My first time at the End Of The Road festival in Wiltshire. Friends had been recommending this festival for some years. The line up never had too many must-sees for me, so I decided to go as a volunteer. I could work for my ticket and would not be too upset if I missed any of the acts. This worked out really well; Wicked Events are a very well-organised and fair organisation to work for.

FolkEast is set within the grounds of Glemham Hall just North of Ipswich. The festival arena has five stages, four of which are indoors and mainly seated, the main stage named The Sunset Stage is the one outdoor standing area. Unfortunately I could only spend one day on the site, but here are thoughts on what happened.

Beautiful Days 2017 had a line-up I could not resist. The festival is organised by the Levellers at Escot Park, an estate near Exeter. It is a pretty setting, hilly and green, at least at the start. Mark Chadwick from the Levellers said on Sunday night that they have yet to have a dry festival in the fifteen years they have been running it. Folks come prepared for this though and nobody bats an eyelid at the mud.

Thursday

Set in the heart of the Black Mountains in South Wales, our annual adventure was underway as the gates opened at 10am on the Thursday. Dry to establish base camp (which is always great) it was nice to explore the site and settle in.

Green Man is full of fun, like when around 9.30 pm one night I am ordering a coffee. The assistant said "why are you drinking coffee, there is still alcohol on sale", fair enough!

The story goes that the Tramlines organisers are bidding a fond farewell and handing over the reins to a new promoter in 2018.  As such, their final throw of the dice was to consolidate the main acts (Libertines, Primal Scream, Metronomy, The Coral) to 3 outdoor stages and trust in the weather....What could go wrong? Oh.

For those of us who have done many festivals it's a simple statistical certainty that we will experience some wet ones. And this was one of those. Initial morning (Friday) was dry for arrival and setting up so a small blessing but the persistent rainfall Friday evening and night meant the festival site, an Oxfordshire farm, turned into a muddy swamp which remained for the whole weekend. It would have taken a heatwave of Saharan proportions to have dried it out.

During the murky depths of last Winter, booking two Spanish festivals on successive weekends (the first one was BBK in Bilbao), seemed like a good idea.... Thankfully, post Bilbao fatigue was forgotten due to a few days in Pamplona and the always excellent company of friends and fellow Rock Clubbers Si, Sally & Ali.

Bilbao is a beautiful modern city in Northern Spain, sitting between mountain ranges which surround the estuary of Bilbao. BBK festival has been running for 8 years and is located part way up the mountains to the south of the city. It attracts c 100,000 people over it's whole course but breaking this down to a daily footfall it makes for about 30,000 each day. The site has a compact feel but it never feels overly busy and moving around was easy.

Back from my 17th trip to Worthy Farm. I arrived in England during the mini heatwave. On Wednesday it was 34 degrees. Thursday was perfect. There was some drizzle at the weekend but all in all one of the easiest years weather-wise.

As a quick overview, it was another successful SXSW. It's not an easy festival to negotiate without some serious planning. With 100's of unofficial shows and a slew of SXSW showcases to choose from/ The cost of the badge (if you buy one), hotels and flights, and the Increasing distance between venues means you must have a plan, then have a back up plan.

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