Thursday, June 5, 2008


I spent most of the winter visiting festival websites, researching this book. Sadly, I'm not going to be spending the summer visiting festivals - a 10-month old daughter doesn't make it easy. I think we'll try to get to a day of WOMAD, but not sure about camping. Anyway, just wondering:

- Anyone got any festival plans this year?
- Favourite festival/festival performance?
- Anyone have any experience of/tips for festival-going with babies/toddlers?


Tim (Kalyr) said...

I'm actually going to my first festival for something like 20 years; the Sunday of the Cambridge Rock Festival, headlined by Marillion, with Mostly Autumn, The Reasoning, Breathing Space and Touchstone on the bill. Not doing the entire weekend; Saturday's bill doesn't really appeal to me. Since loads of my gig going buddies are going, it should be a great day.

Mnemonic said...

I've already done both ATP weekeends (with Tarxien) and have booked for the End of the Road in September. I'm trying to recruit chalet sharers for ATP's Nightmare Before Christmas in December.

Previous ATPs have been with an 11-month year old and then the same small boy a year later. His father had the brainwave of booking his mother-in-law into a nearby hotel, getting her a day pass to the festival, thus combining a very happy grandmother (she'd come over from NZ to see her grandchild) and a full-time babysitter for the weekend. It was also said child's second birthday so we had a chalet party with cakes, candles and presents (including cool band t-shirts).

Not so sure how well it would work without the chalet, though. Mind you, I'm not the world's happiest camper - too fond of showers, clean hair, warm bed etc. - which account in part for my extreme fondness for ATP in the first place.

Favourite performances? Too many to list but would include:

Les Savy Fav, Akron/Family, Lightning Bolt, Sunn0))), Portishead (and never been a fan before), Rachel's, LCD Soundsystem followed immediately by Dizzee Rascal, Liars doing a virtual run through of Drum's Not Dead, ESG, Comets on Fire, Fuck Buttons and Bon Iver this year (he's devastating live), all at ATP. At Green Man last year My Brightest Diamond, Battles, Dead Meadow, Seasick Steve.

Tim (Kalyr) said...

My fave festival performances are all from the 80s, I'm afraid. Marillion at Reading in 1983, special guests to Black Sabbath who they completely blew off stage. Gillan at Reading in both 1980 and 1981; I remember the huge cheer when he hit the stage. The Scorpions in the pouring rain at Knebworth in '85 giving the performance of their lives. Iron Maiden when they were young and hungry at Reading in 1980. And Slade at the same festival.

Proudfoot said...

Wow, talk about reading (no festival pun intended) my thoughts this month. Isle of Wight/Glasto don't seem too much of an option with children in tow and the price and sheer humungous size or distance of the big festivals. I'm tempted by the Latitude Festival in Suffolk (Grrr, dates don't fit in). My advice, barbryn, would be to go local. I think our most realistic prospect is stuff like the Hatfield folk festival- on for one day, near where we live etc - The downside is don't know anyone who's playing, bar Seth Lakeman.
Small festivals can throw up some brilliant surprises and if you get through the weekend withut divorce/losing your child etc then I guess you can call it mission accomplished.
For families you can't beat Cropredy or WOMAD IMHO but festivals seem to be a booming business and consider this:
boring though it may sound, if you attend a festival with a ten month old then your friends/family going along will be your greatest asset if you want to join the moshpit or drink scrumpy. You have to team shift!
A local festival with good facilities might not have your ideal line-up but if your musical tastes are broad enough (and I'm sure they are) then I'll bet you enjoy/discover something worth going for.

My favourite festival EVER was the Elephant Fayre in Cornwall. Anyone remember that? The main acts in the 3 years I went were Siouxsie, the Fall, the Cure, John Cooper Clark, LKJ, the Albion Band and Chas 'n' Dave (!). My best memories are of an Oz band playing some mean didjeridoo (No Fixed Address- a kind of proto Midnight Oils) and then chatting to Jimmy Pursey (by then a solo artist)about said gig on the St. Germans railway station platform. Nice geezer.

Of course I should have been watching the Clash or Springsteen somewhere at a big festival, or been in a steamy basement in Manchester witnessing the birth of the Smiths, but I had a great time and got home safely, which as a naive kid, I don't think I'd have managed at Altamont or Woodstock.

Proudfoot said...

@ Mnemonic. Just discovered Bon Iver. Bloody fabulous. How long have you been in on the secret?
@ Tim (kalyr). I hate you. I missed Reading that year but Tommy Vance played Slade and Maiden (when they were punk! Well, almost)and it sounded like one of the best Readings ever.

Mnemonic said...

@Proudfoot, not that long. March this year there was a bit of a buzz on a couple of blogs and I had a promo download so I made a point of seeing him at ATP in April. There's an extra warmth and richness live that doesn't really come across on record so, even if you can't get to End of the Road in September, I think he's doing a gig in London around the same date (Scala or Koko, I think).

Tempusfugit said...

My first Festival was Cambridge Folk Festival at Cherry Hinton Hall in 1971. Highlight was sitting around a camp fire, drinking cider, and 'jamming' with a bunch of complete strangers including Anne Briggs, who was just wandering round the camp site.

I did a couple of Glastos in the 80s. The first I was smuggled in in the back of the van carrying my old mates The Greatest Show on Legs. I don't remember seeing anything that weekend. I always seemed to be arriving at a stage only to find the band I wanted to see had just finished. Then moving on . . .

The second time round I do remember seeing Husker Du, who were fab, and leaving to the strains of Van Morrison. Talk of 'surreal, I also remember sitting eating breakfast on day 2, out of it on hot knives and hash brownies, and my mate remarking how a group of fully adorned morris dancers dancing their way through the crowd was the most 'normal' thing he'd seen since arriving.

Do massive scrap metal sculptures and 'vehicles' ring a bell to anyone around in those days? Or was it just my imagination?

barbryn said...

Thanks for the comments people - I'll rope in the grandparents for next year, anyway (I'm sure grandpa will be up for Cropredy...)

Personal festival highlights: Pulp at Glastonbury in 1995; Gotan Project followed by Annoushka Shankar at WOMAD a couple of years ago; Edward II (trad-folk-meets-reggae) at the Larmer Tree - possibly the only festival venue with free range peacocks and parrots.

Funnily enough, just downloaded the Bon Iver album last night. Hype justified, I reckon.

DarceysDad said...

Good call to try to keep it local: these days if I go to the Carling at Bramham (that's "Leeds" to the rest of you), I go with a couple of friends and we drive a day each.

Yes you have to queue six times instead of twice, but each of us gets two drinking days out of three and we all get our own beds, hot baths, clean clothes, recharged mobiles/cameras etc, with the car being marginally more secure than a tent for our stuff.

I want to do Green Man with DarceysSis (almost 7yo by then) this Aug, but I won't get an advance pass from DarceysMam, so I hope it doesn't sell out!

Personal festifaves?
The Enid - Reading '81
Thin Lizzy - Reading '83
Wilko Johnson - Rouen '93?
WOMAD @ Venice Carnival '96
Chemical Brothers - Leeds V'97
Death In Vegas - Leeds '03

plus sets from Elbow, Less Than Jake, Steve Hackett, Blur, Thunder, Gomez, Little Steven, Blizzard Of Ozz . . . too many to mention, but I'm off to bed now with a headful of soundtrack material for my dreams!