Top bands, quirky places - Crouch End prepares for The End music festival

Pubs, bars, shops, a supermarket - and even an ice cream parlour - will be taken over with live music later this month as The End festival returns to transform Crouch End into a Bohemian beat factory.

Now in its third year, some of the indie music world’s coolest names will descend on N8 for The End, which is expanding to take in two nights of tunes.

Dubbed by one of last year’s musicians as ‘North By North Eight’ (NxN8) - or London’s answer to the huge annual festival that takes over Austin, Texas, called South By Southwest (SxSW) - The End’s creator and curator Howard Monk promises the best underground bands from home and abroad will turn Crouch End institutions into north London’s hippest hangouts.

Atmospheric multi-instrumentalist Gravenhurst and folk/rockabilly band Peggy Sue, who is fresh from supporting Jack White in Europe, will be headlining The Music Palace, while DJ sets are promised from the feted Moshi Moshi record label and John & Jehn, one half of whom is Camille Berthomier of red-hot band of the moment Savages.

Thornton’s Budgens, Riley’s ice cream parlour, Flashback Records and vintage store Painted Black, among others, will throw open their doors for some memorable gigs, alongside The Music Palace and Downstairs At The King’s Head.

“It’s getting quite stressful, but it’s all good,” Howard Monk tells the Broadway.

The Crouch Ender and music promoter has built the festival from nothing, with a vision to showcase a mix of international and local bands in his own neighbourhood.

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He is riding a wave of cool and goodwill from last year’s festival, which saw performances in a launderette and folksters Skinny Lister “carrying on the party Downstairs At The King’s Head, doing a jig with a big flagon of rum after closing time”.

He said: “Crouch End is an area full of creative and media types yet only really well-known for decent restaurants. But there are some excellent events if you scratch the surface, and this is a fresh one for the calendar, perhaps a little more ambitious in scale.

“We’re keen to bring excellent touring bands out of the usual epicenters of Shoreditch, Camden, and central London up to Crouch End for a couple of nights.

“I love the area, and I have been here for ages, but in a sense this is like bringing the mountain to Mohammed, so to speak. And so you’ll have people sipping wine at Little Paris and drinking beer at The Haberdashery.”

He added: “I think it’s a good mix of exciting new stuff, local talent and stuff which has been going for quite some time. I really think we could set this place on fire!”

*Read Howard’s blog as he takes us on a tour of the people and places that make The End happen. It’s online now and updated each week at

* The End festival takes place on November 16 and 17. Tickets at �20 (weekend) and �12.50 (daily) are available now at and also at Riley’s ice cream parlour in The Broadway and The Haberdashery coffee shop in Middle Lane.