You’d think having been to 4 out of 5 Godney Gatherings it would all feel very familiar. A little like those comfy party heels that fit so well you forget your feet. But this festival keeps the good stuff and makes the changes to improve year on year. A couple of weeks ago we were at a one day festival that felt like a village fete rather than a music festival. Godney,although similar in size, has the ability to make the day feel like a larger festival just made in a handy convenient travel size pack.
This year the festival sold out before the day and at 4999 capacity it really did give the site a good vibe. The beaming smile on the organiser, Mike Daniells, face said it all. It was a perfect day. The weather was just right, the running order seemed to go without a hitch and the punters were up for a party.
This festival is always value for money but this year the improvements were seen in the standard of the food vendors. You could munch your way through anything from cheesy chips to salt marsh lamb burgers, from posh kebabs to stone baked pizzas and all at very reasonable prices. The most fabulous Dosa Me Up Indian street food stall had the best Marsala Dosa you can ever eat this side of Mumbai. The bars appeared to cater for all tastes, from the Brothers fizzy pop they call cider, real farmhouse cider from Hecks, to Potholer ale and all at a superb price of £3 a pint.
The next generation of festival goers were very well catered for this year with a separate kids field. They had music workshops, Punch and Judy, Clowns and face painting to name just a little of the entertainment on offer. It seemed to be well attended with children and parents alike.
The site has a main stage and large tented Jaywalk stage which play consecutively so that there were no clashes or sound bleed. There were also the GFM stage and acoustic tent showcasing local talent that appears to be in abundance in Somerset. The ever popular Silent disco made another appearance with sets from, amongst others, DJ Bunjy (Laid Blak), UKID, Capital Sounds. The site also has retail therapy opportunities with a variety of vintage clothing, face painting and flower garland stalls.
The main stage was opened by The Noses (formally known as the Bleedin Noses) who got the party started in fine style. Stop Stop bought a taste of Glam metal with feather boas and make up that would rival even Kim Kardashian. Other main stage bands included Mad Apple Circus, The Rainband, and New Groove Formation. I know the organisers were so excited at having UB40 as the headliners this year and the band certainly went down well with a mass sing-a-long at the end of the night. I have to say that my highlight was Dr Meaker. One of Bristol’s finest live Drum ‘n’ bass bands who gave us a great set and got those feet moving.
Jaywalk Stage kicked off with The Skull Kids who have a unique style unlike anything I have ever heard before. It was not all local bands that graced the Gathering. Birmingham based four-piece Fallen Clouds bought in the crowd from the afternoon sunshine and delivered a solid set. King Tuts Revenge as always had the tent jumping and local band Fast Decline closed the tent before the Main stage headliners.
For those people who travel from afar, or even it would seem the locals, you can camp in the Garslade Farm campsite opposite the festival at a very reasonable rate of £10 per person per night. This year saw a vast increase in numbers as people made the most of the good weather.
I’m not sure why but a review would perhaps not feel right without pointing out the negatives but to be fair there weren’t that many. Some of the bands had a small challenge trying to gain entry but the punters wouldn’t have seen or been affected by this. There were the inevitable queues for the toilets late at night but I suppose we expect that. I think this team at Godney have thought about just about everything and it certainly shows as the day goes smoothly for the crowd.
As Churchill said - To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. No doubt we have seen the changes over the last 4 years that have led to this almost perfectly formed gem of a day. This is, as always, due to the hard work and dedication of the Godney Gathering team who work voluntarily to put on this festival where all the profits go to local charities. Some bigger festivals could take a leaf out this team’s book.
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