“You’ve come so very far
All waving flags
We’re all waving flags now
But don’t be scared”
And so it came to pass, a few hundred Sea Power fans from across the country and even further afield, headed to a small castle on the edge of the Lake District to celebrate our shared passion and emotions, at an event we never though we would see again.
This was a rather unexpected and welcome surprise. A 2022 addition of Sea Power’s Krankenhaus festival. The first was an astounding success with fans, but struggled to make money. With the band playing Christmas shows to help pay the other bands on the bill. I will not have been alone in doubting there would be another festival. I thought, if we were lucky, we might see another Brighton Krankenhaus. After two dark years, to hear Sea Power were going to repeat their festival, was beyond our lockdown dreams. So much so, several fans made the long trip from overseas to be here.
This time the festival price increased by £30. However an extra day of music was added and a few hundred extra tickets made available. It is still very reasonably priced and given how great the last one was, an absolute bargain. I think most of us would happily pay £200 if it happens again.
Again, the festival was taking place in a barn, next to a castle, at the edge of the Lake District. All the eclectic activities were happening again. Trips on a miniature steam railway, fell walks, musical bingo, talks in a castle, birds of prey display etc. Dogs and children were again welcome. The castle owners, who were brilliant at the first festival, promised improvements. With proper showers this time. An already great festival was going to be even better. Given how preposterously good the first one was. Was that even possible?
While I didn’t mind camping last time. I thought I would grab some local accommodation. This time, it was taking place the weekend before ‘End of the Road’ festival so it wouldn’t be cannibalise its own audience. However, it was now taking place over a Bank Holiday weekend. With the local hotel and pub were already booked out, I opted for a nearby Airbnb.
The week leading up to the festival I decided to bin a few gigs. I didn’t want to miss another festival due to COVID. Only going to the re-arranged LIFE in-stores. I did have a late night Prom booked for after the Rough Trade LIFE gig. But knowing that I would need to start early to tackle the a 5 1/2 drive the next day. I headed home early.
Of course, travel day had to be a one of the few days in the summer when the South was hit by bad weather and I made very slow progress to Ravenglass, dealing with torrential rain and long tailbacks. After nearly seven hours in the car I finally arrived at my digs for the next few days. Thankfully, the place was homely and after a cup of tea, I was off up the hill to the castle to get myself registered.
The castle’s visitor centre had been changed into a nice little seated space. Ewan, the son of the current Lady Frost-Pennington was working the welcome desk. Like last time, the family mucked in throughout the weekend. Helping the castle’s staff with all the little jobs, including clearing the bins. This is a real working castle and based on these visits, the family work hard to keep the castle going.
As I walked up to the festival site. Immediately, the place felt like home. It is hard to explain why. But us Sea Power fans are I guess a bit like a cult, or at the very least an odd clan. Last time the castle staff made us feel so welcome, the castle has a special place in our hearts. I have to admit, I walked around the site with a smirk on my face and I am not sure my feet were touching the ground.
Our utopia for the next few days was still under construction, readying itself for hoards looking for beer and a hay bale to rest on. Even while still under construction, it was clear there had been improvements. A smart vegetarian food truck was setting up with the enthusiastic owner promising to change our minds on vegetarian food. The bar had been moved out of the barn into a covered area in the main courtyard, leaving space for a merchandise desk next to the stage. No walking half way across the castle grounds to find the merch room. The silo was once again being used as a snug. A table tennis table had been added to keep the kids occupied, along with a small one person cinema.
I was surprised to see the chickens still confidently strutting around the festival site like they were Mick Jagger waiting to go on stage. Surely, with people bringing their dogs, they wouldn’t be roving around the site tomorrow?
Speaking to Paul, one of Sea Power’s roadies, he took me through to backstage. Sitting in the corner looking rather depressed was Bi-Polar, one of Sea Power’s bears. Clearly Bi-polar had taken being relieved of their Sea Power duties rather badly and was looking a bit dishevelled. Would the bears be making an unexpected return? I thought better of mentioning it to anyone over the next few days in case they decided not use the bear.
I then trotted off to look around the castle to get some photos. But sadly the sun was getting low and everything was in shadow. I told myself I would find some time over the weekend to photograph the grounds, but it turns out a comfortable bed was more welcoming in the morning than photographing the gardens.
Heading back down into Ravenglass, I was greeted with a glorious sunset over the estuary at a pub with a fantastic view. After a nice, but expensive meal. I had a few very reasonably priced pints and chatted to a few other Sea Power fans who had made their way from all corners of the country. All excited for the next few days. I couldn’t help having ‘Waving Flags’ worming it’s way into my head. What is so special about this band that drags us from all over the country to meet in a barn?
