Summercamp is not just any festival!?? It was dreamt up by some of the creative bods from Liverpool’s wild west summercamp. Its two days of music, food and the arts, all held as part of Liverpool’s International Music Festival.
The weather for bank holidays in the UK is usually pretty piss poor, but this weekend was lovely, t-shirt weather, we got up at the crack of dawn for the 100 mile drive up to Liverpool (as I type this I have the stereotypical Liverpudlian in my head – sorry, calm down, calm down).
The festival is a culmination of Music, food and the arts all coming together in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle area. This area has gone through some reinvention over the past few years. Venues for some of the events are ‘Camp’ and ‘Furnace’, two previously industrial units now converted to hold events such as this.
There was a music school combining art and music for kids and presenting instrument making with Yuri Landman and Yuri Suzuki, there were even lectures for the kids too. Even events for the family to get involved with too such as lantern making and head dress making, there was even a Teddy bears Picnic – 5 items for a pound which included fruit, drinks and numerous tasty treats.
The icing on the cake was they were offering ticketed dinners from two times Great British Menu Winner and Michelin starred Chef Glynn Purnell, this epitomised the whole festival. BUT this wasn’t it on the food front, there was the Tree Huggers Banquet, No Knives and Forks, The Top Secret Midnight Feast and Furnace’s legendary pop-up food slam. And if that’s not enough there was a food market with stalls of delicious delights, enough to tempt any tastebuds, I’m salivating writing this and thinking about the two 11 inch pizzas we consumed during the day, obviously we had to try a percentage of the food and we weren’t disappointed.
Lastly they were offering midnight movies for all those night owls, so in actual fact there was something for everyone.
We got to the festival at midday after getting stuck on the M6 and in all the festival traffic, namely Creamfields and Leeds. I was quite surprised when we got there especially as the ‘Baltic Triangle’ was a ten minute stroll from the Liverpool Echo Arena, quite an up and coming area where things are looking up and industrial units are being reinvented.
We ventured down the street, a quick hop, skip and jump and we were greeted by pallets with grass on them, which was a nice touch, considering we were in the centre of Liverpool standing smack bang in the middle of a street. At the end of the street was a little stage which was dubbed ‘The Greenland Street Festival, lovely little stage, acoustic artists such as ‘Daniel Ross’, ‘Hey Carrianne’, ‘Silent Cities’ and ‘Natalie McCool’, seriously nice touch especially when you were tucking into your food and drink.
There seemed to be a lot of families with loads of kiddy winks running about everywhere, but obviously these demised later in the day, lots of stuff for the kids to do and parents to get involved, these ran till about 4 in the afternoon. The kids dwindled away and more adults came on the scene, obviously due to the tempo of music getting more and more frequent.
One of the interesting pieces we saw during the day was Vicky Bennett, it was about all her animation and how she had edited different flims together on the same subject matter, classic the sound of music and Apocalypse Now infusion, with fireballs and classic music throughout, we were treated to several films throughout the 30 min talk, which can all be viewed on ‘peoplelikeus.org’. The best section of one of the films was where Wonder Women jumped into Jaws’s mouth.
Throughout the day beer was served on tap and tasty homemade ice cream from ‘Gingers Emporium’, never got to taste it as it was closed when we eventually got there.
The music kicked off on the Furnace stage, amazing venue, obviously an old furnace which had been rejuvenated in to a pucker music venue. 15.00 hrs and the first act graced the stage Fair Ohs, well amazing funny dad dancing by the lead vocalist, there seemed to be a bit of banter between the first two bands, Fair Oh’s even saying if were crap were called Spectrals, very naughty.
We were Evergreen were a three piece and seemed to have bought a boat load of fans with them, such a nice tone. One of the bands I wanted to see throughout the weekend was Merchandise. I’d heard they’d played Reading or Leeds on the Friday so was anxious to see what all the fuss was about. They didn’t disappoint, only problem I had was the vocals were a bit quiet. Awesome, awesome band.
There were a few changes from the original line up, at one point we were running an hour over the time slots, but Ghostpoet had been changed to Sunday’s line up so the time was made up later.
We frequented to the other stage, Camp stage to check out iconic Martha Wainwright, the room was packed to bursting, even the pit was the busiest it had been all day/night.
Wainwright was on her own with just an acoustic guitar for company the audience were lapping it up, unfortunately we only stayed for 5 songs as we wanted to get prime position for when The Joy Formidable came on stage.
We went back into the Furnace and Mount Kimbie were on stage, it was pitch black with strobe lighting blasting out, I think I’m getting old!! It just sounded like noise to me, me and my partner just kept looking at our watches wondering when we could hear our selves speak again. The kids loved this act, seemed a bit Discloure-esque to me, the sort of stuff you would go and dance to at Creamfields or at Manumission., totally mind numbing for me, especially as I have two left feet and I would rather be able to see the band I’m watching and hear the vocals, not just the hard ass bass line. Sorry I know I’m an old fart, tell me something I don’t already know.
The jewel in the crown were up next. We had waited all day to see, The Joy Formidable, and have followed them since 2009 when we saw them at Hop Farm in the early days. We were fortunate enough to interview them, earlier in the day, a 20 minute chat of honest down to earth chat, it seriously made our day. But enough of that. We were treated to a 45 minute rollercoaster ride of 11 songs, kick starting the set with ‘This Ladder is Ours’, this song packs a punch and has enough balls for anyone, straight into stonker ‘Austere’ and followed up by ‘Little Blimp’.
I love this band cause they have so much oomph on stage, they’re on stage chemistry is second to none and they’re antics just make me laugh, if they’re not bumping into each other on stage, they take it out on Matt’s drum kit or smash they’re equipment up, tonight was no exception, Rhyddian took a dislike to his mic stand and knocked it over several times and Ritzy kicked Matt’s bass drum on numerous occasions as well as punch his symbols.
Gems of the set for me were ‘Cholla’, this song is immense, one of the first releases from the bands current album ‘Wolf’s Law’, you can’t help but sing a long to it’s punchy chorus., And a song I saw on the bands earlier tour of the UK in Wolverhampton was/is acoustic version of ‘Silent Treatment’, now this was mind blowing, Rhyddian’s so talented on the acoustic guitar and certainly comes in to his own, Ritzy’s vocals are spine tingling good, the song shows how good the band are kicking arse on stage as well as turning the tempo down and stripping songs back to their naked form. I never, never tire of their energy on stage and persona, they are an absolute joy to watch.
The Joy tell a story on stage and they make sure you hear it, geeing the audience up with ‘Come on You Fuckers’, the set got rowdier and rowdier. 'Wolfs Law' and the amazing ‘Whirring’ finished off the set, half deaf and lapping up every last note, we were both happy summercampers, we could go home happy, what an absolute stonker of a day.
All I can say is Summercamp is a festival for everyone, we thought it was chilled out and covered every avenue catering for families, couples, singletons and whomever else fancied coming along.
The food was lush and very tasty, staff were very helpful and actually polite. The music was full of variety and covered every genre and taste possible, the location was probably one of the better one’s we’ve been to and the weather was fantastic for a bank holiday.
If this festival is a goer next year we will be itching to go back!
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