Author Archives: bunternet

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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Swampcandy. Duck and Drake, Leeds. 29.07.2019

It is a Monday night in West Yorkshire and the weather forecast isn’t great. So there had to be a pretty good reason for us to spend an hour on a bus to go to the Duck and Drake. And Swampcandy are definitely one such ‘pretty good reason’.

We got there in good time, Ruben and Joey were both at the bar. I introduced myself as the author of the review of their Acoustic Festival of Britain gig. They remembered it and thanked us for our words and photos. About 90  minutes before kick-off so we attacked the Saltaire Blonde and Old Peculier with much gusto, safe in the knowledge we were on public transport.

9.20pm and straight into ‘Aberdeen’. The crowd was probably only about 30 but we weren’t the only fans there, a couple of t-shirts in evidence and the couple next to us had already seen them on the tour in Liverpool. ‘You Gotta Move’ lulled us into thinking we could relax but the tempo soon got a sharp boost.   It wasn’t long before Ruben announced the advent of the singalong ‘Drink Whiskey With Me’ but kindly gave us a couple of songs notice ( ‘Positive Drinking’ and ‘Anger’) for us to get our throats warmed up. Joey’s (British)  wife got up to add some impressive harmonies to ‘Roll Jordan Roll’, ‘Red Shoes’ and ‘Been So Long’ and the excellent first 45 minutes came to a close. Sadly we had to go for our bus, but safe in the knowledge that the second set will have been equally great.

We had chatted to Gina (Mrs Joey) and her father who were really nice and our Swampcandy stickers are already on the festivan.

Once again , the Duck and Drake put on a great act with no admission fee. The only unfortunate aspect of that gesture is that you can guarantee at least one pillock , shouting at the bar during the set. So we had to suffer Nobby McNobbface from Stockton who seemed to be itching for a fight.

And the good news for any North-Eastern readers (apart from the afore-mentioned wassock from Stockton) is that they are playing at The Cluny in Newcastle on Sunday August 4th, 4.00pm-ish. FREE admission again!  No excuse not to go and see them , even for Swampcandy virgins. Don’t miss Joey either unpacking or repacking his instrument too.

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Rock And Bike Fest. South Normanton. 11-13. July. 2019

Our third visit to the festival (see earlier reviews), we aimed to get there a bit earlier than previously. Site pretty busy even then. Had to overcome one young steward telling us to put car in car park first (No!). Then another saying we couldn’t unload car first, had to move it (N0!!). Free programme and heavy duty black bag is always a bonus.

Thursday. Plenty of people there but bar didn’t open until after 3.30pm.               Seventh Son. Soundchecked with ‘Bridge of Sighs’, decent weather outside the marquee so we got a couple of Wigan Piers, our starter for 10.  Why do so many lead singers have to make a delayed entrance? I really did see one trip up once, he looked a real pillock! Not the first heavy quartet we would hear over the next few days, the afore-mentioned Robin Trower classic made an early appearance. Even from a distance we could recognise vocalist Brian from Oliver Dawson Saxon (well his hooter anyway!). Didn’t realise Seventh Son have been going for almost forty years since forming in Barnsley. Good original songs like ‘Living on a Time Bomb’ sit easily alongside an unusual ‘See Emily Play’. We get a not-unexpected couple of songs from the first two Led Zeppelin lps and they got a well-deserved round of applause.                     VW+Spam=Clash. Convoluted name for an enthusiastic combo. Mixture of frantic versions of Dave Clark Five and Carpenters songs with regulation punk songs from the Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols. Got chatting to Alan who camped next to us last year. A fellow Boro supporter who is equally bemused by whose idea was it to hire Tony Pulis? Her Ladyship thought the bassist was the gay hairdresser from ‘Benidorm’.                     Exhibit A.  Her Ladyship recognised Phil from Dr Feelgood at the bar, she had forgotten they were on later!  So it is ‘Rebel Yell’, Sabbath, Metallica, ‘Nelly the Elephant’ and AC/DC. All pretty much par for the event. Met up with Neil and Val again from Whitwell, a good excuse to mention the festival, see http://www.whitwellfestivalofmusic.org. Tickets nearly all sold!                              New Cranes.  Quintet with accordian. Also a Telecaster-ish guitar with half a neck, a mandolin then? Lots of merchandise and original songs but not too memorable. One number had a very slow Russian intro and carried on slowly.                                 Dr Feelgood. Current line-up has been going for twenty years now, ‘Drives me Wild’ and ‘No Mo Do Yakamo’ from the ‘Case of the Shakes’ lp open proceedings.  A shortened set, no ‘She Does It Right’ but an extended ‘Mad Man Blues’ is their half-time blues workout. Finishing with ‘Route 66’, it seems strange not hearing ‘Bony Moronie/Tequila’ . But they played really well and Robert (as always) got the crowd going.  A good first day.

