BSP Discuss New Music & Festival

Snooker champ & poet laureate unite for BSP bash to start the autumn!

This September British Sea Power are heading to a castle on the Cumbrian host for a one-off Krankenhaus festival in the historical surroundings of the 13th century Munster Castle. Taking place from 6th to 8th of the month, Krankenhaus features the mighty Bo Ningen, Will Burns & Hannah Peel’s Chalk Hill Blue project, poet laureate Simon Armitage, The Utopia Strong (Steve Davis, Kavus Torabi and Michael J York’s cosmic prog project), Alison Cotton, The Pictish Trail, Squid and Snapped Ankles. Steve and Kavus will also DJ. tQ will be represented in the form of our Luke Turner reading from his forests and sex book Out Of The Woods accompanied with synths and drones by Spaceship Mark, as well as a Q&A with David Keenan. Stephen Morris is also on the literary bill. Last but of course not least British Sea Power themselves will be represented in various forms: they’ll be playing two sets of material from across their epic career, Neil and Abi’s brilliant Slow Tree project is on the bill, as are Celestial North and crackers covers outfit The Modern Ovens. You can buy tickets for Krankenhaus here. We dropped BSP a line to find out more:

Why have BSP decided to turn Krankenhaus into a festival, and why castles?

BSP: We ran a little festival a few years ago at Tan Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales, the highest pub in the UK. It was great fun – we had falconry displays, husky races, the Booze Olympics and bands including Wild Beasts, Bo Ningen and Metronomy. The producer James Ford decided had his stag-do there, dragging along some members of the Klaxons and the Arctic Monkeys, who the wild landlady physically abused. There is a fond memory of Alex Turner throwing up, and then one of the pub chickens nonchalantly eating his vomit. We also had our Krankenhaus club night in Brighton, with brass bands, communist table tennis and bands including Public Service Broadcasting and the Japanese Queen tribute band Queer. Now we’re combining the two elements – at Muncaster Castle in the Lake District. We’ve got the Poet Laureate, New Order’s Stephen Morris, Snapped Ankles and some more falcons. The thinking was that people would be having a holiday in a spectacular area, with music and loads of other stuff in the evenings and afternoons. Having it in a castle was kind of accidental. BSP’s Hamilton came across the Muncaster site on one of his walks in the Lakes. But, hey, come to our castle. Another advantage of the location is that the festival performance venues are indoors, so we should be immune to any rain – and the long-distance forecast is good.

How did you put together the bill and what shaped it?

BSP: The Krankenhaus club nights are a bit of a blueprint. We’ve gone back to some of the bands who played there – Rozi Plain, Bo Ningen, Modern Ovens – and also ones who would have fitted perfectly like Snapped Ankles, who as scheduled for a deranged midnight party slot at the Krankenhaus Festival. We have a few bands from Brighton who are doing really well – Squid and Penelope Isles – a few Cumbrian bands. We asked loads of other people – Aldous Harding, Julian Cope, Cate le Bon, Gruff Rhys – but they had other commitments. Next time we hope to make it a bit bigger and get these greats in. We never headlined at the Krankenhaus club nights, and we are sticking to that loose idea of no-headliners.

Will this be an opportunity for fans to hear new BSP material? If so, how would you describe it?

BSP: Yes. We’re in the thick of writing. and started recording. It’s pretty variable, but there’s a looseness and freedom to it that feels fresh. We are trying to not dwell on it too much.

Can you recommend some interesting places to visit in the local area?

The coast is two miles away, as is the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust site at Eskmeals Dunes. You’d got the La’al Ratty narrow-gauge steam train with associated pub stops, and the amazing Wasdale valley with the peaks of Great Gable and Scafell Pike is only a few miles away. We’re looking forward to an amazing weekend, in the castle and the Lakes.

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