Upon my arrival back on site I asked myself an important question… Was it too early to drink? Perhaps I should let you in on a few important facts. You can’t be expected to answer such an important question without knowing the whole picture.
It was 11am. It was 4th June NOT the 25th December. The bar was open. Now a general rule that I have is that if a bar is open then it must be OK to drink. By general rule I mean that that rule is to be used with discretion. I don’t for example stop off at Whetherspoons at 9am for a quick breakfast pint… but the most important factor in my decision lay in where I was, a festival, of course it wasn’t too early to drink! Where was I…. oh, yes, a music review…
With pint in hand the first act of the day was JESSIE GRACE. She reminded me of a young PJ Harvey, her songs were delivered with that same attitude and sassy edge that Polly has become famous for. Perhaps not suited to an early morning slot, like my pint, would probably have been suited to later in the day.
Earlier that morning I had awoke to brilliant sunshine but as the clouds surrounded us and the heavens opened three piece band The Black Hats began to set up. With the rain pouring in an instant The Black Hats became a very popular act as the masses (excuse the pun) flooded in to seek shelter. I may have failed to tell you that the BBC introducing stage was in a tent… The Black Hats capitalised on their new found popularity to launch a full blown assault of the senses on an unsuspecting public. Their intensity was unparalleled and extremely commending given the early start. These guys certainly knew which way up to hold their instruments, they could really play, and this was reflected in the quality of their songs.
Just as Saturday looked certain to be washed away in a Gloucestershire typhoon Secret Rivals took to the stage and blew the metaphorical cobwebs and quite literal clouds away. Their Secret Rivals own brand of power pop reminded me a lot of, post Charlotte, Ash. The impressive early morning line-up continued on the BBC introducing stage and as the sun began to shine once again it was Alphabet Backwards turn to shine on stage. Unlucky for them the crowds dispersed somewhat as the crowds sought sunnier climbs, but those that remained were treated to a set of summery sugar sweet anthems delivered by an incredibly charismatic front man.
After more than several pints and with an England Euro Championship qualifier about to kick off I found myself mysteriously heading towards Cheltenham town centre in search of a big screen… upon my return from the disappointing 2-2 draw with Switzerland I was greeted by a Scotsman, enough said… The Lonely Tourist played a rousing set. Through gritted teeth I was forced to admit that the guy was good. His superb voice was the perfect instrument to convey his songs.
The Bluetones were tonight’s headliners and although markedly perkier than Cornershop the night before there is perhaps a reason that this gig is the start of there “farewell tour”. Also those around me that had suffered a sense of humour transplant didn’t quite appreciate the references to all of the members being millionaires and to not worry about them. Maybe delivered to the wrong crowd, maybe just arrogant. I don’t know. I don’t really care.
The real bonus of the night was Kissmet headlining The Big Top. Led by “Ron” Kissmet are a British Asian fusion band with a lot to say. Along with a frantic set of tunes, that it was just impossible not to dance to, Kissmet preached their vision of a united world where creed, colour and religion are to be not just tolerated but respected with passionate enthusiasm. Their message is one that should surely be listened to.
I left the site once again with a beaming smile on my face… it may have been the alcohol but more likely it was the euphoria conjured by Ron.
For our pictures of day 2 click here.