Saturday. An early visit to the Acoustic Stage.         Hard Rocking Amigos. Quartet starting with ‘Whisky in the Jar’. Guitarist had some early sound problems. Rock classics eg ‘She Sells Sanctuary’, ‘Free Falling’, and ‘Johnny B. Goode’ all went down well but ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’ (with naff word change) made us feel like makin’ tracks so we did. Her Ladyship broke her fan but, like No.10 Downing St., she had a back-up fan.                         These Wicked Rivers. Four young men with some beards and some sun glasses. Plenty of t-shirts in the audience. Mainly original songs, Neil and Val Whitwell enjoyed the Chris Isaacs’ cover. There were also outings for Neil Young but the encore ‘All Along the Watchtower’ didn’t really work.                         Band From County Hell.  Yet another outfit that have been affected by PPI. No, not the PPI that you got pestering phone calls about. A different one…Plastic Paddy Infatuation.    The first song is a classic example. Slow intro for a few bars then 1-2-3-4 and the tempo increases four-fold. They are from Scotland and have been going for 23 years.  The standard songs are not far away (‘Irish Rover’ with strange growling  and ‘Dirty Old Town’).                      Stage 2 has tribute acts all night, to Idol, Maiden, Priest,Rainbow, and, of course, Angus’s mob.  So we stuck with Stage 1 and next up were                   X-UFO. At one time they changed to House of X but have now reverted to X-UFO. Led by former UFO keyboard player Danny Peyronel on vocals, who obviously didn’t sing lead in UFO though. A mixture of own songs plus UFO classics such as ‘Shoot Shoot’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Doctor Doctor’ to finish. Have seen them a few times and they seem to me (a non-UFO expert) to do a decent job.                              T-Rex. Seems the hyphen had to be used rather than a full stop to differentiate from T.Rex.  Formed by T.Rex touring members Paul Fenton and Jack Green. Using Marcalike Jay Spargo, who in a former life did a good job as a mid-sixties Dylan in Dirty Dylan, they give us slick versions of the T.Rex catalogue.                                                   Floyd In The Flesh. I can honestly say that a) I have been a Pink Floyd fan since first hearing ‘Arnold Layne’ in 1967 and b) I don’t like tribute acts, so the likes of FITF are always ‘challenging’ to me.  They start out with a couple of newer songs from the reformed Gilmour-led line-up of the late 80s/early 90s. The singer has a strong voice which is a bit disconcerting as none of the Floyd vocalists were never really famous for strong voices.  ‘DSOTM’ and ‘The Wall’ are well-represented but no ‘SOYCD’ which is usually a safe bet. A bit from ‘Meddle’, and ‘Astromony Domine’ is given the ‘Piper…’ treatment. As previously stated , tribute acts are not our cup of tea, but I have to say that ‘Comfortably Numb’ had a cracking piece of guitar at the end. The big crowd were well-pleased.  A typical Rock and Bike Fest day, the crowd all seemed to go back to their tents happy.

Sunday.        Vulva. An ad hoc outfit put together at short notice last year, they start with another outing for ‘Doctor Doctor’. And would it be a biker event without ‘All Right Bloody Now’ followed by ‘Don’t Believe a Bloody Word’!?! We headed off before the probable ‘Wishing Well’, ‘Can’t get Enough’ and ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’. The Acoustic Stage was the furthest possible distance away. Annoyingly, Stevie One Man, One Mandolin was on his way out. We had missed his unscheduled spot unfortunately.                        Northern Monkey. Are they ‘Northern’? Debatable whether Whitwell is so classed but another excuse to mention the Whitwell Festival, and no, I am not on commission.  Eagle-eyed followers of the Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican may spot a familiar face, dewigged and detanktopped . ‘What’s Going On’ had a nod to ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and all the songs had biting lyrics. I will forgive the occasional lapse into PPI.                                   Star Botherers. From over the border in Mansfield, they started out almost country-folkish. ‘First Night Festival Fever’ personified their songwriting pretty well, as did ‘When Dave’s Dead’. But a point deducted for being yet another group who slip into PPI.                            We had intentionally avoided the dismal Surreal Panther and went to Stage 2 where we found                       Neck. More PPI.  Are there any groups of musicians that are actually Irish and play music that is ‘English’? There are bloody hundreds who do the opposite. Broke my pencil. Actually, that is a lie. I am too tight to waste the graphite. The alternative was a Tom Jones tribute next door. My pencil remained cocked in its holster.                         Bad Touch. Much-vaunted quintet with four hairy young men at the front and a less hirsute drummer at the back. They made a big noise which was only marginally greater than the two lots of portaloos, which were REALLY humming by this time. Heavy blues-rock, quite Black Crowes-like. Was one song really called ‘Tell Me Where You Buy Your Jeans’?! Arguably the most clunky song title ever. For a group supposedly heavily influenced by Free, they didn’t sound much like them. And surely they would know something other than ‘Wishing Bloody Well’.  Yet more songs from LZ’s first 2 lps to follow. They were ok, with plenty of original songs, but the singer did have a sizeable attack of verbal diarrhoea.                                      Kingdom of Madness. Formed by some of the many ex-Magnum members with the former Snakecharmer lead vocalist, they are here to give us stuff from the ‘classic’ Magnum period. I was a bit too old for them when they peaked in the mid-eighties. We know people who are fans though, our friend Mick will always associate ‘How Far Jerusalem’ with the Miners’ Strike.   I remember buying a double cd of their earlier stuff at last year’s RABF for 20p. For some reason they had a female sing lead on one occasion.   Toyah on the other stage was seemingly less than memorable. We elected to give The Macc Lads a wide berth on the other stage too. I knew the name but had never heard them. I listened to a recent gig on Youtube. The adjective ‘Neadanderthal’ would be an insult to prehistoric man.                        Quireboys. Her Ladyship is a lifelong fan and although Val Whitwell wasn’t really aware of them to start with, she was a new convert by the end. Full down at the front, ‘There She Goes Again’ soon had the crowd in full voice.  Any of you old enough to remember The Addams Family on b&w TV will know the butler Lurch. I suspect you will not know that he had a secret grandson who decided to come to RABF and plonk himself in front of Her Ladyship. He did apologise and offer to swap places though. ‘Hey you’ gets an early airing. ‘I Don’t Love You Any More’ is still too close to Smokie for me , but ‘ 7 o’clock’ brings the set to a raucous finale. Sadly a strict curfew meant the end of the live music, we elected to ignore the ensuing burlesque show and headed tentwards.

