What a splendid festival that was. I’ll get the hick-ups out the way first up – the main one being the lack of main stage drum kit early doors, having a knock on effect (combined with a couple of other factors*), resulting in the Friday headline act – Croak Ditch – couldn’t play. Gutted about that, but that aside, a slick production!
The main stage was a covered low tented affair with a real ale bar, DJ stand and mixing desk at one end, a stage at the other. Festooned betwixt; cushions, sofas and chairs created social islands which suited the laid back daytime gigs, gave rest-bite at the energy rich night time performances. Stunning bar. You’ll often find overpriced cooking larger being your only option at a festival – particularly the smaller ones – not here though, this bar boasted a good half dozen real ales, well kept, well tapped, well pulled, including one of my all time faves – Roosters Yankee.
The inflection point – a point in time that seemed to focus the whole festival – was the genius half hour of DJ Trev’s dance competition. This brought everyone together and gave the whole site a kick up the backside. From this point, the rest of the afternoon sailed into brilliance. Local legends Kassius playing an acoustic set, an incredible DJ set intro by Archeo Banquerta and topping it all off, The Birdman Rallies lifting the roof off the main stage. The fire and the silent disco rounded the evening off nicely. A party with the FIRE crew in the dance tent, a catch up with old friends, a get to knowing of new friends.
Sunday, for me, was mainly a lock in. It rained for 15 hours. I’d discovered though, that the silent disco headphones could reach my van – and – they had a line out. I spent a lot of Sunday early afternoon sat in the van listening to, amongst other things, the fantastic poet / comedian Tim Ellis. I did sneak out to see the jaw-droppingly brilliant in-a-Django Reinhardt-kind-of-a-way ‘Rhythm Future’ and the happy toe tappy Jon Palmer acoustic band. Because of the rain, people congregated on the main stage (as it was covered) so in a way, it’s worked to the benefit of everyone being extra social (a bit more sun would have been nice.. we’ll put an order in for next year)
By Sunday night, we were cooked. Eirene and Sophie and Jay weren’t feeling so good, so they headed home, and I wasn’t much in the mood for being without them, and quite liked the idea of sleeping on our 4 day old new matress so headed back as well around 10pm with Felix. Sounds like I missed the best night though – lots of sore throats in the morning from belting it out round the fire!
There is talk of a ‘next year’ and I’ll be leaking what ever I can on DragonDrop – so stay tooned! Also – more photos to follow – stay tooned for those as well.
The ‘sour taste’ part for me – apart from the Croak Ditch not playing – was the council’s apparent desire to spend a lot of energy on being annoying.
*At one point on Friday night, they’d pulled the key festival management resources away from where they should have been – running the festival. I can’t understand why they weren’t behind us a bit more – I’ve even heard one report of a council member petitioning local residents – with a clipboard – to sign a petition to get it stopped next year. Disgusting.
For such a modest festival – with such good hearted intentions – bringing family friendly arts and entertainment to the town, it seemed that our local council didn’t half make the licencee jump through an extraordinarly amount of hoops. I guess some people, powerful and influential locals, wanted the thing shut down, and tried to use their influence. Some of the behind the scenes stuff – a Db level that had to be not only adhered too (which is fair enough) but monitored by driving a 2 mile circuit every 15 minutes was a bit of a big ask for – still – box ticked. I’m wondering if Sir Elton John’s production crew had quite the same restrictions when he played the Great Yorkshire Showground last night – I’m guessing not, as you could hear it a mile and a half away. We’re all equal I guess, just some seem more equal than others.
That aside.. bingo – it happened! and it was good.