Festibelly 27 August 2011
August 31, 2011, 11:31 pm
Filed under: Festival Reviews

Terrapin Station, Festibelly

As my broken tent lies abandoned in a field somewhere in the New Forest and my sleeping bag hides under my bed, avoiding a much needed wash, I reflect on a Summer of several Festivals.  (Three pairs of wellies and two tents later…)

Festibelly was my seventh, and at this point final Festival of the Summer, (yes I am still holding out for a miraculous Bestival ticket falling from the sky.)  Playgroup (blog here) proved to be a hard act to follow, with this one-day, one-night set-up in the New Forest boasting on its website, an atmosphere reminiscent of what I experienced a couple of weeks ago in Tunbridge Wells, yet not really living up to it.

OK, the surroundings were idyllic – great scenery in the New Forest; with plenty of game (yum) to be found at reasonable prices on the food stalls; walk-able distance to local town for booze and train station but this Festie lacked the character I had hoped for from the fab write-up on its website.

Unfortunately although the website stated that the “line-up [would] be jam packed with the hottest musical and artistic talent, established, new and emerging,” some of the artists weren’t actually there.  A notable example (who is still listed on their website) is Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs who I had been looking forward to.  Also, unfortunately a load of the acts were repeated throughout the bill.  Now, this would be great if I happened to be at Reading and Pulp, The Strokes and Madness HAPPENED to clash and I could then catch them at other times but when it’s not anyone you’ve heard of, it ain’t as effective!

In defence of what I have just said though, the price tag on this Festival was £30.  But seeing as it was just 12 hours of music essentially and you could have seen Prince at the Hop Farm Festival for around the same for a day ticket, it wasn’t worth the 6 hour round trip, £20 train fare from Brighton.  Eek, sorry!  (If you want to read a nicer review I have written about Festibelly, one should be up within a day or so here.)

Courtesy of Tamara Fletcher

However, on a positive note, there were some highlights worth a mention.  Although the heavens opened for the best part of Saturday, the sun shone for Skinny Lister, who I have had the pleasure of meeting at two other Festivals this Summer (see Playgroup photo to the right.)  This knees-up, toe tapping folk band are ideal for any Festival, in fact, they’ve played 25 Festivals this Summer.  Despite this hectic season, they are highly energetic, engaging with the audience and they had everyone voluntarily grabbing their neighbour by the arm and swinging around, (helped along by a couple huge vats of potent alcohol that they distributed within the crowd.)

Another act I was eager to see was Mercury Music Prize 2011 nominee Ghostpoet, who was brilliant.  I was bewitched by Oh Ruin a solo male artist who although looked slightly ruined from his rush down South from Reading Festival was vocally enthralling and beyond amazing on guitar.  When he was joined by Jess from She Keeps Bees their vocal harmonies melted in my mouth and when I went back for their set later, he joined their band as well.  I say, the more the merrier, just join together?

Oh Ruin and Jess from She Keeps Bees

Also on the plus side, New Young Pony Club were a top headliner and the silent disco at the end of the night was a real laugh.  Thankfully it was really well organised so you didn’t have to pay a headphone deposit (like some Festivals.)  The biggest bonus of this small Festival was that the camping and main site were not divided so you could drink your own booze.  The food was also really well priced so it was good for a tight budget!

To round off my musings of Festibelly, I have a classic Miss B move that I pulled on the walk out of the Festival (and even if you don’t find it particularly funny, trust me –  it beat the comedy tent!)  Having worn them all of the Festival, my boyfriend suggested that we make the most of our wellies and wade through a big puddle on the way out.  He flirted with the edge of the bog-like slush while I confidently waded further, jumping in true Vicar of Dibley (see VoD video here) style into a zone that was nearing waist-height.  Instead of staying upright, my rum hangover got the better of me and I toppled over onto my side, lying there while Elliott had a good old laugh at me, kicking himself for not having a camera to hand.
It was indeed funny (especially to everyone around me) yet not so fun to travel home caked from arse cheek to toe in dodgy smelling mud, with slushy wellies.  This builder’s breakfast made it a lot better though!
Until next time,



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