Overall?

1. The event. Somewhat more down to earth than last week’s nearby event but didn’t see any bother at all. If you are not keen on use of the ‘f’ word please avoid.

2.Value for money. Excellent.

3. Music. Tried and tested formula, typical of bikers fests. Lots of tribute acts and basic pub covers groups. But they get at least 3 ‘names’.

4.Beer. Very reasonable price and quality. Staff were very good apart from one young woman who was rude. I was only a midgie’s dick away from giving her a mouthful but decided the words ‘arrogant’, ‘condescending’ and ‘attitude’ would have contained too many syllables for a minimum wage piece of pondlife.

5. Security. Frustrating that they continue to ignore the bloke who comes in on a spasmobile packed with cans of Stella and approves of his son ( ?) stealing people’s pint pots (@£1.00 a go). How many? Dozens and dozens. It pays for their weekend. Forget being PC, the whole family are total f**kin tw*ts and need sorting out. And it was maybe a sign that there is a God that I found two pots that they had left behind. Shame I couldn’t know who they had been stolen from.

6. Campsite. Lively!

7. Food. Not sure that fish, chips and mushy peas at £8.50 compared too favourably with the nearby Wetherspoons! Our friends Pete and Chrissie treated us, our turn next year Pete! A lot of RABF people in there at noon. Jacket potato with chilli was good @£4.00 though. Her Ladyship rated the vegan hot dog.

8. T-Shirts. Sensibly priced at a tenner. Surprisingly , AC/DC  were just edged out of the gold medal slot by Iron Maiden.

9. Bike shows, wet t-shirts and tattoo competitions for enthusiasts. See end of gallery for a pitiful failure in the latter!

Recommended.

No names of acts in the photos section, but feel free to use any.  (Credit Her Ladyship please though!)

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The Eyes Have It. Duffield, Derbyshire. 5-7.07.2019

We haven’t been here before but are always looking out for new festivals to go to. And the announcement of the Slambovians gave us  a big push.

We clicked onto the map on the website for directions and the lady on Her Ladyship’s phone directed us to someone’s drive, and then told us to park and walk the rest of the way! I have an A-Z of Derby somewhere for next time. We made it eventually.

Friday. We discovered the event to be basically a lager-free zone. Beer £3.00 or £3.50 a pint. There were a few rogue cans of  Stella Artois in the fridge though for any hardened lagerphiles.  Food seemed ok for any veggies, but having to wait 20 minutes for a £5 cheese toastie seemed somewhat inefficient, especially when there weren’t any other customers. I went over to check out the burger shed. Breakfast menu has a bacon roll for £3,00 so I asked if I could have one now. ‘No, breakfast only!’. He couldn’t be arsed to get some bacon out of the fridge? (I was well pleased when it lashed it down on Saturday morning and he was sitting alone with a fridge full of bacon!).               The Raindogs 7.00pm start, some Neil Young to soundcheck.  There was an early showing for Ryan Adams ( no not Bryan) whom I don’t think I can remember anyone else covering. ‘Imitation of Life’ wasn’t a common REM cover either. Some Alabama Shakes and the Doors to finish with. Better than the usual pub group fare.               Straight into what was advertised as Lunar Cycle B.   A bloke plus guitar, he gave us some George Ezra and Jason Moraz (OK, I admit I had to ask someone!). ‘Stand by Me’ had a few singing along.                            Sara Knight Band. Not sure that she is really American. ‘All along the Watchtower’, ‘I’m a Man’, ‘The Letter’ and ‘She’s not There’ were Hendrix, Chicago, Cocker and Santana versions rather than Dylan, Spencer Davis Group, Box Tops or Zombies.                           Hungry for Change Punkish outfit from Derby, starting out with The Ramones ‘Rockaway Beach’. ‘Crazy Horses’ preceded one of their own thirty year old compositions. (Sorry, didn’t catch title). Their set was a mix of originals and covers, a teaser of Rush was interesting. But ‘Eleanor Rigby’ had some spectacularly dodgy vocals.  Energetic ‘Shout’ to finish, to good applause.                      Big intro to Toploader.    The sound was good, but for a group who started in 1997 it was disappointing to see them playing more than the occasional cover. But Primal Scream and Genesis got plenty of singing along. And , yes, their best known song ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ is a cover too.                   Over to the Beer Tent for the final act, Littlefield  .  End of night bopasingalong pub group. Blokes dad-dancing and lashed women singing all the choruses and then (as Her Ladyship calls it) ‘goldfishing’ the rest of the song. You know,  opening and shutting their mouths like goldfish.     But ideal for the end of the night. It could have been Myra and the Moors Murderers though.   We met our chums Gayle and Mike, joint managing directors of SAGA (Salford Anti Greenchair  Association). Mike had fallen victim to AAD (Advanced Alcoholic Dishevellment) which goes straight to the larynx.    No lights at all in or near the Portaloos, which brought to  mind Peter Seller’s second outing as Clouseau, ‘A Sh*t in the Dark’. Decent night kip.

