Weather forecast for the weekend was so grim we were in two minds whether or not to go, despite our £60 campsite payment. We bit the bullet and arrived noon-ish. A terrible job trying to put the tent up, due to the wind. For those of you who had the privilege of watching the late , great batsman Colin Milburn in the sixties…imagine you are looking at him after he had run a three. It was blowing that hard! Managed eventually and settled down for a couple of post-erection drinks ( did they say that in Carry on Camping!?).
Friday. Called into a few pubs, I will leave the details to the end. Attempted to go up to the Meadow Stage for the Folly Bros but it was lashing down so went around the back of the Star to see Maz Mitrenko under cover. They decided to move up into the function room. Starting with Going Down, it wasn’t long before a certain R.Gallagher Esq featured via Calling Card and Messin’ with the Kid. Some Hendrix, BB King and Muddy Waters all featured too in a good first set. Second set had Copperhead Road and some more Rory. Third set had more Hendrix, some Dylan and a very good Bridge of Sighs. Inevitable Bullfrog Blues finished off an enjoyable performance.
Saturday. Overheard a huge slab of Otis via Official Receivers. Good vocalist, they finished with Sweet Soul Music for an appreciative crowd. Sons of Eddie were upstairs in the Star. A good version of Nine Below Zero’s Soft Touch was promising but All Along the Watchtower was ordinary. (Why do people stand and watch an acoustic trio and shout at each other!? One of the negatives about free admission). AC/DC had some people singing She’s Got The Jap’ (!) . Bill Withers got a hammering, we left. Mr Wolf. Decent pub bluesy outfit, started with Going Back Home, L&N and Let’s Work Together. Weather eased off for Catfish on the Riverside Stage. Mainly original songs , with a good version of So Many Roads too. Pretty good. Elles Bailey. Big instrumental intro, glowing blurb in the programme, lots of name-dropping. I would be pleased for her if she is playing big arenas in five years time, but not holding my breath. Retired for the evening.
Sunday . Weather hugely improved, decided to decamp to the Meadow Stage. Rich Somers. Described as ‘visionary’. Really? I went for a wander. I really think Try a Little Tenderness is best left in the hands of Otis R. Songs by Rag and Bone Man and the Rev Gary Davis were mixed in with his originals, as were Stereophonics ! Old Crow Medicine Show to finish. Her Ladyship noticed most of his guitar chords were the G Em C and D progression. The Swaps. Seem to be well-regarded, I was looking forward to seeing them. The programme photo was somewhat misleading, it didn’t have the female lead vocalist. Her Ladyship reckoned she seemed, like other young women, to try to sound like Adele. One song had an intro like the Screaming Blue Messiahs ‘Up’. Screaming Jay Hawkins got an airing and their original numbers seemed to be all one-word titles, eg Jump, Success. Taj Mahal finished things but I was a bit disappointed overall. Stompin’ Dave. Tap dancing to accompany his 6-string acoustic/ banjo/fiddle antics. Some great ragtime guitar, Hendrix behind-the-head demos and banjo acrobatics. Occasionally swapped to keyboards/harmonica too. Money Money Money reminded Her Ladyship of The Clap from the Yes Album. Much a-whoopin and a-hollerin from the audience, he was absolutely great. Best of fest so far. Trafficker. Festival regulars, they have a good following. Mainly Tommy Allen original numbers, with a smattering of the likes of Howling Wolf and Robert Johnson. Some numbers did drag on a bit though. Babajack. Our main reason for coming, but where was Trevor?! Troy Redfern now on guitar! Starting with Running Man, the usual mixture of originals eg Back Door and the folk/blues standard Gallows Pole. Got Troy’s Salvation too. But it just wasn’t as good. Verging on heavy blues , Gallows Pole ironically sounded like it had John Bonham on drums. The totally unique duo that was Babajack is no longer, it seems. Very sad, but, as Becky said. things change. After all, Pink Floyd managed without Syd and Genesis did without Peter.
Beer prices. We went into the Plough early on Friday. Pint of Pedigree came up £3.50 on the till, Brakspear £2.80 but was quickly changed to £3.50! Price of Pedigree displayed on the wall was £2.95. Her Ladyship queried this. Landlady said ‘Festival Prices’! HL responded that you can’t display one price and charge another! She was told that the brewery told them to do it!’ Rubbish’ was HL’s response. We were told to drink elsewhere if we didn’t like it.We did…never to return. (Although I did go back to have a crap in the sink…not really!). HL contacted the brewery who confirmed they do no such thing. Contact too with Trading Standards and the organiser. Fest organiser says there is nothing he can do. Second pub we went to short changed me (it was a twenty not a ten!!). Quickly altered. I remember being similarly shortchanged some years ago at a music festival in a pub in the town of…Upton upon Severn.
Facebook comments seem to be all glowing. Well if you are a local (and pay the regular beer prices), don’t camp and are happy with queueing for everything, it is great and it is free. Me? Don’t think we will be back, sadly, unless there is somebody really special on. The rudeness, arrogance and lying from one landlady outweighed everything else.