Festival Reviews

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.

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