Saturday Raining, as per forecast but more than ‘showers’. Spent a few hours in the tent with Planet Rock.                      Midday kicked off with an open mic session then what I heard as The Clits. Weren’t they a mid-noughties duo from Portugal? Maybe I misheard, but I definitely heard the deafening vocals from the female vocalist in this four-piece. Some originals plus covers of Pharell,  Britney and Amy.                       The Ruins  Another outfit with punk roots, a five-piece of seasoned campaigners.  Original songs with much gusto but the audience curtailed by the weather, I suspect.                          Telsen. Those of a nervous disposition, group members and friends or family please look away now. A five-piece, with drummer and bassist sporting Telsen T  shirts. plus guitar, female singer and male singer. Plenty of friends and family in it seemed. They started out with the male singer rehearsing his Michael Stipe moves and the woman constantly  ‘oohing’ and ‘whoaing’.  By the end it had developed into someone doing a Neil Diamond impersonation with a woman shouting at him. And the bassist was…basic. He made Sid Vicious’s playing look like Stanley Clarke. They weren’t lacking in self-esteem but they are very ‘average’. I told you not to look!!                                OK, you can look again now.                         Silicone Taxis.   Starting out with one for the Stevie Ray Vaughan fans ‘House is Rocking’, they are a quartet with a girl on keys. ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ was well received, as were their takes on Jr Walker, Average White Band, Stevie Wonder and James Brown. The sun came out at last and we got a hint of Lynyrd Skynyrd to finish. The bass player was very prominent and they got a good reception.                               Eddie and the Wolves Blues-rock trio ‘lite’. Mainly original songs, one had a ‘Little Wing’-ish intro. ‘Come Together’ was well-received and they finished with a cover of Willie Dixon’s ‘You Need Love’. Unfortunately they didn’t realise it, thinking it was ‘Whole Lotta Love’ written by Led Zeppelin.   Mike Saga observed that the place was full of people popping pills. Yes, senna pods and antacids !             Spent a bit of time chatting before the arrival of Aynsley Lister. I am still chuckling over a conversation in the tent this morning. when Her Ladyship said that ‘Ainsley Harriott’ was going to be on! I couldn’t get a picture of a black, bald, boogly-eyed bloke stuffing scones in his mouth and playing blues guitar at the same time out of my mind!    From the start, it seems that he has eased off a bit on the guitar, as if he has discovered that Peter Green is the real deal than Alvin Lee. An unusual Rival Sons cover was good and his ‘Purple Rain’ to finish was admirably controlled. Still’ anonymous’  blues for us though.                         The Lengthmen. Four-piece with a girl drummer, we are back to the world of punk in 1977. Loud with social comment, they are certainly not newcomers (and, like others this weekend ,they are ‘local’).                    Mud 2. A bit bizarre seeing a lead vocalist with guitar, but their recent history is not dissimilar to Dr Feelgood. Main man Les Gray died in 2004 and the remaining three carried on, recruiting another member. They changed from ‘Les Gray’s Mud’ to Mud 2, with the original members’ approval.   So , history lesson over, they start out with ‘Oh Boy’ followed by ‘Secrets that you keep’. Plenty of hits to follow, interspersed with pop standards such as ‘Shakin all over’, ‘C’est la vie’ and , strangely, two from Sweet!  Dozens of wankered women twisting.                      No Setting Sun. A four-piece, the heaviest so far. Not many in, most are sitting outside waiting for the remnants of Slade.    Another outing for ‘Come Together’ , but the vocals are not quite there!                             Slade.  At one time it was Slade 2, with originals Dave Hill and Don Powell keeping the name alive , not without some dissatisfaction from the other two originals (who were the songwriters and therefore financially more comfortable?). Anyway, now playing as Slade and obviously we get lots of hits from the 73 year old Hill and chums. No Don Powell tonight though.  No Christmas song either (much to Mike Saga’s disbelief), and a keyboard player on stage. Of course it didn’t sound anything like the originals but nobody seemed to be bothered.                    Crisis See review of last act from last night, basically.  But another decent sleep to follow.

