Monday, June 02, 2014

Hello summer - well sort of...

In the US at least Memorial Day seems to be regarded as the start of the summer season.
In the UK June 1st is the start of the Meteorological Summer and as the Festival Season starts so does the 'European Monsoon', which is not generally drastic but can, and often does, play havoc with festivals and particularly those that take place in June.
There is nothing we can do about it - this is simply the result of living on the windward edge of an ocean that has a vast continent to the east of it.
That said the UK hosts an astonishing number of festivals of all shapes, sizes and influences; the most famous is, of course, Glastonbury. I am not going to that, although it is just over a dozen miles away as the crow flies, and indeed I never even applied for a ticket. On the other hand I completed my festival bookings yesterday by adding one that, although now well established, I have never attended before.
Each year I aim to choose one that is new to me and last year that was Sunrise Festival, which was all of five miles away from home. There is a real frisson to attending a particular festival for the first time and that comes from not knowing the dynamic, be it the layout of the site, the audience or the presentation.
It is most pronounced whilst travelling there or that is how it seems to me. When I was driving to Latitude 2007 I was half-convinced that I would look at it and simply turn round and drive back home again. I guess that the price of the ticket and the length of the drive conspired against that. Once there it seemed exciting. Once I had pitched my tent, and I'm no stranger to camping, it started to seem more like a slightly strange version of normality.

In the meanwhile listen to this - the album streaming in toto - that I mentioned here, whilst you can.

It is available to download, in almost any file format you might wish for from Bandcamp, for £3.50, here.  That might lead you to suspect that this is just an EP or mini-album but, at twelve tracks not including Intro, this is almost 55 minutes long. There is also a very limited CD digipack available.

With the framework of my summer festivals booked I'm now starting to think about the acts at them that are my priorities, especially those that I am well aware of but have never seen live; Stornoway and Blood Red Shoes are two that both come to mind here.
The next task is to try and find out something about all the artists about which I know (next to) nothing. I always try to do this and as sure as hell I will change my plans once at the festival most often by word of mouth recommendations. This does not in itself render the endeavour invalid as it has great value when deciding what to do in the unenviable situation of not being able to be in two places at the same time. Other times I just decide to see something completely on a whim and that has led to some great discoveries too.

Before all that comes the first Behind The Castle Music Festival, a one-day festival that takes place on 14 June at Sherborne Castle, Dorset. Many of the artists on the programme I have seen live before and of those that I haven't I was well aware of. One that fell into neither category, but whom I have been listening to since, was Australian Lizzyspit. Her own songs are really strong but, more than that, she has the confidence to cover a song that is so well known in its original as to be a minefield:

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