September 2010: a festival year in review
The final part of our summer retrospective
Lis Ferla - 10 November 2010
September is a funny month, with the rest of the world already starting to think more festive than festival. But there
were still a few final morsels of musical merriment for our writers to get their teeth into before packing the tent and wellies
away for another winter.
Ben Parkinson cheated and spent a bass-heavy weekend at Croatia’s Outlook Festival. Even the furtive presence of the country’s military police couldn’t prove much of a distraction from the jaw-dropping cliff-top site, blue oceans and daily beach parties. Outlook, said Ben, was “a total celebration of bass culture” with particularly noteworthy sets from Gaslamp Killer, Gentleman’s Dub Club and Roots Manuva.
Back home Bestival, End of the Road and Ozzfest were probably the biggest of this month’s final festival names. Set in the idyllic Larmer Tree Gardens in deepest, darkest Dorset, the appropriately-named End of the Road is starting to make a name for itself as the last stopping place on the summer calendar. Matt Miles praised some pitch-perfect sets from Iron and Wine, Stagecoach, Wolf People and Gomez’s Ben Ottewell, but didn’t care much for a more middle-class crowd.
The ever-eclectic Bestival drew similarly rave reviews. Although poor John Bownas didn’t have the best of luck with the queues (both for morning ablutions and getting a camera past some over-enthusiastic security), but the party atmosphere and “musical wonderland” line-up - from names as established as Roxy Music and the Flaming Lips to up-and-comers like one-man-band blues extravaganza Lewis Floyd Henry - pushed all the right buttons.
Ozzy wouldn’t like to hear me call it the safest option, but the only way to guarantee protection from the elements as the nights get longer is to stay indoors. Anna Hyams was at this year’s Ozzfest as the legendary rocker and friends including Korn, Steel Panther and Murderdolls turned London’s O2 into their own little indoor Village of the Damned for the day.
Suffolk’s Waveform provided Charlie McConville with a weekend’s escapism in surroundings both hedonistic and environmentally friendly - the trance/electronica festival won a Greener Festival Award last year. Highlights included Headflux, Pook and the chap who spent Sunday in a full-on gimp suit.
And as the sun set on another eventful festival summer, our writers turned their thoughts to a cold winter of financial discontent ahead with a couple of features on how best to get around January’s VAT rise. Neil Outram suggested bagging a cheap Ryanair flight and heading for a European festival, while Daniel Fahey and Lydia White looked at buying early to take advantage of cheaper prices and ticket schemes among other money-saving tips for cautious future festival-goers.
Not that we’re looking to end a bumper year on a bum note or anything. One particularly lovely story to emerge from September was the tale of the first-ever Headstock Festival, a truly DIY effort which hoped to bring some sunshine back to the depressed Nottinghamshire ex-colliery village of Newstead. Ash, Frightened Rabbit and Field Music headlined the venture, put together by local residents with help from BBC and Lottery cash. All of which goes to show that, VAT rise or not, Virtual Festival fans will still find plenty of ways to have a good time in 2011.