Author Archives: bunternet

Wishbone Ash. Arc, Stockton-on-Tees. 12 Nov 2019

Andy Powell and Co return to the Arc, where they played a great gig last year (see earlier review). We got to the town mid-afternoon to have a few pre-gig sherbets. The High Street has had money thrown at it but the pubs are in a sorry state. Every one had a clientele of 90% men, all watching horse racing on the many big screens. All had beer starting at £2.00 a pint. There is the obligatory Wetherspoons too. Most pubs don’t even try to compete with Wetherspoons elsewhere but every pint counts here!  And it is still the Land of Lager and Lime. But it is soon 7.45 pm and we all pile into the theatre.

(We had been there before the group arrived and they were soon soundchecking. A few stabs at ‘Get Ready’ sounded good. You MUST check Youtube for a 1982 German TV appearance! ‘Faith, Hope and Love’, bits of ‘Phoenix’ and they were off for some food.)

8.03 pm. There is a slide show for openers, showing the history of their many studio lps. I am sure it wasn’t really necessary, basically preaching to the converted. But our heroes come on stage and are quickly into ‘Real Guitars Have Wings’, a set opener on and off since its inception. It is followed by a triple Argus whammy, namely ‘The King Will Come’, ‘Throw Down The Sword’ and one of my Room 101 songs ‘Sometime World’. Their new single ‘We Stand As One’ goes down well and the first set finished with ‘The Way Of The World’. which for me was too long. The set seemed short (less than 45 minutes) but AP had seemingly missed out Power of Eternity’s ‘In Crisis’. It was inserted in the second set.

Part Two started out with ‘Blind Eye’ from their eponymous first lp. But then followed a few unfamiliar numbers (to some) and the atmosphere sagged a touch. ‘The Pilgrim’ brought about a cheer (of relief?) and the announcement of a ’90s song’ brought a definitely-audible groan. ‘Iluminations’ is a decent lp but ‘Tales Of The Wise’ was another number which went on too long. Next is arguably the best of the Mk2 era’s songs ‘Living Proof’ and Mark Abrahams did a great take on Laurie Wisefield’s final solo. The set finishes with the singalong that is now ‘Jailbait’. A short break and back for the encore ‘Blowin’ Free’…and the boys say goodbye, coming out after a few minutes for the customary chats and signings.

The group have upped their game with the arrival of ‘young’ Mark Abrahams. They are selling out more venues. We heard that Mark had been a bit under the weather yesterday and it definitely seemed that AP was looking across to check out his young partner. Well done for Mr P for doing so, if that was indeed the case. Mark’s playing was absolutely fine though.

A good performance from Wishbone Ash in a good venue. They have a new lp out in the new year to add to their 28 from the last 50 years. They obviously can’t please all of the people all of the time regarding their set. With apologies for using the word ‘referendum’ though, if the fans were to be asked which lp they want to hear a track ( or two) from at a gig there are no prizes for the answer.

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The Long Ryders. Brudenell Social Club. 24.10.2019

Expecting a packed house, we got there early. Her Ladyship had a Facebook session and I drifted off into some pre-review musical musings. The 60s are always looked back on as being a wonderful decade for music. Yes, there was some great stuff but there was also a lot of crap, The first 3 years was dominated by Cliff, Elvis and Billy Fury. Plus lots of wannabes of those thereof, and bequiffed naff crooners. The last 3 years had Englebert Humperdink and Des O’Connor and the 4 years in between had The Bachelors! The 70s? Themed weekends are basically glam rock and disco. No recognition of the early 70s rise of rock legends or a seemingly little-known phenomenon, ‘punk’, in the late 70s. And the 80s gets even less attention. Basically summed up as big hair, shoulder pads and quasi-funk new romantic bollox. (Fans of The Smiths are quite reasonably miffed !). This is where The Long Ryders come in. 1987 was a great year. The UK saw the original Wishbone Ash lineup reform and the Waters-less Pink Floyd bring out an lp which put the accent on the music again rather than their previously self-appointed leader’s obsession with the words. And across the pond there were 2 great lps. REM’s user-friendly ‘Document’ saw Stipey stop mumbling and The Long Ryders produced their best record ‘Two Fisted Tales’ .  (The former’s ‘The One I Love’ and the latter’s ‘A Stitch In Time’ seemed eerily similar. And Rickenbackers were to the fore from both outfits.)  But the similarities end there.  REM were soon to sign a mega deal with a major label, followed by world domination but The Long Ryders seemed to just, well, burn out. And they were maybe more well known than REM at the time.

