Friday overview

Big Session 2008

published: Thu 19th Jun 2008

around the site

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th June 2008
De Montfort Hall, Granville Road, Leicester LE1 7RU, England MAP
Full weekend £65, Child (5-15) weekend £20, camping £5, adult Fri £25, Sat £35, Sun £20
last updated: Wed 11th Jun 2008

The fourth Big Session festival returned to the De Montfort Hall this weekend serving up another generous helping of (mostly) folk-based quality music in the well ordered and easy going manner for which it's become known.

Improvements to the site were noticeable with a bigger big-top "Marquee Stage" outside in the gardens (complete with polished wood dance floor) and no chances taken this year with the lawn-keeper's patience (not to mention the carpet cleaner's) with plenty of tracking around the grounds.

around the site

In the event the rain stayed away this year and festival goers enjoyed a weekend of fine weather and the firm festival favourite activity of sitting on the grass enjoying the sunshine in pleasant surrounds. The second tented stage and combined real ale tent was back for another year in it's familiar spot, organised by local pub the Orange Tree (who also do the honours at Summer Sundae later in the year).

Arriving Friday evening straight after work, past the camping field and the unusual sight of a field full of tents in a town location, entry is a breeze with no queues, yet it feels busy inside - lots of people intending to make the most of the weekend have taken the day off - I'm there in time to see most of Hey Negita's set in the big top and they're a good start to the proceedings.

Hey Negrita

Checking through the program there's a nice overlap in the bands and getting around is easy as pie. A couple of hours later I've already been entertained by 3 acts (Hey Negrita in a country style, a trio of headbanging folkies on the indoor stage and songstress Cara Dillon back in the Marquee stage.

A visit to the ale tent where local duo Norcsalordie are going down as well as the beer, and then it's back across the lawns to the indoor stage where 7-piece Dubliners, Kila, cram a lot of energy into a sadly shortened set. Almost locals, Black Carrot from Market Harborough were a noticeable theme change at last year's festival and I couldn't miss a second helping (though many decided they could) and the quirkiness didn't disappoint.

The Blockheads


It was a tough choice but the Blockheads won out over perennials The Oysterband as the nights finale band but maybe it's the lack of Norman Watts-Roy on the bass or the slightly uninspired audience they don't seem to ignite for me as at other times (but are still good!).

The first day is finished but bonus music is found at nearby venue The Pavillion - one of a number of fringe gigs that have sprung up around the Big Session weekend at certain watering holes in the vicinity.
review by: Phil Bull

photos by: Phil Bull

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th June 2008
De Montfort Hall, Granville Road, Leicester LE1 7RU, England MAP
Full weekend £65, Child (5-15) weekend £20, camping £5, adult Fri £25, Sat £35, Sun £20
last updated: Wed 11th Jun 2008


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