Saturday finally saw the weekends rain clear off and gave us the kind of weather that Blissfields has become known for. The warmth meant the last of the mud has finally dried out, and festival goers changing back out of wellies and back into trainers. Today it was also notable how much busier the day is, with a combination of the better weather, plus the local’s coming in for the day. There were certainly a lot more children on site and this was really noticeable in Angel Gardens and The Beach, which we’re both full with children enjoying the activities on offer. One of the great things about Blissfields is that it manages to tread the line between hedonistic full-on festival and family-friendly event, managing to cater for both parties without alienating either.
Opening the Den today are Spaff Tits, a trio who give the impression that they are all playing in three different bands, with different styles, but somehow keeping time with each other - and managing to produce a pretty good sound despite it. While on the main stage, festival regular Beans on Toast, who is celebrating his tenth appearance at the festival, he’s come a long way since his early years and songs about drugs and festival life, and is now far more political with his music, and songs covering subjects such as the recent vote to leave Europe. Having got used to hearing him in small venues late at night, it is strange to see him performing on a large stage at midday. But it is quite fun watching him try not to swear as much when he does!
Blissfields is a festival that benefits from not making too many plans and inevitably rewards you for making time to discover. Today it was indie band The Lost Boys, who’s bombastic britpop sound was clearly modelled on Blur and Oasis, but the music showed that they had taken the time to look beyond them to the bands that inspired it to produce their own sound.
The Old Mout cider bar is a new addition this year, joining the Hobgoblin bar as a speciality venue, and another venue offering games, and were encouraging one of several hen parties to join in with a game of 3D Twister. One thing that seems to be lacking this year is the range of fancy dress that the festival has inspired in previous years, Whether it’s the ‘House party’ theme not giving much scope for particularly outlandish creations I don’t know, and there are a couple of hen/stag groups that have made an effort but few of the explosions of colour that can usually be seen.
As the afternoon continues to warm up Rationale did his best to cool it down – not in a bad way, but his smooth soul sound made for a great soundtrack for the crowd in front of the main stage. Despite having only a small crowd at the start he soon had gathered a sizeable group.
Sharing the best of the sun and certainly not having to try and gather a crowd to themselves were Dub Pistols, who have in recent years become a permanent fixture. They are a band who can't fail to hide their love for the festival and the crowd and give one of their best performances yet.
In comparison to the Pistols hi-energy ska, Yellow Days are at the other end of the reggae spectrum, with a laid back and deep accomplished tone just doesn't go with the band’s young and slightly chavvy image, this was one band who really deserved a few more listeners, but the big crowds were still at the main stage where everyone was holding their spaces for Shy FX, who mixed some quite surprising tunes together, but they worked well and whipped the packed field up into quite a frenzy, ready for the Saturday headliner.
This year that accolade fell to Dizzee Rascal, while for those who prefer their music to be less shouty and with more guitars in the Den were the accomplished Flight Brigade, another band that have become regular visitors to Blissfields. Dizzy however proved himself to be the worthy headliner, with a set fully loaded wth hits which went down very well with the crowd, and was even enough of a draw to empty the crowd from the usually constantly packed Bliscoteque Bus, which was almost deserted. Dizzee’s show has upped the standard for future Blissfields headliners, with a full complement of confetti cannons, smoke jets and even flame throwers on the stage adding to the light show.
With the main stage coming to an end it was left to festival organisers, Paul and Mel Bliss to take to the stage with their hard working crew to thanks everyone for coming. Given that this festival could have so easily gone down as a mud-fest washout, the work of those behind the scenes has to be applauded for making it as good a festival as ever. For those keen to get every last drop out of the festival, sets from Subgiant, and Roni Size and Dynamite kept the party going along with the DJs in the hidden hedge.
As we wearily and begrudgingly prepare to leave Sunday morning, it is a surprise to see how well the site has already recovered with the boggy car parks dried out fully, and so no issues to get out of the car parks. Again we say thank you and goodbye to what has to be one of the friendliest and most relaxed festivals out there. Although it just leaves us counting down the days to Blissfields 2017 – See you there!
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