Solfest is a great little place for a bank holiday weekend

Solfest 2010 review

published: Fri 3rd Sep 2010

around the festival site (1)

Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August 2010
Tarnside Farm, Tarns, Silloth, nr Aspatria, Cumbria, England MAP
£89 adult weekend; young person aged 12-16 £62 ; child aged 6-11 £25
daily capacity: 8000
last updated: Wed 18th Aug 2010

After becoming disillusioned with the larger corporate events such as Reading and TITP and getting sick of the threat of becoming a roast dinner on a Leeds festival Sunday evening, I have now opted for the lower key but just as enjoyable festivals such as Solfest up in the very North West of England. Tucked away on high land in view of the Scottish south border, Solfest has not expanded very much in its 6 years with a capacity of 10,000. With a friendly family atmosphere and plenty to do, this perfectly formed festival is just the ticket for people who have grown the need to search out new music and stop funding the larger bands at larger events. At £89 pounds for a weekend ticket, with camping and parking included, and cheap booze at £2 a can what more could you want? That price would get you a ticket for only one day at some festivals…

around the festival site (1)
The bands here are not all unknowns or overpriced 'stars'; James, Alabama 3, and The Magic Numbers head the line up on the main stage over the 3 days of music. Other bands to grace this stage are The Wailers, From The Jam, New Young Pony Club, Wallis Bird, The Destroyers, Orkestra del Sol, and many more. Situated below the stone circle made up from stones from the huge quarry next door, this stage has a view for everyone as it is at the bottom of the hill, right below the bar.

The Ventriloquists
In the bar has a large indoor stage (known as the Bar Stage) which over the weekend sees Slagbank, Mad Dog Mcrea, Pauline Black, Thea Gilmore, The Baghdaddies, and The Damned all wow the punters. Beyond the bar and past the stone circle is the cute little Drystone Stage, complete with dry stone walls as a barrier. This is a more folky stage with top banjo player Dan Walsh, Celloman, The Ventriloquists, Blue Jam, and people with astounding names like the drunken band Will Taylor & The Dish Of Cheese playing until around 2am.

around the festival site (8)
The site is pretty much in the middle of nowhere so the music can go on until quite late. The Dance tent runs until around 3am with Knob Jockeys, Banco de Gaia, Eat Static, DJM, and Utah Saints taking in the visually appealing indoor tent. The Dogs In Space Chill Out tent, again visually appealing with awesome artwork and situated right next to the Dance Tent, hosts music from DJ Annie Trailer Trash, Andy P, Nem, Marley Chingus and assorted films and amazing work from the VJ Superstars to calm the late night / early birds until around 6.30am.

around the festival site (7)
So the adults are catered for, but the kids have plenty to do too. They have a huge area (huge in comparison to the whole festival) with play slides, sand pit, and baby chill out tent. The Ladybird tent has it’s pirates on hand to help with flag making, shadow puppetry, treasure hunts, sea shanty singing and slack rope walking amongst plenty of other things. The Make it Tent have plenty of Hullabaloo in store, along with mosaic and candle making. The Move It Tent has more for the adults too, with African Dance, didgeridoo, Afro Brazilian Capoerira arts and Baka singing for them to try. The Last Aid tent, splattered with fake blood and providing truly realistic horror make up looks too inviting for just the kids!

around the festival site (7)
The walkabout entertainment is just as great as the line up, with various creations wowing the crowds. The odd looking Fat The Bogit and Fatima Mary, the world's strongest woman Betty Brawn, the 20 people zoot sax band Blowjangles, and night time stories featuring puppetry and shadows and many more are here at Solfest to get you involved.

With its windy setting (great for kites), high up with panoramic scenes (the Lake District, the Scottish Southern Uplands and surrounding Solway Firth are all visible), sandy soil for top notch defence against any rain onslaught and truly DIY organisation from the Solfest Ltd Committee with unpaid volunteers it is a great little place for a bank holiday weekend.
review by: Danielle Millea

photos by: Danielle Millea

Friday 27th to Sunday 29th August 2010
Tarnside Farm, Tarns, Silloth, nr Aspatria, Cumbria, England MAP
£89 adult weekend; young person aged 12-16 £62 ; child aged 6-11 £25
daily capacity: 8000
last updated: Wed 18th Aug 2010


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