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PREVIEW: Supernormal
Russ Slater , July 30th, 2013 10:13

Russ Slater runs us through the highlights of the excellent underground music festival

Photograph courtesy of Kimihiko Sato

Last year's Supernormal festival was a glorious triumph - a festival stacked with underground bands from across the UK, collaborative art exhibits, pop-up raves in the woods, edible bread people and whatever happened in that fuzzy period between entering the dance tent and waking up in the morning - and this year looks to be more of the same, with the final line-up now confirmed and timetable of the weekend up for your viewing pleasure.

Key to Supernormal – set in the grounds of Braziers Park in Oxfordshire - is its easy-going attitude. The festival consists of two main music stages, a barn for avant-garde stylings and a variety of tents and trailers to provide art, cinema, food and whatever else you may want on a weekend in a field. Oh, and then there's the dance tent, which cottoned on to the fact that playing Prince as loud as possible will bring in the punters in no time. This is a festival which aims to give underground musicians and artists a platform, regardless of their age, and this results in a festival which you can attend without having to push to the front, queue for a drink or fear losing your friends when hunger takes over.

Musically, the line-up can be seen as the British version of the often very North American line-ups of ATP, offering that same mix of folk, rock and the avant-garde, while sitting the elder statesmen right next to the new class, something which is perfectly reflected in the opening night's selection of doom and noise acts, with a heavy selection of I'm Being Good, Evil Blizzard, Sea Bastards and the percussive powerhouse of Shit & Shine being followed by Terminal Cheesecake, referred to by The Wire as “late 1980s/early 90s UK psychedelic heroes”, who will be making their official comeback at Supernormal after disbanding in 1995.

Last year Leeds-based combo Hookworms were playing in the afternoon on the smaller stage, but such has been the success of their debut album, released this year, that they've now been promoted to main stage Saturday night status, appearing after London's blues/hardcore trio Shield Your Eyes and before Clinic finish the night with what will presumably be their normal psychedelic knottiness.

On Sunday things will be of a slightly gentler, though no less adventurous, ilk with Michael Chapman - the Yorkshire troubadour whose career dates back to 1969 but who has found a new lease of life since befriending Thurston Moore, Tom Carter and the NY avant-folk scene – appearing alongside the likes of post-Detroit producer Bass Clef and the intense math rock of The Physics House Band.

Alongside all of this will be a mixture of art installations, workshops and music from the likes of the equally incredible The Horse Loom and David Thomas Broughton that will be happening in the barn, as well as film, impromptu raves, sitting round the fire talking arse and all that other good stuff we call 'fun'.

Supernormal will be happening at Braziers Park in Oxfordshire from August 9-11; for tickets and full details, head to the festival's website; in the meantime, stay tuned to the site for further coverage.