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Late Doors

Green Man 2013

Wel what a fabulous festival that was, best i've ever been to, had a fantastic time, still buzzing from it so have to do a big report, in instalments

Day 1 Thursday

Festivals get a fair amount of ridicule from certain quarters of the uber cool in the media, particular those of a certain age. There is something about the temporary abandonment of the mundane and normal by the mundane and normal that gets right up their noses. It probably interferes with their own nasal intake as thousands of them gather to nose dive into a few days of great music, good vibes and dare I say hedonism along with other like minded people. If the whole package comes complete with having to camp I think that is a fair deal, especially when the tent is among the luscious pastures of the Brecon Beacons. In any case with the right quality equipment, company, toothpaste and wet wipe supplies its fun for a while and a great way to immerse wholly into the festival.

Personally the likes of V and Leeds don't appeal with their propensity for corporate control neither  does the monstrousness of Glasto these days but thankfully we have other options. Latitude, Cabrini, the Green Man and more recently the end of the Road fest for example to supply a more agreeable environment. Green Man is set amongst the extraordinarily beautiful  Brecon Beacons against the back drop of sugar loaf mountain that lays out beneath it a green landscape of trees, rivers and the rolling contours of grazing land we become temporary custodians of. The mountain simply commands you to take care of the place.

Of course I'm not naive enough to think all this happens by some mystical earthly goodliness. The logistics of it all are immense. The stalls, Loo suppliers and maintenance  excellent staff, musicians and Indeed the National Trust all have to be funded for their hard work but to me it is fair trade. The difference with the Green Man is that all of the above is done with care, ethics, quality and respect. There is a consideration for others that runs right through the entire operation, maybe a tad pompous but feck it, it reflects how I want to live my life along with the 99.9% of the others there. (I'll get on to the 0.1% later )Put simply, there a very few other places on the planet I'd rather be that a few days at the Green Man Festival.

We hit the road on Thursday morning for the long drive down. Alan Partridges Audio book making Shaun, Si and I chuckle all the way down to Ross on Wye where we stopped for dinner. A couple of faggots (Dinner, not them pair) mash peas and a pint then onwards to the site. As soon as we parked up another car rolled up next to us and you could reek the Mary Jane immediately. Just a bunch of kids in dads car as well, one with a head band wrapped around his barely post adolescence boney behemothed  bonce. It was quite an operation getting all the gear from the car to the site but 90 minutes later we were sorted, seated and cidered in a prime position watching the next group of lads put their humongous city of tents together. Four central gazebos with a perimeter of one man tents brilliantly put up by just two of them. They could have been army lads such was the expertise and team work. Good set of lads whatever they were but certainly a mob you'd want on your side.

The festival proper doesn't actually start till Friday. Thursday is supposed to be a low key introduction with only a few perimeter activities and stages so we made our way to the far flung edges where the Chai Walla stage for new bands was hosting some early evening sounds. Not bad either. The first on were a duo, one guitarist /singer they other a human beat box. A hipper White stripes if you like with a good Chapman Streetwalker bluesy growl and some incredible percussion from the beat box guy. Spoilt a bit for me by his ridiculous propensity to fill the spaces with some embarrassing street language.

Next up a Manc band called Money who started with a terrific blues soul groove of the kind the Alabama shakes should do live but cant. For some reason they morphed into a flute filled folksy vibe. Maybe they thought that was expected but they should have stuck to what they are good at for me. Great voice and musicianship though. Afterwards we took a casual wander round the area to get some tucker before returning as dusk turned to a cooler night, distinctly back endish

By now a sizeable crowd had gathered in around the adjacent Far Out tent for headliner Patti Smith and her band. Clearly Thursday night is becoming a main stay of the festival. The main stage side screens had been moved up here to give the overspill crowd hushed in reverence amidst the chilled darkness opportunity to see her perform. Her intense declarations carried by the backdrop of simple chord accompaniment  filled the air with a welcome warmth. No one has ever said she or her band are great technicians but that is not what she is about. Ever since I heard Piss factory all those years ago and that incredible Whistle test performance her fearless honesty has truck me. Time has inevitably brought an endearing allure to her as confidence replaces angst but her delivery is unabridged.  Gracious with the crowd her songs still resonated with an anguish and purity occasionally bordering on the morose that my mate Shaun didn't enjoy but I loved. On Thursday night they filled the chilled night air with intense declaration.

