Cumbria's got more beef than Wiley's got bottle

Cockermouth Rock Festival 2013 review

published: Thu 25th Jul 2013

Wiley (crowd)

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July 2013
Wellington Farm, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0QU, England MAP
£69 for weekend pass with camping
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Fri 21st Jun 2013

Cockermouth Rock Festival (affectionately called CockRock) is a not for profit festival that takes place in the Lake District raising money for the Mountain Rescue Services . Much like Reading Festival is seen as a rite of passage for southern teenagers, on a far smaller scale CockRock festival seems to be the rite of passage for local school leavers. It takes place on the weekend that schools break up, and the majority of the punters appeared to be school aged. The headline acts were targeted towards that age bracket.
On a very hot Friday the festival openers were Vertigo, proficient and tight they played a 50/50 mix of originals and covers. The rest of the late afternoon, evening was spent getting into the general vibe and setting up camp so it wasn't until later, after missing We//Are//Animal that I took time to see Gentlemen's Dub Club playing main stage as warm up for The Cribs, their big band reggae brass infusion was celebratory and enjoyable. Set change-over time and over on the Bar Stage I caught a very juvenile in the young sense rather than attitude The 45's,  who took us back to the 60's, stage wear was nice threads, blazers on a budget I'm sure, but the music was luxurious, reminiscent of a very youthful  The Pretty Things / Dr Feelgood, it was tragic not to have seen their entire set but they're on my radar for the future. Friday night headliners were The Cribs, I've been wanting to see this band for a long time, I was surprised to see a fourth member on stage, but it was just David Jones from Nine Black Alps assisting on rhythm guitar - with a catalogue spanning a decade the hour long set was exciting, intense and angsty with songs from their entire career from 'Hey Scenesters!', 'Men's Needs', 'Another Number' and 'Be Safe'. Even a casual observer with a passing interest in music would have recognised a handful of the songs. With guitars discarded like fag butts from a car window the band left the stage to the shouts of the crowd.
On Saturday and on reflection, the opening main stage band Jakarta Club were done a disservice by being billed at 11:00 hrs there then followed several bands happy to play a multitude of covers amongst original material. Although credit where it's due at least I didn't hear any renditions of 'Teenage Kicks'. A band like Jakarta Club with original songs, as well as a solid local following should be given a later slot. If you're going to Solfest or Kendal Calling make the effort to see their set. Thankfully at 16:00 hrs Karl Phillips & The Midnight Ramblers appeared. Karl Phillips told us he invented Grime, not Wiley. The set was amusing, energetic- so much so that 2 drum techs were left hanging onto the drums to stop them from toppling off of the riser due to Dave Hole's drumming ferocity. A few bands on and there's something vaguely familiar about Man Like Me. Turns out they were in the IKEA "You Will Always Find Me In The Kitchen at Parties" advert. That aside, they've got a really cool 80's vibe going on.
After that Reverend & the Makers were on. I personally didn't know anything they'd done, and at this point I'd like to beg for the Reverend's forgiveness for my ignorance. What I lacked the audience more than made up for. Well done Reverend you know how to work a crowd. With the sermon safely delivered the crowd started chanting "We don't want Wiley." And then the Saturday night headliner that not everyone was looking forward to took the stage to loud cheers ...... and boos.
But what did Wiley expect after he'd insulted Cumbria and the festival? Wiley looked terrified. He moved left, he moved right, he bounced, never staying still, and he was actually good. But the heart rules the head and the good people of Cumbria had been besmirched, and despite a Reverend being in attendance, forgiveness was in short supply. Wiley looked out onto the audience and saw pagans dressed in cloaks, much like Jawa's from the Star Wars films, throwing whatever they could lay their hands on at him. I looked out onto the audience and saw girls in denim hot pants, crop tops, men wearing cargo shorts and VooDoo T-shirts from the festival merchandiser, okay there were day-glo painted faces, but everyone looked like everyone in any other county.
He managed 4 songs including 'Wearing my Rolex' and 'Lights On'. Wiley then tried to explain his earlier behaviour on social media sites but the crowd were having none of it and he walked off stage and into a waiting car. Luckily CockRock had a contingency, Colt 45 played a short set having just completed one earlier in Tent 42 for the Vice takeover, quickly followed by another short set by Reverend & the Makers. With the atmosphere charged the audience left the ring. Wiley had thrown in the towel. Despite earlier tweeting about his burger, he discovered CockRock and Cumbria had more beef than he had bottle.
