Endorse-it in Dorset Festival - 11-13 August 2006
Endorse-it is by far my favourite festival of the year and these days with a few hundred festivals a year to choose from it just shows that these guys have their priorities right when it comes to putting on an event. It's always a great mix of music with a reggae vibe as well as some punk and some good old fashioned rock n roll not to mention the presence of a couple of old traveller/free festie bands from the 80's & 90's. The crowd seem to be mostly made up of old punks, travellers and alternative types, mostly aged 30+. A lot of people bring their kids as most of us have them now we're all grown up! This year the festival changed to a bigger site and more tickets went on sale but it was still an intimate affair with not much chance of losing your mates (damn!)
This year I worked at the welfare and information point with a great team of people. We did three 4 hour shifts each which meant we all got to see loads of the festival and I was even able to swap one shift so as not to miss RDF! The work itself was good with mainly lots of chatting to festival goers.
On the Friday we saw Nucleus Roots a great reggae band from Manchester who I've seen before in Gloucester. later we saw Neville Staple who used to be in The Specials many moons ago and festival favourites Tarantism who are a band everyone should see at least once at a festival.
On Saturday I took a wander around the healing woods, a beautiful chilled out area in the woods away from the hustle and bustle of the main festival. Later on I went to see Toretz and Far Cue, both of whom played great sets. After some food and drink we headed back to the main stage to see Hayseed Dixie, a hillbilly tribute band to ACDC. They were great fun and had a very unique style, they also played a few other covers and some of their own tunes. Well worth going to see if you have a sense of humour! We ended the night watching Eat Static who never disappoint me and always get me dancing.
Sunday had the best line-up for me, I got my last shift out of the way in the morning and the fun began mid afternoon when Dubdadda played. Dubdadda aka Jonno has been in the reggae/dub scene for many years. He used to be in Nucleus Roots and has collaborated with Zion Train on many projects over the years.
The really special moment was a little later however when RDF/Military Surplus took to the stage after a 15 year absence. A band who were favourites of most punky/crusty/traveller types in the late 80's and early 90's, RDF are something of a legend. It was great to see them on the stage again and they played some of their old tunes like they had never been away.
Molara was next up, ex Zion Train singer now working on her solo career she had the band Dubmerge behind her. A brilliant set from her including some new solo tracks, some Powersteppers tracks and a couple of old Zion Train tunes. Senser were on afterwards, I had seen then at Glastonbury in 1995 and they had blown me away then. This time was no exception with a full-on high energy performance. The night finished with dub champion the Mad Professor who took us on a dancing journey of dub beats with Molara joining him for a few tracks.
A great last day and a great festival, this will become more popular and ticket prices are likely to increase for 2007. Hopefully the festival will not grow too much and they will keep the vibe of the free festivals of years gone by when we were all young, had a bus, dreadlocks, dog on a string and had no kids!
Below are a selection of photographs from the gathering.