Saturday overview

The Innocent Village Fete

published: Fri 10th Aug 2007

Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th August 2007
Regents Park, London, NW1 4NR, England MAP
£5 per day, £2.50 for kids, under 3s go free
last updated: Tue 26th Jun 2007

The Innocent Village Fete is a revamped version of last year’s Fruitstock Festival which was free to attend. This year there is a nominal charge of £5 which results in a slightly less crowded site – it’s still packed but is well organised and there is much better flow of people between areas. It’s on from 11 am till 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday which seems to appeal to a wide age range and attracts lots of families.

around the Innocent Village Fete


The sun is shining and the fete, set in the beautiful and well-manicured Regent’s Park, has a very relaxed vibe. There’s plenty of food and drink, fairground rides and activities for the children and adults to enjoy, as well as an eclectic mix of bands. There are three music “venues” – an acoustic bandstand, the Hay Barn and the Village Hall. Thomas Truax kicks off at the Acoustic Bandstand just after 11 am. This is unfortunately the “graveyard slot” or “ghost fest” as Thomas calls it and, as the fete has only just opened, there isn’t much of a crowd. This means that only a select few are here to witness his eccentric antics and to admire the hand-built instruments (the Hornicator, Stringaling and his percussionist Sister Spinster) including an excitable toddler who is roped in to help out with looped backing vocals. The brilliant sunshine and vivid greenery are an unusual setting for Thomas’ sometimes dark tunes but the lovely ‘In Barcelonely’ and the beautifully descriptive tale of ‘The Butterfly and the Entomologist’ are perfect for today.

Thomas Truax

Thomas’ set is slightly curtailed as is Hush the Many’s who are playing in the marquee (the Hay Barn) and start earlier than listed. They’re a band of contradictions and with gentle vocals, a cello, and constantly smiling band members, you might expect mellow acoustic-folk but the music turns out to be a dynamic mixture of sweet, soft sounds and edgy guitars with pounding drums. Their set includes ‘Paper Doll’, a blistering song about desire, the dramatic and exciting ‘The Knife’, with its menacing undertones, and the riveting ‘Revolve’ which will be the new single. It’s a shame their set isn’t longer but it seems they were making way for Amy MacDonald, a young singer-songwriter from Glasgow, who has a more commercial sound – standard folk rock with deep, gritty lead vocals. The audience recognise her current single ‘Mr Rock and Roll’ which is catchy and is receiving a lot of airplay at the moment, and she tells us that her album ‘This is the Life’ is destined for the Top 10 this week. On the whole the sound is uninspiring and the most outstanding track is her cover of the Killers’ ‘Mr Brightside’ but she does pull a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Hush The Many

It’s back over to the bandstand for Adem who I’ve seen play once before. He apologises that his songs are mostly written in, and meant for, the dark hours of the night (and soul!) rather than for a glorious summer’s afternoon. Even so, it’s a great place to listen to the lyrics properly, especially of songs like ‘Long Drive Home’ – “do you believe in me enough to say so?” - and the brightly painted pump organ is apt for today, as well as the upbeat sounds he creates with the tiny ukulele towards the end of his set.



Next up is Jack Savoretti, a romantic-looking young singer-songwriter. He has a warm, slightly husky voice and plays acoustic guitar with occasional cello accompaniment. His songs are dreamy and poetic with an alt country feel about them. He plays a couple of covers – a Bob Marley song called ‘Easy Skanking’ and Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’. All of his own songs are strong so it’s difficult to pick highlights but the tuneful and hooky single ‘Dr Frankenstein’, the sorrowful ‘Too Late for Apologies’ and the impassioned ‘Solider’s Eyes’ stand out.

Jack Savoretti

Vincent Vincent follows, playing a rare solo spot without his Villains. He looks like a 50s throwback and the music is retro rock to match his outfit. There are a couple of love songs for 7” vinyl singles and record players which some of us can relate to, as well as a song for his partner, ‘Sweet Girlfriend’. He plays the Platters’ track ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ and overall is the most lively and upbeat of the bandstand acts so far.

Paloma Faith is extremely watchable and vibrant in her gold outfit and vivid make-up with props of a huge orange feather fan and flowers hidden down her dress which are fluttered and scattered during one of the songs. She also ensures our attention doesn’t wander by cutting off her gold outfit halfway through her set to reveal a shimmering dress underneath. Paloma has keyboard accompaniment this afternoon but invites us to see her play with the full band another time. Her singing voice is rich and bluesy, with a jazz influence but childlike and endearing for the in-between song banter. Every song is illustrated with exaggerated posturing, highlights are ‘My Legs are Weak’ and ‘Falling’.

Paloma Faith

Earl Okin is a comedian-musician and his act is very tongue in cheek, with sleazy double entendres as he seeks to educate us about blues, Bossa Nova and country and western genres. He does an accurate and funny impersonation of a horn section for some of his songs, and throws in a cover of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ in the Bossa Nova style. He refers to himself as “musical genius and sex symbol” which also happens to be the title of his current album. Although Earl initially seems an odd choice for “headliner”, the crowd quickly warm to him and are smiling and laughing through his whole set.

Earl Okin

Many of the bands are playing again tomorrow, hopefully to give an entirely new audience a chance to see and hear them. It’s been an ideal day to sit and listen to the interesting mixture of music and it would be impossible to get better value from the price of a ticket.
review by: Helen OSullivan

photos by: Helen OSullivan

Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th August 2007
Regents Park, London, NW1 4NR, England MAP
£5 per day, £2.50 for kids, under 3s go free
last updated: Tue 26th Jun 2007


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