Something Else in the Dean 25-27 September 2015
The last festival of the season for many travelling and alternative folk is this little gem in The Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. After a rather rainy August we were blessed with some good weather the following month including over this weekend which made all the more enjoyable.
We arrived on the Friday afternoon just as the first bands were playing. After getting the van sorted and chilling out for a while we went into the festival and watched Who Killed the Bear? a local band. You have to know the weird Forest of Dean bear story to understand this name. I'm not going to go into it here I'm sure its online! They were pretty good and it got us moving and shaking and into the festival spirit. After bumping into friends and chatting we caught the last song by Gaz Brookfield, we saw him last year so I can tell you he's a top geezer but unfortunately we missed most of him this year. We went and got food, drunk some wine, talked to friends and then caught 3 Daft Monkeys. They are a true good time festival band who I haven't seen for years and it was great to see them again and to see they still get everyone smiling and dancing! The last band was Funk and the Two Tone Baby who we caught some of but to be honest we were a little worse for wear by then and too busy chatting to take much notice, sorry!
Saturday was a lovely sunny day with blue skies and white fluffy clouds. Friends gathered around our camp, we drank more, we chatted and didn't go down into the festival until later on for our friends The Defekters. Before that however Si was playing with kids on his BMX on the track there and badly twisted his ankle. So badly in fact he had to dose up on strong pain killers and borrow crutches off a friend (thanks Trooper). The Defekters were amazing although they didn't sound as good as they should have as the lead vocals were too low compared to the rest of the band. After their set we went back to the van as Si's ankle was very painful. I managed to get away a bit later to catch some of Tarantism's set, as always they were brilliant and it was great to see new member Rhiannon playing fiddle. I'm sure she will bring a whole new dimension to an already fantastic band. Unfortunatly the sound from her wasn't always audible particually in the first half of the set although it was sorted out for the second half.
Sunday was spent chilling around the festival site, talking to old friends and making some new ones. We checked out the maze this year, something we didn't get round to last year and spent some time in there by the stage at the pirate ship. Mid afternoon we saw Spanner play, always full of energy and passion they didn't disappoint this time. We thought we had time to go back to the van for food before KilnAboy but sadly we didn't and ended up missing them which was a shame. We did get back into the site for Firepit Collective who were their usual amazing selves doing a few tracks off the new album, one of my favourite albums of this year. Later we saw some of Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs who are not really my cup of tea but a good laugh none the less. Next up were The Sporadics, one of my favourite bands who also have a new album out but shame on me I haven't got it yet. Actually writing this has made me remember to order it! I'm sure its great though as they played a few songs I didn't know so I'm guessing they're off the new album. Their set was awesome and we had a good old dance around, (well I did, Si sat down in pain). To end the night and the festival and the whole festival season of 2015 was Inner Terrestrials, festival favourites with their good old dubby punk sound. They were brilliant as I would expect but again the volume of the lead vocals compared to the rest of the band was too low which was a bit of a let down.
Altogether a great festival, really good bands, beautiful smiley people, dog friendly, great crew and a few decent stalls and workshops. Well laid out in a beautiful location and a very reasonable ticket price in fact a bargain! Also solar powered stages with no CO2 footprint which is a winner in anyones book!
One minor complaint, the sound wasn't that great for a couple of the bands. I hope it can be better next year. A lot of these bands I love, I see them at a few different festivals through the summer and I know how they should sound and I'm sure many other people do as well. It's really frustrating to hear their levels not quite right. By that I do not mean it has to be louder I just mean the lead vocals need to be heard better instead of being drowned out by the rest of the band.
Despite that small criticism I would highly recommend this festival and it is great value for money and I will be back next year without a doubt. A lovely end to the season and brilliant to see some mates before we all hibernate for winter or head for warmer climates!
Footnote 1: I would like to make it clear that it was only the 3 bands mentioned (Defekters, Tarantism and I.T.) which I thought had bad sound. I totally understand that being a sound engineer is a thankless task, very hard work and demanding. I do not profess that I could do any better in fact I am sure I would do a damn sight worse! I am quite saddened that people think this is a negative review as to me it is very positive with one small criticism. A criticism that is in fact just my humble opinion.
Footnote 2: I have changed this review slightly so as to be more specific about the problems as I heard them as after taking a step back and reading everyone's views on this from the Facebook post Gail put up I can see why people thought it was a little biased towards being negative about the sound. I have not changed my opinion but realise I could have written things better the first time around. Please forgive me I endeavour to do my best work and to take on board criticism with an open mind. I am eager to learn more and educate myself more especially in the crafts I love, writing, photography, arts & crafts and I'm sure the sound engineers feel the same way about their craft too.
Phew never had to write two footnotes before and never had such a response to one of my reviews. Thank you to all who took the time to read it and comment xxx
Below are a selection of photographs from the weekend. For more pictures you can see my Blog photos HERE or my Facebook album HERE.
Who Killed the Bear?
Who Killed the Bear?
3 Daft Monkeys
3 Daft Monkeys
Hobo Jones & the Junkyard Dogs
Hobo Jones & the Junkyard Dogs