Monday, August 14, 2017

Thinking about festivals...

It is raining hard as I write this late Monday evening. In 72 hours time I shall be camping for the first of four nights and this time next week, all being well, I shall be back here at home in front of the computer writing about Green Man 2017.
It will be my fourth visit to Green Man in South Wales in successive years since 2014. All those so far have been accompanied by rain to a greater or lesser degree. This one looks like following the theme, yet it has not spoiled any of them thus far. I'm hoping that the same holds this time.
The thing is that, at least to some extent, I know what rain during Green Man involves when it comes because it did in both 2015 and 2016. Truck Festival 2017 was a surprise however, as I had never been to one (four actually) that were bothered by more than a few sharp showers. The deluge was survivable, I'm used to camping in less than ideal conditions, but I certainly don't wish to have to deal with mud like that twice in four weeks. 

I imagine that I would do so however.
There is a limit somewhere, cancellation of the festival being an obvious one, but I'm hoping not to discover it. The thing is, if one were to dwell on all this too much you'd never buy a ticket. These festivals are sold out, weeks if not months in advance, and there is a reason for that. 

So what am I looking forward to...

You might spot that I'm unlikely to be left short of choices. In fact the clashes are likely to many and various. I'll try and add some of my ideas over the next two evenings if only for the fact that it will help me decide some kind of priority. Any suggestions are of course most welcome and I know full well that, once I'm actually there, much of the planning will go out of the window because it always does!
What is not included here are artists appearing on the Green Man Rising stage; new artists that auditioned in a competition for a gig at Green Man, and if the previous years are anything to go by I shall be there on more than a few occasions.

Many are the artists that I have seen live before but would love to see again. There are plenty and then some that I have never seen live.
Several further options are available as there are a number of artists here that are also appearing at End Of The Road Festival 2017 a fortnight later. One of those, that I am absolutely determined to see (at least once), is Gaelynn Lea. She is without doubt one of the finest fiddle players of her generation, and there are plenty of challengers for that crown I'm happy to add.
The perfect description of what being at a festival is actually like was inadvertently provided by former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:

"There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know."

OK. It is now the aforementioned tomorrow evening,  so what has changed?

I am cautiously optimistic concerning the developments in the meteorological prognostications, which is a pleasant change from the situation this time four weeks ago and a few days before Truck Festival.
Another consideration is what balance to strike between seeing acts that I have already seen live and enjoyed, those I am aware of but have never seen in a live setting and those that are essentially unknown. This is a re-working of Rumsfeld's Ruse in a festival setting. My response is, I suspect, much like his. I will spend much of the next two days thinking about all the options and how they might pan out.  Once I'm actually there and things are happening for real I suspect that will mostly go straight-outta-the-window; I'll do exactly what seems a good response to the circumstances of the moment. I'll come back to some specific acts of note shortly.
Last summer at End Of The Road I saw a number of acts that, had I not already been inside a tented stage when the rain came pouring down, I would never otherwise have done. I strongly suspect that several of them were actually rather more interesting than those that I sacrificed by staying put.

The other question, that of right now, is what to listen to at home in the two days before a festival? I should possibly do a little on-line homework regarding the unknown unknowns.  I will certainly not listen to anything by the artists that I know about whether or not I have seen them live before. I've tried that before and it is in my experience a complete waste of time; like revision just before an exam it sows confusion instead of clarity.
I will for the most part listen to things that are of no direct relevance to the forthcoming festival that are either entirely new to me (hello, Spotify!) or might possibly serve as a frame of reference during the weekend.
To finish this evening's thoughts (the lists are arranged alphabetically)...

Five artists to see live for the first time:
Aldous Harding

Cobalt Chapel
Michael Kiwanuka

PJ Harvey
Ryan Adams

Five artists to see live again:
Angel Olsen

Hurray For The Riff Raff
Sunflower Bean
This Is The Kit

Here is the latest (no Rising stage listing here, that's all secret).  That's it until tomorrow evening and I have changed my mind again.

Wednesday evening thoughts:
It's pouring with rain just now (9:25pm), which is actually a good thing because it suggests that the weather systems are currently running to the predicted timetable.
In music, it is very tempting to go and see St. Etienne again, not least as this will be featuring songs from the latest LP 'The Home Counties', which is of course just lovely.
Also lurking somewhere in the line-up is Frome's very own Stevie Parker, promoting her 2017 début album 'The Cure'. 

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