Holly Calder: 'If a band has the Freakender stamp of approval, they could well be your new favourites'

Freakender: 'The Freakender stamp of approval means a band could well be your new favourites.'

credit: Neelam Khan Vela

Glasgow-based promoter tells us what to expect from the weekend micro-festival

'Loosely speaking, Freakender is a garage, psych and pop festival,' says Holly Calder, one of the Glasgow-based micro-festival's trio of promoters, who will be bringing Freakender back to the city's Old Hairdressers throughout this weekend. 'We strive to bring new and exciting acts, many of whom haven't played in Glasgow or even Scotland before, and to keep things interesting, only working with bands we passionately believe in. That means the very best local talent – and there's certainly no shortage in this city – with some incredible acts from further afield. This year our furthest travelled will be from the west coast of America.'

Freakender started in 2016, and grew out of Calder's long-term association with music promotion, first at the old Barfly, and then with Regular Music; teaming up with Ian Crawford of El Rancho Records, the second third of Freakender, the pair also promoted their own shows for favourite bands which they didn't often see coming north of the border. 'After we'd promoted a few together, we went to a quite poorly-attended show for a garage band from Falmouth called the Black Tambourines,' she recalls.

'Both myself and Ian had the same idea – wouldn't it be great to have the band come and play an all-day event where they could get the audience they truly deserved? After they finished playing, we got chatting to Ross Keppie (of Fuzzkill Records) and he'd had exactly the same idea. Together we cooked up plans for the first Freakender. The great thing is, all three of us have an equal involvement and our own individual taste, so it means we can book a diverse line-up, but one that works really well together. I'm really into psychedelic music and garage rock'n'roll, and Ross and Ian balance things with punk, pop and country.'

The obscurity of many of the artists playing is a major selling point of the festival; the Freakender crew promote individual gigs under the name throughout the year, but this weekender is a place to find new and unheard music in the kind of supportive setting which guarantees each group a healthy audience. In every year, the festival has sold out.

Freakender: 'The Freakender stamp of approval means a band could well be your new favourites.'

credit: Neelam Khan Vela
'There's so much I'm excited about this year, including Scott Yoder, he's from Portland in the States,' says Calder. 'We had him play a show at (Nice 'n') Sleazy's a couple of years back on a rainy Tuesday in February, so unfortunately he didn't get the crowd he deserved. His performance was incredible, and after seeing him at SXSW again this year I can't wait for everyone to see him. It's a really glam, theatrical show, everyone is gonna love it! I'm also really delighted to have Modern Nature on the bill, it's the new project formed out of the ashes of Ultimate Painting, who were a big favourite of ours.

'I could easily list every band and give you a reason we're so excited to have them, but I'll also mention The Roves and John Myrtle for their brilliant psych-pop, and Our Lady Of The Stars (featuring former members of Yummy Fur) and Vlure, who are both really fresh new bands in Glasgow. This year we're finally screening a film as part of our 'Bloody Mary Come Down Party' on Sunday, working in conjunction with the Pity Party Film Club – the Scottish premiere of Waiting: The Van Duren Story. He was tipped to be the next Paul McCartney, but instead faded into obscurity; we'd urge everyone to come down early and check it out before the live music.'

After this weekend, Freakender has a busy autumn coming up, with headline shows for Black Lips and Sugar Candy Mountain, as well as Glasgow's Tomorrow Syndicate. 'I think Freakender could probably only work in Glasgow,' says Calder. 'It's such a progressive and open-minded city, where music means everything. We're blessed with unbelievable local bands and a passionate audience who are supportive and community-minded, which is essential to what we do.

'I love that our crowd can be as diverse as the music, we have a real broad range of ages and tastes, which works brilliantly,' she continues. 'I like to think it's a really welcoming and friendly crowd, and it's been great to see friendships form at our shows. Over the years we've been lucky to carve ourselves out a position where people have come to trust what we do – that if a band has the Freakender stamp of approval, then they could well be your new favourite band.'

Freakender, The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow, Fri 13–Sun 15 Sep, £6–£21. freakender.co.uk


Garage/psych/pop festival with an expansive line-up over the three days.