Although I was staying local. There was no way I was going to miss an hour of the festival traipsing back and forth to my digs to get things. So I drove my car up to the festival site to leave it there until Monday.
Unlike the last festival, the main Muncaster Car park was cordoned off. Understandable, it was a Bank Holiday weekend and they were expecting their usual tourist trade. Part of the field next to the car park was given over to us, along with a big camping space for campervans and caravans. Unlike other festivals where they charge to bring motorhomes on site. There was only the nominal parking charge. If it did rain, we were all close to the road. You won’t get stuck at this festival.
After a wander around festival barn and the hive of activity as final preparations were being completed. Expecting to be busy for the rest of the weekend, I headed straight to catch the birds of prey display. How many festival can claim to have something so cool? The castle has an active breeding programme for several endangered species and the performances help subsidise their upkeep. If you get a chance to visit, one word of advice, duck.
The festival itself was opened with a warm welcome by Peter Frost-Pennington. As great as the last festival was. There was an obvious issue, the lack of showers. Peter rightly, was proud to point to the new showers they had built for the festival. The whole family seem down to earth and throughout the weekend kept asking people what they could do to improve the festival. It is a really nice feeling to think they cared what we thought and clearly want the festival to happen again. After all, this their home. It must mean we weren’t bad guests. They are a large part of what makes the festival so good. Thanks for having us. But I am racing ahead of myself.
The first day of the festival, although only an evening of music, was a very strong lineup. Starting with Sea Power’s first set of the festival. It was the set the majority of Sea Power fans were looking forward to the most. A complete play through of Open Season in album order. While I had bought Sea Power’s albums, I didn’t see them live until 2009 and had missed their Open Season tour. I was really looking forward to hearing the whole album played live.
While I think lockdowns are fading into the past. We all have lockdown memories, good and bad. Sadly, too many lost friends and relatives. For many of us, we only had to deal with the isolation. For those of us who live on our own, the virtual events that happened at the beginning of the first locked that brought people together, helped me feel like a human being. Just a few hours talking nonsense. It is amazing how useful that is for our mental health. In the very early days, Sea Power’s ‘Tim’s Listening Parties’ were incredibly helpful. Connecting me back to a real life I was missing. I know walking around the site on the first day, I reflected how in those early days, I wondered if I would ever experience this feeling again. It is good to feel normal again.
I know for many it was an incredibly emotional set. I mentioned in my review of Sea Power’s Derby gig, how I had been looking forward to doing the ‘normals’ again after the COVID lockdowns. Those things in your life that were an ever-present before lockdown and missed greatly during it. For me it was little things like going to a football match and seeing Sea Power. At the Derby gig, a wave of emotion hit me and I was close to tears. Here, I could see many in the audience having the same moment. I suspect for many, this was the first time they had seen Sea Power since before lockdown. This band means so much to many of us. I think we are all part of the shared insanity that makes them special.
No one had to say anything.
We all knew how each other was feeling.
It was great to hear the album played in full. It has a different atmosphere to all their other albums. I always feel it is a more laid back and reflective work compared to Decline and their albums that followed. It was the perfect set to open a festival, easing us into the festival mood.
My one and only criticism of the festival was the timings on the first day. Something they thankfully fixed the next day. Sea Power went on stage just about on time. From that point on, the timings went to pot.
Next up was a band I was looking forward to seeing, the Umlauts. There are a band I had tickets to see, but I was unable to catch them. They feature two lead singers, singing in German over Krautrock-esq tracks. I was initially thrown by their first song. It just didn’t grab me. (Set list said it was ‘Sweet’). But by the time they were shouting machine gun-like into the microphone during ‘Energy Plan’. I was happy. This was more like I was expecting.
I haven’t really got on with Wild Beasts in the past. They felt too derivative. Likewise, their lead singer, Hayden Thorpe didn’t do much for me when I saw him at an in-store for his solo album. Seeing his keyboard set up on stage, I have to admit, I had already pre-judged his set and thought it might be a good opportunity to grab a beer. As it turned out, due to a technical problem with his keyboard, Hayden changed his set on the fly and decided to sing with his guitar. I think we got a better set. Unfortunately, he did get his keyboard working and then launched into earnest ‘keyboard songs’. They just weren’t my thing.
