Well its mid may and the sun is starting to warm up some, mmm, festival season is back upon us and I'm glad! After a few great indoor winter events it grand to be back out in the green fields of the west country, Dorset is they county and just down the road from Sixpenny Hadley. Farmer Mick welcomes us back to his ancient farmland for this 'fuelled by cider' event. A quick set up of tent (my old campervan hasn't wintered well and is mid MOT, not good this close to Glastonbury time of year) and a cider. There are some Compost toilets under construction, final marquee pegs getting whacked and the wheeze of blow up bed pumps, all welcome me to the start of another festival.
BBC South are on site tonight so we get some early sessions from a few of the acts I think for them to record and broadcast later on. Dorset Phil opens up with local songs about the island of Brownsea, drinking in Wimbourne pubs and travelling back to Dorset.
Doozer McDooze is next to be invited up. Part of a great bunch of regular festival playing musicians, those that play just about every night somewhere up and down the country throughout the summer months (and plenty through the winter too). He'll be back later but for now sings of loosing his jumper and drinking cider on the beach with friends. And a cheeky Gaz Brookfield cover verse, solo acoustic guy. Seeing as they're friends I'm sure he wont mind.
A moment spent chilling in the bar sees Fish Hook packing their new EP 'Two In The Nest', fresh from the Fuelled By Cider studios. We've cider aplenty of course, not your fizzy stuff mind (however that is catered for with Thatcher's Gold I later found out!). Dorset Star (made by the landowner's son, Stargazer is my favourite of his but there's no Supernova this year), Cranbourne Chase, Ham Hill, Dorset Nectar (Wildcat gets my nomination from this producer) and an ever popular at these festivals Milton Cross, all with varying strengths and sweet/medium/dry and some fruit or elderflower varieties too! About 18 in total I'd estimate. St Austell ales Proper Job and Tribute make an appearance this year too for the ale drinkers, as well as Cursus special ale and cider, all at a very reasonable cost of £3.50 a pint.
Chickpea curry for supper goes down well from 'Nana's Kitchen', veggie/vegan food outlet for the weekend, there's also Salt Pig (who seem to just disappear on Friday evening, most odd) and 'Made in Dorset' (another of Dan's ventures, alongside the cider) for the meat eaters serving Angus burgers, pulled pork, beef brisket and cottage pie - all, I'm reliably informed were delicious. He also has a coffee outlet aboard the double decker bus. Having a bit more food choice is a really welcome addition. A special Cursus super group of members from The Skimmity Hitchers, Fish Hook, The Surfin' Birds, Doozer and others do a quick singalong all for the Beeb.
Its onto the evening proper now and Doozer McDooze is back to do a full set of songs of friends passed, moving forward in life no matter how slowly and 'Not Going Back To That', the title track from new album.
Fish Hook are a nicely loud modern rock n roll a bit cold and sore of throat but cider helps Rachael the singer thru a set of new (from the afore mentioned EP) and old songs. Most the group stay on for the whole weekend and really enjoy themselves!
Dirty Skankin' Love Hornets, open with 'Brand New Wonder'. A full strength set of not so much skank to my ears but full of energy and entertainment, ends with a great version of 'Gangsters Paradise.'
DJ Dapper Dan keeps the mood up and people dancing between sets again this year and introducing the bands to in his other guise the rock n roll town crier. The Skimmity Hitchers round up the live music for Friday night. 'Tanglefoot', 'Viva Lyme Regis', and three encores later its time to let them go and hopefully enjoy their weekend.
More tracks spun by Chris take us into the later night and up to the licence curfew and off into the chilly night air.
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