Preview: BBC Radio 6 Music Festival 2020

BBC Radio 6 Music Festival 2020

Steve Lamacq, Lauren Laverne and Tom Ravenscroft at the Roundhouse (Photo: BBC Radio 6 Music)

After previously visiting the likes of Manchester, Tyneside, Bristol, Glasgow and Liverpool the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival is headed for Camden this year and boasts arguably their most impressive line up to date. The station and its DJs have become an essential part of the lives of thousands of music fans, as steadily growing RAJAR figures testify, and the history-steeped environs of Camden should provide a suitably buzzy setting for this year’s event.

From 5th to 8th March there will be gigs, talks and DJ sets across three iconic venues. The festival begins on Wednesday 4th March with a BBC Music Introducing night featuring new names Hak Baker, Beabadoobee and Sorry. A special BBC 6 Music Recommends night takes place at Dingwalls on Thursday 5th March that features Holy Fuck, Pongo and Ghum (for those unfamiliar, the hour long ‘Recommends’ shows on BBC Radio 6 Music are excellent ways to quickly access some of the new artists and tracks that have caught the attention of some of the station’s presenters).

The festival gets underway in full on Friday with a packed line up. The Roundhouse main space will be the setting for performances by Michael Kiwanuka, Brittany Howard and Black Midi. KIWANUKA by Michael Kiwanuka was one of last year’s stand out albums and this is almost certainly the last time he’ll be playing a medium-sized venue like the Roundhouse for some time (he’s already got a date lined up at Alexandra Palace in November). Brittany Howard has also had a great year since putting Alabama Shakes on hold to release her debut solo album, and Black Midi already have a reputation for one of the most unpredictable and exciting new bands around.

In the Roundhouse’s smaller Sackler Space on Friday you’ll find two hotly-tipped new bands in Sports Team and Black Country, New Road. Dingwalls meanwhile has DJ sets from Mike Skinner of The Streets and 6 Music’s own Mary Anne Hobbs. Over at new venue Fest (located by Camden Stable Market) Norman Jay MBE and Kelly Lee Owens are the pick of artists who will be appearing at a special late-night show.

Saturday sees the action start earlier with two day time events. Fest hosts an ‘in conversation’ event featuring the likes of Paul Weller and Tony Visconti and over at Dingwalls you’ll be able to catch the jazz and soul-focused sounds of Robert Glasper, Jordan Rakei and Sudan Archives.

Later in the evening the Roundhouse main space will host a suitably eclectic bill featuring musicOMH favourite Róisín Murphy, British rapper Kojey Radical, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien (sharing music from his debut solo project EOB) and 2 Tone ska veterans The Selecter. In the smaller Sackler Space the acclaimed duo of The Big Moon and The Orielles will no doubt show why they’re both set for big things later in the year. Saturday’s late show takes place at Dingwalls and will, among others, involve a live show from Planningtorock.

Sunday kicks off with another ‘in conversation’ event at Fest featuring Ed O’Brien and a pub quiz fronted by long-time Camden devotee Steve Lamacq. At the same time over at Dingwalls you’ll find Hot 8 Brass Band, Ghostpoet and The Staves.

Later in the evening the Roundhouse main space will be the setting for a frankly spectacular array of musical talent. Over the course of a few hours Kate Tempest, Kim Gordon, Anna Meredith, Jehnny Beth and Nadine Shah will all perform in what may be one of the live events of the year. Sunday’s smaller shows sees the formidable combination of KOKOROKO and Melt Yourself Down join forces at the Roundhouse Sackler Space and Bombay Bicycle Club, Squid and Warmduscher squeeze into the Electric Ballroom (pretty intimate given Bombay Bicycle Club were playing Alexandra Palace only a few weeks earlier). It all promises to be an amazing few days of live music.

6 Music Festival will be broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Sounds across the weekend, with performances from the Roundhouse, Dingwalls and the Electric Ballroom available to watch on the BBC iPlayer and at, with catch up for 30 days afterwards.

BBC Red Button will be available across the weekend with performances from the Festival.

Download the BBC Sounds app for free via your app store to hear music mixes curated ahead of the show and listen back to live performances from the festival. If you are on your computer, simply head to the BBC Sounds website.

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