Reading Festival review

Festival season is fading fast…and the nights are getting longer far too quickly for my liking.

However, for those missing those festie vibes and soothing sunsets here is the review I did for TFF of Reading Festival a couple of weeks ago.

Click here.


Reading Festival guide for Reading Post

One of the things I love about my job is that I get the opportunity to write features for the Reading Post and Get Reading. From laughter workshops to Cardiff press trips there’s a chance to do all types of writing.

Here are some pre-pieces I did for Reading Festival for the Reading Post Festival guide.

(Oh and apologies for not writing for absolutely ages!)

Click on the links for interviews.

Interview with The Kaiser Chiefs

Interview with the divine Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable

Five minutes with Spector

Dog is Dead are amazing!

Also got street styled by Company magazine at Reading Festival at the weekend.

Here is the pic.

Have just submitted my Reading review to This Festival Feeling  so will post that here soon when it is up.

The delicious Simon Pegg
August 30, 2012, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Festival Reviews, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

The delicious Simon Pegg

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,


Playgroup Festival 5-7 August 2011
August 18, 2011, 6:12 pm
Filed under: Festival Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

My latest Festival adventure took place at Playgroup Festival, in the woodland of Eridge Park near Tunbridge Wells.  As the Lemon Bus from Brighton trundled down a bumpy dirt track, it was like stumbling upon an enchanted forest.  Festival-goers had really pulled out the stops with their designated woodland animal costumes, and the Festival space was carefully crafted, oozing charm, character and creativity.

The line-up was bursting at the seams with Brightonian talent (and rightly so) with talks, magicians, poetry and cabaret alongside the music.  There was a prevalence of large and danceable ensembles such as Carnival Collective and Kalakuta Millionaires and this was contrasted with chill-out cinemas open until the early hours.

Notable performances came from The Correspondents, (check out ‘What’s happened to Soho?’) and Skinny Lister, with the absolute highlight being the electrifying and energetic set from improvisational 2-piece AK-DK.

AK-DK use looping and all sorts of corgs and keyboards-connected-to-several-pedals-technology as a backdrop to a drum kit for each of them.  This experimental approach in which they invite musically talented friends to join them on stage is risqué and could be potentially wanky.  Yet, their down-to earth, warm interaction with the audience and with each other, alongside their incredible improvisational talent made the performance.  Particularly impressive was when they were joined by vocalist Bunty who performed solo at the Festival also.

For me, Playgroup put the emphasis on making your own Festival experience.  Much as the name suggests, Playgroup set an environment in which to be free, to relax and to play.  There were instruments, there were dressing up boxes and there were competitions.

Playgroup Festival is an ideal outlet for Brighton’s creativity!

For those in Canterbury this weekend, there’s a free Festival in the Dane John Gardens from midday.  For more details click here.

Next one for me is going to be Festibelly in the New Forest.  Am particularly looking forward to Mercury-nominated Ghostpoet (he’s playing in B-town tomorrow night too.)  Headlining are New Young Pony Club, woop woo!

Finally, apologies for lack of pix but I went for the disposable camera this time, and didn’t produce anything worth putting on the blog.  However, Playgroup Festival’s Facebook group has plenty of offerings here.

Until next time…

Miss B x

Lounge on The Farm: Street Style
July 31, 2011, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Festival Reviews

This one’s gonna be brief on the word count, as Lounge was 3 weeks ago!  I haven’t had time to update the blog as I have been working and staying in London for the past 3 weeks but I have a few Festivals coming up in August which I will be sure to keep you updated with!

I wanted to make sure I did this feature for all those lovely people who I got pics of @ LOTF 2011 who looked fookin’ fabulous and might provide you readers some last minute tips for Festival Fashion!  In the end, my Artrocker piece ended up focusing on the boys and can be read here.

Here’s who/what I found!  Enjoy… x

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hop Farm Festival 1-3 July 2011
July 6, 2011, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Festival Reviews

I have never been lucky enough to attend Glastonbury, but the experience of the Saturday and Sunday headliners at the Hop Farm had the calibre I would expect of Glasto and blew me away.  I attended Hop Farm last year to see Bob Dylan and also thoroughly enjoyed Ray Davies, Mumford and Sons and Seasick Steve to name a few.  This Festival is unique in offering a  cosy vibe juxtaposed with massive artists and it won’t stay that way for long, especially after Prince put Paddock Wood on the map with his epic Sunday evening performance.

