Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Shhh, a Secret Festival

I'll apologise now for the silly amount of videos and photos in this post. It's just one of those things, I couldn't help myself.

Last week Lee and I went to an oh-so-secret-festival-that-cannot-be-named. We booked our tickets only a couple of weeks beforehand, because our friend invited us to come and see his band and we thought 'why not?' And we definitely didn't regret it. The festival feeling was so friendly and the music extremely diverse, treating your ears to a mix of swing, reggae, drum and base and everything in between as we ambled between the various stages. I especially like the outdoor stages that had man-made hills around the edge, creating pits of music in the middle. There was an insane amount of fancy dress going on, with veterans of the festival going all out in various wild costumes, or just not wearing any clothes at all. The campsite had postmen and women in complete get-up, hired to take post to the tents using addresses as vague as 'blue tent next to the tree on the left, East Camp.'
My favourite tent/stage had to be The Village Hall, which came complete with vicar, cleaner and even lollipop lady to help you across the zebra crossing on the grass outside. At the Village Hall we watched some amazing acoustic guitar, the highlight being a medley from Jungle Book. We also witnessed some marriages and even a funeral of festival volunteers, lead by the slightly psychotic vicar.
Our friend's band Sashi and the Wild Beans couldn't help but make you bop around to the soulful, fun sax infused beats. Have a listen, it's great.

And as it is when you know musicians, we were then introduced to friends of friends, who happened to be another amazingly talented and fun band They Say Jump. They were unexpectedly asked to play on the main stage in addition to their allotted set, which meant that we were able to follow them like groupies and soak up some of their glory and happiness.

I loved nearly all the music and was pleasantly surprised at the lack of Indie bands. Hooray for me.
There is clearly no expense spared in the vision for this festival. There was a swim-or-sail-up shipwreck stage in the middle of the lake, and countless artwork pieces such as a huge muti-coloured hand created out of inflated rubber gloves. There was the Artful Badger stage hidden in the woods, with old pianos dotted here and there to play on if you felt like it. There were workshops galore: knitting, hoola hoop, fire breathing and songwriting to name just a few. At night there were camp fires or hardcore raves, depending on what you were in the mood for. On the last night we happened upon Natty Congeroo and the Flames of Rhythm, an energetic Cuban-Harlem swing/jazz act that reminded me of the bad guy in Princess and the Frog.
Saturday night saw the real climax of the festival. We watched Dread Zone and 2 Many DJs, then eagerly awaited Faithless. And we never could have predicted what was done to keep us occupied in the run up to the headliner. Cue flame throwers. Cue fireworks to Killing in the Name Of, giving way to Thriller, and a whole variety of other eclectic classics. The fireworks were epic and could probably give the Southbank New Years Eve ones a run for their money. And when I though it couldn't get any better, Land of Hope and Glory blasted out and I thought I was going to die of happiness.

After that the shipwreck in the middle of the lake was set on fire to the sound of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, aka the music V blows up parliament to in V for Vendetta.

And it really was like in the film! Amazing.

To sum up, I would describe the festival as a celebration of freedom, creativity, individuality and fun, a place for all types and shapes of music, drama and expression. Basically it was the don, but to tell you the name of it would be to ruin the secret, so you'll just have to figure it out for yourself...


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