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AAA Music | 23 September 2017

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Common People 2017 – Festival Review + Photos

| On 10, Jun 2017

I can’t believe it happened again!……… and I was right in the middle of it! – It’s on people “Common People Oxford 2017”. Small, fast, fun and loud.

The alchemist types that have for the past 10 years been making and perfecting the likes of Camp Bestival and the almighty Bestival have for a second year knocked the ball right out of the park with part 2 of Common People Oxford (there’s also one in Southampton too). For the second time in cosmic history, a major festival big hitter has brightened our dull and, lets face it boring existence by setting up them stages, the smart loo’s, the bouncy tents and filled the lot with happy, smiling faces for a whole 2 days of fun-ness.

Now, this is not my first rodeo, me and the team are seasoned in the arts and know all there is to know about doing the festivalling type stuff…. so we got our gear and headed down Oxford way. Not such a big ask, ‘cos I live 5 minutes from the event- happy me… and happy photographer buddies who also crashed at mine. Anyway, we get to the park, get our passes, get through security… all very smoothly (even the surrounding roads were blockage free), we head to the near empty bar and get a nice cold one- as today, the sun is bustin’.

We meet our old-time Bestival crew mates, and head out to photograph the new things, and grab a beer. The stages and goings’ ons start just before mid day on Saturday, warming up with some Oxford local types, before getting into things good and proper.

Not much change from last years set up, other than the big wheel had a flat and couldn’t make it! Darn it!! The event area is well laid out, there is plenty going on all over, but time has been taken to fit in all without making things look like they have been shoe horned into place. There is also a very good VIP section, again plenty of VIP space, VIP toilet (nice), VIP bar and VIP places to sit down, and by the looks of things there are a lot of VIPs… I crashed it. Food is all around us even in the VIP area, as are tasty treats and vast amounts of tipples and beverages. It is festival prices, but it is a festival and it is Oxford, so prices aren’t too bad at all.

The main stage gets up and running with the Oxford House Gospel Choir who are not as much gospel as they are rocking’ house and funky beats all the way to the end of the set – this was a great start to our hot and sunny gathering. Old school Ska makes a good a welcome appearance with The Beat (well Ranking Roger anyway), then The Selector – all tunes sung by the huge crowd bopping about the main stage.

Tents and stages are full to busting’ with the likes of Novelist and Goldie making a big impact in this cozy arena, and by 17:00the place is getting kinda busy. Theres no shame in staying at the main stage all day, as pretty much everything can be seen from any point around the festival – which is a really good thing, and helps us to get more beer in and still manage to get all the photos we need :) 

Amy MacDonald rocks on the stage, all acousticy, moody and sporting a whole load of tattoos (mostly skulls?) which didn’t really fit well with the tunes being sung…….. never the less, I’m old and have loads of rubbish tattoo’s so let’s get on…….and we do, as the Groovyest of groovy – groovsters, Groovy Armada squeeze open a tub of funky beats all over the faces of the lovely punters, and they eat it up like hungry homeless types and by this point alone the party has well and truly blasted right off, just as the sun starts to fall behind the spires and rooftops of Oxford town.

Sean Paul. We all stand facing the main stage, eagerly waiting for an R&B master class from the ‘dab-a-dab-a’ himself, and while we are waiting we can hear a growing group chanting for Ru Paul? – who’d a thought! Anyway, I’m not a big fan, BUT, that man does have a way about him. He got the moves, he got the thing, and he had a towel for the first 2 songs. – yip, a big white terry towel, which he would wrap round his hand and wave about a bit. Eh?. It was however a proper awesome set with swanky half-naked dancing ladies and some other stuff which I can’t remember. Smart. Thanks Sean.

We saw a lot during our time, and the one thing that sticks is how well put together this modest gem is sellotape and glued together, the team (not the security) are first-rate – as always, and it was a pleasure to see the old group. Hope to see you soon for more beers and exaggerated tales of being mid 40s.

Dave Livingstone