Anyway, back to the gig. Some Green On Red over the P.A. then Hannah Rose Platt warmed us up with a brief but pleasant enough spot. Then it is 9.00pm and Sid and Co come on stage. They have had a few reunions in the new millennium but this time around is different as they have a new(ish) lp to plug.  The previous post-millennial gigs from the reformed gang had given us 80 minute ‘best of’ sets but not this time. Starting out with ‘Gunslinger Man (also the opener for ‘Two Fisted Tales) and finishing with the singalong ‘Looking for Lewis and Clark’ we were treated to a master class in Americana. Lots from the recent ‘Psychedelic Contry Soul’ lp but there is no drop in the quality. And the newer stuff is sensibly spread about. Much as we are both big Steve Earle fans, you always get 6 tracks from his latest bloody lp first!  I won’t give a blow-by-blow account of the setlist, as I reckon there are people out there who prefer to be surprised. Yes, a few classics had to make way for the newer stuff and maybe ‘Capturing the Flag’ was the most obvious omission but we still got ‘State of my Union’. Is it the best Chuck Berry song not written by Chuck Berry? Possibly, although Bobby Troup’s ‘Route 66’ and Bob Seger’s ‘Get out of Denver’ take some beating.  A minor disappointment was drummer Greg Sowders having to sit out the UK leg to do his ‘proper job’. If not for his drumming, but not being able to watch his grinning from ear to ear for the full 80 minutes.

But what a great night. Sid, Stephen and Tom were quickly out to sign anything and everything, and chat freely. It was the first night of the tour, and there was the occasional ‘technical’ hitch. Tom had a rueful smile during one of his songs, can’t imagine Van Morrison carrying on unabashed somehow if it had been him!

£20 a ticket, crowd of maybe 300? A ticket for a Pink Floyd tribute act is twice as much and will attract a few thousand. Words do spring to mind, most of them have four letters.  Seriously, bin your tickets for Limehouse Lizzy, The Smyths and The Counterfeit Stones and go and see the real thing. (No, not The Real Thing!)

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Thurmanators. The Lion, Castleford. 18.10.2019

Her Ladyship was out with her chum, so a solo mission to The Lion. We always try to call in at some stage over the weekend. They have live music on every weekend and we are card-holding members of the ‘Keep Live Music Alive’ club so I made the effort.

Arrived at 8.00pm and had the misfortune to watch possibly the worst football match I have ever seen via Sky. 90+ minutes of players cheating, moaning and shirt-pulling, plus 2 managers continually complaining at anything from the price of the pasties upwards.

But, the 3-piece from Rotherham took to the stage to relieve the agony…or so I thought. Back in the late 70s a trio of 20 – year olds could be forgiven in creating the hapless racket that this shower inflicted on the suitably thin crowd. But these 3 are almost as old as me. They try to give us some sort of ‘club like’ history of punk. Their attempt at The Ramones ‘ I Wanna Be Sedated’ was embarrassing, with not even an attempt at the proper words. Their Facebook page describes them as ‘not your average punk rock band’. Never has a truer word been consigned to the ether. The usual ‘punk’ tunes were similarly butchered.

I tend not to review basic pub covers groups as they are what they are. But this shower of sh*te need referencing in case you are thinking of going to see them. Even if you are thinking of going to see how dismal they are…don’t! It will only artificially swell the audience. I didn’t take a photo as it may have given them the impression that I thought they were good.

