If Not Now When? festival returns to Oxford's Cowley Road

SUMMER may be well and truly over – but that doesn’t mean there are no festivals – just that they have moved inside. Tomorrow, Cowley Road plays host to an all-day event which will see more than 30 bands and artists playing under one roof. It will be followed, next month, by another one-day spectacular, with scores of acts playing venues on the same stretch of road.

Tomorrow’s event – called If Not Now When? sees bands playing three stages at East Oxford Community Centre and features everything from Durham four-piece Martha and American indie-rock quartet Pile, to Leeds rockers Bilge Pump and Oxford’s Jack Goldstein of alt-rockers Fixers. Ritual Union Festival, on October 19, will see acts including Australian newcomers Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Liverpool’s She Drew The Gun, playing sets at the O2 Academy, Truck Store, The Library, and the Bullingdon. If Not Now When? has been organised by Oxford music promoters Aiden Canaday, James Cunning and Andrew Grillo of Divine Schism, and Idiot King’s Mike Chilcott and Tim Wright.

Read more: Bands line up for Ritual Union Also playing are energetic Derby-based Pet Crow, Ohio’s Leggy, experimental Schande, Chorusgirl, Rattle, Nervous Twitch, Ghum, Natalie Evans, Secret Power, Blessed Twins, Beat Combo, Sky Lark, Screen Wives, Theo, Junk Whale, Radisson Blue, Katie Malco, George Crowley, Masiro, Murderach, Limpet Space Race and Spank Hair.

Martha. Picture by Helen Messenger Photography “We are really happy Martha are able to play,” says Mr Canaday. “They’ve been on our wish list since we started in 2017 so we’re stoked they’re headlining.

“They last played for us in James’s house after a venue fell through a few years ago, so we owe them a bigger stage. “We’re also really excited to have Pile on the bill. It feels like a bit of a coup for us and we’re all massive fans of theirs.

“There’s nobody we wouldn’t bust a gut to see. We are really proud of the bill this year and would advise people to watch everything, which you can do with our scheduling!” He said there was little competition between the two festivals, with each raising the profile of independent music and showcasing local and up-and-coming and bands.

He said: “Both festivals are into their third year and both are a success, which goes to show how great the Oxford music scene is and that you can have two different all day festivals along the same road within a few weeks of each other. “We try not to cross over with artists to keep them both fresh and different to each other. Ultimately we massively believe in what we’re doing.

We seem to be building year on year and the vibe of the whole day with punters and artists mingling and enjoying the bands together in such a small environment is what makes it very special. And what are their hopes? “We hope to at least break even this year,” he said. “It’s hard to balance the things we want to do with the things that we can afford to do, but hopefully we’re getting there.

“The venues are what make it so unique.

We have three stages across two venues and you can basically manage to see everyone without breaking a sweat!”

Tickets for If Not Now When? from wegottickets.com or Truck Store, in Cowley Road

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