My Saturday began mid afternoon against the backdrop of Howard Devoto’s late 70s band Magazine setting the punktastic vibe for the afternoon/evening.  Patti Smith followed with a stunning set that was as fresh and raw as she always had been; somehow combining  openness and vulnerability with effortless sex-appeal.  The energy around the stage and beyond was electrifying and euphoria was evident particularly as the crowd sang along to hits such as ‘Because the Night’ and ‘Gloria.’  Being near to the stage and surrounded by new friends made this performance of the day for me, (well except Morrissey!!!)

I was eagerly anticipating Lou Reed and hoping for a good ol’ singalong to ‘Perfect Day’ (any excuse to sing to the boyfriend…) or even to take a ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ but just like Dylan last year; Reed was not going to play ball and sing the songs everybody knows!  A shaky and at times bewildered looking Lou Reed gave Hop Farm moments of beauty and energy with sprinklings of stumbling over the words.  But hey, it was during his Velvet Underground covers so we all know the words anyway, and the Festival atmosphere plus the fact we were accompanying the one and only Lou Reed made it a compliment to the evening bill.

As soon as The Stooges frontman’s leathery torso crossed the border of the wings, the crowd at Hop Farm surged violently towards the stage, encouraged by Iggy himself, who invited several Festival-goers onstage.  I was about 4 rows from the front and at one moment determined to dive in myself, but after seeing some of the battle wounds I am glad I didn’t!  However, being caught in the energetic mosh pit for a while was really fun and apt for the high-octane performance.  Iggy is the best frontman I have seen live, well as I say that, I forget I have Prince as a contender but at this point in my life he was and even if you couldn’t hear the music, his moves are really something else!

I didn’t even consider my sins as I called myself an avid Smith’s fan and tucked into an £8.50 steak sandwich before Morrissey.  Of course it slightly repeated on me during ‘Meat is Murder.’  The crowd got a bit sour at the front of the crowd which was a shame so I enjoyed the majority of the gig from a bit further afield.  Morrissey had clearly changed his tune a bit since Glastonbury and was very interactive with the crowd and hailed Hop Farm as ‘the best Festival left in the UK.’   He performed a good mix of solo stuff and a few Smith’s choons, which is to be expected, but I would have liked more Smith’s.  Saying that his performance was solid and I enjoyed ‘You’re the one for me Fatty’ and ‘Irish Blood, English Heart.’  Most memorable moment was the spine-tingling rendition of ‘There is a light that never goes out.’

For the encore, he popped back for ‘This Charming Man’ which was super.

Saturday was rounded off with a bit of comedy, notably Stewart Lee who had a giggle about Lou Reed’s performance.  Shame he was only on for 20 mins.

Saturday night reminded me why not to use a pop-up tent that says it’s for 2 but means perhaps a small child and a puppy, especially when your boyfriend is 6″4′!

However, I was also reminded of how fickle I can be as I moved from hating the cold condensation dripping inside the tent to finding it a relief on the hot Sunday morning.

Sunday’s line up looked like someone had used Burrough’s cut-up technique on a range of acts as shockingly Tinie Tempah proceeded Prince.  Converting this into a positive factor, we used the time to move the car and put down the tent (as well as you can put down a pop-up tent – do NOT buy one!)  Before Prince, I enjoyed Big Deal earlier in the day (for a full review of them – check out my Great Escape blog here.)  They were followed by Tall Ships, a 4-piece energetic electro band, layering catchy and irresistibly danceable loops with sharp vocals.  Check out Books.

I lounged on the grass to the backdrop of Eliza Doolittle during the day and enjoyed Larry Graham with his passionate session musicians and iconic white suit.

However it was clear by the abundance of purple; ribbons, balloons, catsuits, you name it that everyone was there for Prince.

I was gutted I forgot my raspberry beret.  I’ve never worn it and I think I missed my opportunity to rock it.

Fashionably late onto the stage, but worth the wait, Prince and his highly talented female band managed to pull off precarious outfits, comments digging at the day’s bill ‘This is real music’, audience interaction, pouting into the camera, around 4 octaves and approximately 5 encores.  The incredible set was daring, it was camp, it was fun, it was iconic and it will be forever imprinted in my mind as one of the most epic and thrilling performances I have experienced.

He combined medleys of his hits alongside ones where he asked the audience ‘Can we take a little more time on this one?’

‘Purple Rain’ was incredible with an explosion of shiny purple paper over the crowd, so light that it floated over for the duration of the song.

Prince’s performance was enhanced by his connection with his audience and was a brilliant end to an amazing line-up, carried by such iconic musicians of our time.  It was an honour to experience them.

What a shame about the 2 hour queue to get out of the car park!