United Kingdom | 16 July 2010
Ian Carroll talks about the beautiful setting of the Eden Sessions and Paolo Nutini's adoring crowd
The Eden Sessions are an environmentalist and music fans dream come true, based in Cornwall at the world renowned Eden Project, the setting is perfect for enthusiasts of flowers and folk music alike, as is the case for the Paolo Nutini shows this year over two nights in July.
Getting There And Back – 5/10
Access to the site is difficult if you cannot drive, with the Eden Project venue being situated over 5 miles from the outskirts of St Austell in Cornwall. Buses are available from St Austell city centre, but are limited due to the ‘Sessions’ late start times.
The car parks (all named after fruits) are poorly lit, which makes it a problem to locate your car after the show, especially due to the limited lighting being slightly coloured, which changes the look of the colour of your car in the dark.
There are shuttle buses available to take you from the higher car-parks to the festival entrance, but these can be extremely busy and queues for these after the shows are notoriously long.
The Site 10/10
Probably one of the most beautiful settings ever designed to hold a concert, with the ‘Biomes’ creating an supernatural backdrop for the stage. The ‘Biomes’ contain plant life from around the world, with each covering a different climate zone. At night for the shows, these are locked up and lit internally, producing a ‘sci-fi-esque’ quality to the evening’s entertainment and casting an eerie glow across the arena.
The site in general is well laid out, with easy access to the stages and an amazing amphitheatre type quality to the mainstage arena. There are also bands playing all day in the Biomes and on the Stage Right Stage.
You would have trouble finding a more tranquil and peaceful setting for a summers evening concert.
The atmosphere at Paolo Nutini is brimming with ‘girlie energy’, with a 70% female audience; the only downside of this is the fact that there is a lot of screaming from middle-aged ladies and an abundance of people who seem to have never gone to a concert before and therefore not knowing what to expect.
No camping also means that a lot of people have driven to the venue resulting in an atmosphere lacking the party vibe.
Music – 6/10
Not as dynamic a line-up this year as some previous years, but an eclectic mix of folk/pop (Paolo Nutini/Martha Wainwright), comedy (Al Murray), dance (Calvin Harris/Audio Bully’s), pop (Mika), surf rock (Jack Johnson) and indie (Doves/Mumford and Sons) tries to cater for all tastes over a three week period, from late June to mid July.
Ruarri Joseph 4/10
Seeming to only play to a handful of adoring fans at the front of the stage, Cornwall’s own folk rock troubadour, plays an acoustic set and mostly passes unnoticed by the Paolo Nutini fans in attendance. Most people spend the set talking, sitting and queuing for beer tokens. Musak for the surf/folk generation.
Martha Wainwright 6/10
The support slot from Martha Wainwright is met with some gentle applause as the crowd sits on the grass, relaxing in the cool breeze. The crowd start to sit up and pay attention when she sings ‘Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole’ from her debut album, causing a “what did she just say?” moment.
Paolo Nutini 7/10
With two albums worth of material to draw from the mainstage was awash with the boy from north of the borders take on his reggae/New Orleans jazz/pop/indie/folk hybrid. The mostly female crowd hang on every slacked jawed incoherent Scots warble for close to an hour and a half. Ending with a stripped back version of ‘Last Request’ and the only cover of the set, Ben E. King’s ‘Spanish Harlem’. Paolo’s bare bones rock ‘n’ roll is lapped up by the crowd, though it is very difficult to understand anything that he says between songs, with his mumbling needing some form of subtitles.
For someone who is only twenty-three years old Paolo is ahead of his time in his musical abilities and the future will see even greater things ahead for the boy from Paisley.
The bars are set up with a token exchange system which can cause problems with having to queue twice, once to purchase the tokens and then again to collect your drinks, but you can hear the music from wherever you are queuing, so it is not too much of a problem.
Anyone expecting rain would be disappointed as their umbrellas are confiscated by over zealous security staff, causing more queuing after the shows to collect them.
Queuing at the bar for a drink, Michael Eavis of Glastonbury fame and fresh from poorly duetting with Stevie Wonder, reveals that he has never been to Eden before and then rushes onto the stage to introduce Paolo Nutini to his adoring fans.
Fiddling folk Devon legend Seth Lakeman is seen pushing his way through the crowd to see if he can pick up any tips from Paolo.
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