At least the bus turned up and it had stopped raining.

The Marwills. Duck and Drake. 11.10.2019

The Duck and Drake has a knack of snapping up groups from across the pond who are touring over here. Curtis Eller and Jared James Nicholls are two such people who have given great shows in the past…and I can definitely add Canada’s The Marwills to that select bunch.

9.30pm start as usual and they are straight into JJ Cale’s ‘Crazy Mama’. Willie Dixon’s ‘Back Door Man’ has been covered by many since it first appeared on the B-side of Howling Wolf’s ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ in 1961 and is giving a good outing tonight. ‘Seems To Me’ heralds a phase of their own (excellent) songs, with Mr Cale’s ‘Call Me The Breeze’ slotted in. ‘Sultans of Swing’ seemed a strange, if possibly unplanned, addition and , yes, they’ lost it’ momentarily but it was still good. The first set finished with a great ‘One Way Out’, with the two guitarists having some great interplay. (As did the Allmans back in the early 70s).

A brief break and the Georgia Satellites ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’ restarts proceedings. ‘Johnny B Goode’ started up as I was in the toilet, and some very bizarre bottle neck sounds drifted though the door. Her Ladyship said it was very much ‘off the cuff’ and more visual, as he did itwith a drinks glass.  Sadly we had to go , ironically during their ‘Don’t Go Joe’ but it had been a great night.

I was surprised at the number of cover versions, especially after seeing how good their own songs are on Youtube. But the Grateful Dead always did loads of covers even with 30 years of lps under their belts.Some of the crowd were not all that attentive sadly. One group of 8 women spent all their time talking loudly, taking selfies and videoing themselves. They were rude and not very pretty, so why did they need confirmation?  A Canadian girl next to us talked though every song but whooped and clapped at the end of every song!

But they are minor beefs. The Marwills were great, they are all really friendly and still have some UK dates left. Check them out!  Thanks too for the setlist lads.

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Whitwell Festival of Music. Whitwell. 6-8 Sept 2019

Our third visit to this ‘bijou’ festival in Derbyshire. Set up camp on the Social Club field and went into the club for a couple of heart starters.

Friday. Inside stage only tonight, first up are                    Eddie and the Wolves. Blues-rock power trio from Derby. They start out with a heavy Beatles ‘Come Together’. Their songs are nearly all originals. One such song had a very ‘Little Wing’-ish feel, but had some decidedly dodgy guitar too! They suffered a bit from the sound being distorted for the last couple of numbers. Good start to the fest though.                      Solar Love Society. Reggae sextet from Sheffield. Not a genre that does owt for us, but a few dancing. Male keyboardist took over on lead vocals for ‘Prisoner’.                                          Tony Wright. Terrorvision’s lead vocalist doing his solo acoustic stuff. Place was full, so no seats for our elderly frames. We had to go and sit in what looked like God’s Waiting Room. He’s a good pro, lots of anecdotes to accompany his songs. Unfortunately, we were both suffering from bad heartburn so went back for an early night, missing Molly Manders and the Shut Ups.