A song from the wave album commenced proceedings then one from her first LP horses (Redondo beach?). It was a shortish set, mainly her first three albums but the odd one from later. A loose Summertime Blues and a brilliant version of Lennon's Beautiful Boy that had a wonderful maternal lavishness the original could never have. Elegie again from Horses was haunting. Because the Night pleased everybody including her and the whole set had a simple heart on sleeve resonance that I just loved. Her long untamed grey hair gives her a natural, maybe slightly intimidating presence but I think it is massively appealing and is reflected in her music in general. She spat on the stage, I was laughing and astonished and texted Butts, apparently she is known to have a piss on it he said it so I guess we were lucky. We had to contend with Pissing in a River From Radio Ethiopia, a brilliant emancipation song belted out with passion and still a bit of anger, ace

It finished with a song about people having the Power before she joyously declared that she was heading home and we headed back to the tent through the Green Man Night having finally caught a gig by this special women.

Back at the tent new arrivals had arrived next door, their camp fire gushing smoke high into the night air as they prepared to go out for the all night activities.


Tent's Up Big Shaun admires with a cider

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Over exposed but i like this one of Patti

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Tucker Time

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Back to the tent through the Green Man night

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New Arrivals prepare to go out as we were coming back

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smiling badger

Great stuff, chuffed you had an ace time of it.
Sounds like a real nice proper(see Leeds Fest thread} festival that i would like myself. The setting itself is worth the ticket money.

Awaits for second instalment..
fartcatcher

Sounds like a great little festival. Brecon Beacons must be a lovely setting (when it doesn't rain).
Late Doors

The lads next door must have been disappointed as Thursday doesn't host the all nighters they were expecting. It'd rained during the night and I awoke to the sounds of them zipping and shuffling their tent and gear that had leaked. Apparently it was a desert tent and everything was piss wet through.
We set up seats outside as Si cooked the bacon and watched their brazier spit fiery embers onto the ground sheet it stood on. Burning rubber and cooked bacon hung in the air as we looked on dubiously.

Off to Waitrose in Abbergavenny for supplies. I say supplies I mean a stack of Cider, wet wipes and kitchen role. Glamping MrsD accused us of but quality counts in these situations. A couple of early pints in the brilliant Bridge end pub in neighbouring village Crickhowell, not least to use their loo but also to take in the superb riverside location of the beer garden. It really is superb, good character landlord, quality pub food and very decent ale.

Back at the fest making our way to the grassy far bank of the main Stage we passed a smaller stage, the Green man uprising for young bands. Set adjacent to a pond a band were kicking out some REM vibe, very palatable. We pitched our fold up seats on the grass as Sam Amidon came on stage. Welcome to England on the Sunday afternoon he announced. He quickly recovered this very very wrong opening gambit but  first impressions had already been made. Open string acoustic chords rang out and he got underway with a set of multi instrument mellow contemporary folk. Not bad but a bit meandering although it did reflect the mood of the environment around us. I went for a wander and hit the North African Souk stall for a plate of excellent mezze. Bread, Olives, Beans, veg stew and some searing chilli sauce that begged for a cold cider, which it got. A bizarre but interesting Acoustic solo emerged from the stage to liven up the straight laced folk. The set finished with his best as a swirling pattern of guitars  wrapped around a simple drum beat proceeded a simple outro and he was off.

Over the trees to our left on the uprising stage some rolling drums and fuzz laced guitars launched out. We chose to stay put on the grass in the sunshine to wait for Julia Holter. Young lasses walked about in pairs wearing high waisted denim shorts with that '70s look Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver personified. The look is clearly de rigueur along with Beards and glasses for the lads.