Sunday.   Woken up by what seemed like the Waltons in reverse next door…’Morning Jim Bob’, ‘Morning John Boy’…Another few hours with Planet Rock. ‘All Right Now’!! Again!! And Slade’s ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ sounded somewhat different to a recent version.                   It’s 11.20am, forty minutes to ‘Beer o’Clock’, gin and diet tonic in hand, chairs sorted, only three hours to go before the Slambovians are on.                               Tribal Vibes. Looked like 50 years of Santana’s bongos in evidence, no photo (sorry), as Her Ladyship joined Gayle Saga in participation.  The Waltons set up a camp behind me.                 Strange Days  Apologies if inaccurate name. Some originals plus REM and Doors in a brief set. Bright sunshine outside.                        Sue Warren    A thirty minute set from woman and uke. Original songs from Derby songstress.                                  And then, it is time for what a lot of people came for…The Slambovian Circus of Dreams.  They have changed name a few times and recently joined the Tir Na Nog club. Check out the recent Sonic Rock Solstice review where I mentioned the song Tir Na Nog by Tir Na Nog. Les added Jilted John and he claims ‘The Grand Slambovians’ by the group The Grand Slambovians (which they were at the time). From the LP of the same name too (bonus point). And they start with it!     Not just a ‘Best of…’ set, there were some newer songs along with the brilliant ‘I Wish’ and the final ‘Trans-Slambovian Bi-Polar Express’. Her Ladyship was hoping for the ‘Yodel Song’, always a festival shoe-in, but sadly not today.  And their ‘Very Happy Now/I Wanna Be Sedated ‘ had my foot tapping, but only briefly and I don’t think anybody saw me. Bit strange to see young boys running round like a primary school disco without the sliding.Tink did her usual hustling from the stage, the merch was a bit steep though. Her Ladyship and I were immediately infected when we first saw them at the Rhythm Festival 2009 (she forgot her t-shirt this weekend) and I suspect they made a few more converts today (compere Ted was one).  A shame they aren’t playing in Leeds on their tour. We love them. It is, of course, a matter of opinion. Our opinion is that they are great but fans of Telsen may disagree with our opinion. That’s fine but I should mention that Her Ladyship has a range of iron pokers which achieve a red hot temperature very quickly.                          The Gimme Gimme Gimmes      Opening with Dire Straits’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ given a Ramones treatment, they reveal their Scottish roots with thrashings of Bay City Rollers. Popular but this sort of thing is old hat now. Our No 1 son was doing punked up versions of MC Hammer’s ‘Can’t touch this’ and the ‘Teletubbies’ theme 25 years ago. Most towns have their GGG’s, Castleford has the excellent No Mercy for Percy who also do Sinead O’ Connor’s hit. (And do it better). Ironically, the Ramones started out by playing eg ‘Let’s dance’ and ‘Do you wanna dance’ faster and louder.                           Climax Blues Band.    The original group Climax Chicago Blues band started in the 60s and dropped the ‘Chicago’ in the early 70s. They had their hit ‘Couldn’t get it Right’ in 76 and have pretty much been touring the blues and festival circuit constantly. Final original member Colin Cooper died in 2008 but they have soldiered on. So like many outfits they haven’t got any original members but how many people stay in the same job for 50 years? Man Utd haven’t got any originals have they?!         Big intro, singer makes grand entrance. Very slick jazz-blues stuff (too much sax for my ears though).  ‘Rollin and Tumblin’ was a long way from Canned Heat and Cream. As was ‘Spoonful’. We got the ‘hit’ and the final number ‘Wrong Time, Wrong Place’ was probably their rockiest. Lots of plugs for their latest lp ‘Hands of Time’.                       Hannah Fay and the Internalisers       Another rendition of ‘Son of a Preacher Man’, the quartet had some originals too.  Familiar covers such as ‘Tainted Love’ ( a la Gloria Jones), they seem to be very much a ‘cruise ship’ outfit.                        And finally, Ska Wars. The world’s only Jazz-Metal-Blues-Country-Prog-Punk-Folk outfit, we get covers of Dizzy Gillespie, Metallica, John Mayall, Johnny Cash, Yes, Sex Pistols and Donovan.     ‘You Lyin’ Get!’  ‘OK, it’s a fair cop. Guilty!’     I am sure that everybody there could have predicted a minimum of 50% of the setlist, but lots of jigging and swigging by all concerned. Well not quite all!  And with a well-deserved  vote of thanks to the organiser Simon that was it. And just a bit early, sadly. 9.00pm and the arena is being cleared.

So

1. The event itself. Designed as a ‘family orientated’ fest, it does it very well. Eclectic mix of music. Anyone allergic to kids or dogs should maybe look elsewhere.

2. Value for money. Excellent @£40.

3. Sound. Pretty good, only the odd mishap

4. Beer (and gin).  Good value and well-maintained given the heat outside

5. Food. Not massively priced, have encountered worse.

6. MC. Compere Ted was very good.

7. Scheduling. Good slick handovers between the two stages.

8.Setting. Great site. It seems that Derbyshire has a stranglehold on small festivals. We are considering pitching a tent on the J28 sliproad and leaving it there for three months.

9. Clientele. No idiots. As well as our SAGA chums, we met our friends Neil and Val who are part of another small Derbyshire festival…check out http://www.whitwellfestivalofmusic.org.uk.

