Yet another festival, and this time its the Rockinbeer in Cambridgeshire. We were on the Sunday night, the final night of the festival playing after John Otway. Still in its early days, this festival has the makings of being a big regular festival.
I was picked up at Twyning, near Tewkesbury by Jay, Ruth and Rob at mid day, we then shot off up the M5 in a cloud of dust and Lambert and Butler smoke. The main topic for the journey was Morgues, Abattoirs and the fun to be had with body parts........and cycling. The conversation started because we were passed by a van that had the words...DEAD BODY ON BOARD.
We were first to arrive out of the BH vehicles. So, we has a quick wander around, got our passes and chilled. Not that far behind was Bluehorse One with Stan, Lizzy and Nic. Then an hour later the Furmston Clan arrived.
We had hours of time to kill, so we headed back stage to check out the arrangements. The festival had laid on free drinks and butties bless em, so we made full use of the generous offer. Myself and Rob went to investigate the beers on offer at the bar. I came away with pint of Trehafod Bowel Basher, and Rob had some Double Diamond (i think)
After checking out the stalls outside and gassing for a few hours it was time to do some work. Nics drum kit was put together in the back stage area so he could mark up his new mat.
We were lucky enough to watch a bit of John Otway who was superb live. Total nutter, but one hell of a performer. Managed to have a quick natter with him later.....sound bloke.
Bluehorses were introduced on stage by Pandora from Radio Caroline. When she finished, the band roared into Cabbage Train, followed on by Witch In Wedlock.
From the front it sounded very loud and meaty, and the impressive lighting system looked great. It was a large stage, so the band had room to wonder around.
Billy Boy, Blackleg both kept the dancing crowd sweaty, but Hoedown Reel really raised the temperature to boiling point.
The band themselves were having a blast. The crowd where all getting into it, with a few cases of head banging going on at the front.
NightVisit, Gravel Walk and the amazing Ostara kept the pace going and the crowd loved it. Old Haslams Bits never fails to kick arse. Next up was Barbara Allen....a long time classic.
Bigger Gun and of course the mighty Skyclad brought the main part of the set to an end. The crowd were gagging for more, and then Pandora came onstage again to call the band out for one more song, and so they did much to the delight of the festival crowd. The band then finished off with Twmballwm.
A great gig, and the crowd loved it and so did we. It was a great pleasure to play to such a wonderful crowd who knew how to have a good time.
The kit had to be rushed off stage very quickly for the next band on. We grabbed all we could, the drum kit was wheeled off and that was it. We had out stuff off in under 10 mins. As one kit was wheeled off the next was pushed on, and with both bands haing loads of gear it seemed it might get a bit messy, but everyoe pulled together and just got the job done.
The band then all went out front to a very large crowd of people wanting to meet the band and get autographs.....cool. the people were lovely and its always a pleasure for the band to say hello and have a chat.
We were all driving back, so beers were avoided by all, but the free coffee was taken advantage of. We packed the gear up and piled it up by the loading bay doors then chilled.
It was a sunday night, we all had to get back home, and myself and Rob both had work in the morning, and here we were, still in Cambridgshire at 1am. Mike and family were heading off to France the moment they left the festival site.....nutters.
The whole day was a blast. We had to search Lizzy several times just in case oe of the puppies from the back somehow made it in to her back pack, but she was on her best behaviour.
I must thank all the staff at the Rockinbeer Festival, they couldnt have been more helpfull and supportive. They made a fantastic job of laying on this festival, it was very well organised and a pleasure to go to.
Organisation backstage was superb, the staff were lovely and helped with the gear. They were short staffed, but still did all they could to help us.
Hev and Rob also deserve big hugs as well for dealing with the swarm of punters out to buy stuff....yet again, the album sold out.
Katie and Steph also get a big hug for looking fter the camcorders during the set.
Thats really it, the last festival of the season, and what a wonderful way to end it.
We got there at staggered times. Jay first, then Lizzy, Nic and Stan, then some time after Mike, Rob and me arrived in Mikes wagon.
The drive over Long Myndd was a surprise, very steep, very narrow and no safety barriers. Views were outstanding. We eventually got there, only taking a couple of wrong turns. You could see the hillside, covered in tents from a distance, so that was it. It looked like a small version of Glastonbury.
We booked in, and got our passes from the drunk guys at the gate, then drove down to the back stage area to meet up with the others. All was looking well.
The band who were performing before BH were just starting. Big helloooo'sand hugs over with, a few beers were cracked open, and the unloading of the kit started. The stage was just amazing. It was bodged together using a COW ROTARY MILKING PARLOUR CAROUSEL and several pallets. The idea came to them while they were all down the pub (suprise suprise). The stage had a large circular revolving patform in the middle. Then it was halved, to create two stages. While one band played, the next band could set up behind them without being seen, then at the right time, the stage turned round to reveal the next bands stage. It was very, very clever, and saved ooodles of time at the band change over. While setting up, a guy appeared from the performing side of the stage, came up to me and Stan, stripped off to his shreddies, put on a womans tight dress, wig and a whip.....then went off again......this was getting more and more mental .