Welcome from LA Julia announced before a shimmering cymbal burst opened her first song. young Kids tumbled playfully down the bank around us as parents casually looked over and chatted to one another. A mother and daughter knitted and read next to us as Julia got melancholic. A torchy lament with violins led into a livelier burst but it was all a bit in cohesive that didn't grab attention, pleasant enough but not demanding. "not sure about this" Si said but by now we were ready to go to the Far out stage for the first band of the day we all were looking forward to

'twas our friend Grunt who first brought the Parquet Courts to these ears. Ace New York combo that gather numerous NY musical references and roll them together to create two distinct sounds. One, a raw Garagey stab and the other a more agreaable, bass driven with a guitar line that leads the band into a  rolling groove. The latter is far better for me. Check out Grunts track in the what are you listening to thread. Classic Fender Guitars dance  with that ace hollow coil twang as the band produce several false endings to songs that string them out into fading then re emerging odysseys. Often they finish with feedback assaults that add to the excitement. They are very very good.

By now we had lost Shaun who had gone on walkabout. We had seen Caitlin Moran earlier sitting on the grass enjoying the fest and she was due in the comedy tent about now so we guessed he had gone over there. Si and I headed back the grassy knolls of the main stage area for the very brilliant Phosphorescent aka Americana singer songwriter Matthew Houck. I've only recently unearthed the beauty of this band after a chat with Mr Jumbo Records. I've been calling them Phosphersence until our old fried Higgs Boson corrected me on Twitter. In particular the album "Here's to Taking it easy" has really got under me these days. Si had incorrectly called The Tame impala Elephant track coming over the pa as Goldfrapp until I corrected him in a rare moment of musical one upmanship on him. My how we laughed as I celebrated, (we are the Wild bunch and no mistake) and the band took to the stage. Shaun was still MIA and the band eased into their soulfull country groove with the sun drenched magnificence of Sugar loaf mountain high above and beyond the stage behind them. It was sublime and perfect, maybe only 50 minutes with a good mix of material from the last album Muchacho and my favourite mentioned already. A lyrical and musical odyssey across the heart of America, deeply embroiled in its past but steadfastly encompassed in the contemporary. Everything that is great about this recent wave of Americana being reinterpreted by fabulous bands and musicians and this fella is amongst the best. He closed with a  reference to the heat of the sun and sun protection that I took to be some kind of ironic nanny like advice as he closed out with Los Angeles

The road is alive
With the trouble and fear
Frozen and blind
That's how they couple out here
And oh me oh my
They call me coloured up here
I looked in their eyes
Said I ain't came to Los Angeles, baby, just to die

but maybe I'm just misinterpreting the whole thing, it isn't unknown . Any way it was brilliant, we both agreed.

Some mid period Bowie filled the gap from the pa as roamed around half looking for Shaun and half just enjoying it all. His phone was off, presumably as part of some kind of statement on his behalf and we laughed while we guessed what that statement would be.

Pastels were next, not heard anything from this lot for a long time, can't fault the ace instrumental elements of the band but the singer was shocking, we relocated to the walled garden and pitched our seats up amongst probably the most intimate and handsome stage settings. A tiny stage with huge garden wall along one side and the Green Man pub (tent) on the other. Si asked a couple of older dudes if it was ok to sit where we planned. "No" one them said as he sat on the floor. "Then I can't see" he followed. We surveyed the 30 yards in front of us to the stage currently empty and looked at him with eyes that suggested he may be disappointed later. Nonetheless we moved a little sideways and left them to carry on their discussion on Amplifiers and their self importance as the area filled up with about three hundred people in front of us. "Why can't these people be civilised" one  of the pair behind us asked the other. Shaun had just timed his arrival here and spilled his cider down his shirt as he laughed at them. They left leaving us to the charms of Teleman, recommended to us by Butts.

I was surprised at this recommendation as I know his aversion to the brilliant Belle and Sebastian who this band massively referenced along with the Pet Shop boys and Bronski Beat (you get the picture?). anyway I thought they were fabulous. The whispy sugar coated breezy set of delicate little swingers was ideal for the setting and time. Since then I believe Butts saw them at End of The road and wasn't too impressed by the sound of his tweet.

