The Big Chill offers family fun and a wonderful end to an amazing weekend

The Big Chill 2011 review

published: Mon 15th Aug 2011

Norman Jay (crowd)

Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th August 2011
Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1RL, England MAP
£165 for the weekend
daily capacity: 30000
last updated: Thu 1st Sep 2011

Sunday was a totally new experience of festivals for me as I choose to experience a day at big chill with my 5 year old son, so I could review 'the little chill' what the organisers described as one of the premier family areas in festival land, with cabaret, circus skills, games, workshops and book readings to name but a few activities, also with a petting farm in the dedicated family camping site, where kids can get hands on in the farm environment, by feeding the cows sheep and goats or collecting the chickens morning eggs. My boy really enjoyed the book reading by Andy Stanton, before we went to go and listen to the North Mississippi Allstars who absolutely blew me away with their dirty southern blues, they are the real deal, and I cant recommend them highly enough.

Norman Jay (crowd)
The irrepressible Norman Jay MBE, who unleashed a mesmeric set, full of all the sights and sounds of a Brixton carnival sound system regular, followed them on stage. I don't think I could spot one person in the whole crowd who wasn't shaking what their mama gave them.

And things just got better and better Femi Kuti and the Positive Force brought the solid afro beat to the party, the magnificent colours and soul of the performance brought the sun out into full glory, people danced and sung along to the melodic African chanting, there seemed to be a real rare breed of very eclectic festival goers all converged on this glorious day, basking in the amazing talent on the stage, my son and I then went back to 'the little chill' family area to join the spy school which was taking place, and to listen to Tom Middleton's dad's DJ set, which included a lot of very African beat driven dubstep with trance overtures all mixed in with old school TV favourite theme tunes, to make dads smile. Including the old match of the day theme tune, Knightrider, A Team and Blackadder but to name a few. This was a very accessible set to kids who liked the mayhem and the adults who were having an amble down memory lane.

Robert Plant And The Band Of Joy
Resurfacing after a great fun packed hour of sword fights like pirates and falling off unicycles, we got to the main stage just in time to see Robert Plant and Band Of Joy, who were on top form, playing songs old and new, ranging from Plant's later country led folk album and some new Band Of Joy material, to a real crowd pleasing moment with a cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Ramble On'. I must admit to almost shedding a tear, sharing this moment with my little lad but shhhh don't tell anyone.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Then onto the final headliner of The Big Chill 2011 Rodrigo Y Gabriela, and they were not going to let down the side. They thundered through their set, with guts and glory, thrashing their acoustic guitars mercilessly within a gut string of their life for an hour and twenty minutes. It was a classy display of two masters at work, their guitars looked like they were a part or extension of their arms, for a two piece show they can certainly make a very rich and wholesome sound, and have an unmistakable stage presence and a true affinity with the crowd. Not many acts keep my son's attention for an hour and a half, and these two did it with just two acoustic guitars and a minimal light show, they draw on many styles of music and even drop in the odd Slayer and Metallica riffs. A wonderful end to an amazing weekend, almost. We had a little watch of Mr Scruff on the starburst stage, which was a great 20 minutes of ambient chill out music.

All in all I would recommend The Big Chill to anyone, having experienced it from a partying with mates angle on Thursday and Friday night, and from a family attendance perspective on the Sunday it really did cover all bases the security were generally very helpful and the grounds were beautiful. You couldn't want for much more from a festival.
review by: Jamie Licence

photos by: Phil Bull

Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th August 2011
Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1RL, England MAP
£165 for the weekend
daily capacity: 30000
last updated: Thu 1st Sep 2011


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