The world famous Camden Market may be the main focus of attention for the majority of visitors to this area of North London but for lovers of indie music there are few places more exciting to visit than Camden Town.
Each year a two day sprawling inner-city festival called the Camden Crawl takes place over 14 or so music venues in the local vicinity and has quickly become a highlight of the year for many people. However, Camden is a musical town all year round and there are very few places which offer a better range of venues from small to medium sized venues within such a small distance. Ably served by the London Underground, Camden is viewed as the London epicenter of indie music and although new pretenders such as Shoreditch may try and steal its crown, Camden Town is likely to remain the indie stronghold of London for a long time to come.
The historical impact that Camden Town has had on music runs back a few decades. In the 1970s Bob Marley was resident in the area and The Clash were frequently spotted rehearsing and playing gigs in Camden Town. In the 1990s, Prince opened up a boutique store in the area, a move which fitted in 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 great number of record labels, including Creation Records and pluggers being located in the general area. Blur were the band most commonly linked with Camden and ex-guitarist Graham Coxon is still regularly seen in the local bars and shops.
Some of the pubs and gig venues which played host to this mid 90s phenomenon includes:
o The Good Mixer
o The Dublin Castle
o The Worlds End
o Camden Palace
o The Monarch
On any night of the week, you were likely to bump into someone from Oasis, Blur or Pulp having a drink and for the six months to a year when the scene was at its most popular, it seemed as though the entire indie world converged on the area.
Britpop quickly faded though and although the vast popularity of Camden dipped slightly; it still remained an extremely popular venue. MTV UK has their main offices very close to Camden Lock and many labels are still prominent in the area ensuring it remains a popular hang out for many artists and music industry movers and shakers.
The popularity of Camden soared again in recent years due to Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse living in the area and regularly being pictured in the many bars and venues in the local area. Given that these two artists have featured heavily in the mainstream media in the past few years, there has been a great deal of attention back on Camden and it is yet again viewed as the home of London’s indie scene.
A fire in February 2008 may have caused damage to the market and one of the major pubs The Hawley Arms but plans are underway to rebuild the area and there still remains a huge range of venues and pubs within the district.