Photo by Frankie Pike

One of our favourite music festival of the year is back! VISIONS returns to a handful of venues across Hackney on August 5th to spread tidings of joy, sunshine, beer and mirth across East London.

And once again, London in Stereo has teamed up with the VISIONS crew to bring you a festival packed with great names. So far, the line-up includes the legendary Detroit noise legends Wolf Eyes, experimental rapper Moor Mother and killer Canadian electronic producer Marie Davidson.

Between bands, make sure to check out some of the other amazing offerings at the festival including a tattoo flash day courtesy of the infamous Haggerston tattoo shop Old Habits, screen printing class, record and zine fair – and the ever-popular dog show!

To get things underway, we tracked down the jet-setting dream-pop band Night Flowers. It has been a whirlwind couple of years for transatlantic quintet after close friends from northern England collided with Massachusetts-born vocalist Sophia Pettit in London and began crafting their irresistible brand of heart-stirring, romantic pop.

The band’s glistening guitars and dream-like atmospheric should be a perfect match for the hazy August Saturday. We caught them as they concluded a tour supporting The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, where they photographed their travels around England and sent us the results. Have a look… and make sure you don’t miss them at VISIONS.

Packing for tour is all about taking essentials, and there’s always been a rule within the Night Flowers camp that we can’t hit the road without a copy of Oasis’ cocaine bloated album Be Here Now on CD (found in any good charity shop for around 99p.) We’re not quite sure if we love it, or just think it’s funny, but this time round it really was a struggle to get past ‘Magic Pie’ (seven minutes!). But we managed to stick it out for ‘I Hope I Think I Know’ and then sacked it off. Seems hire cars now have DAB radio and USB inputs, so we could literally listen to pretty much anything released ever – and Be Here Now regrettably fell way down the pecking order.

Our first gig of the tour was in Bristol, on a boat called Thekla. Which was a first for us as we haven’t been asked to play the Weezer Cruise. Yet…

As standard, we were stuck in between that post-soundcheck-pre-gig time period, which is too long to just stay at the venue, and too short to really go anywhere else. We made it as far as the local Greene King pub about two minutes away, and some bloke in there had a real parrot on his shoulder, for some reason. As you can see, Greg was pretty chuffed. Well, we all were, to be fair.

Given the events that had taken place just around the corner three days previously, it was truly beautiful to arrive in a sunny Manchester packed full of people out enjoying themselves in the Northern Quarter. This one’s for life, love, friendship and music.

We somehow managed to get invited to play in a disused shoe shop at lunchtime the next day, as part of The Charlatans’ record release Oldham Street takeover. Moments before we played I dented the hire car trying to get parked, which absolutely stung us. But, even that wasn’t going to spoil my mood, as I’ve loved the Charlatans since I was a kid. Just like Chris (who isn’t in this pic) but it’s the best one taken during our set (sorry Chris!)

We headed to Hull straight after our set in Manchester to play a gig on the same day. Here is the local delicacy, the Patty Butty (potato and sage mashed up and deep fried, usually served with ‘American Chip Spice’, for those not in the know.) It was good to be back by the Humber.

The gig was in a practice/studio space called Gorilla Studios. It was packed, sweaty, loud, and BYOB, like all great gigs. Amazing to see good people doing good stuff in Hull, nice one Gorilla!

Here’s a lovely snap of us by Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. The venue – The Riverside – was not far, unsurprisingly. You wouldn’t think it to look at this picture. But just hours later we were tearing up the dancefloor to the Grease Megamix and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something as well fully embraced the Bank Holiday weekend. Great city.

9. Members of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Night Flowers and Yoke Lore count up their merch takings for the night in Glasgow, along with Sam (the rep for the show) who was very nice and welcoming. Yoke Lore opened up for a bunch of the dates and they’re a great band and super nice guys!

The Spook School DJ’d at a place called Nice N Sleazy after our gig in Glasgow. All members of Night Flowers and The Pains went out and had a great night. However, this is the only bit of photo evidence we have of this adventure.

We stayed at the Spook School’s house. Behold.

Here are The Pains playing at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. The greatest venue in the country

The Cookie in Leicester. When in Rome…

We found an incredible charity record shop down Queen’s Road in Leicester. Highly recommended.

Here we are with Andy, my old mate from Grimsby who kindly showed us the sights of Wolverhampton and even let us stay at his house. This guy introduced me to the concept of DIY punk rock 15 years ago or so and provided vocals for some of the greatest UK hardcore bands, such as Imbalance, The Horror, and currently the Young Conservatives. Check them out.

And last but not least, here’s the obligatory end of tour shot in beautiful Oxford. Somehow, we managed to choose a dingy, smelly alleyway for the photo. The tour was an amazing experience, and we’re truly grateful to Kip and The Pains for taking us under their wing, inviting us on tour and generally being the nicest people. We love ‘em dearly!

VISIONS festival returns to London Fields on August 5th