Saturday. 11.00 am kick-off in the Social Club with a Beatles theme singalong hosted by Smiley Pete Drake.  Then over to the indoor stage for                     Sam Tucker . Local lad with acoustic guitar. mixing his own songs with covers of the likes of Frank Turner and Illinois’ Alkaline Trio. No delusions of grandeur. we chatted with him in the Royal Oak on Sunday night, where his photo comes from.                 Moore and Watson . Acoustic folk duo from Barnsley. Festival regulars in one shape or another.                      Went into the Spoken Word room, caught the end of                    Sophie Sparham . Young lady from Derbyshire. Does she class herself as a poet or a poetess? Is Meryl Streep an actor or actress? After all, a female lion is a lioness, isn’t it?               Pete Drake is next . Another festival regular, he had to compete aurally with Verbal Warning outside. (People 20 postcodes away could hear them so it wasn’t going to be easy.)  Song about England Women’s Football team, Lionesses!!! Then ditties about Toyah, his local community page, Yorkshire TV’s Peter Levy and Elton John. His ‘Oddly Excluded’ has some Chris Difford-ish rhymes. He is always a welcome sight at Whitwell, just as well as he is always there!               Went outside to catch the end of afore-mentioned Verbal Warning. Punk veterans, with good originals mixed in with ‘classics’.  Their ‘Piers Morgan’ sounded like it could have been written 40 years ago. (He was probably a tw*t when he was 14 too).                                 Smiley and the Underclass. Blurb told us to expect punk/reggae stuff, ie Clash-ish.   Again , not for me. Why does a white London boy with curly fair hair talk with a Rasta accent!? Very energetic, obligatory Ramones T-shirt on stage. I went inside for a pint of Coors Light. Yes, I am a big girl’s blouse but I needed to drink something different to hopefully avoid another night of discomfort.                     Came back out for the Blue Carpet Band.   Starting out with The Doors ‘Break on Through’ and following on with their new single we were treated to a manic rock ‘n’ roll display, with a dash of punk.’The Devil’ slowed things down, briefly, but the whole set was a real treat. We both loved ’em. Good call from the Committee to book them.                                  Went inside for The Garderobes. We came in during the Feelgoods’ ‘One More Shot’. Lots of familiar blues tunes from the likes of Jimmy Reed, Andy Fairweather-Low and Fleetwood Mac. Fine by me.                             Nick Parker and the False Alarms. Not as good as we had hoped, went back inside for                Duncan Oakley . Bloke plus acoustic, when I tell you his first song was ‘The Unfortunate Girl With A Face Like A Bum’ I am sure you get the picture.  The ruder he got, the more Her Ladyship’s double G and T’s attacked her laughing bone.  Eric Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’ got a less than reverential pasting. Good applause.                      Fuzzbox. An interesting ‘coup’ for the Committee. A couple of wacky women, sporting the abbreviated name from ‘We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use it’. They are definitely a few chips short of a Rotherham schoolkid’s dinner.  More than the occasional sound problem, plus the occasional hairpiece problem added to the haplessness. A lot of bemused faces in the audience, which dwindled exponentially. Gayle and Mike SAGA (see reviews passim) actually left twice . Most people only left once.  For me, they did what it says on the tin (or box). They lived down to all expectations. We got a version of ‘Spirit in the Sky’, maybe they should have done Steve Miller’s ‘Take the Money and Run’. Certainly got people talking, but mostly using words of one syllable. Her Ladyship went outside to check out Robert Fripp’s missus.                                It was Toyah plus guitarist plus electronic help. Obviously cheaper than booking the full group, but reports were good.                   Sons of Clogger. Plenty of T-shirts and hoodies in evidence. Another outfit who have fallen victim to PPI (Plastic Paddy Influence) but have thrown in some U2 too.   Her Ladyship liked them, for a while.  And it was time for bed.