10. Toilets. Kept clean but sadly the Disabled Toilet fell foul to some inappropriate activity. The foot pump models were not too efficent though. I won’t go into details in case you are eating bangers and mash for your dinner.

11. Photo booth. An unusual and free facility. Of course, plenty of teenage girls having dozens of photos printed off. But we had some done too!

12. First Aid Post. Got some sun tan lotion in my eye which stung like hell. Thanks lads.

Nothing is forever though. Festivals come and go. Glad to have found this one.

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The Rain Dogs

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Lunar Cycle B as per programme

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The Sarah Knight Band

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Hungry For Change

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Top Loader

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Little Field

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The Clits (?) Clints(?)

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The Ruins

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Telsen

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The Silicone Taxis

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Eddie and the Wolves

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Ainsley Lister

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Mud 2

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Ska wars

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Sonic Rock Solstice. Stoke Prior. 20-23.6.2019

We decided to take up the offer of a free night on Thursday, featuring veteran folkies Tir Na Nog. I say ‘folkies’ but they are much, much more. They were formed 50 years ago and Leo and Sonny will both be 70 this year.

Her Ladyship had the tent up quickly and we headed for the burger shed. There were two veggie options, chips and dust.

They were on sharpish at 8,30 pm and started with a couple of songs from their first, eponymous LP. They have a real ‘Odd Couple’ appearance. Leo looks as though he has just come from an audition from a Harry Potter film complete with long black hair and coat, while Sonny looks like he has just come from his allotment!  A new song, ‘Beating of the Drum’ follows and they do a cracking version of the Stones’ ‘Play with Fire’. ‘Two White Horses’ is more mainstream with appropriate backdrop and it’s time for a break. Interesting songs over the PA, from Caravan and the Buffalo Springfield.  Set 2 and it’s a cover of Nick Drake’s ‘Free Ride’. And there is an amazing percussion solo on a Moroccan Bongo (I think). ‘Cinema’ from their 3rd LP gets a rare outing and His Royal Bobness’s ‘Love Sick’ is given a respectful rendition. At times they sounded almost Zeppelinesque and fortunately Mr J.P. Page wasn’t there as he may have claimed some stuff to be his! A great show from a couple of great performers. I was listening to a John Peel session from 71 when they played the song ‘Tir Na Nog’. I tried to come up with people who had also recorded an eponymous song.  I thought of a few incl ‘Bad Company’. Ray got quite a few incl ‘Madness’ and Les came up with  ‘Jilted John’.

Friday. First up are Ornot. I remember their brief spot at Wingy Festival. Three aliens, one on bass and the other two expertly twiddling knobs.                     Modulater ESP.   Ambient soloist. Veggie food shack had sprung up. Man’s ‘C’mon’ came over the PA.                  Crocodile Tears. A trio of acoustic guitars, unusual for this type of event. So imagine Crosby, Stills and Nash but instead it’s Nash, Nash and Nash. Yes, bloody awful! Lots of different recorded items, I miraculously didn’t get trampled in the rush to the merch desk after they had finished.                 Flak feat. Capt Rizz. Special guest is Mr T!! No, not that crap 80s tv actor in a tank throwing Snickers bars!  Mr T…Mr Turner…Mr Nik Turner.  Seated and honking on his sax along to the Ska-type stuff. Does nowt for me but plenty in watching.                       Capt Roswell and the Lost Alien Tribe. 

Barman. ‘What would you like to drink sir?’

Me.’ I’ll have a gallon of galactic goobledegook please”

Barman. ‘Certainly sir. Just turn round and look at the stage’.

Me. ‘Great. How much is it?’

Barman. ‘Well it’s a pound a chord so that will be…a pound’.

We love ’em.

Dr Hasbeen. Quick return for Martyn Hasbeen in his standard spot on stage. The oomph factor went up a notch or so, unusually there were two bassists. Good clear vocals, ‘Little Green Men’ had the crowd singing along.  Second appearance for Mr T.!            ‘Like a Hurricane’ from Neil Young and some SAHB continued the excellent inter-act music.                     Hawklords. No need to tell you who made his third guest spot of the evening. (Although I have to say that they sounded a bit better without him.) Old favourites like ‘Psi Power’ and Hawkwind’s ‘Uncle Sam’s on Mars’ are mixed in with newer songs like ‘Standing Still’.

