Having had more sleep on Friday night than we often do in a weekend, it was
up for a very sunny Saturday. By the time we had brewed up, sorted ourselves
out and had some nibbles it was time to wander up to the outdoor stage. Frqncis
got a message from Iain on his mobile, first one of those for a long time to
my knowledge. This was basically a very small marquee with enough room for
stage equipment at the back and the performers at the front, with some school
chairs laid out in a semi circle in front of a covered bar area.
arrived to the sound of a guy called singing a Bowie song
and the stage was set for a perfect afternoon. We were serenaded
by a mixture of Keith Bell, a guy (I think) called Liam and
a superb harmonica player called Jonno Yelland, until Treebeard
sure how to describe Treebeard, musically they call what
they do 'Heavy Wood'. A five piece band consisting of Chris
and Paul McMahon, Paul Chisnell, Gordon Walker and Chris
Jellis, they are formed from other bands including Haze,
Old Peckuliar and Mock Turtle; they play rock folk and even
pop in their own electric/acoustic style, and it works! Tracks
included some traditional folk, some jigs interspersed with
things like REM’s It’s the End of the World,
The Strawbs, The Hangman and The Papist and some Russian
folk music. The latter included using a Bass balalaika!
Treebeard set was total magic and the atmosphere was more
like a garden party, and reminded us both of the brilliant
Marillion BBQ of a few weeks before. The set lasted over
two hours and we could have sat through another two after
Treebeard it was back to theatre where the evening kicked
in with John Mitchell from Arena and the Urbane. Quite a
nice set and during it John announced he is making a new
album with a number of well known musicans including Pete
Trewavas of Marillion. John Beck from It Bites joined John
on stage for a couple of numbers.
Thief filled in for the missing Oxygen8, and they too were
cracking, a generation or two younger than most of the other
bands, they played a great set and again Francis & I
headed straight for their merchandise stall and handed over
a few more pennies.
up was Tim Burness formerly with Burnessence, can't remember
too much about Tim other than we enjoyed the set. Will have
to check with Francis.
on Saturday were Caravan. A band I have sort of followed
for years but somehow never quite managed to have in my collection,
apart from a 12in vinyl of In the Land of Grey and Pink.
My Camel collection is however huge and still growing! Jan
Schelhaas who played on and off with both bands is now back
with Caravan on keyboards and we were well impressed by him,
along with Doug Boyle on guitar and Geoff Richardson on violin
and flute. I enjoyed the show, but Francis was less impressed.
Part of reliving lost youth I guess. Pye Hastings no longer
looks the part of the young student that some of their songs
identify with, and they refused all the chants to play ‘Golf
Girl’ The stuff from The Battle of Hastings released
in 1995 I thought was good, and I would have bought it if
the merchandising stall hadn’t packed up and gone away
at the end of the show! I did think that some of the stuff
was a bit overblown and flashy, but I guess that’s
because we have been spoiled by seeing so many Marillion
shows over the last couple of years.
that was Saturday, Back to the campsite for another quiet
night. A few cups of tea, and a chat, but we were the only
A very hot night, and we wake up to the sun burning through. My face and head
are pretty burnt from yesterday afternoon, so pile on the sun tan lotion.
are back inside for the first two sets.The first act is Keith
James, who does a Nick Drake tribute set. I can remember
Nick Drake and pretty sure I have some odd tracks hidden
away on old 12in compliation albums, but dont recognise much.
Pretty good set and again we both enjoyed it. Next up is
a guy called Steve Thorne, apparantly he comes from Southampton
and is a protege of Martin Offord. Steve has a great voice
and does a excellent set, I particularly liked 'Dear John',
'Last Lines' and 'Tumbleweeds'. Martin Offord joined Steve
onstage for a couple of songs playing both keyboards and
flute. Francis is not keen on artists using backing tracks,
which is what Steve did, to give him the sound of his band,
I know what he means, but I still enjoyed it, so it was back
to the merchandising stall. ;-)
it was back outside, there were a couple of local guys whose
names we can't remember who played a pleasant, but unspectacular
set. We both needed to stay well out of the sun, which meant
sitting under the shade of the bar. The down side of this
was that despite 'shushes' there were more people talking
than listening. The next act who played for the rest of the
afternoon were Kallisti. I really enjoyed them, even with
the constant talking. Featuring Jo Quinn on vocals and flute
and Paul Alan Taylor on guitar, they appear in different
band guises and more info about them can be found at www.maryjane.biz.
I havent had time to look at the site yet, though I know
Francis has. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon, a beautiful
clear voice singing good choons, good ale, sunshine and good
company! I am pleased to say I had the opporunity to go and
shake both their
hands and do the 'fan' bit later that day.
time to pop into the village, pick up some snacks and fresh
milk to head back to the tent and make some tea before heading
back to the theatre for the final session. We are really
looking forward to this as first up is 'WorldHazeBeard' which
is basically Treebeard playing electrically as a mixture
of the various bands they play in. They start of with the
same line up as yesterday before doing a Haze set, which
was pretty heavy, but great!, before finishing off with a
cracking bit of Genesis. Even Francis is totally knocked
out by this finale. Marillion fans reading this will understand
what the 'Even' means at the beginning of the last sentence.
This turns out to be a bit out an anticlimax for us as next
up is Tony Mcphee. Neither of us enjoy his set, as it is
not our kind of music, but I guess we were in a minority!
final act of the evening is The Acoustic Strawbs. I am racking
my brains to think, when was the last time I saw them. I
think it was in the Seventies at a packed Royal Festival
Hall. Hmm it seems a lifetime ago and certainly a different
venue. I am soon singing along to tunes I havent played in
ages. From Benidictus to Brave New World, through Ghosts,
The Flower and the Young Man and The Hangman & The Papist.
Dave Cousins introduces each song with a little story, which
I found fascinating, as he explains how a number of his songs
hindsight I am not sure the running order shouldnt have been,
Tony McPhee, Strawbs, then WorldHazeBeard, certainly Francis
thinks so, but he doesn't know the Strawbs, and doesnt get
the same buzz as I do. They put on a cracking show and by
the end of the final encore, Dave Cousins is looking a little
worse for wear from all the effort he has put in.
then its all over! We wander back to the tents and collapse,
a very different and excellent weekend. A good night's sleep
and then pack up the gear and head home. A musical education
weekend and some good memories an enlarged CD collection,
with a promise to return next year. Well done to Dave Martin
and all those involved. Thanks guys!