Limetree this year ticked pretty much all the boxes and then some. Textbook festival fun. Having had a few pre festival jitters enhanced by last minute unknowns – within minutes of arriving, I’d discovered that some good friends had saved us an awesome plot for our van. I then discovered that I had a full compliment of fresh tickets and that a whole bunch of friends were there. After setting up camp, we headed into the arena.
The last time I went, there didn’t feel like there were quite enough people there – this years had a veritable bouillabaisse of people. Young and old, smart and bold, the ravers, the jazz heads, the beautiful people, the family guys. The Costume de rigueur, the visual uniter was mud. Everyone from at least the knee down was emblazoned with a tasteful portion of the afore mentioned. Another common accessory would be the smile. Happiness abound.
The site itself had grown – The choice of stage for a festival of its size was remarkable. In the eastern section of the site, a circus big top flanked by two large dome tents proved the main venues for dance / DJ based entertainment – a cracking sound system almost taunted DJ’s with ‘go on, lets have your best sub bass’. To be honest, I didn’t spend a huge amount of time in this area but from what I heard (we were camped just the other side), they had it XXL.
The main arena – a ‘proper’ main stage showcased some fantastic music and provided a focal point. I was blown away by Aradhana Arts on the Saturday afternoon. The sheer brilliance of Sanju Sahai – one of the best tabla players alive today – was incredible to watch at close quarters.
That was undoubtedly my musical highlight – so glad I caught that. The arena field was satellited by stalls, stages, props and shops. One of these stages was The Bet Lynch stage – essentially a huge camp dressing up box of a stage showcasing some quirky, avant garde type affairs. We watched a duo in there called Hectic Egg – funny, beautiful, unique. They sang a song about wanting to be with mum for Christmas. Brought a lump to my throat.
The West field Next door was home to another big top and a fully fledged Jazz Club. A blacked out marquee that had a full bar at the back and around 30 tea lit, 4 chair tables. The blacked out walls were adorned with tastefully spot lit muso pics, the atmosphere – quite surreal. Kind of like when you go to a cinema during the day. At one point – around 5.30pm on Saturday afternoon, the heavens opened – quite a guilty pleasure being comfortable and warm in said venue. Some friends of ours had been working on front row seats all afternoon and we were lucky enough to saunter in at the last minute and blag some in time to see The Scapegoat Kelly band who were sporting a fairly new line up.
I’ve always loved Scapegoat – since I saw their first ever gig at the legendary Harrogate Theatre Music Party (RIP) many moons ago. A great gig. Tight. A big Blues Bar contingency took ownership of most of the front of the venue, there was a dancing, and a singing, and a music.
Next door to the Jazz club was another big top. This had a bunch of great stuff in it, but the ones that did it for me in there would have to be Middleman. M’Good friend Allan and I caught the last bit of their set – big grin tastic. The energy was a bit like early Prodigy and the groove was akin to Rage Against The Machine. Bosh. Amazing. A band called Senser did a thing back in the 90’s where they fused crunchy guitar with hard and heavy dance noises – Middleman reminded me a bit of that.
Seeing Middleman was part of my proper party wander. After tea on the Saturday, I went deep into the no agenda festival fun zone. Eirene was fairly partied out as she’d had a look over at Leeds Festival on Friday night and was pooped. I wore full orange waterproofs – which always seems to do the trick of stopping the rain. After sticking my head into unknown stages and tents we settled down in one of the two silent disco’s. Light, upbeat funk / disco meets reggae was the DJ’s output whilst we hung out there on and off till 3am. The format of silent disco is superb – especially when it’s in a super snug big ol Papakata style double teepee. You can get into the music – in super hi fidelity stereo, or you can chat to the person next to you without the usual “Y’WHAT MATE?”
After that, I popped back into the Jazz Tent where the Governor, Shaun was pulling pints. I’d not met him before – lovely lovely chap. Had some great chattage with cast and crew who’d assembled for a late taste before heading back via some randoms party in one of the residential, set-up and ready-to-rock teepee’s (of which there were loads!). I got to see the sun rise before quietly trying to take off my big muddy boots and layer of orange plastic without waking anyone or falling over.
I wish it was still on. It would be ace if festivals could run all year and we could dip in for the odd couple of nights every now and then. I suppose on paper, ‘towns and cities’ offer some of the trappings – but it’s no where close. If I could wave a magic wand to make any fest a perma-fest, I would do it with Limtree me thinks. The land and the crew need a well deserved rest though! Can’t wait till next year.
Photos by me | More over yonder»