On Sunday as entertaining as Falling Red may be, I don't think that families really want to be told to "GET OFF YOUR F***ING A**E'S AND GET DOWN THE FRONT." Perhaps because of this Young Kato regrettably drew quite a small crowd, despite their Radio 1 friendly, mainstream indie rock. The Algorithm play Mathcore (, for example, Dillinger Escape Plan, with the drummer from London and the guitarist and producer/effects front man from France who met through the internet. The drumming and guitar structures remain the same, while the electronic sequencing effects may free-form from each performance. Complex and enjoyable, it's nice to be challenged by a band.
Time to get your skank on as Dreadzone followed and played tunes such as 'Rise Up', 'Zion Youth' and 'Little Britain'. (perhaps though, it would be an idea to have shut down the Reggae tent while they were on, seeing as it was deserted during their set) Dreadzone are journeymen of the festival scene, a title they should be proud of. Their heritage is rich and they bring enjoyment to all. It's a shame they only had 45 minutes. Ahh, the irony of the final band on the stage, Kids in Glass Houses. The audience were youthful, sun-burnt. Are stage lights even necessary with the crowd's red beaming faces? KIGH bated Wiley and the crowd joined in. Did Kids in Glass Houses see pagans as they looked at the crowd? No. They saw celebration and exuberance. It was Wiley's for the taking the previous night.
As much as the main stage is the focal point there are still numerous attractions around the site. On Friday night they had a comedy tent, and on Saturday and Sunday this was replaced by the Astral Circus Cabaret Stage  which featured burlesque, pole dancers and aerial acts. During the day they also offered workshops which allowed you to learn pole dancing. Other stalls around the site included a vintage clothing stall, a jamming area and fairground rides. My only little niggle about the rides was that you could occasionally hear their music coming over between songs on the main stage. CockRock is musically diverse, Tent 42 predominantly featured heavier rock and metal bands. For the hard core dub/reggae heads there was the Jambeater Reggae tent featuring DJs and MCs with an impressive and powerful speaker system playing until early morning, as well as the Dance Tent hosted by Tribes of Xanadu carrying on until 2am.
The Gatherers stage played host to acoustic acts. My personal favourite was JonPaul Palombo who was engaging, involved the crowd, encouraged and received audience participation. The stages were situated near to the Green Area which was powered by renewable energy. The Green Area also had Eco toilets, mushroom peddling, willow weaving, shisha and a massage palour. The Gav McKew stage also featured acoustic acts and was situated in the food court. Food and drink was very well priced. Culinary delights ranged from the standard cheeseburger to flat breads to pies, a carvery, toasties or wood fired pizza. There was also an ice cream truck which obviously had a roaring trade due to the wonderfully sunny and warm days, and at only £1.50 a cone, why not? There were four bars and the Powder Keg pub on site which all served the special Jennings Brew CockRocket which was by far the best selling. 
The security felt overbearing. On the Friday, people were searched before entering the campsite, as well as police and sniffer dogs being around. The misconception that festivals are drug and alcohol fueled needs to be refuted. Anyone underage/fresh faced and without ID also had their alcohol confiscated and even if you had the ID, you were still limited to 50 units per person due to the festival licensing. If it is any consolation, we heard the alcohol was then taken backstage and helped fuel the bands playing on the day. Security were so uptight about alcohol consumption that they were opening peoples bottles of Coke as they entered the arena to make sure they weren't sneaking in any alcohol! Having said that about the paid security, the volunteers who were doing a couple of shifts in exchange for a free ticket were marvelous.
There were two different campsites, the "loud" one and the "quiet" one. All live in vehicles were situated in the quite area. However, being in the Lake District with all their hills meant that it was difficult to find a flat area to pitch your tent! Luckily, the toilets were also fine, but they should probably consider putting some more in the campsite, as there were often queues in the morning for them.
The festival has a very good ethos- helping local, small bands to gain exposure, as well as donating all its profits to two very worthwhile causes. They also book some very good bands for the evening slots. And at only £74 for an adult weekend camping ticket giving you three days of entertainment. In the saturated festival market, CockRock has made national headlines in the media but for the wrong reasons. Wiley's behavior ultimately had a detrimental effect on the walk up ticket sales for the day. However I hope this won't have an effect on the future of the festival. Wiley, you're meant to be the "big man" of grime. Being driven 310 miles in a car is not hard. It's something a pussy would complain about. I did 250 miles as a passenger without complaining on social media and taunting the locals and I'm a 16 year old girl. 

review by: Phoebe Rodwell

photos by: Paul Rodwell

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July 2013
Wellington Farm, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0QU, England MAP
£69 for weekend pass with camping
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Fri 21st Jun 2013

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