Another band I wanted to catch were bdrmm, who I learnt are pronounced bedroom. Obvious really. But for months I have been calling them b.d.r.m.m. Often when I see ‘shoegaze’ type bands, despite liking their albums, playing live, I find them boring. Too many showgaze bands lack stagecraft. I want a performance that feels ’live’ and bdrmm certainly deliver that. Allowing the music to build up momentum to almost psychy levels, flailing guitars around, before bringing it back under control and focus. There was no falling asleep with this performance.
Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs are both a force of nature and also an acquired taste. I am still not sure if I have acquired the taste or I am simply hanging on at each performance like a white knuckle ride at the fair. I never know where to categorise them and I think that contributes to their success. Are they metal? Psych? They lack the experimental nature of psych and they never resort to fret wanking like you get with metal. Doom Psych? I don’t really know. The audience was split too. For some, this was one of the performances of the festival. Others, left and had a beer. A really nice touch, a young lad who had chatted to their guitarist at the merch desk saying he had been learning their songs, was invited up to play. All the other members of the band contributing to make this lad’s day. Chatting to him and his parents later in the weekend, this had made his summer. Nice touch lads.
Closing the evening, over an hour later than planned. Gruff Rhys and band brought the vibe down and the crowd back together with a good set of his solo work. He didn’t finish until 1am and the programme said that the site closed around 1am, so I decided to grab my torch and head off down the hill back into the village. But I believe John Doran from the Quietus spun records until there was no one left standing.
Starting day two early. I headed out to grab some breakfast at the restaurant serving ‘the Ratty’, Ravenglass’s steam train. One thing about Ravenglass is everyone is incredibly friendly and I spent some time chatting to locals about the area as I caught the early morning breeze from estuary. I then discovered the most amazing shop that was like something from a Two Ronnies sketch. If you go to Ravenglass, visit the Post Office. That’s all I will say. You have to experience the place for yourself.
On day 1, I had dragged a very heavy camera bag around with two mirrorless cameras, six lenses, a smaller Fuji camera and my laptop. I would be lying if I said my back wasn’t hurting. I had hardly used my long lens and there was never really any opportunity to download any of the videos or photos so I decided to leave both behind. This would be a theme through the rest of the weekend. Each day I left more gear behind and by the end of Day 2, gave up capturing what turned out to be very shaky poor video footage.
Despite the lighter bag. The hill to the castle seemed steeper than it had been on Thursday night. I must get fit for the next Krankenhaus.
The music wasn’t starting until 1pm but the Krankenhaus team had arranged an eclectic morning of activities with talks in the castle and a dog show for the 30 or so dogs that were attending the festival.
The first talk was Roy Wilkinson interviewing journalist and author Amy Liptrot about her autobiographical books. The first of which, the Outrun is being converted into a film staring the amazing Saoirse Ronan. There was a second talk with Lias Saudi and I heard was really interesting, but I had headed out to see the Sea Power judge, ‘best rockstar’ dog! I mean, how many festivals have dog shows?
The first two music acts were actually the same people with slightly different hats. Group Listening and Sweet Baboo. Group Listening are Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo) and Paul Jones who create ambient music using clarinet and keyboard. A nice start to the day for anyone with sore heads. Sweet Baboo, who seems to have worked with every Welsh artist at some point. Lifted the energy levels slightly with his own material. But to be perfectly honest, I took the opportunity to get grab some food and listen from a comfortable bale of hay. (I was reminded I had actually photographed these guys at Daylight Music)
Interspersing the two performances was Mark Radcliffe talking to the always entertaining and self-deprecating Stephen Morris of Joy Division and New Order fame. Who had lots of interesting things to say about the dynamics within New Order.
These talks in-between acts worked really well. Helping the day run on time. The next talk was the extremely entertaining Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi with Chris Hawkins. Have to admit. I am surprise Chris made it. He introduced the bands the previous day and by 1 am, he was pretty leathered. As a childhood fan of Steve. He is one of the few people I get starstruck by. I love how he has played on his Spitting Image persona and seems to love life and doesn’t care. Steve was at the last festival (please make him a regular) and he talked about his massive mistake at the last festival of drunkenly mansplaining how the modular synth works to Hannah Peel (who I’m listening to on the radio as I write).
Mark Radcliffe’s own band, UNE played next. Not really my thing. But good festival fun.
After a brief game of ‘cosmic bingo’, Utopia Strong put in another good set. While a friend commented fairly, that Utopia Strong make the headlines and get the gigs because of Steve’s presence. It is Kavus with his psychy guitar work that pulls everything together. I love them. And it is Steve Davis….. I wonder if next time I should ask Steve were I can get a replacement red ball for his ‘Steve Davis snooker table’ my parents bought my for Christmas when I was nine?