Either before or after Teleman I can't remember on the same stage we caught a fair bit of Buke and Gass a very interesting duo playing some extraordinary looking instruments to produce a kind of homemade stomping tea chest beat rag time jaunty mash up. Must check them out a bit more. Shaun was also telling us about how much he enjoyed Moon Duo up in the far out tent while he was on his walkabout. A trippy rock band from LA whom he watched under the mistaken understanding that they were phosphorescent. He bought a CD of theirs on the strength of it anyway

Is there a finer bunch of musicians than Midlake to end the Summer twilight and take it into the night ?. Perched again on the grassy bank of the main stage we wondered what the impact of Tim Smith leaving the band would be. Fabulous and flexible musicians as they are he was a cornerstone that could leave a shaky gap. A couple of utterances from the band suggested that they miss him but will remain strong and it is a testament to their quality that they pulled it off. The vocals weren't as lavish and varied obviously but the playing and songs were still impeccable. Most of the set was from the latest album that I haven't got yet but will be soon. The ethereal sound, very atmospheric as you'd expect came over well but it was the old Roscoe and Rulers tracks that stood out for me. The whole set was a pastoral and harmonious delight.
After Midlake we went our separate ways for the last bands. I dint fancy Kings of Convenience as a headliner on the main stage but I did fancy F*ck Buttons up at the Far Out stage tent. Making my way up I called in the Real Tent where a fest within a fest was taking place over the weekend. It'd be rude not to I thought. Dozens of Ales and ciders from all over the country I took a strong dry hopped blonde up to the gig with me and watched this intriguing "band" set up.

A young lad ambled onto the stage where a group of techies were setting up equipment on a huge table twiddling knobs and pointing at things. The young anoracked lad with his hand in his pocket smiled and waved at the crowd as he surveyed the process. Clearly he was one of the Buttons. About twenty minutes later he returned with another lad to the completed stage set up, lights, smoke and excitable crowd welcoming them to the central table where they took up opposite positions on each end. They proceeded to orchestrate what I can only describe as an avalanche of potent energetic and fiercely driving sonic electronica. Each track started with a simple line or a computerised voice distorted beyond comprehension that stretched grew and swelled into an orchestral cavalcade that just took you over. The graduated pace and tempo of it embellished  with layer upon layer of electronic dynamism was thrilling. Brilliant progressive and contemporary  music as exciting as anything I have seen for a long time.

I'd had enough after they had finished. It had been a long day but a perfect day. Lovely sunshine and warmth but the night air had grown chilly and  I was still in t shirt. In any case I dint fancy the night time stuff. I was ready for a good night's sleep in the tent ready for Tomorrow. I got back to the tent and all was quiet. The lads next door had gone out, leaving the embers of their fire awaiting their return.

The riverside location of teh Bridge end pub our second home.

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Green Man Uprising stage.

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Perfect band perfect setting

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Why do they call it the Walled Garden Stage

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Button It

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fartcatcher

I didn't realise they let you have pass outs.

I'm not saying it's cheating, but getting a properly cooked meal, a decent pint and being able to have a shit in a flushing toilet is normally a luxury afforded only to those with backstage passes.  
bearing

Sounds great LD, are there many kids there?
Late Doors

Lots of the ilttle blighters

Day 3 Saturday
I awoke to the sound of commotion outside the tent from a few yards away. I guessed it must have been 8.30. it was 6am. The two lads next door had just returned with a few guests and were still clearly in full on party mode. I heard the sound of wood chopping only feet away from my barely awaking head. Music blared out from the general direction and their fire cackled and spat. One girl suggested they were making  too much noise but only inflamed the din by provoking a philosophical declaration . "Why come to a festival if you don't like sound?" one of the beffudled idiots asked. Meanwhile chemical brother 1 was continuing to smash wood to smithereens with increasing intensity to feed their fire already the size of a small horse. All the time singing the line "My computer thinks I'm Gay".