And so to bed.  And we got a decent night’s kip too

Saturday. Her Ladyship and Purple Annie had a giant Bloody Mary at 15 minutes to Beer O’Clock.                       Guranfoe. Four young men, with twin lead guitars. Obvious first impression is the dual guitars in the Allman Brothers Band in their extended instrumental passages, but no Gregg! Another group with no vocals, but very well constructed tunes. Confident enough to have a cd already.                       Godsticks. Similar line-up but with vocals. Rocky without being regulation 4/4 stuff. Our friends liked them, they weren’t all that memorable for me though.                     Leg Puppy A  bloke on guitar, a bloke twiddling something and a woman warbling inaudibly. (Plus invisible percussion). Vocals got sorted. A bit punkish. Taped commentary, an inanimate mascot and a bloke in a mask fannying about. Much social comment, I had to go for a timeout and missed Burnt Out Wreck, sorry lads!                             Sendelica. Festival regulars, again without vocals. Bass/guitar/drums/sax. ‘No Sax Please, I’m British!’  And it was ALL sax soloing. Excruciating to me, but they seem to have some friends. I went outside but was somewhat surprised to see so many people around the merch desk afterwards. It turned out that Twink had arrived.                                    Silas Neptune Solo guitarist plus FX.                      Quantum Fantay. From Belgium. There was a man in what looked like a monk’s habit decorating a unicorn and blowing bubbles. So just like any  Saturday night at the Lion in Castleford then. Occasional lapse into reggae, a young girl added to the spectacle too. Entertaining.                            Lysergics Man on g/v, woman on k/v and a drummer.  Unfortunately the female’s vocals were not in tune. But they did seem to have a lot of sound issues so maybe her monitor was kaput. What started out as a big sound went to a big noise and ended up a big racket. One song was introduced as having a Sabbathy feel…really?  Plenty of applause though.                        Twink and the Lysergics. Addition of a female bassist and Twink on vocals but the keyboardist continued as before.  A female voice near me was heard to say ‘Shut that bloody woman up’. His set is a basic ‘History of…’ so we get an early rendition of Pink Floyd’s ‘Lucifer Sam’, referencing his participation in Syd Barrett’s ill-fated Stars.  He was in the Pretty Things when they recorded ‘SF Sorrow’ and brought on surprise guest and former Pretty Thing Wally Allen. At that point our friend Rhythmic Raymond, a long-time PT fanatic , heavily soiled himself and had to be stretchered out to the St John’s Ambulance tent to be cleaned up.  So there was the likes of ‘SF Sorrow’ plus ‘My White Bicycle’ as a reminder of his stint in Tomorrow.  Pink Fairies get a nod too, via his ‘Heavenly Man’ but by then we were both struggling to stay awake.  Listened to the rest of it tucked up in bed. A good set but not sure of his choice of players.  For those unaware of ‘SF Sorrow’, check out the Pretty Things doing it about 20 years ago at Abbey Road. It’s on Youtube.   Another good kip!

Sunday.  Kosmic Ken wondered where sound man was! He turned up and the Grateful Dead’s ‘Playing in the Band’ floated across the ether.               The Bullfrogs    Trio wearing Bullfrogs t-shirts and bass drum sporting logo too, so the opening ‘Bullfrog Blues’ was hardly a surprise. Yes, a covers group but with a refreshingly different setlist. Yes ,there is ‘Voodoo Chile’ and ‘Roadhouse Blues’ but the Bowie, ZZ Top and Beatles songs are unusual. Plus Wings, Racing Cars , Groundhogs and Robin Trower’s ‘Bridge of Sighs’ which didn’t quite work. But then again Jimmy Dewar’s vocals were peerless.   Good applause.                 Strangelove  Back to regulation space-rock.                  Electric Cake Salad Not originally on the bill, Her Ladyship expressed her disappontment to the organiser and was assured that they would be first choice if anyone dropped out. Someone did, and Martyn kept his promise and slotted them in.  The opening number had a ‘Pump it Up’ riff, and there were plenty in to hear it. Check out the setlist at the end for more details. But it was from their Saturday gig so slightly different.  No ‘N.I.B’ at the end tonight. They are one of our favourites of the millennium.  Spot Her Ladyship’s unique ‘Let there be cake’ t-shirt in the gallery. We decamped for Sunday lunch in the pub next door with the Baldwins. Yes, Alec, Daniel, William and Stephen all flew in from Hollywood! Not really, it was Ray and Carol from Croydon. So we missed Voodoo Sioux, more apologies lads.                   Chasing the Dark  Another slot for Martyn H in a six piece with an energetic female bassist. Just a bit gloomy though. Fronted by former Metropolis singer Chris Longman, who told a story about Jeff Lynne before launching into ‘Ma-Ma Belle’.                       Delphini  Four piece line-up plus a winged , lit-up female . Can it be classed as ambient, again? Even the female isn’t unusual for this genre.                             Splink All instrumental, first tune was very reminiscent of Spirit’s ‘Fresh Garbage’  Twenty minutes later, it sounded like the same number played backwards. It’s that sort of stuff that irritating jazz buffs call ‘clever’, can’t be that clever if the best name they can come up with is Splink.  A hint of Allman Brothers at the end.                          Flutatious When I did a review of the A New Day festival, I made the observation that whilst being very good musicians, the lack of words and a singer made the set lack something. One of their number actually thanked me for my comments and didn’t throw his teddy out like many others may have done. Nowadays the line-up is still multi-instrumental but there are now some vocal contributions to the set and it certainly appears that they have upped their game.              Creedence Clearwater’s ‘…Grapevine’ long version over the PA had Her Ladyship putting her dancing shoes on.                               Trance Dimensionals Nik Turner made it onto the stage again. Next year he will be bloody 80! And he is playing in a little club in the West Midlands! What a man! What a bloody great man! OK, maybe his sax occasionally sounds like it may have been tuned ‘in a galaxy far, far away’ but he is arguably regarded as the godfather of space rock. (But not by, I suspect, Dave Brock!).   The stuff on offer is fairly generic space-rock, but not unenjoyable.  Mr T spoke his way through ‘Silver Machine’ which Her Ladyship said was similar to watching Brian Wilson doing ‘God Only Knows’ last year. ‘Poignant’.                  The Bonzos ‘Jollity Farm’ came over the PA.                        Oresund Space Collective Main reason why I got tickets. A multinational conglomeration formed in 2004, they play totally improvised instrumental numbers. And they have never played in the UK before so it is a real coup for Martyn to get them.  Fascinating to watch and listen to. Check them out on Youtube.  Vince ‘Have Guitar Will Travel’ was on stage too. And in 2013 a certain ex-Hawkwind sax player played with them at a German festival!     And that was SRS 2019.

