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In less than a week, much-loved Bristol festival Simple Things returns after an extended hiatus.

Landing a whole five years after its last edition, next Saturday’s long-awaited homecoming marks the festival’s tenth edition. Once again, the programme functions as a kind of who’s who of artists, bands and DJs currently moving the needle right now, with the likes of newly-minted Grammy-winner Flowdan, Brooklyn experimentalist L’Rain, Dublin noiseniks Gilla Band and Bristol’s own Giant Swan among the many certain highlights.

It’s this commitment to genre-spanning programming that makes Simple Things so special – but there’s another dimension that plays an equally significant part in the story: visuals. The striking visual identity, which – full disclosure: Crack Magazine has also had the pleasure of steering – is as much a part of Simple Things as discovering your new favourite band.

With this in mind, we talk to some of the creatives who have helped sculpt Simple Things’ visual world over the years; from photographers capturing the live moments on the ground to the designers steering its artistic evolution, to chart their favourite moments from the last decade. Start getting excited.

Ro Murphy (photographer)

What’s your connection to Bristol?

I’ve made so many friends by going to this festival every year. Bristol is a very special place and I love going back. Love live Simple Things!

Any memorable stories or funny moments that stand out from your time capturing the events and artists at the festival?

There are many many stories but the one that’s sticking out for some reason is Charlotte Church performing Killing in the Name Of in 2016 to a packed out Bristol Beacon. She was dressed in a wedding dress and everyone was crowdsurfing.

Giulia Spadafora (photographer)

What are your favourite pictures from over the years?

Looking back on my photos from 2019 feels odd, my style has evolved a lot since and I can’t help feeling very critical of them. I like this one of Object Blue because she looks so lost in the music, in a pose and expression so gentle and serene that seems almost antithetical to what many people imagine when they think of a rave in a club.

I think my favourite one has to be Andrew Weatherall playing in Coroner’s Court. After he passed away only three months after this photo was taken, someone who knew him well contacted me to buy a print as they said I captured something about Andy they hadn’t seen in other photos. It does feel special to know a photo you captured is not just nice to look at but really means something to someone.

Alfie Allen (graphic designer and art director)

Any memorable moments or funny experiences that stand out from your time capturing the events and artists at Simple Things? 

The Sportsmans’ ceiling nearly going through when Idles played.

I think Death Grips playing at midnight with the house lights up in the old Colston Hall has got to be an all time moment – really surreal energy in that room and not necessarily in a good way – mosh pits in bright lights look like brawls almost. As an audience the the spotlight had been turned on us – really memorable.

Do you have any favourite visuals from over the years?

There have been some real trailblazers over the years so it’s tough – Jonathan Castro and Harry Butt spring to mind in terms of image makers I feel like we collaborated with at just the right time.

Rebecca Cleal (photographer)

What’s your connection to Bristol?

I moved to the West Country for uni back in the early noughties and was drawn to the Bristol music scene. Over the years I’ve been lucky to photograph a lot of different musical artists in Bristol, in lots of different venues. I think we need more than ever to support emerging artists and the small venues that provide space for their talent to emerge.

Any favourite pictures from over the years?

Death Grips was a standout moment for me. Also John Carpenter, Nadine Shah, Idles, Gaika and Clark.

Joseph Hayes (3D visuals and photographer)

Do you have any memorable stories or funny moments that stand out from your time capturing the events and artists at Simple Things?

2015 was probably my favourite year. I got to meet and hang out with a bunch of inspiring artists – seeing DJ Funk and Danny L. Harle interact was funny; one who is larger than life and the other who is larger than everyone. Holly Herndon gave me advice on self promotion while wearing a picture of herself on her t-shirt, we had a nice little joke about that. Dean Blunt emerged from his cloud and politely said no to a photo. I danced with Moxie and properly slipped over. Jehnny Beth was fan-girling out and asked me to take a pic of her and Mica. JME posed for a snap before jumping in his nice car. Was a good time!

Jerry Dobson (videographer and photographer)

How did you get involved with shooting for Simple Things? 

I was in my third year at uni and also freelancing at events in Bristol at the time. I was contacted by Crack Magazine to shoot Simple Things 2018 – I  was so gassed. This was my first festival shoot, which led to me working in-house at Crack Magazine for a further four years.

Any memorable moments that stand out from your time capturing the events and artists at Simple Things? 

Andrew Weatherall 2019 – life changing set. RIP.

Simple Things Festival takes place in Bristol on 23-29 February 2024