Now, I have nothing per se against Placebo's fine Lyric. It raises questions about man's relationship with technology, data gathering, privacy issues, consumer profiling, sexual ambiguity and discrimination but when it is repeatedly sang in sync with the frantic thud of blade on wood only feet away from where you lie it takes on a more sinister element. Meanwhile Chemical Brother 2 was  asking what they were going to do "tomorrow".

Well I had half a mind to get out and remind the MDMA fuelled axe swing boggled eyed jabbering maniac that to us whose mind hasn't been dissolved into fog by a night of chemical combustion "tomorrow" is actually "today" and would they all mind awfully just turning the noise down and perhaps going  to sleep. Thankfully the other rational half gained the high ground and I decided to let the security staff deal with it. They did, about a hour later. At 9.30 we emerged from our tent for brekky and looked wearily at the motionless silent tent next to us along with all the other neighbours.

12.30 was footy time. The mighty White Gods playing the Wendies at home. We took the fabulous 40 minute riverside stroll to Crickhowel and the Britannia pub for pole position  in front of the telly along with a few other fans and locals. A draw thankfully didn't ruin the day and it was back along the river to rejoin the festival where dark clouds were gathering in the sky above. We arrived at the main stage just as Lord Huron were starting their set of  jaunty cowboy ramalongadingdong ditties peppered with sweet clean guitar that cut through the soft drizzle and onto the swirling brollies of the crowd gathered at the front of the stage. Good stuff, it kept the spirits up.

A lovely low slung rainbow arced across the hillside behind the stage as the rain eased. Roy Harper is a bonafide living legend. A performer of immense presence, integrity and talent. He freely declares that he is now an old man but what little he may have lost in vocal prowess and guitar dexterity he makes up for with grace and sincerity. One man, one seat, one mic and a few guitars he made the whole valley his own. I cast my mind back to the brilliant Josh T Pearson set here a couple of years ago and reminded myself of the massive influence Roy has had over the years. Impassioned vocals and a guitar that sounds like three rang out with emotional intensity. The contrast to his casual musings between songs and his endearing grandaddy self depreciative nature was sublime. It was another short set that could have gone on for hours with no complaints from anybody. It included a song he wrote tears ago called Green Man, " if I can remember the words". He did of course. Brother Doors loves this fella with a Butts/Springsteen type ardour and I can see why. There are no angles, gimmicks or hype about him, just pure brilliant musical poetry. I got quite emotional when he played the last song "when an old cricketer leaves the crease" it was a piece of Green Man magic.

The sun temporarily broke with a glimmer of blue sky as the brilliant Low came on to the stage. They started with the simple intro to on my own that dissolves into a petulant guitar meltdown. Quite a challenging intro I thought and Alan sang through the first few numbers. He ended the stint with the superb Plastic Cup ending with the line "maybe you should go out and write your own dam song and move on" and gave the stage to partner Mimi to deliver her response. I do love this band immensely. The set was a lot of the new album plus Witches, I never felt less like Al Green in my life. Wired almost claustrophobic with tight still surfaces that run deep. I think I've said before, no band can do so much with so little.

Gathering up our seats and stash we had nothing planned for an hour or so and headed up to the top end towards the Far out stage. An incredibly drunk bloke swayed amongst the horrified mothers who gathered up their children. You dont see any of that usually here so he stood out especially in his open Hawaiian shirt over a Motorhead t shirt. A cool look I'm sure you'll agree. Having arrived at the far out area a girl in a mobility scooter passed along the big queue for the ladies loos, jumped off and limped into the vacant invalid loo. Made me laugh anyway but not as much as her mate who fell about laughing at her in embarrassed astonishment.

