After a torrid weekend of travel and feet throbbing walking miles last weekend at T in the Park in Scotland, we thought we’d try a smaller one day festival in Nottingham.
Must admit I haven’t heard of Splendour Festival, this is a small/medium sized festival that's been running in Nottingham for 6 years. It was rammed though - there were 16,500 people enjoying the delights of Nottingham's own Jake Bugg, Squeeze, Maximo Park, and KT Tunstall.
There were four stages within the grounds of the amazing Wollaton Hall including the Main stage, the Jagermeister Stage, the Courtyard Stage and the Funhouse stage. Each stage had approx. 8 acts which showcased Nottingham's local talent along with some mainstream acts.
The weather was overcast most of the day but this didn't dampen anyone's spirits, shorts and flip flops galore came out today, oh, and not forgetting fluorescent sun cream, the kids and teens went mad for it hand printing each other with it and writing all manner of other things on each other.
The day's festivities kicked off at midday when the gates opened. The site was just the right size, especially compared to last week's gargantuan T in the Park. All the stages were in easy strolling distance, not a 3 mile hike, and hopefully no blistered feet this time.
Our main reason for going this year was we wanted to go to a chilled out festival and we wanted to see KT Tunstall. Throughout the day we frequented the main stage, first act up were local band The Gorgeous Chans, who won their chance at the opening slot through winning 'Future Sound of Nottingham' competition held at Rock City a few weeks earlier. It was a bit like seeing Gloria Estefan's Miami Sound Machine I lost count of how many members were on stage, but it was cheery and got the crowd fired up for all the all acts throughout the day.
Nottingham based Indiana graced the main stage next, she’s apparently one to watch in 2013, and I guess this theory is right, she has some amazing vocals. She reminded me of the Cranberries at times, No album yet, apparently its due in 2014, previewing hits from her EP 'Smokin Gun' some silky tunes and again her vocals were top drawer.
Jack Savoretti gave us a 30 minute set which was enchanting at times; easy listening tracks, which included tracks from his latest offering 'Before the Storm'. He's quite a looker and had all the females on the front row swooning.
Scottish singer songwriter Nina Nesbitt who is pretty new to me, hit the stage with her band. A few Nina fans in the audience with Scottish flags scrawled on them "We love you Nina". She’s quite a new artist with her first single 'Stay Out' reaching the top 30 in the UK charts. Her new EP is out this week 'Way In The World' and she’s throwing a free gig on Brighton Beach on the 22nd July to celebrate this fact. Lush vocals followed up with some pretty strong songs - one to watch me thinks.
One of the bands everyone seemed to be up for were Dog Is Dead, I'd never heard of them! Apparently they're massive in Nottingham. They are a five piece whose debut album is called 'All Our Favourite Stories'. They have played Dot-Dot Festival and Glastonbury, making an appearance on the BBC Introducing stage. As they have appeared in teen drama 'Skins' and had several songs featured in the programme. So, it's no wonder all the prepubescent teens were screaming their heads off, even writing band members names all over their bodies in fluorescent body paint. I didn't know what to expect, the audience were well up for this band and went into a total frenzy.
They played a 45 minute set which was stonking and certainly worth a look and a listen.
I'd been waiting all day to hear KT Tunstall, especially as last time I'd seen her was at the Minack Theatre in Penzance a few months earlier debuting her current album 'Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon'. I was hoping we'd hear a few more old tracks, an hour's set ensued and we heard mainly tracks from her current offering. The amazing 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree' was aired which was totally mind blowing and I embarrassingly got myself on the big screen acting like a complete loon lol.
Stonking 'Made of Glass', 'Feel it All', and 'Invisible Empire' all from the new album with some classics thrown in for good measure, with a few covers one from Springsteen and one from John Parr. It bemuses me why such an established artist with such a back catalogue of mind blowing songs wants to sing covers? 'Other Side of the World', this is where it was at, bring on all the old KT classics.
Surprising finish to the set was brand new 'Hallowed Ground', quite a few people left at this point, me and my partner just looked at each other bemused at the choice of track to end the set on.
We popped over to the Jagermeister stage to see the tremendous Maximo Park. I seriously forgot how good this band are, truly the jewel in the crown tonight. Paul Smith is some front man, he gives it 110%, I need to dig my back catalogue out. I've seen this band so many times live and tonight helped me re-live those times, so many classic tracks. It was good to see the youth of today, sound my age now, moshing to classic Maximo. This band are seriously good live.
Everyone then ran over to the main stage where there was a carpet of people all squashed in together like sardines to get a glimpse of Nottingham's own 'Mr Bugg'. His meteoric rise to fame at the age of 19 playing the 100 club in London with an appearance on Jools Holland and getting praise from one of rocks institutions Noel Gallagher, and look at him now, he can't do anything wrong. Everyone adores him and tonight was no exception, he only walked on stage and the whole place erupted. The audience lapped up every single word, even young girls chanting "Jake Bugg, Jake Bugg" and "We love you Jake." We walked to the top of the hill to see the stage from there and the audience, it was immense.
Today was a very chilled out affair fit for everyone, families and couples alike. It was a very enjoyable day filled with ice creams, chips, fudge, candy floss, chips, wedges, party string, flip flops, shorts, no rain, smiles, singing, chanting, and dancing - and that's what it's all about!
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