Endorse-it in Dorset - 10-12 August 2007
Endorse-it festival was a few short days of beautiful weather with beautiful people and beautiful music. This is my favourite festival of the year along with Beautiful Days although I haven't been there for a couple of years now so it could have changed! There are many reasons why Endorse-it is such a top festival, firstly the music, it's always top class with a great mixture of reggae, dub and punk with some rock and folk thrown in for good measure. It does help that the group of people that put this festival on have much the same music taste as me and so there is always going to be plenty of bands I like! Secondly it is a great size, it's around 5000 people which means you can lose yourself for a couple of hours but will always find your mates again even if none of you have mobiles! Thirdly the people that come to this festival are by far the grooviest, nicest bunch of festival goers around, there is a great atmosphere with families and munters alike having a great time.
We got there on the Thursday afternoon in the beautiful sunshine, what a difference it made as the last two festivals I've been at have been rather wet and muddy, it was so lovely to feel the sunshine! After putting up my sons tent and sorting my van out we had the gazebo to try and master and at last we were done and able to chill out for the rest of the evening.
On the Friday we didn't have to work so it meant more lazing around in the sunshine either at our camp or in the festival. The first band I saw was Three Daft Monkeys, I saw them last year at Wychwood and they were great then as they were this time. Defiantly a band to get your feet tapping! After a brief interlude of drinking it was time to see Neck, I'd heard bits about the band and they sounded good. An Irish punky kind of vibe and as I've always been a fan of The Pogues and more recently Flogging Molly I thought they would be worth a look. They lived up to everything I'd heard about them and more and they got the feet tapping even quicker! Straight after Neck came Powersteppers, Colin Cod who used to be in Zion Train is the main man behind this outfit, Powersteppers can be just him or a good few people on stage too. This time it was his partner Molara and Steve from Dubmerge on vocals as well as another DJ. Very dancy dubby tunes with Molara's and Steve's beautiful vocal talents made for a great set and we were soon lost in the music. Later I caught some of Ed Tudor Pole who I can't say was really my thing although it was great to see Pronghorn get up there and do a couple of tracks with him before they did their own set. We went over to the other stage to catch Molara's solo set. She was backed by the band Dubmerge and had Colin Powerstepper on stage to as well as another female singer. She put out some gorgeous reggae inspired tracks and before long we were yet again lost in the music. We went back to camp danced out but extremely happy!
Saturday brought our first shift starting at 7pm. In the day I just lazed around the site taking some photos and chatting to people. I went to get some dinner backstage before my shift and a kind gentleman gave me his chair who turned out to be none other than Greg Roberts from Dreadzone! After dinner we went to work at Welfare. Welfare is not so much actual welfare as no-one at Endorse-it festival seems to actually need any welfare, it is more lost property, information and lost kids. Thankfully we didn't have any lost children on any of our shifts just lots of lost property! The shift went quickly due to bumping into Greg again and chatting to him and then going backstage to say hello to the rest of the Dreadzone crew. For the last hour of our shift my friend Alex and his sister came to join us which was nice. At 11pm the shift was over and we were itching to get on with the partying! Lee 'Scratch' Perry had come on later than expected so we managed to catch the end of his set. Dreadzone came on at midnight and after 10 minutes at the front of the stage taking photos we went to the back of the stage and danced for the rest of the set. As always they played a blinder, the new guys, Chris Compton on guitar and Chris Oldfield on the mix are well in the groove and seem like they've been in the band for ages. Leo was as usual a master on the bass with Greg keeping it all going on the drums. MC Spee did his thing on the vocals getting the crowd going and the place really rocked out. After the set we chilled out with the Dread boys before they headed off home and we went back to camp.
How rude to have to get up to work at a festival! Our shift was 11am which was a struggle to get to but hey it meant we were finished by 3pm and had the rest of the day to get munted! The first band we caught was Back to the Planet, an old crusty/traveller/free festival band from the 90s that are newly reformed. I had only heard them on CD before so it was really good to see them live. They sounded brilliant and as if they'de never been away! The rest of the afternoon was spent sipping red wine at the backstage bar until Zion Train turned up. We had a good chat with Dubdadda who told us all about life in Moss Side and the recent gang warfare his son has been caught up in. It was then time to go back to camp as I had promised to cook everyone chilli con carne. I did a surprisingly good job despite the copious amount of wine I'd drunk that afternoon and soon everyone was tucking in. Mad Professor had already started playing and we forced ourselves off our asses and back into the festival to mooch around. We spent most of the time backstage, we had a chat with the Zion Train crew and chilled at the bar to Mad Proffessor. Later on Zion Train played, the last act of the festival on the main stage. They have a new album out very soon and so there was a few new tracks along with lots of old favourites. They really kicked ass and after having a dance and taking some photos at the front of the stage I went to the back of the stage to dance there. It was really good being there as for a change I could see what live dub mixer Perch was up to! After saying goodbye to the Zion Train crew we went off to find some more music. Nothing really grabbed me and after a wander round it was back to camp for some smokes and a happy sleep.
We had to do one last shift on Monday morning, quite a few people were looking for lost belongings although now it seemed that the lost property was lost as no-one could find us due to some bright spark taking our tent down the night before! Anyway some people did get reunited with their stuff and at 1pm we finished our shift and went back to camp to chill for a few hours until we couldn't put it off any longer and we had to start packing up. It was sad to drive out of the field, back to concrete, work and stress but hey at least we had a wonderful few days. Thanks to everyone who made it special xxx.
Below are a selection of photographs from the gathering.