All this talk of rain and floods and depressing moods and wet clothes and soggy tents all went completely out the window as Blissfields 2012 opened its summer laden country gates and invited us in with golden rays of sunshine, warm smiles and a crackin’ line up for 2 (1/2) days of summer fun!
(Well we had the odd tiny shower – honest only a drop!)
So, we had the weather on our side, the venue all set up and ready to go, punters on hand to offer cheers and buy stuff and tunes belting out of a double decker bus on top of a rolling hill – yes indeed ladies and gentlemen, this is Blissfields 2012 and this is what they do!! (and it not officially started yet!)
So, Thursday at Blissfields is the day of easing yourself in, of finding your tent pitch, finding your mates, checking out whats on offer in the main arena, and having a few mellow beverages sat on the grass under a tree. The main arena area opens around 6pm, and most pop in and out of the 2nd stage tent supping a cold ale and checking out the subtle grooves cleverly devised to hold our attention before unleashing bass-a-plenty from the party bus come DJ’s mobile tune palace. The School Bus or party bus is well placed, bar to the left and majorly massive dance tent to the right. So, party bus fills in the gap and keeps a sizable crowd bouncin’ until the wee hours. Mean while, the dance tent is ramping up for the long weekend ahead, and treats us old farts to some oldboy tunes, 90′s style – we are more that appreciative and do our best to look the part…. but alas, I feel i did look a part!!! nevertheless, I soldier on.
Friday morning – its a little damp under foot, but no great issues as the sun has got his hat on and so have I (I burn very easily). We pull ourselves from the foggy haze of tents-ville, clean up and are ready to go. Day 2, starts off very well, a good breakfast – at a good price I might add, and its all eyes on the 2nd stage as Oresteia take the first slot of the weekend and fire us up with a nostalgic blast of indie goodness with a bit ot 70′s sparkle.
Fridays theme is picking up pace, we head to the main stage to see Lucy Rose play a sensational set full of acousitc charm with a Nick Drake backdrop – all good in my book, so we sit our tired asses down for a few hours and soak up vibe.
Old favourites, Man Like Me pop on stage and give – yet again- an outstanding, unbeatable performance. MLM have a stage presence like no other, this packaged with sharp threads, a bouncin’ back beat, dance-along-steps, and wicked songs always makes for a massive crowd puller-inner.
We push on throughout the day picking up Dreadzone and the Guillemots, I’ve said this for the last 2 years and it bears true in 2012, Blissfields gets better with every 12 months, and this year I stand divided – this small capacity event – has some top class bands and acts, talk about punching above your wieght Blissfields!! I am split between stages. Im sure I heard budget festival mentioned in one review last year??? this affair is chic, boutique, able to please and all at a seriously good ticket price……
…..Now I would class the next act as Fridays Headliner, but he’s pitched in second place – and in hindsight it was the better choice. Patrick Wolf commands the main stage with an outfit akin to Nelson and a melancholy glare. The songs are very back-to -basic in an unplugged fashion, but this only builds up the intensity of the sets and with each passing song he opens up a little more until his stern exterior crumbles to screams and cheers and the performer cracks the biggest cheesy grin this photographer has seen in quite some time. A great set and a great performer. Now time to blow dem cobwebs of the day away as Subgiant take hold of our personal audio aids i.e. our ears and blast anything that was in there out, i.e. the sticky bit in the middle of the afore mentioned ears. As our bodies tingle from possible ‘shock lung’ (google it up kids), we stumble to find a more chilled area and relax and discuss what just happened.
Saturday – already its the final day, a day of big things and a day for everyone to go a bit bonkers as theres no work tomorrow!!
Most of the punters here are a little creaky from last evening, so its a slow wind up to breakfast, and slow walk to the press tent for tea and a run down of the days events. Its a bit of an all rounder this afternoon, so we bounce from tent to tent picking up a few shots (thats photography talk) as we go, and meeting a lot of friends from previous nights – and this is a great thing about Blissfields, new friends are never far away and it truely makes for a great weekend when everyone is friendly, open and happy – something we have in large buckets full.
Back to the main stage for a bit of Dub Pistols – now im unsure why, but everytime I photograph this band I get a drink thrown on me (from the band)!! maybe I look thirsty???, well to clear matters up, im not thirsty in the slightest and neither is my camera gear – thanks DP, here’s a top tip….. drinky + handy = into mouthy and not getting my gear all sticky. Sorted.
Then onto Charlotte Church in the 2nd stage, she sure can belt them out!!, with a few small glimmers of pop success some years ago, it seems that Charlotte has found her niche, elements of her classical background combined with angsty vocals with a pop/ electronic beat, a little tough to chew I understand, but worth a listen – that, and she is still pretty fit!
The day has motored on Uber fast, we’ve hanged a fang on some tasty burritos, sunk a few golden refreshments, talked to crowd/ workers/ bands etc and still we’re drawn back to the main stage, but this time its for up-beat gritty indie types Spector (who I like). Its that time of the early evening when the swing is in full effect and it takes but a single riff to set it all ablaze. Spector share a (dare I say it) Strokes’ie feel to their sound, but thats where it ends – vocal here are off on another scale, projection, depth and range – Spector have it – the other S dont. I great energetic set with a very happy crowd.
Stick around for a quick stage change, find a spot with a little space and get ready for a bit of a dance, Noisettes is a-coming with happy times for everyone. Noisettes effortlessly weave through a set of well knowns and not so well knowns to a very appreciative bunch of sunburned out patients, and I feel a bit out of place as everyone seems to know all the words except me I put it down to being old, and go see my old friends Olly Salter and Benzo up on top of the School Bus (party bus), a welcome hug and quick exchange of events over the 12 months and thats us up to speed for another year, so on with the tunes and crack open a beer. Olly & Ben swap back an forth streaming together, what is definitely the mellowest set of the weekend, picking up on a range of songs over the last 15 years and blending to a perfect peak for some 200+ swaying figures beneath us. This is a 2 hour set which is over before we know it – we hug and part again for another 12 months.
Its about that time when we witness the zombie hoard, arms outstretched, stumbling up hill to the Hidden Hedge and the final night of dancin’ ones ass clean off. I think it a foolish thing to partake in, so we head to the purveyor of tasty eats and settle down for a late night hot chocolate. Party Animals!!
Its been an unexpectedly dry weekend. But more importantly its been one hell of a festival and a real talking point. My thanks to Alex and the gang for taking us in again this year. Pete (MLM) for the drinks and good conversation – lets do it all again soon.