Staff Picks

Here at  Carefully Planned headquarters we like to keep things personable.  We therefore would like to invite you to “meet the team” and sample the playlists of our individual Top 5 favourite acts playing A Carefully Planned Festival below:



I’m Matthew and I have a LOT to say about Carefully Planned. If you’re interested in the things I have to say, let me know. I’d be happy to tell you what’s going on somehow. Probably.

Since I’ve booked the majority of the bands playing in October, it’s been pretty difficult to choose five I’m most excited about. I’ve managed to do it by being completely honest. In being so, it’s very important that I point out that I think the whole line-up is BRILLIANT.

I think my 5 choices represent a decent cross-section of the acts playing over the weekend. I suppose leaning a little more towards the quieter/folkier side of things. I’m probably most excited about Alasdair Roberts as I’ve been really, really into him since first hearing The Crook Of My Arm about ten years ago. He’s been one of my favourite and most-listened-to singer/songwriters since then so it’s an absolute honour to have him coming to play at my festival. I can’t hardly wait.

It’s probably because of me getting into acts like Alasdair in the early noughties that music such as that made by Like Spinning has such an effect on me when I come across it these days. Unbeknownst to her, it was actually via Vesle from Wet Mouth that I found Kari Jahsen’s music only a few months back. I am immediately drawn to simplicity that is seemingly-effortlessly decorated with significant and undeniable beauty/melancholy. There’s a subtle vastness apparent here too and I can’t imagine the live show won’t be not altogether too dissimilar to being in a nice, warm candlelit bath.

Next up for me is a bunch of youngsters who got together at uni in Salford and so far haven’t done too many gigs! They played a stripped down set at one of my all-dayers a month or so ago and it was everything the few tracks I’d already heard had implied they might be. Not only do these guys each individually have impressive musical and vocal ability, they are also a tight unit and encourage a particular reflection and expressiveness from each other. This, along with the ambition to stick a load of relatively unusual ideas into single songs, make for a very exciting act and it all comes with a subtle cheeriness and genuine pleasure to perform and gratitude at being taken notice of. They are called Malcolm T-Rex.

Next, a band that are frankly un-ignorable. When they were last down here, they played as a 15-piece at The Castle. Though I was a bit pissed when I said it, a few of them were pretty pleased at my suggestion that they were “better than Beirut”. I love Beirut too. I was lucky enough to see TSHMB over in Liverpool the next day when a little more sober and the experience was equally as impressive. Not only that but I have a much better recollection of what was actually going on. It was a bit like being run over by a massive, lovely puppy. With 30-legs. And 15 hearts. This time around, The Second Hand Marching Band are going to be opening the festival for us and what a way to get things rolling. Actually, that last sentence sounded a bit silly and ‘festival-programme’-ey, but seriously, you’re going to be happy before things have even got going.

Lastly on my list of 5 faves is Vasco Da Gama. There is nothing particularly heavy about VDG but their big, bold, angular form implies a weightiness usually found in much more aggressive music. This is nimble though. It’s considerate and warm and the vocals are playful, as is the cymbal and hi-hat work. These guys know how to be a rock band and look and talk just like one. What’s really nice to see is that there is nothing egotistical or fake about them. They’re just genuinely good, interesting people expressing themselves and making various communications public. That sounds pretty ideal to me and I really hope I get to see them some time before the festival. You should try and do so too. If you’re disappointed, it’s likely to be your own fault. Finally, I can’t help but end by mentioning that their sound on the whole isn’t a million miles away from that of a band called Faraquet. If I was you, I’d go and listen to their song ‘Carefully Planned’ right away. Then go buy your ticket for this festival. It’s going to be very good.

Don’t worry, everyone. The other guys defo won’t write as much as me.

Matthew x


Hello, I’m Mike and I have been involved with Carefully Planned for 2 years now. Last year Matthew asked me to help him put together the very first A Carefully Planned Festival, with the idea coming into fruition following on from the increasingly successfully Carefully Planned all-dayers at the Castle. It turned out to be a great success and gave us the confidence to do it all again this year but BIGGER and, inevitably, (even) BETTER. As with last year, I have been helping to curate the line-up and I’ve designed the website. I’m incredibly excited about a lot of the acts we’ve booked this year, there is so much to choose from, but here are my top 5 picks:

Bilge Pump

Ben Butler & Mousepad





Hi I am Amy and I first became involved with A Carefully Planned Festival last year. I helped out on the door and at the venues, providing general moral support for all those involved. I have known Matthew for a few years now and it was impressive to see how involved both he and Michael were in the whole process. Its going to be good to see how the events this year unfold, now that there are six of us involved with twice as many bands and venues.