Sunday. Another ‘inside only’ day, finishing at 6.00pm. Bright sunshine! Sadly a cloud over proceedings when it is announced that the excellent Broken Flowers had to cry off. But… first on are                 The Blues Revue. A Ten Years After t-shirt and an excellent rendition of Jethro Tull’s ‘My Sunday Feeling’ were a good barometer of things to come. ‘Outside Woman Blues’, ‘What’d I Say’, BB King and ZZ Top were all well-performed and ‘Man of the World’ brought a great set to an end. Twin guitars, but often playing the same riff rather than harmonising. Very good for the Graveyard Slot.                           Jess Silk. Young women with acoustic guitar and her own songs. Some angry, some not.                                     To replace Broken Flowers, we were treated to the Alan Doonican All Stars. ‘Alan’ and ‘Bjorn’ Doonican gave us a hastily-arranged Doonicans set, sans Scott of course. Which evoked much ribaldry.  A hall packed with Doonicans fans, so no huge guffaws at any of the songs’ punchlines but who cares?  Songs about Nando’s, Costa, Birdwatching. Songs from Marc Coen, The Stones, The Police and Andy Williams are shown no mercy. ‘How Deep is Your Glove’ had to be abandoned but ‘B.I.S.T.O’ escaped unharmed. And ‘Lady in Gregg’s’ rounded off a plethora of peerless parodies. Apologies, I have been listening to Stephen Stills (AKA Captain Alliteration).                          Itchy Fingers. Bass drum said Country Blues Ragtime, and we got some. Plus a lot of swing. Old time stuff from eg The Boswell Sisters and Irving Berlin plus some original songs. Very good.                                       Nick Harper. Son of Roy, he has been performing for 20 years but has had to contend with FFS…Famous Father Syndrome. As have Arlo Guthrie, Steve Rodgers, Ziggy Marley, Jeff Buckley, Julian Lennon et al. Some of these have forged their own identity but Nick H, like others, has his father’s voice.  Yes, he is a very good guitarist and yes he writes his own stuff and yes I like a bit Roy Harper! But, Harper Jr does nothing for us, or Gayle and Mike SAGA.  I just do not like his vocal style. He slaughters ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ (no doubt with reference to his father singing on the Floyd LP ) and ‘Purple Rain’ . Definitely a Marmite act, but lots in the hall were very happy and came out to buy cds etc at the end. A bit disappointing that Mr H didn’t come and work the merch desk and sign stuff. And the building had to be sorted for business as usual tomorrow.

How was it overall?

  1. Value for money. Exceptional. Run on a tight budget, they always manage to get a ‘name’ or two on the programme.
  2. Music. Eclectic, they don’t stick to one genre. Always decent quality.
  3. Beer. Festival drinks  and the venue bar are very reasonable at around £3.00.
  4. Campsite. Unfortunately there was some disgraceful activity on Saturday night. A group of younger people decided to get back to their tents and continue their revelry. Much singing, shouting and effing. Somebody took exception and was told that ‘it’s a festival’ and ‘we have been playing’ so we are carrying on. Fists flew, women screamed, car stereos blared out.  Yes, boys and girls, it IS a festival. But go to bloody Leeds and be amongst drug-addled and booze-fuelled 20 year olds. That is your sort of festival. You are on a field here next to kids sleeping in tents and over the fence are old people’s bungalows with 90 year old residents. And the very festival could be  in jeopardy with this sort of disrespectful, selfish, inconsiderate behaviour. And, yes, we know who you are…and so do the organisers.
  5. Security. Low key.
  6. Staff. Friendly.
  7. Toilets. Maybe room for another portaloo on the campsite? Both were full all day Sunday.
  8. Ventilation. The Indoor Stage room got very hot. If not Air Conditioning, how about a bloody great fan on the ceiling? Please?
  9. Clientele. Accepting that the people involved in point #4 were a ‘blip’, very friendly. Thanks to the couple who found my notebook. I hadn’t realised I had lost it!
  10. Sound. Unusually, the odd problem but seemed ok in general to the paying public

Next year? Yes please. It is a slight concern though that a younger, rowdier element may discover it as cheap festival weekend.

Pics … apologies, forgot camera so these were taken on my phone . Therefore some of them are not worth looking at.  I had problems with indoor the stage lights  [strangely,  they took away everyone’s face!]  So here’s the best of a poor lot.IMG_20190906_195442331 (1)IMG_20190906_204646773IMG_20190906_223044373IMG_20190907_143911523 (2)IMG_20190907_145540861 (2)IMG_20190907_150244575IMG_20190907_153532483IMG_20190907_153536721IMG_20190907_161252428IMG_20190907_181836094IMG_20190907_181851428IMG_20190907_181921961IMG_20190907_193153193IMG_20190907_214506173IMG_20190908_140328903IMG_20190908_154722IMG_20190908_145616932IMG_20190908_155558068IMG_20190908_155601829IMG_20190908_224325162IMG_20190908_160054

The Hiding Magpies. Duck and Drake. 23.08.2019

A five-piece from the North West UK, falling under the ever-increasing umbrella that is ‘Americana’. I only found out today that they were playing, and (thanks to the Internet) decided they were definitely worth checking out. ‘In’t YouTube brilliant?!’ We got there early and the soundcheck sounded great. Sounded like Tom Petty’s ‘Anything that’s rock and roll’ played by Dave Edmund’s Rockpile. That’ll do nicely!

