Last weekend’s Womad Festival offered a huge variety of music and an equally diverse range of weather: First two days of heatwave, which meant it was too hot to be in a tent after 8 a.m. Then an in-between-day with clouds and some showers and finally gale force winds and heavy rain that came at tents horizontally. I consider myself quite an experienced festival camper yet I have never had my tent flooded before. Apparently the ground was so dry that the rain could not sink in. My stuff wasn’t half as muddy as it sometimes gets, but definitely much wetter.

 The Temple Bar TradFest is in its 13th year. Always on at the same time as Celtic Connections, the Dublin fest is similar, but smaller. One of the assets of the festival are its unconventional venues: Churches, the Town Hall, Dublin Castle, the House of Lords. These places do not have bars, so audiences listen well.

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.


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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