Endorse-It weekend is one that's burstin' with entertainment

Endorse-It In-Dorset 2011 review

published: Wed 17th Aug 2011

around the festival site

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th August 2011
Cranborne Chase, Dorset, England MAP
adults £78; Children 11-16 years £38; Under 10 years £10 (first 200 u-10s £3)
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Tue 2nd Aug 2011

In a secluded part of sunny Dorset, somewhere near Cranborne Chase amongst the honey yellowed fields near the village of Sixpenny Handley those that had spent a mere £78 on a weekend ticket gathered to go wild at the 8th family friendly Endorse-It In-Dorset Festival and enjoy much merriment with that 'old school' festival feel that seems to be lacking at many of the bigger festivals these days.

around the festival site
Endorse It never looks like it will be a very long festival when you look at it on paper, the event doesn't open until midday on Friday and there's no acts until 5pm. You'd have thought it would go past in the blink of an eye.

Instead, here I am post another fantastic weekend of punk moo-sic feeling as though I've been at the out of the way festival site for at least a week, either they put something funny in the tasty orange cider or it's because they cram so much into those 2 1/3 days.

around the festival site
Firstly there's not just the five main stages, offering an eclectic mix of local acts, rising rockers, vintage punk, and dance acts in the main, but there's another five smaller stages offering a feast of entertainment too. There's comedy in the LOL stage, the other Bar and it's late night DJs, Strummerville and it's mix of acts and DJs going long into the night, The Purple Purge Stage programmed by teenagers who know where it's at - I got well into the tunes in there one night, and The Something Else Stage in Gail's Something Else Tea Tent offering some more laid back acoustic tunes.

around the festival site
That sounds like it should be cramped, but nope there's oodles of space to relax in the sun, or watch a band and have space to dance about to them. Rumours of me relaxing too much in the long soft green grass on Saturday evening in the sun whilst listening to Curst Sons are just exaggerated.

This year the family camping area seemed to have grown extensively, and there was a large contingent of live in vehicles. By comparison the normal campsite seemed to be less packed than normal. It's worth noting that if you are in family camping it can be bit of a hike (bearing in mind the whole site is relatively small) from the car park. But once set up you can chat to neighbours, find the nearest loos, wander around and pick up last minute items you've forgotten from the campsite shop.

around the festival site
Once orientated it's time to wander into the arena, passing the Pixie Chill out area, and the Wild West themed kids area, well used this year by younger families and offering a host of things to make and do.

The first thing anyone visiting Endorse It for the first time will notice is the Wrekon site art, their strange beasts populate the tops of installations, peep from stages, and lurk in unexpected places, with larger pieces usually providing fun for kids to play on. This year a parked up speed boat also provides the kids with a makeshift play area in addition to their own area full of fun and games.

around the festival site
The site is donut shaped with the central area housing the shops and stalls which provide a chance for some retail therapy, and with a cash point now on site there's always funds available now. Around the outside of the donut are the bars, stages, plenty of seating, and the various food outlets. Food is perhaps a little limited compared to the wealth of food now on offer at some events but it's all tasty, filling and reasonably priced from £5-£7. There's also a range of real ales including the festival's own brew, different ones on offer in each of the three bars priced from £3.20 to £4 and a range of real ciders and cans of Scrumpy Jack, and delicious Black Rat (which sells out fast). With the usual assortment of spirits and lagers are also on offer.

Once fed, and watered it's on to the music - well via the merchandise tent for a programme, and a gander at the CDs, and classy T-shirts, I opt to buy this year's CD of the festival, and yet another Endorse-It hoodie with "Endorse It We Trust" on it, sorted. All the stages, except Strummerville which hosts Beans on Toast and others, are indoors and there's a distinctly punk flavour in the main, and you're sure to see a few of the organisers like Fi and Lamma from Pronghorn guesting with various acts over the weekend. I rather enjoy the acoustic sets of Bemis, and Deferred Sucess in the Something Else tent, alongside classic acts The Vibrators, UK Subs, and Peter and the Test Tube Babies who prove the highlights of the first night.

around the festival site
They're all ably supported by festival regulars Subgiant, Citizen Fish, and our hosts Pronghorn, who all get the audience dancing. As does Banco de Gaia, and DJ AJ, before a late night of northern soul and classic cuts with Randy & Earl's Old Record Club take those still up for a dance into the next dawn, with few people heading off to bed because of the sporadic heavy rain during the night.