Next up was the Daniel Wakeford Experience. Apparently he is an autistic reality TV star. I knew nothing of him. I am not sure how many of us knew who he was. I don’t think the Sea Power audience is a reality TV audience. Musically, I thought the band was an odd choice for what is a very ‘6Music festival’. Their sound felt more like something that would sit better with a Radio 2 audience. From a music point of view, the music wasn’t to my taste and after 20 minutes, I took the opportunity to grab a beer and sit on a hay bale.
My thought at the time was that this was musical misstep for the festival by selecting a ‘Radio 2’ band. But it was later pointed out that I was viewing the performance in the wrong light. Musicians with disabilities are marginalised and they need to see artists like Daniel on festival bills to inspire them. Performers like Daniel are vital in changing the perspective of audience members like me. A special word for the keyboard player who continued playing when her keyboard stand collapsed to the floor. She just squatted down and got on with her job.
Anyone who has been to a Sea Power gig in the last year will have seen Devon’s Pale Blue Eyes. They will also have seen how far they have developed in a short period of time. Tonight, they were absolutely scalding hot. They seem really comfortable with each other and have a great dynamic on stage.
Highlight for many, Lias Saoudi from the Fat White Family was up next. I have only seen the Fat White’s a few times and a small proportion of their audience discourage me from seeing them too often. Playing with a makeshift band of willing volunteers from other bands who had played that day. It felt like we were witnessing something unique and special. Sparkling with an intense fire. Lias spat his way through his set. The other musicians inspired, held on to his coat tails as they followed him on his rollercoaster ride. I’m sure it was as visceral experience for them, as it was for us. Talented musicians inspired by being part of something unique. It is great to see music can still be so loose and so special.
I have never known Sea Power to be competitive. They never seem to be in the game of putting the support bands in weak position. Happy to share the stage with bands like Bo Ningen who can make any headline act wonder if it is worth following them. But I think they knew they had seen something special. While they have been putting in consistently good performances for several years. Tonight, following Lias, they knew they had to be on their game.
The set mixed the old and the new. I think it is a mark of the strength of their latest album, that songs like ‘Transmitter’, ‘I Only Want to Make You Happy’ and ‘Two Fingers’, could start off a set so strongly. The energy was clear. The audience reacted and were in for the ride. There were so many happy faces around me. There was the same buzz I felt at the Derby gig. The audience were there for Sea Power and they band were doing their best to repay our devotion. We were witnessing Sea Power at the top of their game. When they played Lately. I was lost. I can and have listened to Lately on repeat. It is my favourite song from any band and to hear it live is always special. Tonight, even the band knew they were part of something special. They were up for the challenge and the audience loved them for it.
After three strong sets. What could follow that? Well a ‘well oiled’ pairing of Steve Davis and Kavus Torabi playing records. With Kavus going full-on metal god as they started the set off with Slayer! (?) And we loved it.
What better way to blow off the cobwebs and hangover than to take a ride on a steam train and go on a four mile hike through the fells led by Martin? Well going to the castle with a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich to listen to a talk from two insane Sea Power fans! I might walk 10 miles around London every Saturday, but London is flat and I know I am unfit at the moment. After what happened at the Great Escape, I didn’t want to pop another calf muscle.
Christoph and Douglas talked to Roy and the great John Robb (who looked at home in a castle), about their insane Sea Power inspired adventures. In Douglas’s case, he travelled around the British coastline to visit all the obscure coastal places listed on a Sea Power t-shirt (which Roy was responsible for). Christoph talked about his equally insane cycle rides from Germany to see Sea Power. What is it about our band they causes this level of obsession? I guess the fact the band found time in their festival programme to showcase two of their fans, probably helps. (Douglas documented his journeys on his excellent blog https://germinalroadtrip.blogspot.com)
Next up was a really entertaining talk from the formidable Jane Savidge about breaking Suede. A really interesting talk. She talked like a machine gun and I’m sure she has used words as weapons in the past. You could tell, if she is one your side, you have somebody who will do everything for you. But she would rightly put you in your place if your step out of line. It was interesting to hear the stories about early Suede and some of the tricks her PR firm pulled to get them noticed.