I started making the posters for the Carefully Planned All-Dayers at The Castle over the course of this year. I was pretty excited at the chance to have a free creative reign over CP promotional material. This has since evolved a bit and I have taken charge of the visuals for the festival. By that I mean lots of posters and lots of colour!

A large part of Carefully Planned for me has been about seeing new music or bands that I haven’t seen before. Its exciting and unpredictable and never ceases to impress me. I can only guarantee that this will be the same for A Carefully Planned Festival this year with a good solid line up and lots to explore. My top 5 picks are a small selection of what you can see, some of which I chose from previous All-Dayers at The Castle. The rest will hopefully give you a taster of whats to come and what to look out for.

Tall Ships

Dancing Years

Wot Gorilla?


Moody Gowns


Hello. I’m Adam, and at no point during being asked to help out at this festival did anyone mention I’d have to write this. I imagine my response would have been dramatically different had this not been the case.

Here we are anyway, and as I’m fairly sure this gun being pointed at my head is loaded – I’ll crack on.

I too have helped out at A Carefully Planned Festival #1 and most of the Carefully Planned All-Dayers since, it’s been great fun and I’m massively looking forward to the festival. My main responsibility has been to choose the perfect venues that complement the ethos of Carefully Planned in which to showcase all of the amazing bands and artists that are playing.

Here are my personal picks for the weekend:

Anguish Sandwich

These guys are bloody brilliant. They played the 12th Carefully Planned All-Dayer back in May, which is when I first became aware of them. They are a 3-piece from Northampton and play incredibly catchy indie-pop/rock. They all have great hair, too. Bermuda Triangle EP, their latest release is available now and can be heard on their bandcamp page. Catch them at Gullivers on Sunday.

Sun Drums

Sun Drums are an atmospheric electronic act from Liverpool, and they’re totally boss, like. They’ve recently released their Sun Kissed Blisters EP which highlights their layered, textured sound to even greater success than previous efforts. They play the Castle on Sunday. Don’t miss them.

Ace Bushy Striptease

Probably the best-named band on the lineup, and one I had to be a little bit careful Googling whilst at work; Ace Bushy Striptease fall firmly in the category of the first word in their name. They describe their songs as ‘a bit fancy-pants sloppy-ass pop-punk’ and I literally couldn’t agree more. Check them out at Gullivers on Saturday.


Plank! probably don’t need much of an introduction, but I’ll give them one anyway because they’re pretty fantastic: their debut album ‘Animalism’ has just been released on akoustik Anarkhy earning rave reviews across the board. The Manchester-based instrumentalists recently showcased their talents on Marc Riley’s 6music show and I’m dead excited to see them play at the festival.

That wasn’t much of an introduction, sorry. I should’ve just put “Plank! They really put the mentalists into instrumentalists!!!” or sutin’. Anyway, they’re a great bunch o’ lads, and they’re on at Soup Kitchen on Sunday.

Sex Hands

At the last two gigs I’ve seen Sex Hands, they’ve been shut down by the Police/angry neighbours at a house party they played at, and forced a rather confused-looking landlord at a pub in Salford to close his doors as so many people were clambering in to catch a glimpse of them at Sounds From The Other City. It’s not that they court this kind of controversy (or maybe they do?) – they’re just really fucking great live. I’d definitely recommend watching them at 2022NQ on Saturday.



Kiran Leonard

Sauna Youth

Queer’d Science

Pine Barrens



Hello, I’m Hannah and I have been helping out with Carefully Planned events for about a year now. For the most part, I am unofficial CP roadie and drawer of smiley-faced hand stamps. This year however, I have been entrusted with the job of coordinating our enthusiastic team of volunteers. So, please get in touch if you’d like to come and help out, I promise it will be fun.

This year’s festival is shaping up to be rather wondrous (and way bigger than last year). There is absolutely loads to go and see. Here are my top five acts, all of which I have seen at previous CP events and have thoroughly enjoyed.

Hope to see you there.

The Second Hand Marching Band

Vasco da Gama

Katie Malco


Buen Chico

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