Saturday morning reveals the toilets are not a nightmare, and there's some tasty breakfast options on offer. There's a few regular bands kicking off early doors in the various stages, and there's quite a few people sat outside the large tents enjoying the music. Having chilled at our base for a while we head in in time to catch Karl Phillips & The Midnight Ramblers, who fuse rap and rock effectively, before watching Cash Converted raise the spirit of Johnny Cash.

The Skimmity Hitchers (album launch)
A trip up to the Family Camping Field gives us a chance to hear an unplugged set from The Skimmity Hitchers who showcase new songs from their new quality scrumpy & western album 'Game Sett And Natch'. We pick up the lyrics quickly and sing a few tunes, while the cider flows, and we make new friends and hook up with a few old ones.

We return to the arena in time for a little of regulars Henry's Phonograph, before a lack lustre show by The Members is offset by a fantastic set from The Rezillos with Fay Fife showing us all she still has it. Wedged between these two is Fat Drunk Stupid's excellent Punk Karaoke which is always a great chance for a sing along, and the first very young lad on stage makes an impressive go of it.

New Model Army
The fancy dressed Disco's Out (Murder's In) make a good fist of delivering a more mainstream festival appearance, and are sure to be on the line-up of a festival near you soon, Cosmo proved amusing with 'Let's All Go To A Ketamine Party' still ringing in my ears, and The Cropdusters were as good as ever, as were the headliners, an imperious New Model Army. The special guests Vice Squad return from last year, when I saw the big fan on stage I was disappointed to discover it wasn't Beyonce. Shortly thereafter the mighty Dub Pistols blew away any thoughts of being disappointed about anything. After that DJ Scratchy, Randy & Earl, and the DJs down in Strummerville had me refilling my cider jar until dawn broke with 'House Of The Rising Sun' and I went for a lie down.

Possibly there was less people there than last year, but with all the space in the dry arena available, and more stages dotted around perhaps there were more people around all the stages, rather than just in one place this year.

around the festival site (Ladies Day Beauty Pageant)
Scrumpy Sunday was hot, windy and sunny, and a day where men dress up as ladies, to mix with the punks, crusties, town criers, and normal folk to make one of the most perfectly wrong looking crowds you'll ever see at a festival. Sunday is also the day of having a laugh and a singalong with local acts and cider inspired tunes. Graveyard Johnnys prove an excellent starting point for us, and it seems P.N.U.K. may have exploded after appearing in their rock guise as Tapioca earlier in the weekend. Surely they have much too good a name to split up?

Boot Hill All Stars
The Boot Hill All Stars provide some fine banjo pickin' and once they took to the stage to deliver their mix of songs and banter, there's a chance to limbo dance, check out some Dorset lovelies and drink some special scrumpy in the shade of the Dorset bus bar or pop next door to sample an Oxjam band or two in the Wigon Casino. The Skimmity Hitchers play their odes to the orange stuff, before the marvellous The Bus Station Loonies get us ready for some Radical Dance Faction (RDF), and we have to choose between the biggest clash of the festival. It's cider drinkin' The Wurzels, and the sleazy Alabama 3 (acoustic & unplugged) on at the same time, and both have drawn big crowds! More sightings of the organisers on stage with Guns of Navarone, who along with second shows by the amazing dance frenzy of Subgiant, The Curst Sons, and always on form Citizen Fish top off the festival for me.

Zodiac Mindwarp and The Love Reaction
Good job they were there too, because the one band I wanted to see more than any other was Zodiac Mindwarp and The Love Reaction, but singer Mark Manning proved rather tedious between songs, and despite the guitar brilliance of Cobalt Stargazer and the classics 'Backseat Education', 'Holy Gasoline' and 'Prime Mover' overall I was left disappointed.

However it was a minor let down in an otherwise fantastic weekend, where everyone was friendly including the security, and once again I have to thank the organisers LGO, those that got the site looking so pretty, those that looked after us, the bar staff, the caterers, the bands, the people I met, and all of those who went, we were spoilt rotten to have such a good time, and I feel I should thank the apple orchards too for providing some pretty scrumptious cider over the weekend.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this festival to anyone who likes the look of the line-up, like quality acts, and their festivals kept friendly, simple, and easy, and not chock full of acts you’ll see everywhere else this summer.

around the festival site
review by: Scott Williams

photos by: Karen Williams

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th August 2011
Cranborne Chase, Dorset, England MAP
adults £78; Children 11-16 years £38; Under 10 years £10 (first 200 u-10s £3)
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Tue 2nd Aug 2011


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