This was my 4th One Love, and a 4th different location for the festival in that time. Previously they've been near to London, but this year's had to relocate westwards to Gloucestershire at short notice after worries of plane crashes at the originally-planned airfield site in Hampshire.
Pleasingly, that's not a bad thing. The site is very easy to get to, and more than adequate for the festival's needs. There's even chalet accommodation available to rent for those who want to on this lakeside parkland site.
The not-too-crowded campsite is handily close to the festival entrance, and the campervan area just a few steps further away. The car park is close-by too at a few hundred yards, though at the end of each night it's a very dark walk for the day-trippers.
Inside the arena there's more-than adequate toilets, a number of great food stalls with plenty of variety and the cheapest food prices I've seen at a festival this year, as well as a number of stalls selling Bob Marley stuff - and the normal ethnic-naks. People kitted out in red gold and green helps add to the authentic atmosphere.
For the music there's two live music stages - with fantastically-clear sound and great lights on the main stage - plus three big-tops with soundsystems and DJs. Two of these included bars, one a cocktail bar (the Saxon Soundsystem tent), and the other (the Dubshack) with an adequate but limited range (no real ales this year) at reasonable prices (£3.50 & £4 a pint) of the normal bar fayre.
Coming at the end of summer the weather wasn't as warm at it might have been, with a cold breeze on the Saturday. The sun came out on Sunday tho, causing a decent crowd to be soaking it up around the outdoor live stages all day.
Unfortunately there were a few major no-shows on the advertised line-up – Mykal Rose, Etana, and Michael Prophet, which meant some of the acts moved around as cover, and no doubt that caused some disappointment, but the likes of Iqulah Rastafari, Twinkle Brothers, and Earl 16, put on great shows, while Third World's closing Sunday night set was everything people might have hoped – a step back in time for this writer who first/last saw them in the mid-eighties at London's Sunsplash.
The Dubshack hosted its now-normal 'Battle of the Dubplates' over all three days, where soundsystem DJs play big tunes with custom vocals bigging up that soundsystem. I shouted myself hoarse during the Friday session (tho missed most of the others as I was watching live bands) which was great fun. At other times there were soundsystem DJs, including vocals from Dawn Penn on Friday night.
For each of my four One Love visits the numbers on site have sometimes felt sparse, which is a shame for such a lovely festival with a friendly crowd, tho this year felt more vibrant which I hope is a positive sign going forwards. I love this festival a little more each year and this one definitely classes as the best yet.
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