Standon Calling reveals itself as family friendly and inventive on the first day

Standon Calling 2012 reviews

published: Thu 9th Aug 2012

around the festival site (1)

Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th August 2012
Standon, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG11 1PR, England MAP
£99 for a weekend ticket with camping
daily capacity: 2000
last updated: Thu 5th Jul 2012

I'd heard many special things about Standon Calling from friends and so on in the upcoming weeks to this festival, so my hopes were high. As always with high hopes, I was expecting them to be dashed, but oh my how I was proven wrong.

around the festival site (1)
The first thing I noticed about Standon was the quality of the music, usually at these smaller festivals you'll have a few bands who hit the mark, but you'll also have a lot that miss it, and this certainly wasn't the case here.

As soon as I walked into the festival site I heard an Indie Beat, reminiscent of the Kaiser Chiefs escaping from the well renowned Cowshed. Walking into an area adorned with chairs and sofas covered in Astro turf, and a colourful array of sitting cushions, I started listing to the indie quartet The Tricks. Although at this time of day the crowd wasn't huge as most of the revellers hadn't arrived yet, the ones that were there certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. With a bouncy brit pop beat, they sang into the early afternoon sun, accompanied by tight, well rehearsed music; it was certainly a nice vibe for mid Friday afternoon.

Mary Epworth and The Jubilee Band
Next up I took a wander to the main stage and got to listen to the Mumford and Sons-esque folk rhythms of Mary Epworth & The Jubilee Band. With Synth sounds reminiscent of early Pink Floyd and an interesting mix of instruments they certainly proved themselves to me as a band to look out for in the future. Their heartfelt tracks certainly suited the early afternoon, with the crowds filing in everyone took up a pew and started to listen.

After such a serene band I decided to take a wander around the rest of the site, and what a treat it was. Next to the campsite entrance there was Happy Hookahs, A shisha tent filled with tables and cushions, and selling Shisha and Tea, it even had an open mic there so anybody could book a time and play their music to the punters, a wonderful idea!

around the festival site (1)
Upon further inspection I found the swimming pool (Not a usual site for a festival I must admit!) next to a small tent playing dance tunes to all the afternoon music fans. Finally next to this was the folk tent, and I must admit this was a personal favourite area of mine. Not only was the music serene, but the bar was filled with trinkets such as an old world atlas and a myriad of renaissance style paintings. Not only this, but there was hula hoops, a giant drum, and a man who had converted his organ into a one man band/bicycle! So, family friendly and inventive, two more ticks in the plus box for this festival.

I decided at this point to take a wander back round to the Cowshed, being early evening the tone had changed somewhat to something a bit more lively. Hawkeye were playing their own brand of screamo which once again, the crowd certainly seemed to be enjoying.

Hawkeye
A mix of metal and emo, they bounced around the stage with energy and charisma, at one stage the lead singer even bringing the mic out to the middle of the crowd to sing directly to them, which certainly made up for the fact that not all their tracks were as tight as they could have been; thoroughly entertaining.

I spent the rest of my evening around the main stage. Vadoinmessico were the first band I saw, playing nostalgic psychedelic freak folk they were another energetic group to be enjoyed. With a wide array of instruments (Including a giant Bongo), and a drummer that stood and played with intensity, their music flowed over the crowd setting the crowd up for a great evening of music.

Next up was Casiokids, with their unique brand of electro pop, they drew in the crowds and had them dancing en-masse. Personally I wasn't a massive fan, but who am I to judge when they were being enjoyed by so many people. One thing I will say is they certainly put on a show, with an array of bizarre instruments (Glockenshpiel included), a huge lightshow, and a resounding Bassline, they set the stage nicely for the one and only Beardyman.

Beardyman
This for me was a treat, having always been a fan and never having been lucky enough to have seen him live I was certainly looking forward to this set. Having spent the last six months producing a piece of software that made his completely improvised set sound like it had been produced in a studio, the set went off without a hitch. Wowing the crowd with his own innovative beatbox versions of Gotye and Sweet Dreams, and keeping the crowd entertained with funny banter and facts such as "If you break off a spiders leg, it'll grow back" he certainly deserved his place as the headliner of the day.

I ended my night witnessing the opening of the secret stage, which this year was a dance stage, disguised as a giant treehouse. Starting with Toddla T the stage opened up as soon as the main stage ended, with an MC setting the vibe and the DJ throwing out instantly recognisable dance tunes the crowd once again started to converge. After spending a while in the DJ booth I decided to venture down into the crowd and enjoy the rest of the DJ's they had playing that night (My favourite of which being Shy FX), and spent the rest of my Friday evening dancing around a tree; certainly the sign of a good festival.

Toddla T
review by: Lawrence Wheeler

photos by: Lawrence Wheeler

Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th August 2012
Standon, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG11 1PR, England MAP
£99 for a weekend ticket with camping
daily capacity: 2000
last updated: Thu 5th Jul 2012


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