Something Else in the Dean 23-25 September 2016
This isn't really a proper review as I didn't take any photos in the evenings or take note of everyone I saw play. As it was only my 2nd festival this year I just wanted to have fun and not worry about getting photos of every band or taking note of everyone I saw play. The festival is so good though that it deserves a mention so here it is....
This brilliant little grass roots festival is now officially the last festival of the season for many travelling and alternative folk. Set in The Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire at Elton Maize Maze this year saw the 5th anniversary of a festival that looks set to go on for as long as Gail (the organizer) wants to put it on.
We had fairly good weather until the Saturday night when it poured with rain all night. Spirits were not dampened and although there was a few showers during Sunday by the evening it had cleared up enough for a sing song around the campfire after the music finished on the stages.
We were later than usual arriving on the Friday due to working on our lorry conversion, our new home. It was around 6pm when we arrived and quickly went down to the bar where so many friends were already. I talked (well shouted over the music) until my throat was sore and we took ourselves off to bed for an early night as were shattered. We didn't see any music really as were too busy catching up with friends, some of which we hadn't seen since this festival the year before.
On the Saturday after lots more chatting in the campsite with friends over copious amounts of Baileys coffee we made our way into the maze to the two stages set up in the middle. We saw some good music on both stages but I'm sorry I don't remember who we saw. We then made our way to the main stage to catch the last few songs by Muddy Summers and the Dirty Field Whores, Gail's band. The last song was a new song called 'Get off my Tits' that the week before had gone viral after Gail had written it and made a video of her playing it. This was a response to Facebook deleting a picture of her at a festival with glittery boobs. Many women got up on stage, bare breasted for a picture to go on Facebook (see pictures below!)
We then had a wander around the site where I was lucky enough to be offered the Everest Base Camp Experience by Woodlouse Productions. These are the ladies that brought us smiles on sticks and Twitface among other oddities at festivals. My base camp experience started with getting all my kit in the form of a huge rucksack which I had to put on my back. I was then shoved through a portal where I found myself at base camp. There was snow everywhere (weirdly smelling like popcorn), the oxygen tanks had all run out but worse of all was the state of Josh Woodlouse who is usually on hand to help. It seemed like I was there for days although I'm informed in was only a few minutes before I was able to crawl back through the portal into the festival. I was given a postcard and sent on my way. It was certainly an experience I wont cease to remember! Make sure you check out the pictures below.
We then went to see our friend Rhiannon aka The Brewers Daughter who has just released her first album titled Make Believe. She did a lovely set of folky vibes with some pieces reminding me of early Billy Bragg. Check out her album HERE. Around the same time there was a bizarre flash mob Kate Bush thing going on which looked very strange! After a couple of hours of wandering the festival and chatting to old friends and new it was time for our good friends The Defekters to play. What can I say about this great band that I haven't already said? They're ace, you need to check them out, they play quite a lot of gigs and festivals so go see them. This year they released a new EP called Ghettoblaster, check it out HERE.
Later that night we unfortunately missed Tarantism but caught the awesome Dub the Earth, the brilliant Back to the Planet and the amazing Suzy Conrad. Suzy was a new artist to us and I loved her sound, well worth checking out. Luckily we made it back to the van just as the rain started around midnight and although stayed up talking for a few hours didn't venture out again that night!
On Sunday we went along with the crowd and went to see John Player Specials a band I had never seen before but they were pretty cool. We also saw some good stuff on the other stages in the maze and although I didn't see them play I met a member of Phat Bollard who gave me a CD and I am gutted we missed them as they sound awesome!.
Later on we saw some of Firepit Collective who were great as always. Then we watched RDF who I never tire of and to end the night was Inner Terrestrials. I'm afraid no photos of any of them but they all were amazing and a fantastic end to the festival.
Last year in my review I complained that the sound on the main stage could have been better for some of the bands. Despite no-one publicly agreeing online (despite people agreeing with me at the festival... cowards!) I stand by what I said last year. This year however there were no such issues and every band I saw sounded great. The festival itself is well laid out with good toilets and a few stalls selling crafts and food as well as the main bar and tea tent.
A great little festival with great bands and great people, what more can I say? GREAT!!
Below are a selection of photographs from the weekend. For more pictures you can see my Facebook album HERE.