The Big Feastival 2012
Sunny Oxfordshire deep in the heart of middle England is known for its rolling hills, quaint olden villages, gentle countryside walks all of which now have a proper music and food festival dumped right in the centre.
We are of course referring to the teaming up of 2 very British things – music in a field and one hell of a picnic. All under the guise of a festival no less, with Captains Jamie Oliver & Alex James at the wheel, steering this mammoth searing beast through changing weather, hoards of punters and a whole 2 days!! This is The Big Feastival 2012 – on Monsieur Alex James Farm and everything!!!
The meeting of 2 such dedicated and capable minds can only result in something a bit different and a bit more special. This is no scotch egg on a stool situation ladies and gentlemen, the recipe for this event (see what i did there..) takes a solid meaty core of top level bands and musicians, encased in exceptional world class chefs/ and a fine foods batter, deep fried in purest tasty and served on a silver salve with some olive oil and chopped parsley. Indeed, this is a place where those with a trained palate can savour a whole heap of top class nosh and drink, and chill out to a load of class acts.
10,000 punters visited this back water field and were treated to a truly awesome musical line up, something for everyone??, well i’d have to say yeah. The Producers for instance – these are the guys (all well know chaps – Google them…) who were the force behind a huge amount of late 70’s and 80’s tunes, and played a chunk of them here – to a very happy crowd (more of an older selection of attendees i’d say) – they were even joined on stage by the hosts themselves who donned appropriate bass and drums and did their bit for a full rendition of Relax by them Frankie Goes to Hollywood (or Francis Does the US) chaps. Was rather top shizzle.
The nice thing here is, if you keep your beedy’s open you can do a bit of celeb spotting – so me and Mrs wife did just that (from a well set up 1940’s style cream tea room – nice), we did see…… (obviously) Jamie an Alex, Jules and Claire (wives), Gezza Clarkson, some prat from Big Brother (wife saw him…), Beel Granga (thats Bill Granger in Australian), Jamies mate Gennaro, pretty much all the members of all the bands…… making this one hell of a chilled out place – with the major plus points of having tasty eats….
As far as bands go, we had local boy Gaz Coombes play a real party maker of a set, im sure the mood around the main arena went from smile to full on cheesy after just 5 mins. The Noisettes were all pop’y, bouncy tunes and flowing dresses and were a great starter for tonights headliner, Paloma Faith, all stylised dresses and dance moves, very 30’s. Paloma gets stuck right in – no messing, she’s all about the crowd and making sure that everyone is enjoying the show as much as she is. She rev’s up the tempo a notch of two and keeps on keepin on deep into the night, but the party still rolls on even deeper into the night, and i can hear someone playing guitar even deeper into the night than the afore mentioned deeper into the night………
Its rains a bit then stops, then a bit more, but not enough to turn an upsides down frown the other way around from to , we stayed at . We sample a whole load of the eats from Lobster rolls to Bison burgers and fish dogs, pork belly to pork crackling and Paella. Costs were a bit up and down, but the overall quality and taste were the big hitters and I wasn’t complaining – in fact i didn’t hear anyone else make a fuss either.
There were a pile of hay bales in the middle of the foody area, which was now a massive play pit of straw, with dozens of kids, mums an dads playing. Bubbles were a big part of the event, they were everywhere, swarms of tiny bubbles and some so big that when they hit your expensive camera gear they cover the whole thing and it takes a massive effort to stop it destroying your best lens……. ah, fun times….
With food demos in full swing – headed up by top chefs no less, main stage (and it is main – a big stage for this size of festival – but you do get your monies worth) ramping up for another day of class acts we dive into Sunday.
There’s a lot going on for Jamies foundation, and a percentage of monies spent going straight to the cause. But, I found it a little weird that ‘the cause’ wasn’t elaborated on a great deal. We were told in a couple of sentences what it was, but I found that there was no real detail – with all the demos, TV’s, stages etc I think an overview of the cause (good bits, bad bits) would have been appreciated by them that were interested to know where the donations were going? just a thought.
The Guillemots make a very welcome appearance and bring the sullen Sunday afternoon back into focus with a proper thumping bass, top riffs and more than a few catchy tunes, people are happy – which is nice.
Some of the small food vendors have run of munchies, so queues are getting a bit mad (in length). We wait for 25mins for our eats and pull up a ground to sit on. The queues are a bit long, but it seems to be the same all over as everyone tries their level best to gain a couple of stone before the party ends.
Rolling onwards happy-go-luck, chatty merchants Razorlight, walk on stage. No smiles here from Mr. Johnny, not even a ‘Sup Feastival’, no. Too cool for high school Razorlight play a great set, not a fault all very just so – but no speaking, christ no. It is then a good job that the rock and pop of Scotland i.e. Texas bring smiles and cheers and seem to be over the moon to play this farmers field, all the favourites are expelled from the 80’s massive and I see, that she sees that everyone is singing along, this makes queen of Britpop Ms Sharleen most chuffed, so see gives it back with gusto – we like.
Alas, its all over too soon, and I drag my tired ass over yonder hillocks to my trusty chariot and sod off back to my house for a shower and good kip.
I would like to say a monsta’ huge ta an thanks very much to all the girls from House Pr – youz is the best, thank you for having us and I hope to see you all again very soon. No screaming pig next time.