There’s a festival for everything these days. Gaming, gin, wellness, vegans, kites, fish, bikes, Peaky Blinders, mud – yeah, mud – and now, since they’re mega popular, podcasts.
Pod fests are popping up all over the place, from Philadelphia to Manchester, Cork to Sydney. The London Podcast Festival, now in its third year, is one of the originals. This year, they’ll round up the cream of British podcasting (plus some international names) and put them live on stage at King’s Place between 6-15th September. And it covers the spectrum of podcasting: from comedy panel shows to true-crime investigations, big interviews to niche interests. There also seems to be a lot about wrestling. Wrestling!
Anyway, with more than 40 podcasts taking part (a few well-known names like The Guilty Feminist are sold out), we’ve picked eight potential highlights that are worth your time and your ££.
Have You Heard George’s Podcast?
Friday September 6, 7pm
Followers of my regular Podcasts For The People column will know how much I rate this podcast. George The Poet stitches poignant human stories together using intricate verse, music and narration. Given that most episodes take place in communities out there on the street, it’s especially intriguing to see how he’ll lift this live episode out of those environs and into a basement theatre in north London.
Black Men Can’t Jump (In Hollywood)
Saturday September 7, 9.30pm
A UK debut for this popular US podcast. Inspired by a Facebook thread about Martin Lawrence’s performance in Blue Streak, hosts Jonathan Braylock, Jerah Milligan and James III review the movies of leading black actors against the backdrop of Hollywood’s issues with race. Listen to them pick apart the recent The Lion King remake or Independance Day to get a taste.
Sunday September 8, 4.30pm
Don’t know your Jeff Koons from your Ai Weiwei? Nor did actor Russell Tovey – Years And Years, Being Human, Sherlock – until he discovered an appreciation for art, and collecting art, in his early 20s. For Talk Art, he buddies up with friend and gallerist Robert Diament to talk all things art. The formula is a bit of news, a bit of gossip, some reviews and the occasional massive guest, like Lena Dunham, who’ve they’ve just had on. It’s an education, but not in an alienating highbrow way. Their Instagram is worth a follow, too.
The Adam Buxton podcast
Thursday September 12, 9.30pm
You’ll need serious blagging skills to get into this one. Consider it your festival headliner. Podcast royalty Adam Buxton has recently passed 100 episodes of his meandering chats. No word yet on who his guest may be, or whether Rosie the dog might make a live appearance, but this slice of East Anglia isn’t to be missed. If you can find a way in.
Beef And Dairy Network Podcast
Sunday September 15, 2pm
Imagine Alan Partridge’s This Time meets Countryfile and you’ll land somewhere close to this brilliantly surreal comedy series. It’s a magazine show based around the fictional Beef And Dairy Network, which salutes all things beef and dairy. Expect in-jokes, call-backs, guest characters, skits and stories about methane-powered space rockets. Beef out!
Sunday September 15, 7pm
Many of the best podcasts explore and explode taboos. Griefcast is about death, and because it’s about death and no-one really talks about coping with death, it’s been a huge comfort and companion to those affected by it, which is all of us at some point. Proof there’s plenty to laugh about even when it’s trying to come to terms with the loss of a loved one.
Saturday September 7, 4.30pm
In which co-hosts Kefin Mahon and Jo Graham provide an entertaining and accessible gateway into the world of (mostly) WWE. Each episode decodes some of the history, personalities and terminology involved with wrestling. If you’re looking for an entrance point, wind back to their show about Donald Trump – seriously – and his long involvement with the sport. This live show will dive into the world of wrestling music, so expect some hair-metal chat. One of a handful of wrestling shows there. See also: The Attitude Era and Wrestle Me.
Saturday September 14, 4.40pm
There’s a story behind every word. In fact, there are lots of stories behind every word. Each week on The Allusionist presenter Helen Zaltzman takes an adventure in language, investigating origin stories but also looking at modern linguistics. All delivered with a generousheap of dry humour. If you don’t make it, at least check out the early episode (4) examining profanity – it’s a sweary delight.