I had intended to head to the barn to see the first band of the afternoon, Memorial. Roy had adding an extra talk from Hayden Thorpe after he realised Hayden had just written a book. Afraid no one would be there, those who had been at Jane’s talk were asked if we could stick around and I am really pleased I did. I think might have misjudged Wild Beasts and Hayden himself. Talking about his book, his music life, and Cumbria. He seemed really personable.
Up in the barn, Haiku Salut had already started to weave their intricate multi-instrumental soundscapes. How they change so effortlessly between instruments astounds me every time I see them. Beautiful music from extremely talented musicians watched by a small, but attentive audience. Not a bad way to start the day’s strong lineup.
Filling the gap between bands, Simon Armitage, poet laureate, again performed some of his poetry. Sadly, he didn’t keep a record of what he performed last time and some of his set was a repeat from the last Krankenhaus. It was still very pleasant and an opportunity to kick back on one of the bales in the barn with a cold drink.
All Sea Power fans know Sea Power’s brilliant roadies Paul and Stewart. Their band Daemonic Fonce were up next. Bands don’t always have to take themselves seriously. Just go up to enjoy yourself and play the music you enjoy. Playing irreverent pop punk, they were great fun.
There weren’t many bands on the bill I hadn’t heard of before. Loose Articles were one of the few. Normally, I don’t do much pre-festival listening but when there’s only a few, I gave them a listen and there was no way I was going to miss them. I love the DIY, every song is 2 1/2 minutes long aesthetic. I like loose music when it is done with passion, energy and love. ‘Kick Like A Girl’ is 2 1/2 minutes of pop punk fun. Thankfully they were everything I wanted. The lead singer, Natalie, does the whole talk, shout, singing combination. Her Manc accent only adding to their charm. I will definitely be catching this band again.
Now in a very good mood, I looked with trepidation at DITZ up next. I have a faint memory of seeing one of they early gigs and not being impressed. I must have been remembering a different band, because DITZ were excellent. I seem to remember them as a jangly indie guitar band. But that wasn’t the band who played today. Dark, angular, acerbic post-punk,songs. At times, there was a touch of Gilla Band about them. Always on the edge of screaming in anger. The music felt all the more menacing because they kept a lid on it.
I know I am going to lose an indie stripe for this. And I don’t blame you for taking it away from me. I don’t deserve it. But I have to fess up. I don’t get the Bug Club. No, I don’t understand why either! Songs with a touch of the Velvet Underground. Lots of energy. Great to photograph. Surely my kind of thing? But for some reason they don’t work for me. It is not them. It is me. I seem to have been the only one who doesn’t get them. I really wish I did.
I have covered LIFE in this blog many times. They deserve to be much bigger than they are. Live, they are just great fun. They’re lovely people. They write great pop indie songs. What else can I add? Duck Egg Blue is a cracker of a song. Sorry for doubting it when I first heard it. What was especially lovely about this gig was Mez’s own son watching from the front of crowd. There was also another young LIFE fan singing and loving every word of their set. What’s not to love about LIFE. We all have to learn to love LIFE.
I always think Richard Dawson is an acquired taste. Yet everyone who sees him, acquires the taste too. I think what he is, is a genius. The way he subverts folk into punk. The way a stamp of his feet conveys more emotion than many musicians can conjure with their instruments. The way his he de-tunes his guitars to perfectly compliment his vocal style. It all adds up to create a truly unique sound that feels fresh, ageless and edgy. Given how quiet he can be, I moved to the side of the stage so I wouldn’t disturb him with my camera clicking. From the side of the stage, all I could was a sea of mesmerised faces. A truly special musician.
This Is The Kit make great indie-folk. But for me, they aren’t headliners. While good music, I don’t find it as danceable as say LIFE. But that’s my just me. Most of the audience appeared to be loving the set. Don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy their set. It is just for me they have an early evening feel and I took the opportunity to kick back and listen from the bales with a beer. Music for hay bales. You can put that on your posters, or maybe not.
The Modern Ovens, featuring many familiar faces played a set of VU covers with a stream of faces from the other bands. Lias again showing his stage craftsmanship with an edgy performance. It was a good way to close the day. A bit of fun allowing people to slip away to grab a drink or an early night.
Are we a cult? That was my question by day 4. A lovely, benign cult, but a cult all the same? We had spent days living in a glorious Sea Power bubble. We all understood each other’s obsession. The site was awash with lovely people.