With the gear set up, it was time to chill and have couple of ales (do as the locals do). When the previous band finished, the stage rotated to reveal the Bluehorses stage set to a huuuge applause and whistles....that was cool. Cabbage train of course kicked off the nights party. What the band didnt see, was the guy fixing the stage floor just behind Nic on the other side of the partition, he was hammering the crap out of the stage with a large lump hammer, and managing to time the hits to Nics drumming...
Despite the fact that the back stage looked like a building site, the front stage view was very impressive and was as good as any other festival, in fact they had a pretty good light system. The area was heaving with people, all having a blast. This was going to be a storming night. The front of the stage was crammed with people jumping and dancing. In fact some of the security guys were kept busy with them for a while making sure it didnt get to over the top. Have to hand it to those lads from security, they had the right attitude. They didnt stop people having fun, they just wanted all to be safe. Witch in Wedlock kept the party going and many people knew the chorus. Billy Boy gave the crowd a chance to see Lizzy strut her stuff with her mandolin. Blackleg also kept up the pace. Next up Hoedown/Reels, now things really did kick off. The crowd was going bonkers, it was a pure party atmosphere, they were here to have a great time and dance the night away and they got the best band to do it to. Night Visit was up next, Gravel Walk Ostara then live classic Haslams Bits...the dancing at the front was a sight to see. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, the band or the crowd. Bigger Gun, Skylad and of course Twmbarlwm finshed off the set. It was a blinder of a gig. The crowd had a fantastic night and so did we. This is what its all about, everybody having a great time to an excellent live band and really getting into the spirit of it. Again, the stage rotated so we could pack away the gear. To me, this was what festivals are all about. It was a great experience. The band had a great time, and the crowd loved it, they danced all the way throught the set and made a party out of it. Major thanks to Farmer Phil and his team of drunk staff who made a perfect festival. No corporate bullshit. This is a festival we must come back to.
This one was a laugh, and also a time warp.... festivals used to be like this before organisation came to them. ...
As Andy has already stated we were operating as the Bass man resuce vehicle again... Rob, as a family man with morgage to support, had to work on Friday and could not leave before 4pm, so I had arranged to swing by and pick him up on the way... It also made sense to add Andy to the list and help global warming while we were at it.
While we were on route, the supersonic pathfinding unit, radioed back that the most expeditious route was up from the South. Did we believe him .... ohh no .... the route planner showed the route in from the East - was not till we go there that it turned out to be a single track road (closed for snow ion the winter), over the long myndd. Nice views, pretty scenery, glad we got off before dark
On the other side, the route planner showed the festival site at a Tee junction. No festival, so left or right? we chose wrong and went right .... after a couple of miles down a single track lane, we voluenteered Andy to go and ask a local farmer. The banjoes were playing, and I think the only thing Andy picked up between the cake and booze was we had the wrong road
About turn and up the other way .... more by good luck than judgement, we turned up the right road and could see the tents linign the hill opposite. The entrance was down another single track road, and after a element of chicken with a small car - reversed all the way back up the track, rather than pull into the side to let us and several other assorted vans and cars past. The gate security may well have been on the booze since 9am, but there was a tank in the field next door, just in case of trouble
We arrived just in time for the hard work to begin - building the kit. The edge of the stage was always a bit daunting (see andy's photos above) and caused a few bottle necks getting across to the far side. But all was completed quickly.
Before too long we were under way, the stage turned and a quick line check and we were in full flow. the area in front of the stage was packed with people and behind the sound desk was a whole covered area with people chilling out. this is the first time that I have seen an arrangement of separate covered area for the fans ... normally it is either one big sweaty tent or open air .... this was great.
All too soon and were were finished ...... Rob was busy sellign the merchandise like mad at his "al fresco" stall - the hole in the fence - and the big clean down and pack into van job starts.... This was all done by midnight, adn we retired to the bar for a pint (or two).
We (andy, I and the girls) left at 2am for the drive back - we were staying at a campsite in the Gower for the weekend. The first coffe stop was where we picked up andy at Ross on Wye, but I also needed one just outside Cardiff, and 3 1/2 hours after leaving the site, I crawled into my pit, dead to the world...
I cant have ben that tired becasue at 8:30am I was awakened by the tent next door singing nursery rhymes and screaming loudly... time for the beach ..... a good widn break (for verilly it doth low fearcely in the Gower), a bit of shade and fast asleep. Waking up in the middle of the afternoon, and time to retreat back for food.