Interview: Camden Rocks’ founder Chris McCormack

Camden rocks 2017 2
On June 3rd 2017 London’s Camden Town will turn into a one day music festival catering to Rock, Metal, Punk, Indie and pretty much everything and anything in-between – By Guy Shankland. It’s a genre friendly festival in the beating heart of the capitals music scene. This years CAMDEN ROCKS line up includes The Damned, The Coral, Feeder, The Rifles, Carl Barat, Orange Goblin, Zodiac Mindwarp and The Ruts DC. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY bands performing in Twenty Five venues on one day for just £39.50 (+ fees), sounds like a gig goers bargain. ORIGINALROCK.NET catches up with Festival organiser Chris McCormack and former 3 Colours Red guitarist, for a chat on all things Camden Rocks and his involvement with the recently reformed (post Sex Pistols band) The Professionals.
The Proffesionals
Chris McCormick (left) with The Professionals 
Original Rock. How did 3 Colours Red guitarist Chris McCormack end up running Camden Rocks and The Jubilee Club?
Chris McCormack. I had the idea of starting a club night with Carl Barat (The Libertines) so we starting looking at possible venues that would work. Luckily The Barfly became available and because it has a live room upstairs I thought it’d be a good idea to bands on and incorporate that into the club night. The band side of it became a huge part of it and for me it was the main focus. It was booking Jubilee Club that spurred the idea of making it a bigger thing and putting an event on that would act as a showcase for all these great bands that I was stumbling across.
OR. 2017’s Camden Rocks sees a whopping 250 (!) bands performing on one day, how many venues are you using this year? And how do you sort out the running order?
CM. We have 25 venues this year and I use my instinct. You can’t please everyone but I try to avoid clashes with the obvious bands and genres. It’s a minefield.
OR. This years headliners include The Damned, Feeder, The Coral, and The Rifles, along with Zodiac Mindwarp (yey!) and Libertines front man Carl Barat. How far in advance do you book the line up?
CM. I start nine months before the event. I need three months to recover from the previous event! It totally swallows me up, so next year I need to delegate more, so it doesn’t take over my life as much.
OR. Camden Rocks is far turning into THE festival. With so many bands and so many venues do you forsee it ever having to move to a full weekend?
CM. Maybe next year! I always contemplate it, then stick to the one day.
OR. For those who have never attended Camden Rocks how would you describe it?
CM. It’s a great day out, fantastic atmosphere and a good way to catch all the great new bands that are breaking through on top of your old favourite established bands. And get extremely pissed in the process!
OR. You have managed to keep the festival ticket price down to just £39.50 (+ fees), which is fantastic value. With so many festivals/bands charging extortionate amounts how do you keep the cost so reasonable?
CM. We don’t make any money!! With so many new emerging artists I feel it’s important to keep the balance and the ticket price low…Not sure how long we can keep it at that price, but it’s important to me that it’s good value for money.
OR. Which bands are most looking forward to seeing this year?
CM. I’ve seen most of the bands play many times throughout the year, that’s why they’re playing Camden Rocks so for me this is more about everyone else. I just want everyone to enjoy all the hard work we’ve put in leading up to the event. Of course I’m going to see a few favourites like M O S E S, Hands Off Gretal and The Damned but I just want it to run smoothly by that point.
OR. Rumour has it we may see you back on stage with former Sex Pistol Paul Cook’s The Professionals, any truth there?
CM. I am yeah, I rehearsed with them last week and loved it, it felt very natural playing again. The Sex Pistols are my all time favourite band and the reason I got into music full stop, so playing ina band with Paul Cook is a huge buzz. Also Tom Spencer (ex Yo-Yo and the man filling Steve Jones’s shoes)is in the band to which was a huge reason for me getting involved. He gets me into trouble and I like that! Hahaha
OR. Camden is becoming the London equivalent to L.A’s Sunset Strip, with the capital losing so many independent live venues for development , how has Camden avoided the capitalist cull?
CM. I think having so many venues bunched together actually feeds it and makes it a great destination to hang out. There’s always going to be a few places closing down but the a new one pops up which keeps the scene growing and thriving.
OR. Finally will we ever see a 3 Colours Red reformation?
CM. Not a bloody chance. Being in a band should be fun and done with people that you actually enjoy being around. That’s why I’ve joined The Professionals…3 Colours Red was everything but fun.
CAMDEN ROCK takes place on June 3rd. For general information including Stage times, venues and ticket links check the festival website. www.camdenrocksfestival.com
Tickets are just £39.50 (+ fees) and are also available from the usual ticket outlets.See you in June!
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