So…

1. Value. Excellent.

2. Venue. Beer £3.10 , I was only overcharged once and I think it was a genuine mistake. Helpful staff.

3. Security. Unobtrusive.

4. Campsite. Four good nights’ sleep. Major bonus.

5. Food. Not too expensive.

6. Clientele. Laid back! Where else could Her Ladyship have commented to someone about the hat and was told ‘ You can have it tomorrow when the sun has gone in’. And it happened! And it was from a bloke in a dress!! Where else!

7.Music. Some good, some very good, some not so good. Remember , one man’s meat… Great sounds from DJ Kosmic Ken too.

8. Sound. In general seemed ok but there were some acts who had problems.

9. T shirts. Official ones a tenner. Hawklords/Hawkwind won the non-event competition as expected but honourable mentions for the Grateful Dead and Gong.

10. Elvis Presley. No he hasn’t got a milkround in Redditch, which was one of the conspiracy theories. But he only famously set foot in the UK once (popular pub quiz question), so have OSC put themselves on a par with him now?

 

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Sonny ( Tir Na Nog}

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Leo (Tir Na Nog)

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Ornot

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Modulator ESP

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Crocodile Tears

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Flak feat. Captain Rizz

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Captain Roswell

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Martyn Hasbeen

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Dr Hasbeen

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Guranfoe

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Godsticks

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Leg Puppy

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Sendelica

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Silas Neptune

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Quantum Fantay

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Twink

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Lysergics

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Twink and the Lysergics

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Guest appearance from Wally Allen

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The Bullfrogs

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Strangelove

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Electric Cake Salad

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Chasing the Dark

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Delphini

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Splink

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Flutatious

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Trance Dimensionals

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Oresund Space Collective

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Thanks for the hat

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ECS setlist

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Jilted John

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Acoustic Festival of Britain 2019. Pt3

A Facebook contributor, Robert Shaw, has made a pretty comprehensive comment on the event.

First, he has put the ‘positives’ first…always a good idea. He can justify his position in making a judgement, as he does 14 festivals a year. A good point. (We do maybe 10, so feel similarly ‘experienced’).

He is pretty fair in his assessment of advance ticket sales and the overall attendance. So it is pretty simple arithmetic to work out the possible reasons for stage and artistes cancellations.

The comments about ‘chairs’ is valid,  definitely not unique to AFOB though.

Changes to the programme? There will always be alterations , for various reasons. I have banged on about this for years. It’s all very well that a compere in one tent mentions it at one time, but if you aren’t there and then you are goosed!  Every bloody school probably has a blackboard and chalk in the attic…ask them! Or a cheap LED display?

Regarding the line-up, we enjoyed Jo Carley, Swampcandy and Trevor Steger on Saturday, BUT they should have been bonuses in addition to a top-notch headliner.

He is spot on by saying things have to change. There are other festivals who take the two dozen or so ‘wasn’t it wonderful’ posts as being representative of the whole crowd, and then can’t understand why only those two dozen or so are the whole crowd next year.

As Nick Lowe once sang, sometimes you have to be ‘Cruel to be Kind’.

Acoustic Festival of Britain 2019. Update

So it is over, let’s have a look at comments on Facebook (Her Ladyship’s Facebook, that is).

Dozens of posts saying how wonderful it was, with only a few expressing disappointment along the lines of the earlier bunternet review,

This makes me nervous. If the organisers take all the glowing reactions as a firm endorsement of the event it will be the same next year. But how many people were not happy and just thought ‘Bugger it, that’s it for me’ and chose not to comment?

There are some who seem to adopt the ethos of ‘the truth. the whole truth and nothing but the truth’. There is a word ‘diplomacy’, without which we probably wouldn’t be here. Check ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ on Google! We all have to be ‘economical with the truth’ occasionally.

I agree with a post regarding a very ‘thin’ Sunday. I have no interest in tribute acts and definitely don’t want a generic ska outfit ‘headlining’. Why do some people think that festivals are all about dancing and singing along!? If I have paid to see someone sing and play, I don’t want  someone standing up in front of me jigging about! And I don’t need someone next to me bellowing along either!

I suspect low advance sales could well have resulted in the rearrangement of the event. I also suspect advance sales will be even lower next year.

Next year already confirmed! Interesting!