantly surprised by many of the bands I stumbled upon – such as The Tuts, Broker, Luo, Body Hound, Falls, and so many more. But the moment I was most anxious about was when it was my turn to grace the Night and Day Stage.
Knowing how kind all the audiences had been only made me more nervous but it was great to learn that being on stage was just as wonderful as being in the crowd; a kind audience, expert sound, and a professional environment. It was truly lovely. Manchester’s music scene is celebrated and every fellow musician seems to be under the same impression.
I can only hope that every band agrees with my overview and that the next – goodness knows how many APCFs – will be just as triumphant.