On stage prompt at 9.30 pm, and into the excellent ‘Doing The Best I Can’. A definite Tom Petty influence, ok the Rickenbacker was a bit of a giveaway. But no bad thing. TP was always open about his penchant for Roger McGuinn and he soon established his own identity. Plenty more stuff from their eponymous debut lp, including ‘Real Love’, ‘I Can’t Win’ and ‘Just Believe’.  New songs from their upcoming 2nd lp too. ‘Don’t Have To Think Twice’ (I think) had an early Motown feel and ‘Devil In My Soul’ (?) brought the tremendous first set to a close. And signalled our usual trip to the bus stop.

Good songs, good playing, good vocals. Can’t ask for more. And all memorable, original songs. Yes, ‘Keep Live Music Alive’ , but importantly, ‘Keep NEW Live Music Alive’. Because ‘old’ music was ‘new’ music once.

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Farmer Phil’s Festival. Ratlinghope. 9-11 August. 2019

A 3 hour plus drive to Shropshire. We opted to camp in the ‘Quiet’ field. Obviously the organisers did not know that Gayle and Mike SAGA (Salford Anti-Greenchair Association) were en route, making the adjective somewhat contradictory. A lumpy field, ideal for breaking an ankle, we set up camp under a big tree. We arrived on Thursday, which looked a better bet for putting a tent up. Friday forecast was pretty bad.  Listened to Hawkwind’s ‘Hurry on Sundown’ on Planet Rock.

Thursday. Emphasis on being a family day, so not much music on.                 The Endings. Looked like we would be encountering PPI for the first (but not last ) time this weekend. Plastic Paddy Infatuation, that is.  But first, a young man got up with acoustic guitar and bashed out some pub favourites…and told us all we had to love each other. The Endings certainly hit the ground running and kept the tempo up pretty much through both sets. Very little of the irksome slow intros then a 3 minute car crash that most PPI acts favour. One of Her Ladyship’s favourite songs ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’ was good and the ubiquitous ‘Galway Girl’ (by that well-known Irishman Steve Earle) went down well. Would we get ‘The Irish Rover’? Was Brian Clough’s middle name  Self-Esteem? Does Piers Morgan ever ‘name drop’?  ‘Black Velvet Band’ brought proceedings to a close, by which time it was lashing down outside.  Splodged back to the tent, to bed.

