Preview: Dot To Dot Festival 2016

Established in Nottingham back in 2005, Dot To Dot Festival now spreads across the inner-city venues of Manchester and Bristol as well, all in order to platform some of the most exciting, upcoming artists from across the world. Having previously featured acts like The xx, Florence & The Machine and Jake Bugg, an imposing set at D2D can put an artist on the map. Impact rounds up just some of the many acts that are set to impress this year…

Spring King

Hailing from Manchester, Spring King first came to national attention with the release of their debut single. ‘Mumma’ / ‘Mumma Pt. II’ instantly highlighted the young band’s flair for combining profound lyrics with relentlessly upbeat pop-rock. Since then, Spring King have brought out two riotous EP’s (Demons and They’re Coming After You) and have enjoyed critical acclaim from the far reaches of the music press. They’ve toured with the great Courtney Barnett and, more recently, wowed audiences on Later…With Jools Holland with an exhilarating rendition of their 2016 single ‘Rectifier’. Having cultivated a strong reputation for delivering knockout live shows, this Mancunian four-piece are sure to play a thrilling set at this year’s D2D Festival. Watch out for 2015’s sing-along track ‘City’ and their newest release, ‘The Summer’, an uplifting and subtly melancholy single which is bound to be a crowd-pleaser.

The Japanese House

The Japanese House, despite the misleading name, is a solo-artist born in Buckinghamshire but currently residing in London. After giving up her childhood dream of becoming a politician, this young artist has set her sights on a music career instead. Having crafted a unique sound with label mates The 1975, The Japanese House is an act to definitely look forward to at D2D. She is currently on VEVO Discover’s ones to watch 2016 – it’s not too late to make your claim and say you discovered her before she really made it big. Not only are Amber’s vocals hauntingly beautiful, but she has perfected manipulating them in different ways through using harmonisers and vocoders to craft a sound that merges funky 80s vibes with current day electronic music – I have a feeling she will be a major highlight at the festival.

Diet Cig

New York duo Diet Cig are set to treat D2D revellers to their snappy, endearing brand of self-titled “slop-pop” as part of their upcoming UK tour. Yet to release a debut long player, their 2015 EP Over Easy set the myriad anxieties of modern post-adolescence to tight, catchy pop-rock tunes that drifted between astute introspection and angsty frustration. Alex Luciano provides the driving, distorted guitar lead whilst Noah Bowman’s frenetic drumming propels forward the momentum of each track. Tracks to listen out for at D2D include the dancy celebration of the independence-cum-ineptitude that comes with moving out on ‘Breathless’ – “I don’t have any kitchenware, but I can walk round in my underwear”. Equally, the scorned chorus-line from ‘Harvard’, set to a thrashing, upbeat rhythm, is sure to provoke the crowd into joining in with the heartfelt refrain – “Fuck your Ivy League sweater, you know I was better”.

John Joseph Brill

John Joseph Brill is a singer-songwriter hailing from Liverpool. His voice is creepily beautiful, as is his lyricism. With a rock focus, his music could be described as solemn and quite dark. His songs lyrically are quite dense and do take some time to fully digest which is something that seems to be rare and hard to find these days. However, if you don’t quite catch the lyrics the first time, do not fear, as the instrumentation, melodies and tone of his voice are more than enough to entertain you. With many influences on his music from rock to blues to folk, I’m sure John Joseph Brill will have you waving your lighters from left to right and singing along.


At just 20 years old, Essex wunderkind RAT BOY is widely considered to be a rising star in the current UK music scene. His music thus far has been a charmingly unruly mixture of indie/punk rock, hip hop and reggae. RAT BOY draws influence from a variety of admirable UK artists. His fast-paced, chaotic sound and conversational tone bear more than a passing resemblance to Jamie T.  He’s also spoken about being a fan of The Streets, and newest single ‘MOVE’ is reminiscent of Fatboy Slim. RAT BOY administers heavy doses of his cheeky, boyish attitude to all his lyrics. Both ‘FAKE ID’ and ‘WASTEMAN’ are brilliant examples of funny and perceptive social commentary. ‘Sign On’ is the star of RAT BOY’s repertoir so far. It’s an upbeat track that will excite gig-goers, and it also poses questions and insightful observations about the class system in the UK. RAT BOY demonstrates both the talent and the attitude that will surely take the Dot to Dot audience by storm.


As one of this year’s impressive headliners, Augustines have had a phenomenal year. The indie-rock trio are due to release their third album in June (maybe we’ll be blessed with a few as yet unheard tracks during their Rock City set), after vast radio play and the announcement of a massive October tour. Luckily we won’t have to wait until October to experience their fantastic live show, which usually involves a great deal of audience participation and the band spending a lot of time in the crowd. Those that are unfamiliar with the band will be pleasantly surprised by the group that will soon become the soundtrack to their summer. With impressively creative indie instrumentals weaving their way underneath Springsteen-esque vocals, with hints of folk here and there, there is very little that Augstines can’t do well. This isn’t a set to miss.

Crosa Rosa

Notts-bred three-piece Crosa Rosa continue to embolden their reputation as one of the most exciting upcoming bands with a high-profile slot at this year’s D2D Festival. Their songs stray between and indeed coagulate a pysch-infused 60s aesthetic and biting, venomous garage-rock to produce a sound that has elicited numerous comparisons to the grungy outfit from Bristol, The Wytches. If you enjoyed Annabel Dream Reader, you’ll love the pounding bass section and searing guitar fills of Crosa Rosa’s ‘Pickalily’, the punchy, distorted and effect-heavy ‘Little Leper’, and certainly the snarling vocals from 2016 release ‘Simper Smiler’. Don’t miss the chance to see this promising local band in action.

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

Irish rock band Bleeding Heart Pigeons are touring now off the back of their debut record Is, released May 20th. Playing both the hard rock and experimental pop sides of the spectrum, these Virgin signees will be bringing droning electronics and dreamy indie rock to the Nottingham stage.


Formerly known as Emily’s Army, these Californian punks have taken the world by storm since releasing their third studio album Drive North. You can expect high energy, upbeat rock and roll from the always entertaining quartet. These guys are perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon in Nottingham with a drink in hand. Drawing on influences from The Beach Boys to Ramones, the band successfully tie together a variety of sounds to create a surprisingly uplifting fusion of indie and punk. Despite an ongoing evolution in their sonic contribution, fans can expect a set full of new songs mixed in with classics from Lost at Seventeen, and the Billie Joe Armstrong produced Don’t Be a Dick. A real hidden gem in the line-up, it would be a shame to miss a treasure like this.

The Hunna

There will be few bands playing Dot To Dot more stylish than The Hunna – the tatted up, boot-clad quartet hailing from London. They’re your go-to for the day for huge rock anthems, with two singles released so far: ‘Bonfire’ and ‘She’s Casual’. The former is a slow burner opening with the sultry lyrics – “…and if you love me then why won’t you use me” – only for the band to let rip with taut guitar work and pounding drums. ‘She’s Casual’ meanwhile puts them closer to the sultry camp of The 1975: a seductive love song about a relationship less committed. This is a band who could be topping charts in a few years’ time, but you can catch them early at Dot to Dot.

Here’s the full line-up poster:


Here are more bands playing in Nottingham:



For more info, and to buy tickets for this year’s D2D Festival, head over to their website: 

Maddy Hay, Josh Ogunmokun, James Noble, Liam Fleming and Liam Inscoe-Jones

Images Courtesy of Dot To Dot Festival

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