Dot To Dot Festival launched in 2005, starting life as a Nottingham only event across 3 venues. Since then we’ve launched across Bristol and Manchester, added a HUGE variety of venues into the mix and continued to promote the best in new music. Take a look at our history below for some of our highlights over the years!
In 2021, we returned after a long time away from live music and over a year of no Dot To Dot due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time ever, we hosted our celebratory weekend in September instead of our normal May dates. It was such a memorable 2 days, bringing a fantastic, on the rise indie rock headliner to Nottingham and Bristol, alongside over 100 local artists added to the bill.
It felt so good to be back, showcasing emerging talent from around the globe. 2021 brought an incredibly diverse and exciting line up that was exactly everything that Dot To Dot encompasses.
Headliners: Sports Team
Notable names: Palace, Girl Band, Yard Act, L’objectif, BEKA, PIXEY, Smoothboi Ezra, The Clockworks, CJ Pandit, Blondes, Weird Milk
In 2019, we once again paired a hero of indie rock/alternative as headliner with a line up packed full of emerging talent and new artists, many of whom were soaring through the airwaves of Radio 6 Music for the remainder of the year and long into 2020.
With a love of all things local still always on our mind, we pulled together our biggest ever local line up in all 3 cities, featuring over 100 up and coming artists from the East Midlands on our Nottingham bill alone and a huge offering in Manchester and Bristol as well.
Headliners: Crystal Fighters
Notable names: Jordan Rakei, Swim Deep, The Night Cafe, Dream Wife, The Orielles, Mini Mansions, Bessie Turner, Do Nothing, Faye Webster, Heavy Lungs, Squid.
Spurred on from our double award win in 2017, we were determined to come back just as strong in 2018 with a line up packed full of emerging talent as well as enlisting some indie rock legends, who first appeared on the bill in our sophmore year, as headliners.
It was another massive festival with record ticket sales smashed once again and a party in full swing over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
Headliners: The Horrors
Notable names: Easy Life (our 2020 headliners!), Pale Waves, Marika Hackman, Mahalia, Turnover, Gus Dapperton, Fontaines D.C., Sports Team.
We were absolutely honoured to win Best Festival For Emerging Talent in 2017 at the UK Festival Awards – what an achievement after years of our entire mantra being about supporting exciting new music!
The award followed another stellar bill, featuring a headliner who, over the past 3 years, had worked their way up the line up, as well as a pre-Divinely Uninspired Lewis Capaldi who, at the time, played on one of our smallest stages of the weekend and by the end of the year would be listed on BBC Music’s Sound of 2018.
To top it off, we also won Best Multi Venue Festival at the Live UK Awards and were so proud to get the double!
Headliners: Sundara Karma
Notable names: Easy Life (our 2020 headliners!), The Growlers, Louis Berry, Honeyblood, Pinegrove, Tom Grennan, The Big Moon, Lewis Capaldi, Nilufer Yanya, Parcels, The Night Cafe, Yellow Days, Yonaka.
In 2016 we were back in full force, and into a new decade of D2D.
You lot absolutely smashed it and we were incredibly humbled to be able to announce that our Manchester leg of the festival had sold out ahead of the event! It was no surprise either, with yet another stellar line up.
Headliners: Mystery Jets and Augustines
Notable names: Sundara Karma (who would later go on to headline the festival), The Temper Trap, The Sherlocks, Dua Lipa, Spring King, Lauren Aquilina, The Hunna, Blaenavon, Pale Waves, Pumarosa, Skinny Living.
Happy 10th Birthday to us! What an incredible decade we’d had up to this point, 2015 saw us hit this mega milestone and we definitely celebrated in style – birthday cake with our headliner and all!
Having always supported local music, and with our new music ethos intact and stronger than ever, this year saw us reaching further into the local music communities of our beloved cities and providing festival goers with our biggest ever local line ups in all 3 locations. In Nottingham this meant 75 local musicians on the bill, including our headliner!
Headliners: Saint Raymond
Notable names: Easy Life (our 2020 headliners!), Sundara Karma (who would later go on to headline the festival), Amber Run, Rae Morris, Swim Deep, Hudson Taylor, Best Coast, Fat White Family, The Wytches, Hinds, PINS, Honeyblood, Nothing But Thieves, Black Honey, Jamie Lawson, Kagoule, Menace Beach, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, The Hotelier, The Orielles.
Fresh from winning the Best Metropolitan Festival at the UK Festival Awards, we were incredibly excited to return to our 3 homes of Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham in 2014. What an honour to be recognised for 9 years of pulling together some of our favourite new bands in our favourite venues!
Once again, we put another “biggest #d2dfest ever”, an unstoppable force with nothing to slow us down.
Notable names: Saint Raymond and Sundara Karma (who would both go on to headline the festival). Drenge, Real Estate, Lauren Aquilina, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Luke Sital-Singh, Courtney Barnett, Wolf Alice, Years and Years, Ezra Furman, Amber Run, Slaves, St Paul and the Broken Bones, Raleigh Ritchie, Gengahr, Honeyblood, Marika Hackman.
2013 brings us to the first time our beloved festival appeared exactly in its current format – May Bank Holiday weekend, Manchester Friday, Bristol Saturday and Nottingham Sunday. After 8 years of unquestionably brilliant festivals, we had finally found the perfect formula.