Saturday.       Worry Dolls. A female trio, with banjo, 6-string and drums. A good sound , good vocals and good songs. Country-ish, with a record to plug.                          Sasha and the Shades   Her Ladyship recognised the lead vocalist from somewhere, she likes his voice. Me, not so much. It sounds too affected and forced. Also a female on vocals. If I was pushed to make a comparison, it would be Jefferson Airplane. Occasional thunderstorms of apocolyptic proportions, it felt like we were reliving parts of the Old Testament at times. They got a good reception from the small crowd who had braved the elements.              In the beer tent, a young man attacked a drum kit. He must have been listening to his grandad’s live lp from Cream’s ‘Wheels of Fire ‘ double lp. Is it 1968 again?                              Neck  PPI.  See my review of Rock and Bike Fest. They played though a huge storm which disappeared to be replaced by bright sunshine.                                 Ska Burst  Another local group, it does what it says on the tube. Also ska’d up versions of the likes of Dexy’s and Human League.                                 Pretty Babs Regulation rock quartet, young and loud. The lead vocalist made a massive error of judgement by making a smart-ass comment to Gayle SAGA. Very foolish, especially coming from a lad whose musical career will obviously consist of playing mid-afternoon slots in small Midlands festivals for a ‘petrol money only’ fee at best. ‘Kings and Queens’ had a hint of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. No photo of them, Her Ladyship was away doing tent repairs.    Over in the Beer Stage, 5 young men whose combined age was well short of mine gave us a few tunes.                           Lindisfarne Starting out with ‘No Time to Lose’ and finishing with ‘Clear White Light’, they gave us an interesting set. Yes, all the singalongs were there, but there were some lesser-known lp tracks ( ‘Walk a Crooked Mile’, ‘Song for a Windmill’ and ‘Don’t Ask Me’). Occasional sound problems but they are good pros. Hardline Lindisfarners are maybe not too happy with the evolvement of the current line-up, but I am impressed by how Rod Clements always mentions Alan Hull where appropriate. And he never blows his own trumpet , even though he wrote  ‘Meet Me On The Corner’ and the brilliant ‘Road to Kingdom Come’.  Her Ladyship was in top voice. More tent problems back at the ranch.

Saturday         Georgia and the Vintage Youth.   4 piece with female vocalist, they made an interesting start but by the third song were in ska mode.   ‘Bang Bang’ was probably the most familiar number. Back in the beer tent, the 14 year old youth from yesterday set up his drumkit for another bloody drum solo.   On the main stage I could hear some acoustic blues, via ‘You Gotta Move’, ‘Rolling and Tumbling’ and ‘I Can’t Be Satisfied’, but it was too wet and windy to investigate.  Apologies to Michael Messer’s Mantre.   Her Ladyship had been a worryingly long time back at the tent. It turns out that a branch had parted company with our neighbouring tree and ripped a hole in the top. Enter needle, cotton, insulating tape, spray adhesive and The Complete Book of Christian Prayers…in that order.                        The Spitfires  More ska, plus some punk and Jam sounds (the Rickenbacker gave it away).  A young man was dancing half-naked in the mud and rain, Christ knows what he had put on his toast this morning.                      Black Water County  PPI from Bournemouth , with waistcoats. Very energetic. Meanwhile, Her Ladyship was attending a pagan wedding in the beer tent…really.

By now, despite Her Ladyship’s Herculean efforts, our tent was totally Donald Ducked. Decided to throw everything in the car and bale out. The field was impossible for cars to drive in so we asked the staff to tractor us out. Thanks lads.

First time we have done a review from back home while the fest was still in progress!

So

1.Dogs. Absolutely loads of them. At one point it seemed as if we were the only ones without one. One couple brought four into the beer tent, two of which immediately shat on the ground.

2. Kids. Not as many as there were dogs, but plenty. Mostly under control though.

3.Music. Always plenty of ska/reggae and PPI. Lindisfarne were very good.

4.Stewards and Security. All low key

5.Bars. Friendly. 3 pint tokens for an Ayrton, very reasonable.

6. Food. Pizzas from £7.00. The Caribbean chicken patties for £2.00 were great.

7. Campsite. Loudest part was the rain and thunder. Flooding always a danger.

8. Disabled -friendly? Not really, lots of steep banks . I had to laugh when a bloke in  a heavy duty invalid carriage kept inching himself to a more advantageous spot in the beer tent. His vehicle got stuck and he miraculously climbed off and lifted the bloody thing clear!

9. Toilets. There were some portaloos on the campsite. The permanent fixtures were…basic! Gave a whole new meaning to the word ‘shithole’. Toilet paper not exactly in abundance.

Overall. Very popular small festival. If you like dogs, kids, ska and Plastic Paddy music (and mud!) it is great. If you don’t, the accent is very much on the ‘festivalness’.  Punters are friendly, but beware! Gayle and Mike are always on the lookout for people setting up villages of green chairs then naively buggering off. Same weekend as Cropredy, which costs twice as much and is totally open to the elements.
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