Cellar Door Moon Crow – Festivals from a grassroots band perspective.

Cellar Door Moon Crow. Phil (L) and Tommy (R).

Download gave us the opportunity to chat with Cellar Door Moon Crow about 2022, all it has brought so far and the importance of festivals to grassroots bands looking to grow their audience.

South Yorkshire’s Goodwin brothers, Phil (Guitar) and Tommy (drums and keys, sometimes both together) deliver Hip-Hop infused rock, or maybe that’s vice-versa, are seasoned performers from previous band incarnations that have settled into their two-piece line up. This, as Phil puts it, makes them “well aware of the dedication, determination and discipline needed”.

When asked how their set went from their perspective, Tommy replies with a resounding “it were mega”, Phil takes the view that “it felt like the cherry popped”. It seemed that any doubts about how their hip-hop slant would be accepted by a ‘heavier’ audience were swiftly dispelled.

Talk turns to survival through two years of decimated festival seasons. Tommy explains:

“We pushed on to try and do tours on a more local level and try to build it up that way, which has been quite hard to do, because of people’s confidence to go out and mingle in that proximity, but there was part of me that thought that, although Download is predominantly more of a metal festival and we’re a bit of a crossover act, there was also the other side of me that had the confidence thinking that people from Glasgow, Manchester, Sheffield, London, Bristol, wherever they’ve seen us would congregate collectively for that weekend; that feeling to be out there live again would be reciprocated by the crowd, and it was.”

Talking about last year’s live scene, the brothers recall a faltering start to their efforts to get out on the road. Tommy: “We went back out with Black Spiders, the singer from the band got Covid, it all went out the window, We went back out in March and again there were issues. But now it feels like it’s on the mend.”

We venture to suggest then that festivals, at this point, have offered the better opportunity for grassroots bands, especially compared to support slots. The brothers had already crunched the numbers:

“The one opportunity today at Download, we played to more people today than those last two tours combined, and that just tells you the amount of people going to festivals; if you can be involved in that festival season, with the crossover and appreciation oof all the different artist fanbases  – just look at the line-up here, just the headliners, 80,000 tickets, you’ve only got to tap into 10% of that and the next time you’re out in your own right, you’re building it up. ”

Of course, to play live, you have to be able to play, but drums plus keys is a combination that is worthy of further examination. “A little Mozart’ is how Phil describes Tommy “he does whatever’s needed. He literally, at 6 years old, fell into a piano and it just sounded amazing. Since then he’s been able to strike, whatever, he can play anything, he plays violin on the album!”

Tommy’s take on his multi-instrument wizardry is simple: “I learned to play piano at a young age, that move onto Hammond organ, which is my forte, but keys and guitar, it’s just not enough, we needed drums, we needed a beat so that’s where I jumped in. It’s drums and guitar but I’m never going to leave the melody side so you just bring it in; when you’ve got something like that in you, you just add it to the mixture”

CDMC fuse many things, be it the rock and hip hop in their output, or the blend of talent and savvy needed to grow, but they have no doubt that the future Download headliners are out there, on the grassroots stages, building their audience. As Phil puts it:

“You’ve got to support the next generation; in 10 years from now, who’s going to headline these events? You’ve got to have that journey and progression, because one album ain’t gonna cut it. You’ve got to have your apprenticeship, you’ve got to get your albums out, you’ve got to learn your craft, your trade because to hold an audience for 90 minutes plus at this scale, 80,000 tickets, that doesn’t happen overnight, you’ve got to work at that and that starts at the grassroot levels.”

The final question should perhaps have been the first, I ask what was the first though that entered their heads when their agent mentioned Download. No pause, perfect unison:


Cellar Door Moon Crow’s debut album ‘You Got This’ is out now.

Insights V CDMC #shoeselfie.