Nearby was a Caribbean food stall selling delicious looking homemade West Indian food. I dived in for a portion of Lamb ribs, plantain, Rice n Peas, lip smacking good and satisfying. Funnily enough at the adjacent Chai Wallah stage a reggae band came on. I left S n S seated and cidered (not big reggae fans) and headed towards them deep into the tent near the front. I can't remember the name of the band I think it was something like Solo Benton who must have been the main man. He had a horn section an accompanying toaster and a few other musicians and boy were they good. A perfect contrast to most of the other festival music and bang on with it. Authentic reggae playing Ska, Rock Steady, straight up reggaefied pop and some motormouthed toasting that had the entire crowd jumping including yours truly. Massive feel good music. I left after a good hour of pure delight to join the other two for Steve Mason.
I've always like this fella, brave honest and an unyielding angry man. His high head singing voice and the baggy style groove are completely at odds with his searing lyrics and staunch political resentment but I love the mix. A set of loose groove and fierce attitude was excellent. Great inter song chat as well calling on the crowd to stick together because we are strong together just as Patti had done a couple of nights ago on that same stage. It ended with some savage goverment berating and we left for the walled garden stage.

Golden group of the moment the Allah Las were due on to headline so we thought we'd catch twenty minutes before the Band of Horses closed proceedings on the main stage. As it happens the precious feckers kept everybody waiting so we abandoned them and headed to the main area to pitch ourseats in the rain for BoH.

I hugely enjoyed this lot the last time we saw them, in Leeds I think, a couple of years ago. This was their last date of a big tour and it showed. Not that it wasn't enjoyable, it was but it lacked the punch and intensive dynamism of that gig in Leeds. Yes the ace songs were there but it had an and of term blow out feel about it. Relaxed carefree meandering guitars, casual vocals and a definite Friday afternoon work feel about it. Can't blame them I suppose, last on the bill, last date of the tour, they can drop their guard if they want. We liked them, so did the rest of the crowd bouncing under their brollies but by the time they had finished I'd had enough. The other two had already left.

Another excellent day, Sunday's weather looked good so I tucked in hoping for a decent kip which I got. The lads next door were quiet and as things panned out they were actually alright. Said they were Just having a bit of a Friday night thing. Still haven't got the hang of this days in a week thing though

Three Jackasses on the riverside walk

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Rainbow for Roy

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Lively up yourself

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and the crowd

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Band of Horses end their tour and the night
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Butts

Lovely stuff, it's making me yearn for the Black Mountains.

You're very kind to Money, I'd love (hate) to hear them shorn of the effects and the aural slights of hand.

I've got problems with Steve Mason (and the Beta Band). Anyone who sings with a raised eyebrow (see also Neil Hannon) I absolutely abhor. Their archness implies they are cleverer than the person buying their records when of course they are not.

Roy Harper sounds perfect for that setting, inspired casting.
Late Doors

Day 4 Sunday

Another quite night with only the sunshine lighting up the tent to waken us. Usual brekky of bacon sarnies and appalling tea followed by a chat with the neighbours. By now the 4 day Grey/Ginger stubble had softened that had me thinking another two months and a pair of glasses and I could be trendy.

Another stroll to the village along the river this time in fresh sunshine set the day up nicely. Into the Bridge and this time a lovely Sunday dinner to accompany the usual before the walk back.


Edwynn Collins was just into his set as we walked into the main stage area. Some joyous Orange juice tracks that took us way back. Who'd have thought that cracking little post card indie band's music would be lighting up big festival gigs 30 years on? Whatever happened to Josef K and the Scars though?
Up to the Far out stage for someone we were all looking forward to. Mikal Cronin is maybe best known for his work with Ty Seagal. His solo stuff cruises a more accessible and immediate road. Strewth they are so young I thought as they appeared onto the stage. College boys with guitars and retro Woodstock looks. Not a bad thing of course, merely an observation.

People lazed about in the sunshine outside well within the sound sphere but I wanted to get nearer. Excellent harmonic sweet grunge  surf to buoy the soul. Not complicated, not very adventurous but tunefully interesting as well as dynamic and layered. A lovely and respectful finale of Wreckless Eric's Whole Wide World had a few of the older folks in the crowd dancing in that stiff way old rockers do, mostly arms and slow motion legs. They soon stopped though as the version accelerated into a wig out sonic surf ending. Ace

We lazed about sipping cider and chatting. Another brilliant part of this trip is to spend time with mates, just laughing and chatting about things.

