The world famous Camden Market may be the main focus for most visitors to this area of north London, but for indie music lovers there are few more exciting places to visit than Camden Town.
Each year, a two-day downtown festival called the Camden Crawl takes place at approximately 14 nearby music venues and has quickly become a highlight of the year for many people. However, Camden is a year-round music town and there are very few places that offer a better variety of venues, from small to medium sized venues within such a small distance. With the adept service of the London Underground, Camden is seen as the London epicenter of indie music and while new pretenders like Shoreditch may try to steal its crown, Camden Town is likely to remain London’s indie bastion for a long time to come.
The historical impact Camden Town has had on music goes back a few decades. In the 1970s, Bob Marley was a resident of the area and The Clash were frequently seen rehearsing and playing in Camden Town. In the 1990s, Prince opened a boutique store in the area, a move that dovetailed perfectly with some of the more questionable career decisions he was making at the time.
Camden Town was the spiritual home of Britpop with many of the bands having roots or property there and a host of record labels including Creation Records and pluggers located in the general area. Blur was the band most commonly linked with Camden and former guitarist Graham Coxon is still seen regularly at local bars and shops.
Some of the pubs and concert venues that played host to this mid-’90s phenomenon include:
or The Good Mixer
or Dublin Castle
or the end of the world
or The Monarch
On any given night of the week, you were likely to run into someone from Oasis, Blur or Pulp having a drink and during the six months to a year that the scene was most popular it seemed like the whole indie world converged on the area.
However, Britpop quickly faded, and although Camden’s massive popularity waned slightly; it was still an extremely popular place. MTV UK has its main offices very close to Camden Lock and many record labels remain prominent in the area, ensuring that it remains a popular meeting place for many artists and music industry movers and shakers.
Camden’s popularity skyrocketed again in recent years due to Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse living in the area and appearing regularly at the many bars and venues in the local area. With these two artists having been featured heavily in the mainstream media in recent years, Camden has received a great deal of attention and is once again considered to be the home of London’s indie scene.
A fire in February 2008 may have damaged the market and one of the main pubs, The Hawley Arms, but plans are under way to redevelop the area and there are still a wide variety of venues and pubs within the district.