14 hours of live music across each city’s best venues, with at least 9 stages in all 3 cities, this really was the biggest Dot To Dot Festival so far…
Headliners: Dry The River and Tom Odell
Notable names: Saint Raymond (who would later go on to headline the festival), Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Lucy Rose, The 1975, London Grammar, MO, Swim Deep, To Kill A King, Bear’s Den, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Kagoule, PINS, Wolf Alice.
With the Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, the 2012 event was the first ever Dot To Dot to take place in June!
Held over 2nd-4th June, instead of the usual May Bank Holiday slot, it was also the first year for the Manchester date to fall on a Friday, setting in place the format of #d2dfest that we all know and love today.
Headliners: The Drums and Pulled Apart By Horses
Notable names: Peace (who would later go on to headline the festival), Dog Is Dead, Lucy Rose, Pond, Bastille, Jake Bugg, Rae Morris.
Following the success of our latest expansion, 2011 saw the growth of our Manchester leg for it to become on parr with our original 2 dates.
The format was a continuation of the three city/three day routine, but this time with even more incredible emerging talent and fantastic stages in 3 of the UK’s best music cities, including an, at the time, little known artist called Ed Sheeran who was still 4 months from releasing his debut album… A line up addition that certainly cemented #d2dfest as the best UK festival for discovering artists before any of your mates.
Notable names: We Are Scientists, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Joy Formidable, Ed Sheeran, SBTRKT, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Ben Howard, To Kill A King, Darwin Deez.
In 2010 we celebrated our 5th Birthday! With a firmly secured reputation for bring the best up and coming music to venues in 2 key musical cities for five years, we decided it was time to expand again, this time to Manchester!
With another solid line up in place, we took to stages in the North-West for the first time ever on Bank Holiday and really laid the groundwork for what would be our festival’s framework for the next decade.
Headliners: Mystery Jets
Notable names: Ellie Goulding, Zane Lowe, Beach House, Los Campesinos!, Washed Out.
As with previous years, 2009’s Dot To Dot Festival returned to the original format, concentrated on the musical epicentres of Bristol on the Saturday and Nottingham on the Sunday, across a number of venues of differing sizes.
The festival continued to showcase up and coming bands and DJs from the UK and international scenes offering two days of indie, rock, dance and pop music.
Headliners: Friendly Fires
Notable names: Patrick Wolf, Annie Mac, Cage The Elephant, 65daysofstatic, Marina and the Diamonds.
With our expansion into the South-West a definite success, in 2008 we launched a further “one time only” expansion into London with our Hox To Dot leg of the festival in Shoreditch. This leg of the festival catered more for the electronic side of the indie music spectrum.
On top of this we returned to Bristol for a second year, this time with twice as many venues, including our current mainstage Bristol Academy. With the Nottingham and Bristol dates firmly in the diaries of all music lovers in the cities, we committed to a 2 day festival in both cities and put on our biggest line up so far, featuring over 100 artists!
Headliners: Dirty Pretty Things and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.
Notable names: Mystery Jets (who would later headline), Glasvegas, The Holloways, Alphabeat, Bloc Party, Johnny Flynn, Noah and the Whale, Caribou, Florence + the Machine, Example, Ladyhawke, Metronomy, Rolo Tomassi, Santogold, Thee Oh Sees, The Xcerts.
With 2 successful events under our belts, it seemed like a natural step forward to expand into another city for the third instalment of #d2dfest. Thekla, Louisiana and Fiddler’s would play host to over 30 bands at the Bristol leg of the newly expanded festival. It was more of an intimate affair compared to its Nottingham namesake, but its unprecedented success ensured that it was another landmark year for Dot To Dot.
It was another bumper year for the festival in terms of number of acts, range of venues, expansion into a new city and extended curfew’s, which all helped to ensure that the new look #d2dfest was an unquestionable success.
Headliners: The Cribs
Notable names: Kano, Chromeo, New Young Pony Club, Gallows, Kate Nash, Laura Marling, Boy Better Know, Johnny Flynn, Late of the Pier.
After starting out in 2005, we pulled out every stop to make sure that our next Dot To Dot Festival was a special one. We stayed true to our original ethos of keeping things alternative and also giving new artists a platform, cementing our festival blueprint.
With some seriously heavyweight artists on the bill, we added Rock City as one of our venues. The venue is now synonymous with the Nottingham leg of #d2dfest and has played host to countless mainstage and headline performances.
Headliners: British Sea Power
Notable names: Mystery Jets, The Horrors and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. (who would all go on to headline the festival in later years). Metronomy, Klaxons, The Automatic, Amusement Parks On Fire, Simian Mobile Disco.
In 2005, Dot To Dot Festival was launched in Nottingham! On May 29th 2005, we kicked off the first ever #d2dfest, held across three venues; Rescue Rooms, The Social (now known as The Bodega, of course) and Stealth, it signaled the start of our journey toward making the May bank holiday weekend our own.
We adopted a clear ethos of giving emerging and alternative music a platform to shine from the start, which was reflected in our line up at the festival and set the blueprint for future editions for years to come – put together a stellar bill featuring the best new music and emerging artists in some of our favourite venues.
Fifteen years seems a long time ago, and in fact it was so far back we have very little photos or videos in the vaults at #d2dfest HQ! So, you’ll just have to trust us when we say that it was a great event…
Headliners: Ladytron and The Rakes