Monday, 31 August 2009

You think it's all over, It IS NOW!

Okay, so it’s all over for another year but how did 2009’s Leeds Festival fare?

Well for a Festival with little to no need for introduction, it’s veterans could be excused for thinking they’d stumbled into the wrong campsite or at least an alternate reality! Walking through hoards and hoards of semi-pitched tents you could barely fail notice the new festival persona. What would once have been fields filled with Rock and Roll loving folk seemed to have changed some way. The aesthetics, mostly the same with the bright colored bunting, rolling hills of tents, fair grounds and flags flying in the air no, it is the festival goers that have evolved. Evolved into something less than spectacular. With sights that would make the Festival veteran throw up his own snake bite and forcibly ram Rock and Roll albums down the necks of this new audience just to teach them a little about the music this festival celebrates, it was clear that maybe this time, the organizers had gone too far in commercializing the festival and changed it’s world famous vibe altogether.

Rather than camp circles filled with the expected personas of the Gallagher brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Ronnie Wood and Ian Brown sat by camp fires, over drinking and over indulging, we see crowds of a more fluorescent and neon nature indulging in more Rave than Rock.
It does beg the question, ‘Have Festival Republic sold out the worlds finest Rock and Roll festival?’.

Yes the Line-up remains a selection of some of the finest new and vintage Rock and Roll artists, it’s not this which suggests the festival may have been compromised but the post Headliner entertainment. Instead of the expected dance tent uniting festival goers everywhere though classic Rock and Roll music to entertain us until we’re drunk beyond comprehension and sparked out in a stupor we are faced with ‘The Relentless Tent’ which was amply named. DJ Sets from Chase and Status as well as other unknown Dance, House and DB artists dominated the entire weekend. It’s followers (drunken, chin chewing, face paint sporting teenagers) dominating it’s vibe.
With such a calling for unsigned bands, one would surely see evenings as THE SLOT for them to showcase their talent and entertain until the early hours?! Apparently not…. For instead of Rock and acoustics and hours of hillbilly entertainment we were subjected to drug fuelled raves and heavy continual baselines.

This Festival was full of surprises. The Arctic Monkeys failure to pull of a headlining set was not one of them I’m afraid. It would seem all his exploration of the States has left little Alex Turner on a different planet to the rest of us. After playing a set which saw the vast majority of it’s crowd leave half way through it wouldn’t surprise me if he still grants their set a success. In reality, they didn’t have the material. They may have three albums but the fact remains that only one of those was truly successful enough and it was only one of those albums the crowd wanted to hear… and of that album only two tracks were played. I’m sure they killed the festival spirit of thousands of festival goers.

What was a surprise was the lack of attendance in the NME/ Radio 1 stage for the legends who are Faith No More on the Sunday evening. Pulling off a fantastic set to close the festival, one could only feel for them having to perform to a less than half full tent. However, the few hundred present were definitely subjected to an outstanding performance and could only leave the festival feeling somewhat completed to have seen the band play on top form post a decade of non touring.

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes and the Alternative Stage is turning into a real gem. With a phenomenal performance by Tim Minchin attracting thousands into the over crowded tent, one can only hope this stage goes from strength to strength in the years that follow. I LOVE BOOBIES!haha…

It’s hardly going to make your jaw drop to hear that I’m now about to complain about British Weather. Come rain or shine, we know how to have a good time but why oh why for one weekend a year can it not rain and just shine?! For the heavy showers did put a dampener on the festival. It’s just sometimes nice to be able to sit on the grass and soak in the atmosphere, it’s however not nice sitting on the grass getting soaked because there’ no shelter! Maybe that’s somewhat down to the fact that we as a nation are destroying the atmosphere. Maybe the Lord is raining on our parade to teach us all a lesson… well, It’s a thought haha…

Moans aside, believe it or not I had a fantastic Festival. My highlights being performances by:

Eagles of death Metal, Ian Brown and The Prodigy on The Friday.

Tim Minchin, Vampire Weekend, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Radiohead on the Saturday.

Florance and the Machine, Jamie T and Faith No More to finish on the Sunday.

Campsite parties and the funfair remain firm favorites of mine and were explored with due respect on the Friday and Saturday evenings! Combine with this two bearded lizard dragons in a glass of alcohol, crate after crate of beer and a great bunch of guys and you can see why I still had a great festival ☺ The festival remained hitch proof once you discounted the pathetic attempt at directing people to the site and if you don’t count the fact we had to be rescued from the Car Park by the AA! All good stories though eh?! I’m now home, slightly sun burned and more than slightly worn out!

Oh! AND REMEMBER ‘Only a Ginger, can call another ginger ginger!!’