Located with stunning views of the Holy Island high up on the Northumberland coastline, Lindisfarne festival is a compact but perfectly formed festival and an excellent way to round off the Summer season. This adult's only festival (at the festival goers request) leads to a chilled out vibe, more so due to the laid back Northerners too. There's also as many dogs as the younger end of the scale here!
With room for 5000, there may be just less than that here but it never feels overcrowded or crammed in, with the stages laid out well around the small square layout and the only queues during the larger main acts on the Saturday. The size does mean there is some bleed between stage sounds but this is eliminated if you get your way up to the front, which is easy to do even for the headliners.
The festival takes place over 2 main days with the Thursday for a handful of acts as a warm up. Ticketholders can choose to arrive on the Thursday or Friday, and Saturday only tickets were available (I met a few people afterwards locally who had chosen this option, and the numbers were a little higher on that day).
For the size of the site there are plenty of stages, and that's stages that are mainly undercover thankfully! This is right on the coast and is blustery, though luckily not hit by the rain. The main stage Shorefields holds around 2000 people and housed acts such as Ocean Colour Scene and Pete Doherty and the Puta Madres. The Dingle Dell was tailored towards comedy and played host to locals Born Lippy hosting a mixture of MCs and unplugged sessions. Billy Bootleggers was for the more folky, Americana and country acts, and The Cages hosted BBC Introducing acts.
The Viking Brewhouse was always buzzing, being the main bar area too, and had a range of acts from 3 Daft Monkeys and The Baghdaddies. Deltacity was a hay-bailed refuge for DJs in the centre of the site with fake fuse boxes and great graffiti under army netting. The Dub Shack was situated outside framed by pallet seating and a stranded speedboat. The Inspiredome was for spoken word, competitions, open mics and jams. Nestled by the Shorefields, the MAH stage hosted local younger acts and was great to nip into and discover new talent whilst waiting for main acts. DJs played the Bridge Block Party surrounded by graffiti covered cars and vans between the food and retail traders stalls. Shanti Bee's healing zone was the place for Yoga, Zumba, music and storytelling into the early hours.
The music ran from 11am to 4am, but between these times the site was so peaceful and quiet it was possible to get a decent nights sleep. Even with all those dogs it was quiet, one of the best nights sleep I've had a festival was on the Thursday!
There's more than just music on here, with jamming sessions to keep you involved but also log walking and axe throwing. Conspiracy Corner hosts interested games and quizzes around the idea of opening the mind. It is comical watching adults trying to hula hoop with a huge hula outside Shanti Bees, the drag queens with a Viking tint are very glamorous indeed and the walkabouts of the LED drummers light up a dark night. The fancy dress is Vi-Kings and Queens due to its location, and many have put in the effort on the Saturday. The site, even though small, is quite open in spaces, and the location means I renamed it Windersfarne. Saturday was colder than the Friday but no one seemed to care. Fires were carefully dotted around the site and very welcome. Flamin' Eck were there to provide some much needed flame shooting from metallic spiders, like Arcadia babies.
There was so much to see and do it was a case of running around the site to catch what we could. Looking at the line-up before we went it was clear it would be difficult to fit it all in. Lindisfarne are obviously on the bill and the main stage is chocca for them, 'Run For Home' is a huge hit for the crowd. Frontstep Collective provide some live MC band action from the born Lippy crew. Captain Hotknives is painfully funny in a set that sees him run off with his songs to create huge stories to well known riffs. Rob Heron and the Teapad Orchestra fill the bootleggers tent before the High Tide Dance takeover with Goldie. Gentleman's Dub Club give a great set before Pete Doherty and the Puta Madness fill the tent.
Saturday sees 100 Fables play to a tent with fills up very quickly. Sadly this tent develops a small tear and so is closed for repair for a few sets. This means Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 are in the Viking brewhouse which is too small for them so we can not see much but it looks to be a real party from the yellow ones for the lucky ones who could get in. Thankfully the tent is repaired in time for Elvana, the Elvis fronted Nirvana tribute band (with the main man from local Morpeth himself) and the tent is rammed. The songs work as both acts had pure pop tunes and shows music isn't really that different. Fossway play next door and are a tight young band. Tom Stade really cracks people up in the Dingle Dell before Blind Fate returns to match up festival goers. Ferocious Dog have a storming set before Ocean Colour Scene close the main stage with their huge sing-alongs 'The Riverboat Song' and 'The Day We Caught The Train'.
There is not rush to leave the site on the Sunday, 3pm is the latest time to vacate. This leads again to a more chilled vibe as people can get back for work (yawn), a move I think works for the older generation like myself. Even though the schedule seemed crammed in upon first look there was always something to do and something good to do. This festival comes really recommended; take the trip to the Northumberland coast as it is a most beautiful area of coastline to visit too and a lovely place to recover at too!
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