The festival debauchery we attended this weekend was Outcider Festival 2017, taking place in the active working Fernhill Farm in Somerset. Grazing nearby were cows, sheep, their young and even a couple of farm cats (we miss you black and white one!). However, the promise of local ciders (the non fizzy proper kind), ales, lagers, great music and food was understandably the enticement instead of the farm’s livestock. Some bands playing include The Dreadnoughts, IDestroy, Black Water County, The Stiff Joints, The Dead Maggies, and Matilda’s Scoundrels.
The above promise of alcohol a-plenty was affirmed with more cider, etc than you could shake a rusty pitch fork at. This involved a selection of Cornish St. Austell ales, a few including Proper Job, Tribute and Trelawny. Also, sweet, medium and dry ciders were available from producers such as Dorset Star, Wilcox Cider, Ham Hill and Fuelled By Cider’s very own. Spirits and colas were also on offer for those with the preference.
Friday night was the additional day separate from the weekend ticket and all music took place in The Shearing Shed (yes it’s exactly what it sounds like). The Hawkmen kicked off the festival with only their front lady Scarlett in their uniform colour of red, but nevertheless they performed with a rock n’ roll vibe and strong vocals. Their song "Do It" with Emma Beatson is featured along with other various artists on The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club Vol 2. Palooka 5 also played, they play 1960’s surf garage music and are self confessed that they’re heavily inspired by Apocalypse Now. I was gutted to miss The Inbredz, but a stressful morning and head ache prevented me from experiencing the entirety of what Friday night had to offer.
My musical highlight of the weekend was Gaz Brookfield & The Company of Thieves, which was awesome seeing as my partner is a massive fan. Gaz is a solo acoustic singer but is also regularly accompanied by his fiddle player or full band. The stand out songs for me were The West Country Song, Thin and a song from his newest album of the same title: "I Know My Place". Apart from Gaz’s fun-loving and effortless stage presence, I really enjoyed the obvious friendship displayed between the mandolin and fiddle player. Laughs were shared whilst performing, with one puckering up and threatening to kiss the other’s cheek as they contributed backing vocals with their shared microphone. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed their performance, not just as musicians, but as people.
Later Saturday night, I laughed lots to Captain Hotknives playing, who started off with an unquestionable favourite "I Hate Babies". My highlight was the song "I Skanked Me Nana" and funny mentions of The Inbredz. I can honestly say it was the first time I’ve watched any kind of music whilst sitting on giant hay bales!
I was exceedingly happy with the food vendors present at but also with produced from the farm too. A particular favourite of the weekend was El Marchador Tacos, selling vegan and gluten free goodness, who attracted everyone of all diets with the food they had to offer. The quesadilla, nachos and tacos were tasty and full of flavour. Another favourite was food produced entirely from the farm itself, such as chip shop chips, egg, bacon and sausage baps and slow roasted lamb served as doner kebabs. The Greatest Little Coffee Box On Earth was also present, which I last met at Outwest a few weeks ago, again serving an array of coffees, teas, hot chocolate, milkshakes and sweet snacks.
Sunday saw Ladies’ day, where most of the men present wore dresses while some wore makeup, wigs and jewellery. It was pleasant to see so many embracing the idea in their vibrant frocks and pigtails, this even included members of the bands performing. We were even lucky enough to see Kev, who organised the festival with Mike, to be sporting a glittery silver dress later on with his band.
I was so happy to find the all female punk band in the afternoon Maid of Ace, comprising of four sisters from Hastings. The lead singer Alison is an absolute monster at centre stage thrashing at her guitar and every vocal being as strong as the last. Their drummer Abby is immensely talented, I don’t think she took a breath or break from start to finish. I’m definitely looking forward to attending another one of their gigs.
Concluding Outcider 2017 was the much anticipated Skimmity Hitchers, whose music is extremely cider and alcohol related. Apart from his silver dress Kev also adorned himself in some pink fluffy ears during the performance. Calling guests onto the stage at different intervals, these included Captain Hotknives, the ladies’ day best dressed winner, the badge making winner and Mike. I particularly enjoyed our friend and van neighbour Bongo Baz being called to be night’s ‘Badger Man’ for his birthday, where he was dressed as a badger and danced through the crowd by orders of the band. I almost enjoyed it as much as he did, considering I made a lucky escape of having the honour myself (phew!). The barn was utterly packed and the band were quite funny, they even performed an extra six songs! By this time, the barrels were about to run dry after a weekend of delightful excess and the bar managed to stay open till midnight.
The site held up very well considering the rainfall the few days previous. The tent and caravan areas were split by a small stone road and not on separate sites, allowing attendees to interact with each other without being divided. Someone we knew was also given a closer space for their tent to allow easier and closer access for his less able partner, showing that festival goers are taken into consideration, assuring enjoyment of everyone of any capability or circumstance. Nevertheless, the accommodation space is only a short walk to the festival site. Outcider 2017 was immensely enjoyed by myself and my partner and we certainly will be returning for it’s fifth instalment next year.
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