Croydon residents Angela Martin and Julia Woollams have teamed up to produce their own music festival in their part of London - Cro Cro Land. On Saturday, April 6th, venues across Croydon will host acts such as Blood Red Shoes, The Lovely Eggs, Nova Twins and Bang Bang Romeo. We caught up with the pair to find out more about their festival debut.
It’s our dream festival line-up.
First up, tell us a bit about yourselves - what’s your festival background?
We’ve been to lots but not run one before! Having said that we have put on smaller gig nights, and Angela used to run club nights for many years. Our day jobs are in branding, design and marketing, as well as running a cultural blog for Croydon, so we are old hands on the comms and promotion side of things. Angela is also in a band so has collaborated with lots of grass-roots music promoters to help us curate a fantastic gender-balanced line-up.
Were there any particular brands or events you’ve taken inspiration from over the years?
Not really a brand or an event but we’ve been inspired by the PRS Keychange initiative, which is aiming for gender balance in festivals by 2022. It’s not just the music industry that’s seems to unfairly favour men, but many. We’d like our daughter to grow up in a world where her gender isn’t seen as a barrier to her achieving what she wants to do in life.
If you’d like to know more about Keychange, go to keychange.eu.
How did Cro Cro Land come about?
We fancied organising a music festival before we turn 40 - must be a midlife crisis! Semi joke. We have been running the cultural blog the Croydonist for nearly three years now, and have branched out into other media including charity gig nights, ‘instagrammable’ walking tours, podcast series’ and regularly working with Croydon-inspired artists to showcase their work. Cro Cro Land felt like a natural expansion to this.
We’d also been talking about the Croydon music scene with grass-roots promoters for some time, and it seemed like the right time to diversify the borough’s music scene and bring guitar bands back to the birthplace of punk. The Council is currently running an initiative to boost Croydon’s music scene called Music City, so when they and the Arts Council pledged their support the festival really became a reality.
How would you describe the aims of Cro Cro Land?
We can divide this into five areas:
We’re celebrating creativity, by bringing guitar bands back to one of the birthplaces of punk, and celebrating the area’s rich musical history.
We’re creating an affordable event, so that younger gig-goers have the chance to attend (Croydon having the largest population of young people out of 33 London boroughs).
We’re keeping gender equality at the heart of our event in order to help make change in a male-dominated industry, so festival-goers can not only expect a balanced bill, but also a crew where women are fairly represented.
We are supporting local charity Lives Not Knives by collaborating with them on a mentoring programme, to offer young people who have experienced social exclusion, been victims or perpetrators of crime, support and valuable work experience – they will have the opportunity to shadow professionals across all aspects of the event.
We are promoting Croydon by working with music promoters and booking agents from across the UK to bring some of the UK’s most exciting bands to our borough.
What do you hope it means to the people of Croydon, and further afield?
We hope to attract music fans from Croydon and beyond, so the festival promotes the area as a place for entertainment. In turn we also hope to showcase the local area to the music industry, to attract them and their roster to consider Croydon as a place for events. Our hope is to put Croydon back on the map for indie music, so our audience will have a dedicated indie music festival that’s easily accessible in South London.
Why the name Cro Cro Land?
Firstly it’s based on a central Croydon postcode: CR0, but secondly it’s a bit of a play on the film title La La land - but in Croydon rather than LA!
What’s been the most exciting element of putting the festival together so far?
Curating an awesome line-up of bands all who are creating a buzz about the event. It’s our dream festival line-up.
Who was hardest to get booked?
Ha, that would be telling!
Who are you most looking forward to seeing?
A difficult one, but Julia’s particularly looking forward to seeing Bang Bang Romeo, Feral Five and Tiger Mimic as she loves their music and hasn’t seen them live before. We’re both also very excited about our secret guest which is being announced on 22 March. I’m dead excited to see Blood Red Shoes, The Lovely Eggs, Kath & The Kicks, ARXX and so many others.
Aside from the music, what else should revellers ensure they do at Cro Cro Land?
Support the bands by buying some of the super cool merchandise on offer (as well as some limited edition festival merch). Check out the fantastic art that’s in and around Urban Xchange, and enjoy the food and drink that will be served on festival day. Plus get to know fellow music fans in a friendly environment.
What advice would you give to people thinking about coming to Cro Cro Land?
Buy a ticket and come along! If you divide the price of the ticket by the number of bands playing, it’s less than 75p per band – an absolute bargain. You are also supporting the independent music scene to boot.
Why did you opt for a multi-venue festival?
More music, more choice for festival goers.
How can ticket-holders ensure they get to see who they want?
The bill timings are being published a week before the festival, so make sure you get to the stage you want to be at in plenty of time. The timings over the three stages are staggered so there will always be an act to listen to.
Finally, if you had to sum up Cro Cro Land in five words, what would you say?
Collaborative, gender-balanced, talent-packed, music festival. (We’ve cheated a bit by hyphenating words).
For Cro Cro Land tickets and details, go to crocroland.co.uk.