Neil writes ...................................
As Big Ben’s “bongs” rang out at midnight on January 1st 2016 I raised a glass of scotch and toasted in the New Year with a pledge to make it the year I pursued my love of live music and entertainment and dip my toe into the water of the Summer Festival.
Despite being born and raised on the doorstep of Glastonbury – I had found myself a 43 year old Festival virgin. I didn’t want to dive into one of the big events like Reading & Leeds or V-Festival. I wanted to break myself in gently and experience some of the smaller, more intimate festivals that have emerged in their shadow. But where should I start? Which ones should I go to? I needed a guide. Luckily my good friend Frankie is a local festival regular and so was glad to help me on my odyssey – plus he has camper van with room for a guest! Result!
So, over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend I found myself at the inaugural Kindred Spirits Festival.
Being my first taste of a festival I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was their first time too so we were both in uncharted waters.
Unusually for a Bank Holiday weekend, the weather was fantastic. With the exception of a freak, brief thunderstorm on the Saturday afternoon it was wall-to-wall sunshine and I managed to spend most of my time perched on a large log (one of several conveniently dotted around the site) just outside the main stage tent where I could sup a few pints of cider from Fanny Squelches well stocked and run bar and soak up the atmosphere, the music and some rays!
You got a lot of music for your money. However the scheduling of some of the bands meant that at times unfortunately some hard choices needed to be made between the different tents (The Main Stage, The Second Stage / Bar and the Dance Tent). All through the weekend there was a steady stream of great acts including the brilliant Dusk at Dawns,
Ten Bob Notes and Antimatador on the Saturday and Kernow Vibrations
and Duncan Disorderly & the Scallywags on the Sunday. However, the highlight from the Main Stage for me was Echo Town who put on a fantastic set on the Saturday afternoon.
The quality and volume of sound from the two local brothers was absolutely amazing!
But when the sun had gone down you couldn’t help be drawn by the pulsating lights, lasers and beats emanating from the Dance Tent. A roster of talented DJs had been playing all through the day as a counterpoint to the bands on the other two stages but as they were winding down for the night the Dance Tent really took on a life of its own. The Saturday the evening was rounded off in style with a storming set by DJs Kraken and Kortez who had followed a real crowd pleasing session by young DJ and Producer ‘DNMO’.
This 15 year old is ridiculously talented and is quite rightly already attracting attention of some big names in the industry.
The number of people filing through the gate was quite slow to start on the Saturday morning but steadily increased as the day wore on – perhaps families had returned from days out and wanted to do something to make the most of the late afternoon sunshine, or news was slowly percolating through the area that the event was well worth a visit. Either way by early evening the tents were nicely filled and there was a real buzz about the place. From snippets of conversations I overheard as I wandered back and forth to the bar many people seemed to have bought day tickets – preferring to check out the first day and then come back on the second if they liked what they saw / heard (which they did, in good numbers), so the camping area was underutilised but I certainly expect that to change for 2017.They say you always remember your ‘first time’ and I will look back on that early summer music experience with much fondness as I am sure Andy and his dedicated and hardworking crew will too. However, if a small start-up festival like Kindred Spirits could deliver such fun, enjoyment and great music experience in its first year – I couldn’t wait until my next festival, the well established Leopallooza!
I have met up with the organiser, Andy Leeds, a couple times since and talked to him about his ambitions for the festival. He tells me that there are already a number of changes in mind for 2017 (early bird tickets are now on sale HERE); the timings of the bands will be tweaked so that there isn’t too much overlap at some points and too much dead time at others, the bar will move into / next to the main tent and the second stage will be separated out into its own larger marquee. Andy has a very clear vision of how he sees the festival developing to make it a must attend event on the summer calendar. However, amongst all those long term aims Andy is determined that the festival will not lose any of its soul and ethos. It will still be a festival created with love.
Thanks Neil, look forward to the next installment!