Thirty years ago this week, the shoegazing youth of 1991 decended on Slough for their 2nd annual festival in Upton Park. The show revists that event.
The first Slough Festival in 1990 featured The Soup Dragons, Northside, The Cardiacs, Frank Sidebottom, Teenage Fanclub and Thousand Yard Stare. That first year wasn’t hugely attended, despite The Soup Dragons being in the UK Top 10 at the time, mainly because it wasn’t promoted until a few days before the event nationally.
The following year the promoters were obviously keen to replicate the success of the recently revamped Reading Festival by not only featuring the current bands in the NME, but they promoted the event heavily.
It just so happens in 1991 the theme of the festival was predominently shoegaze with the occasional Madchester band.
By the 1991 Madchester was becoming particularly uncool as the big bands of 1989 had either dissappeared or failed to deliver the goods leaving us with some poor imitations including The Mock Turtles who would play on the day.
Some of the leading names of the shoegaze scene would also play on the day. Ride headlined with fellow Creation labelmates Slowdive in the afternoon. Curve who at this time had only released two EPs were the main support.
As a young shoegazer myself who religously read the music press, expectations were also high for Revolver who were new signings to Hut Recordings. They were being touted as the next big band by the NME and this was my first chance to hear anything by them.
Thousand Yard Stare pulled a large crowd as the festival was in their hometown and also probably had the most t-shirts in the audience.
Ultimately the day belonged to Ride, it felt very much like their festival and they’d gone from releasing their debut single to a festival headline slot in just 18 months. They were playing tracks from their recent recording sessions that would give us the Going Blank Again album the following year.
You can hear tracks from all of the above in the show alongside Ratcat and Foam, both of whom also played on the day.
The following year Jesus Jones, The Fall, Sensitize, Senseless Things, Silverfish, Eat and Utah Saints returned for the final Slough Festival in 1992.
If the radio show has made you want to go back 30 years, Sonic Cathedral are holding an event to celebrate the anniversary this weekend at The Social in London. Details can be found here.