Standon Calling is filled with great music, good food, & a beautiful atmosphere

Standon Calling 2012 reviews

By Lawrence Wheeler | 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: 2,000
Last updated: Thu 5th Jul 2012

One thing Standon Calling can be very rarely faulted for is the way they arrange their acts throughout the day. The first act I saw on Sunday was the Silver Moths, an intriguing mix of haunting choir like vocals, and big sounding strings. Their almost pagan like rhythms were genuinely befitting for an early Sunday afternoon. The lead singer wearing flowers in her hair, and backed by big tribal drums, each track led towards an uplifting crescendo, and although the majority of the crowd were sitting and relaxing in the sun, everybody certainly had a smile on their face.

Lips Choir
Following on in this relaxing tone were Lips Choir. An all-female choir group with minimal backing music; they entertained the crowd with reworked versions of modern pop songs, the best having to be a beautiful rendition of Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap. As the set continued and the mid afternoon hit the set soon took a bouncier turn, preparing the crowd for yet another day of festivities. Once again, showing how at Standon, they try and make everything seem in its place.

The next act that took to the main stage was Gabby Young and Other Animals. With Florence and the Machine like vocals, the lead singer took to the stage with pink hair and a sparkly jumpsuit and soon got the crowd into the spirit of things. Backed by string, keys, percussion, and rhythm instruments, the sound this band created was huge, and when asked to go crazy, the crowd soon responded in a frenzy of skanking. Not only did they put on a good performance, but they were great at getting the crowd involved. One moment in particular was when they asked all the men to move forward with their hand on their heart and join in the harmony, which the majority happily did; a lovely festival moment.

The Olympic Drummers
Between all the music there were two particular highlights, one being the drummers for the Olympic opening ceremony doing laps around the festival site, ensuring there were spectacles to be seen outside of the stages. Another, which just shows how family friendly the festival is, was the dog show. This may not sound like the most entertaining thing in the world, but once again Standon proved me wrong, with awards such as most energetic dog being awarded there was plenty of fun to be had, and one entertaining (albeit slightly disturbing) moment involved a man being walked around on a leash with the rest of the K9's, whilst smoking a fag, a wonderful sight to behold.

The Skints
Back to the main stage; reggae was the flavour of the afternoon, firstly with The Skints. Hailing from East London, and fronted by male and female vocals this band once again had the crowd (And even the security) dancing the afternoon away. High quality MC'ing from both the male and female lead, ensured that the big reggae bass and drum beats were accompanied a fantastic flow. Ending their set on a track with a solid reggae beat, some huge sounding rock guitar, and a series of beautiful harmonies certainly set the tone for an afternoon of great music.

Dub Pistols were next on the agenda, and they didn't disappoint. Attitude and personality exuded from this band, with their mix of dub and reggae beats, all backed by brass instruments accentuating their already huge sound. Donned in pink suits and jumping all over the stage with the more energy than I'd seen all weekend they were another sure crowd pleaser. With the enigmatic Barry Ashworth as one front man calling out members of the crowd, and the second lead getting down and dancing feverishly down on the front podium, the quiet Sunday vibe from earlier on in the afternoon had soon erupted into a sea of dancing.

Dub Pistols
The second to last act on my list was a lot more chilled out affair, but just as special, Willy Mason. In my honest opinion there’s nothing more wonderful than a man and his guitar, and Willy Mason is the epitomy of this ethos. Each song beautiful, and sung with a soulful, sometimes heartbreaking passion he controlled the crowd brilliantly, with both charisma; and witty quips. Not only this, but he played the guitar beautifully, hitting each harmonic perfectly, and showing that he's a man with a wealth of experience in his trade. Natural on stage, and both powerful and entertaining to watch and listen to, he’s an artist I can't recommend enough.

Fat Freddys Drop
To end the main stage's weekend with a bang Fat Freddy's Drop were the last band to play. With their eclectic mix of dub/reggae/rock/soul they started their set off slowly and built up to a huge crescendo. Much like Death In Vegas the night before they emerged onto the stage in a haze of lights and smoke, and started their set with a number of slow, ambient tracks. Eventually building up to a point where the entire crowd were swaying to each and every song with their hands in the air. The most crowd pleasing moment being when the Trombonist launched into the middle of the stage for a fit of energetic, impromptu dancing. They ended their set congratulating the people who got married at the festival, before launching into their final, happy, bouncy track. Just concreting the atmosphere that Standon creates.

So to summarise, Standon Calling, a festival filled with great music, good food, and a beautiful atmosphere. A place where you can end your night dancing to DJ's until the wee hours; and if dancing isn't your thing, you can always end your night with a shisha. I couldn’t recommend it more.

around the festival site (1)
review by: Lawrence Wheeler

photos by: Lawrence Wheeler

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