Five reasons to attend Dot To Dot Festival in 2024

Words: Karl Blakesley
Photos: Nigel King
Monday 20 May 2024
reading time: min, words

For almost 20 years, Dot To Dot Festival has remained the standard bearer for all metropolitan festivals in the UK. Launched in Nottingham during the mid-00s indie boom, Dot To Dot has since become a staple of the late May Bank Holiday weekend, showcasing only the very best new music across an epic all-day event. With the 2024 edition boasting one of the best line-ups to date, we thought we’d dive into what makes Dot To Dot so special…

21 IMG 6928

1. Catch future headliners on their way to superstardom

It happens every year: always the same response. I’ll show someone the line-up poster for Dot To Dot and without a beat, there it’ll come: “I don’t know anyone on there.” 

It’s true, most years when the line-up drops, most of the artists are relatively unknown at that point, bar maybe the headliners and the odd name here or there. But that is exactly what makes the Dot To Dot experience so incredible – it’s not about the artists you know, it’s about
the ones you are going to discover.

All you have to do is look back at Dot To Dot’s alumni since the festival began and you’ll find an abundance of artists that have gone on to become household names. I’m talking about Glastonbury headliners like Ed Sheeran, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons – even this year’s Friday Night headliner, Dua Lipa. There’s also arena-sized pop acts like Lewis Capaldi, The 1975, Rag & Bone Man, Years & Years and Tom Grennan. On top of that, there are current indie/rock giants such as Foals, Wolf Alice, Fontaines D.C., Catfish & The Bottlemen, Yonaka and The Amazons. The list is endless and there-in lies the beauty of Dot To Dot – you can catch incredible acts like these in intimate surroundings before they’re packing out the biggest arenas and festival fields around the globe. 

This year’s line-up is no different. Whether it’s the experimental pop of Jockstrap, the dreamy shoegaze of Bleach Lab, the foot-stomping anthems of Wunderhorse, the frenzied synth-punk of Home Counties, the Geordie fuzz-rock of Lizzie Esau, or the euphoric dance-pop of Charlotte Plank, there’s a whole stack of artists all with the potential to be the next big thing.

9 IMG 8756

2. Discover the best local talent emerging from Nottingham

But it’s not just about the national talent stopping by Nottingham for one day only. It’s also about all the incredible Nottingham artists that are driving our flourishing new music scene right now.

Over the years the likes of Jake Bugg and London Grammar have gone from humble Notts origins to huge-selling albums and arena tours, with Dot To Dot again the festival to shine the spotlight on their talent on the way up. This year, there’s hundreds of local acts on the bill, with promising alt-rockers Bored Marsh, metal outfit Bloodworm, acoustic-folk songstress Katie Keddie, soulful popstar LYVIA and reigning Future Sound of Nottingham winner KAP, just a few of those looking to make a big impression.

If that glamourous indie rock & roll is more your thing, then the talented Notts contingent have you covered on that front too. Expect hazy summer tunes from Cam Mannix, groove-driven bangers from Airport Dad, big singalong anthems from The Publics, laidback blues from Davoli, experimental post-punk from Dura Mater and throwback 70s-tinged swagger from Sancho Panza

It’s crazy how stacked the Nottingham talent pool is right now and a trip to Dot To Dot this weekend gives you ample opportunity to see these future stars for yourself.

17 IMG 0287

3. Explore the city’s iconic venues and hidden musical hotspots

Of course it’s not just about the bands though, but also the incredible venues too. One of the great things about Dot To Dot is the opportunity to visit some hidden away locations in our city that you may not have previously visited.

Sure, everyone knows how legendary Rock City is a stage that has hosted icons like David Bowie and Nirvana over its 40+ years, with Rescue Rooms and The Bodega also Notts music stalwarts at this point. But venture over to Hockley and you’ll find some of the best Dot to Dot spots – there’s creative spaces (Carousel and Metronome), a record store (Rough Trade), cozy pubs (The Angel Microbrewery and Fox & Grapes) vibrant bars (Jamcafé and 31K) and even a converted bus shelter (the aptly-titled The Old Bus Depot).

A special shout out also to Malt Cross, which is one venue tucked away from the rest just off Old Market Square. It’s well worth a trip over there, as not only is it an enchanting old Victorian Music Hall serving great food and beer, but it also has one of the day’s best line-ups with the likes of local gems Ellie Stainsby, GOODGOODBYE and Gone Fishin’ all set to perform.

5 IMG 4156

4. Tuck into the tastiest food and enjoy cold drinks in the sunshine

Of course, what’s a festival, though, without some tasty street food and a cold refreshing beer, alcoholic or otherwise? 

The good news is that Super Bock is once again sponsoring Dot To Dot, which means ice cold, reasonably priced pints of refreshing Portuguese beer, along with plenty of other locally brewed craft lagers, ales and fruity ciders, will be flowing in abundance throughout the day. If you’re
planning on partying hard till the early hours with your friends, it may also be worth stopping by Rescue Rooms for one of their legendary teapots of shots, which includes a particularly potent coffee-flavoured one. If you’re driving or simply choosing to keep a clear head, then have no fear as all venues on the line-up usually have a wide choice of tasty low- and no-alcohol and soft drink options, too.

And while no street food vendors have been officially announced yet, you will usually find Talbot Street outside Rock City, the Rescue Rooms terrace and The Bodega Secret Garden serving up a range of delicious eats to keep you fuelled throughout the day. That said, the best thing about Dot To Dot festival is the fact it’s an inner-city festival – so you have every restaurant in the centre of Nottingham at your disposal! Simply decide on a preferred cuisine amongst your group of friends and you can stop off somewhere for some food between all the venue-hopping.

25 IMG 3842

5. Make lifelong memories with your friends

OK, I’ll admit this last one is a bit cheesy – but it’s true.

Whether it’s freely moshing around in the pit without a care in the world, enjoying a long overdue catch-up with some friends, the lightning bolt when discovering your new favourite artist or the communal joy of singing at the top of your lungs with fellow new music enthusiasts, the best part of Dot To Dot is the memories you take away with you at the end of the day.

Regardless of whether it’s your first time or your tenth, Dot To Dot 2024 promises to be another perfect day full of special moments. If you’ve not booked your ticket yet, get yourself into town and enjoy this one-of-a-kind celebration of the thriving Nottingham music scene.

Dot To Dot Festival 2024 takes place in Nottingham on Sunday, 26th May.

Dot To Dot 

We have a favour to ask

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion

Please note, we migrated all recently used accounts to the new site, but you will need to request a password reset

Sign in using

Or using your

Forgot password?

Register an account

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.

Forgotten your password?

Reset your password?

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.