Godney Gathering is a one day event held near Glastonbury that has expanded this year to feature three stages and 23 acts over the day. The site itself is compact but offers all that is required for a one day event. The bar is large and offered a good selection of drinks and a separate bar served Hecks cider for those that fancied something proper to drink. The food choice was adequately varied and easily saw us through the day.
The site was easy to find with good signposting, a large car park was provided next to the gate and entry was easy with casual security that weren’t overbearing as they can be at some venues. Kids under 16 were free with a paying adult. Separate queues operated to speed entry, one for kids and accompanying adults, one for the rest. There was a no alcohol brought on site policy but I can support that when all drinks are £3 or less. The festival was completely child friendly and the weather ensured that the atmosphere was totally relaxed.
For those that chose to stay, an arrangement had been made with the close by Garslade Farm campsite that was open to festival goers only for the weekend at £10 a tent or motorhome. They were happy to take all comers, providing free tea and coffee on the Sunday morning and bacon rolls at a cheap price. It all added to a well thought out feeling to the entire event.
The three stages were well organised and sound quality couldn’t be faulted as far as I was concerned. The small Glastonbury FM acoustic stage ran through the day with a good selection of talent, the 11 acts each getting half an hour with 15 minutes between them. The Jaywalk Guitars stage featured 6 acts both local and national with particular mention being needed for Young Aviators who travelled from Glasgow for the event.
The main stage line-up was opened by Dr and the Medics, the perfect start in the sunshine. A typically entertaining if slightly unhinged set was delivered with the professionalism you would expect of this veteran outfit (and inflatable Daleks). Laid Blak followed, a massively underrated band from Bristol delivering urban reggae with wit and feeling. Mad Dog Mcrea played a lively set and were followed by The Christians, musically good but their constant whingeing about the sound detracted from the set. The highlights of the day were The Blockheads and the Dub Pistols closing out. The Blockheads were excellent as usual and the Dub Pistols nailed the close.
It was notable that a large number of the bands thanked the organiser, Mike Daniels, and made the point that this type of event was important and should be supported. I got the impression that the acts were playing because they wanted to be there rather than just being another paid gig. They are of course right, these type of events support new music and offer an opportunity for new bands to be heard. The organisation ensured that as one band finished on one of the two main stages, the other would start, simple thinking that ensures everyone gets a chance to be seen and the sound bleed issues that would exist on a small site like this were negated.
The step up from a 6 band evening event previously to a 23 band 3 stage full day has made Godney even better value at £20 a ticket and under 16's free. Mike and his team have worked to produce a small but well balanced day out that deserves more support. The event was not sold out and with the line-up available it really should have been. I would recommend it for next year to anyone that fancies a cheap day with good music, good cider and solid organisation.
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