At one point I had a weird little flash back to my Cub Scout camps when I was about 10. Okay, there was a lot more beer at this festival than at Cub camps. But I guess it is the only place I have been to where everyone was on the same page. Other festivals are full of people with different tastes. Here a whole bunch of people from around the country with the similar tastes, came together to sing, to play games, to go on hikes, bird watch, listen to talks and music. We were in our bubble and the world seemed right. Yes, Krankenhaus is scout camp for adults. Maybe they need to introduce Krankenhaus activity badges?
Living in a Sea Power bubble with so many friendly and lovely people. Every one of us loving this funny little band that friends and family view our obsession with slight bemusement. I know I didn’t want the weekend to end.
Monday started with two enticing options. One was to walk back down the hill I had just walked up, on a ramble with Martin around the Muncaster estate. The second, listen to Roy talk about his Dark Lustre books. Yes, I choose the later, only to find we had our own Sea Power guest in the form of Hamilton and rather than talk about his books, Roy created a quiz. The quiz was maximum Roy. With everything from identifying bird sounds, to guessing the Mark E. Smith titles. Hamilton was there to play some of the music questions.
Despite spending half my life in music venues, I am terrible at music quizzes and I opted out and watched. Keeping mental track of my own answers. I only managed to get two right. What an abysmal performance. But at least I didn’t have the embarrassment of somebody marking it. Although from the reactions around me, I wasn’t the only one who did so badly. Good fun.
Monday’s lineup was perfect for those who had to sneak away and great for those staying. Just four artists, finishing early evening with a Sea Power set of rarities. After yesterday’s high energy offerings, I was looking forward to a more low key day.
Alison Cotton started the day off. I had seen Alison in her ‘The Left Outsides’ form several times and photographed her for Daylight Music at the Union Chapel. This was a slightly different experience. Made even more surreal when one of the farm’s chickens nearly became dog food. The surreal sight of Alison tapping her gong with a screeching chicken zooming across the barn over a table and through the back door, followed by a dog chasing it, with the owner walking across the barn head bowed down hoping no one noticed. In the Great Muncaster Battle of Chicken vs Dog, the chicken won. So all was good. Alison looked slightly bemused but soldiered on.
Many singers have tried their hands at poetry. But how many poet laureates have tried their hand at creating a band. Well current poet laureate sits right at the centre of that particular Venn diagram. I had heard his LYR aren’t great. But I really enjoyed them. There’s an absurdness to many of his poems that lends itself to music. It was all really pleasant and a bit like his poetry set, a good accompaniment to bale sitting as I rested tired feet.
Low is a band that has passed me by. This festival was going to change this. However, they had to understandably cancel as Mimi is being treated for cancer. Hopefully, they will be at the next Krankenhaus.
Replacing Low were Beak>. Another band I had never seen, despite owning their albums. I had imagined their music to be a lot more electronic than it was and therefore maybe lack something live. It turned out they create a compelling live experience. Helped by a lot of stage banter amongst themselves that was fun to watch, I have to say, they have an incredibly danceable sound. Thankfully, by this point, I had long given up on capturing video and I can dance and photograph. So I was in my element. This won’t be the last time I see them.
Closing the event was Sea Power with a low key set of rarities featuring two of my favourite songs. A Wooden Horse and Bear. It would be nice if some of these songs could be occasionally sprinkled into current set lists. But with such a massive back catalogue and so many favourites that fans expect to hear. It must be impossible deciding what goes into a set list. But the set was very much appreciated by the audience and me.
And just like that, the bubble burst and it was time for a few pints in the local before and early night, so I could get up early for the long race back to South East to get to Public Service Broadcasting’s gig at the Proms.
I really hope they find a way to run more of these festivals. It was clear the castle want to run them again. Oddly, they seemed to enjoy having us. I felt the band were enjoying themselves. I know we did, as did everyone I chatted to. It is such a brilliant little festival. It can’t be judged like other festivals. The DIY nature means we don’t judge it as harshly as a corporate festival. But that doesn’t mean is it shoddy. In fact, in pretty much every department this festival ran better than a big festival. Even the toilets were cleaner than any festival I’ve been too. The site works well. There was a good choice of food. The beer was ridiculously good value. Everyone, and I mean everyone. Everyone was friendly and helpful. It is truly a special event. Everyone involved in making it happen should be very proud. Their hard work paid off.
You know how your nanna used to make a dish that was basic, but was made with love and made you warm inside every time she cooked it for you. This is that festival. This is my nanna’s panacalty. (NE dish of potato, dumplings and corn beef). There. You can put that on the posters next time you run it. ‘This festival is like my nanna’s panacalty’ – Down at the Front. I can’t give you a better review than this.