This weekend saw my partner and I heading off to OutCider Festival 2018. This was my second year at OutCider and I was certainly looking forward to it, partially for the adorable farm cats! The festival takes place at Fernhill Farm in Somerset and musical genres cover folk, punk, ska, reggae and hip hop. It is a down-to-earth occasion without middle class posh toffs attending for the hippy experience. The attendees are extremely loyal, friendly and are definitely up for a laugh, as this year and last has shown me.
Friday night’s line-up included: Dana Immanuel & The Stolen Band, The Scribes, Spanner, The Dredgermen, Design and Captain Hotknives. My musical highlight of this great list of bands was the ska punk band from Bournemouth: Spanner. They are politically driven and the wide-eyed redhead lead singer pores all of his anger into his vocal and trumpet playing.
It was a quiet night for me, settling into the festival and adjusting to the change of pace from the week before. However, for most others I’m sure it was a very different story: cider, music and partying.
OutCider has two stages for music, The Shearing Shed and The Agricultural Barn, the former being the smallest of the two. Saturday started off with young punk band Burnout (also known as Burnout 13) from Taunton. The three-piece are talented and were enjoyable to listen to. If you like punk and are interested in listening to some fresh blood in the genre, then give the lads a listen. Afterwards in The Shearing Shed, Monkey Bizzle were great as they always seem to be. I was really sad to miss the Vulpynes. I love it when ladies play loud music in a society that demands you to be quiet. I’d definitely recommend taking a couple of photos of the signs listing the band times once you arrive into the festival site. I didn’t anticipate missing a band that most probably would have been my musical highlight of the weekend, by going back to the van for sun cream re-application and the briefest nap ever taken.
Nosebleed, clad in black and white suits and matching cherry red guitars were full of fast-paced energy. This garage punk band from Yorkshire don’t have very much material but for up-to-date listening then check out their six track EP Something In My Head. The band that appeared to be the most popular among attendees and their peers in other bands was Faintest Idea. The street punk band is on the same recording label (TNS Records) as Matilda’s Scoundrels and Wonk Unit, both bands who have performed at OutCider in previous years. Faintest Idea’s Dani takes the title of loudest and angriest vocalist. The band are certainly more impressive live than anywhere else. Funke and The Two Tone Baby was impressive as expected, however after seeing him a couple of times before rendered this time predictable.
The beginning of Random Hand took us by surprise as we were just getting some tea and flapjacks. We ambled over to listen to a couple of songs and take a few pictures and then recommenced our listening by the camp fire. This seemed like the best choice as The Shearing Shed was already filled to the rafters with people. It was also a great choice as Captain Hotknives would be doing his second campfire set to finish off Saturday night.
Unfortunately, El Marchador Tacos aka our favourite food vendor from last year were unable to attend at the last minute. This subsequently meant that most of the vegan and veggie yumminess was out the window for us both. However, the other vendors put up at least one vegan meal each day. The Fernhill Farm café ‘Fernhill Fries’ was later dubbed ‘Fernhill Greens’ on Sunday as they had completely run out of chips. With the more limited vegan choices it was a great blessing, they offered vegan sausages, salad, chips, veggie patties and a halloumi and salad box for the veggies. Also for the meat and dairy eaters: bacon, sausages, eggs and omelette. The Jerk Yard offered Caribbean food and the Havana Food Van had Cuban food. All vendors had meat and dairy food options also. My favourite meal of the weekend (apart from chips drowned in hot chilli sauce & chilli seeds) was the Thai green curry with jack fruit, fresh slaw, corn on the cob, a large dumpling and my choice of sauce. The Greatest Little Coffee Box On Earth was present again and we were very glad for it. They have more herbal teas than you can shake a stick at, as well as English breakfast, coffees, lattes, milkshakes (my favourite!), cakes, funny coasters and more. Nerys didn’t make any peanut and chocolate slices this time around but we were consoled with a flapjack which was also yummy.
The Agricultural Barn embarked on the new day with The Urinal, a punk band with very simplistic and crude lyrics. Their first song threw me off with the incessant repetition of the word ‘c*nt’, it is the most feminist word for what it denotes as the other most used word’s meaning is highly derogatory to women. Despite this, it was still very off-putting to hear over and over again. As soon as this first song was over, The Urinal were actually very enjoyable. OutCider is an adult (18+) event.
Mike Dennis is a musician who plays violin with rap and hip hop vocals, a genre he refers to as ‘violinica’. It took a song or two to comprehend what was going on and then we were just amazed to the amount of things he’s doing simultaneously, not only quickly but while maintaining a laugh and joke with the crowd. Johnny Cage and The Voodoo Groove was absolutely outstanding, there’s no need me denying it. It felt almost like a meeting of Pirates of the Caribbean and a Las Vegas star, all this in the best way possible. They describe themselves as ‘hard, dirty Cuban rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly and voodoo blues’, all of this I completely agree with. I believe they played a cover of Tito and Tarantula’s ‘After Dark’, that is best known in the iconic scene with Salma Hayek as a vampire queen in Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn. This was by far the apex of Johnny Cage and The Voodoo Groove’s set, it was utterly fantastic. The Dirty Artichokes, an Italian band proved to be a favourite on Sunday. When the ten members came onto the stage I really did not know what to expect from them. The loud folk punk was certainly a happy surprise for me, they were incredible. We managed to miss the Bar Stool Preachers and we are still bashing our heads against the wall for doing so, however our bellies were rumbling and we (obviously) were not clever enough to check the band set times carefully enough. More fool us! Another surprise to us was the warm up for the last bit of music: a belly dancer! She taught everyone different moves and we all had a laugh at how completely un-bendy we are. It was great fun, not as fun as the aerobics that happened in the morning, which was absolutely hilarious. The Shearing Shed’s last instalment was the Skimmities, or most commonly The Skimmity Hitchers. Kev and the rest of band’s banter with the crowd was super funny and they were as great to watch as the time before.
An exceptional thanks to the lady who represented Safe Gigs For Women outside The Shearing Shed, who chatted and gave out information. Also to OutCider for making it happen. Please check out sgfw.org.uk if you believe that women deserve a safer environment at concerts, to not be groped, harassed or threatened and for venues to make sure they take reports of sexual harassment against women seriously. This is a movement I truly believe in as I’ve encountered many uncomfortable instances from men badgering and being incredibly vocally forceful for sex, etc whilst at gigs myself.
Thanks everyone at Outcider for the blast of three days you gave us. Mike, Kev, the sound and equipment staff, bar staff, stewards and everyone who attended for being so friendly. A special thanks to all the blokes who dressed up for ladies day, it warms my heart and I hope even more will be brave enough to join in the fun next year. Gender normalities bore me and you guys and girls definitely didn’t!
P.S A special unthanks to the black and white cat who made me feel special last year by letting me carry him, stroke him and also slept in our van. It seems you hugged everyone else except me, boo!
P.P.S I’m willing to take you back at Outcider 2019.
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