Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet. 14-15 June
Photographer: Siobhan Boyle16 June 2008
Hosted by the Royal Bath & West Showground in the sleepy town of Shepton Mallet, NASS
encompasses a fair few fields and a hell of a lot of ramps.
Everybody is different here. There are no same-old scruffy trendy kids sauntering about looking uber-cool and checking they’ve got the right-coloured Ray-Bans on and their hair is perfectly out of place. This is a festival for the multi-cultural and multi-skilled. There’s skateboards, streetboards and BMXs zipping about the place, weaving in and out of the crowds, who are either on their way to watch some FMX or BMX qualifier or off to the main stage where the fun really starts.
Friday is all about headliners Pendulum and when they launch themselves onto the stage in front of an old-school digital display kicking out favourites like ‘Slam’ and ‘Blood Sugar’, it’s clear the crowd is riled. Excitement reaches such fever that a firework is thrown into the crowd, and it’s not the only dangerous element. Rob Swire is bounding from one end of the stage to the other, throwing shapes like nobody’s business to a bass so deep that it must be shaking the tent poles. Ending with an immense circle pit to ‘Hold Your Colour’, Pendulum take the chill out of this cold summer’s night without putting a foot wrong.
Does It Offend You, Yeah? are attracting scene and indie kids alike. They instigate the first mosh-pit of the day, and introducing ’With A Heavy Heart’ as “a song about rape and pillaging” is guaranteed to catch any passer-by’s attention.
This cloudy Friday hosts the qualifiers for practically every event, including the World Streetboarding Championships. So it’s a bit of a shame that bands such as The Ghost Frequency and Late of the Pier don’t get the crowds they deserve. Never phased, they both play fantastic sets and you can’t help but love LOTP’s quirky front-men (well more front-boys than men); Earl Samuel Dust is squealing away in his red velour tracksuit bottoms gleefully teamed with powder-blue trainers and Jack Paradise friskily jabs his synths with his usual scary amount of energy.
Quirky electro boys Metronomy clearly practice well. In between, multi-tasker Oscar Cash’s brilliant display of whipping out every instrument he can play (including saxophone, melodica and keyboard), the trio, who don white porthole lights on their chests, show off some dance routines during ‘Radio Ladio’. It’s a sight and a half.
Following the usual evening camping chants of ‘Boll!*ks!’ comes a scorcher of a day. After being able to use actual toilets, which most festival goers dream of, it’s time for T-shirts to be strewn across fields and bikinis to come out of hiding. It’s official: Summer 2008 is here!
Saturday boasts the Gods of ska-punk Less than Jake, who are as jolly as ever and urging on the steady stream of crowd surfers and various festival items being thrown to and fro in the crowd: you know, skateboards, balloons, cushions. The usual.
In between belting out crowd-pleaser classics like ‘Look What Happened’ and ‘Gainsville Rock City’ and freely admitting, “By the way, yes we are retarded”, Chris Demakes and Roger Manganelli grab two dads from the crowd to have a drinking contest on stage. As you do. Demakes clearly states the terms: “If you don’t have any grey hair or back hair then you can’t participate in this f#!*ing contest!” Brilliant.
The McFly of the rock scene, Elliot Minor kick out pop-punk numbers and treat the crowd with their new single ‘Time After Time’. They also wrote ‘Jessica’ after none other than Jessica Alba. An interesting choice of topic many a man would agree.
In Case Of Fire should have a larger audience for today, boasting one of the tightest drummers we’ve seen in a long while, and will be a name soon to be heard on many lips. The same goes for Cornwall-bred Lioness, who describe their name and style as “genreless”. But you can’t win them all.
The real stars of today are none other than The Subways. Rocking out tune after tune that nobody can fault like ’Oh Yeah’, ’Rock & Roll Queen’, as well as unleashing new tracks upon the crowd, ‘Shake Shake‘ included. With a punky female bassist like Charlotte Cooper who’ll snatch your attention with a mere a blink, it’s no surprise that things go crazy. One guy even heads for the stage only to be wrestled down by the burly security.
After all the excitement from the bands today, and attempting to avoid the many camp fires scattered foolishly about at night, it’s nice to kick back and watch the skating and BMXing finals on Sunday. A fantastic way to end an energetic and hot weekend, it is indeed talent galore here.