Woods next, not a band we knew anything about. We heard the distinctly feminine voice doing the scales in the sound check and Shaun noticed the distinctive sound of Rickenbacker guitar.

Minutes later I was inside again for this very very interesting band. Not least because the voice belonged to a geezer, a bearded one at that. The pure steady high end tones of the sound check didn't hold quite as steady in actual performance but the overall sound was edgy brilliance. A central driving bass player and searing 12 string rhythm with occasional piercing solo and indeed I am pretty certain it was a Rickenbaker the vocalist was playing with some pretty damm interesting solos strangled out of it. Fantastic interplay amongst the band, very energetic and quirky. The guitarists reminded me of Nels with his very personal constructed guitar playing and measure tempos. Again, ace.
Lest we got roots there we mosied down to the walled garden area. An unknown band were launching pleasant violin led ditties. Something about winter making me want you more. Cute. I like the intimate closed space of this venue, bands get to reach out a bit more. I took a solo walk around. Johnny something and the Sussex wit played a few neat and tidy jumpy folk tunes with the occasional banjo burst before I headed back to the walled garden through the pretty gardens in between. I love to get myself back to the garden man.

Some kafkan robed young uns were sound checking what sounded to me like a dangerous venture into preposterous prog rock territory. I was right, holy moses they were dreadful. Swedish apparently, made me actually yearn for Abba. Back up to the Far out stage for Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Discovered this band on Riley's 6 music show and they have crept under my skin like a tickle, Scratchy guitars bordering on meltdown before wigging out into oblivion. High end vocals, interesting and unexpected hooks, quality songs, definitely a highlight of the weekend, watch this band.

Walled garden again for the much lauded Public Broadcasting Corporation. Like what I've heard, interesting electronic plinkery (is that a word? it is now) and a layer of 50's/60's BBC type instructional commentary over it. Big interest, largest gathering so far in this stage area but sadly it doesn't come over live all that well. Might as well be playing the CD with some additional synthed communication with the crowd. Most of the crowd departed after 20 minutes including us for the very very brilliant British Sea Power up at the Far out stage.

What can I say about BSP? I will quote a shouted comment from the crowd between two songs at the gig. "What a band, what a fucking top band" The band laughed and said thank you. Everyone else agreed. Mainly the new album but a few old favourites of quality guitar driven, thoughtful, interesting, sincere, atmospheric indie brilliance. I chuffing love this band, even more now.
So last act approached, I felt a bit sad already. The real ale tent was selling the last of the ale at 2 pound a pint but now wasn't the time to tank it back. I had a fish curry from the ace Goan Curry tent and settled for the Swans rather than Ben Howard. I can handle  Swans on certain occasions. A swirling dirty deep tuneless avalanche of a sound. Finishing of a beautiful festival wasn't one of them occasions. I left after20 minutes, they were just too challenging for the time and occasion. The three of us went our separate ways

So Ben Howard it was for me. Yeah, blandish, sugary white man troubadour, Ryan Adams's poloraid negative but by this time I couldn't care less. I was wrapped up in the glow of the last few days. Ben had been touring for 2 1/2 years apparently and again as with other acts this was his last date before going home and into hiding for a while. It was a nice gentle end to the whole fest. I beat the crowd and walked, neigh floated to the tent supremely contented.

Up early for the getaway we made the Monday a relaxed saunter back north. Fab Breakfast in Ludlow, (the Marches) and a nice few pints in Shrewsbury (The Salopian) well me n Shaun anyway Tea in some pub betwixt Macclesfield and Buxton and home for about half eight. A quite brilliant few days. Thank you if you have read all this, it's been emotional .


Riverside walk to the village

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they are getting younger, Mikal Cronin

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Woods

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Not too far outside the Far Out

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Not unknown anymore

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Lovely late sun

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Waving flags. BSP

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