Piney Gir is the highlight of Saturday's acts at Alchemy

Alchemy Festival 2009 review

published: Wed 23rd Sep 2009

around the festival site (3)

Friday 18th to Sunday 20th September 2009
Hall Farm Park, South Kelsey, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, England MAP
£60 for an adult weekend, teen (14-18) £30, child (5-13) £12, under 5s free
last updated: Wed 16th Sep 2009

First impressions on arriving an enforced day late at the first ever Alchemy festival include the words peaceful, spacious, easily-accessible, and where is everybody? In fairness it's 9:30am and there's signs of it having been a long night for many, which has got to be a good sign. So it's meet and greet, tent up, and open a cider, all in no rush and not necessarily in that order.

around the festival site (1)
Now for an overview of what the festival offered, look no further than Phil Adcroft's spot-on Friday review, here, for efestivals that fully reflects the whole weekend in reality.

But let me just add the following! First and foremost, there was an amazingly calm and friendly vibe all around the place. There was security but they were nicely in the background. The camping area thankfully allowed cars to park next to tents on the Monday. Notwithstanding the food problems mentioned in the other review, decent meals at around £3 is as value-for-money as you'll get at festivals. Plus there was a strong variety of stalls selling a variety of festivals goods: clothes, art, music, massage – the usual but plenty of it.

Musically I was cockahoop that I'd not had to miss Piney Gir as well as many other delights on the Friday. Alas the 500-strong attendees clearly had better things to do mid-afternoon than drink fine ciders from the bar and watch this Canadian songstress and her singers and band, all dressed to the nines in their English gentry clothing and playing easy-listening tunes. It was all new music, from an album released just last week, that was so digestibly light, showy and uplifting. An encore of 'Greetings Salutations and Goodbye' was completely spot on and she was the hidden gem of the festival.

around the festival site (3)
Next I remember were ZubZub. Except they weren't, at least not at the time I'd been told of, early evening, in an almost empty dance tent. I sensibly went back to my little tent for refills, in awe of the evening's tantalising line-up, and inexplicably suddenly awoke minutes before midnight. A mad rush to the Stage Bus (yes, main stage was a converted bus) found Subgiant still going strong, punters bouncing away and the band looking very cheerful and up-for-it. Having people dancing literally centimetres away probably helped. Alas after the scratch-fuelled 'Nursery Rhymes' and driven beats of 'Valley of Sith' the stage had to close and I'd truly mugged myself of a variety of excellent alternative festival acts across the evening.

A rush over the darken plains to a packed dance tent and even worse, I got all of a half of Zetan Spore's last pulsating tune. But then luck finally shone back my way as the familiar fuzzy hair of a member of ZubZub started setting up. Within minutes there was a mad variety of trancy beats from this collective, with flute and ambient guitar solos floating randomly over the top from the strong ex-Ozrics influence. My night was not completely lost after all, and there were plenty of us lost in this cracking performance.

Smoke Like A Fish
Sunday morning and I sheepishly enquire as to what happened the night before. I'm reliably informed that I missed some excellent acts and goings on. Aside from a fine fire show and the various DJ sets around the place there was so much live music. The Zetan Spore set was a clear highlight for many. Jon Gomm amazed with his tunes and unique style of acoustic guitar playing in the beer tent. Smoke Like a Fish delivered the sort of ska that was comparable to any famous late 70s two-tone act. Sicknote were nicely scary. And Tarantism played a fine set for those that party that way. I certainly would have.
review by: Clive Hoadley

photos by: Gary Stafford

Friday 18th to Sunday 20th September 2009
Hall Farm Park, South Kelsey, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, England MAP
£60 for an adult weekend, teen (14-18) £30, child (5-13) £12, under 5s free
last updated: Wed 16th Sep 2009


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