Hop Farm is the people's festival

The Hop Farm Festival 2012 review

By Laura Bradley | Published: Wed 4th Jul 2012

Bruce Forsyth

Friday 29th June to Sunday 1st July 2012
The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Kent, TN12 6PY, England MAP
£162 for the weekend
Daily capacity: 52,000
Last updated: Wed 16th May 2012

When we glance back to the beginning Hop Farm was a little fish in a big pond, but standing in 2012, this festival has developed and evolved within its own sense of time and made a lasting impression not only on festival goers, but now as one most established unique, diverse, and entertaining festivals of its time.

It's hard to think of one single festival that pulls in these kind of bands and artists to a field in the Kent countryside.

around the festival site
Having heard of the horrendous floods in Isle of wight and download, the umbrellas and wellies were at the clutch of every punter, but the sun always shines down on Hop Farm, with only the odd shower here and there. Around the festival there was a great range of food, from all corners of the world, there wasn't much you could think of that wasn't on offer! This year it was clear to see that Hop Farm, had accommodated the substantial growth of the festival and added an increasing number of camp and stage site facilities, which had a huge affect on the number of people queing for the toilets! It wasn't hard to see the mix of people in attendance from families, teenagers, the very old, to the very young, something which some festivals try but fail to achieve, in every sense of the word, this crowd is a community, drawn together for love, of the music, and the festival as a whole.

Peter Gabriel and The New Blood Orchestra
Over the years, we have seen 'blasts from the past' line-ups, and to the pleasure of first timers and loyal Hop Farmers, this year was to be no different. Having admitted they were struggling for headliners this summer, they still pulled it out of the bag, with headliners, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, and Suede.

Although there were a few familiar faces in the line up this year, it was clear to see Hop Farm had no problem getting the likes of Ray Davies, Bob Dylan, and Patti Smith & her band to return. Patti Smith, quickly made this apparent, "Hold on to your festival, because this is a good one. Hop Farm is the people's festival." It was hard not to believe such a statement, that was so clearly heart-felt.

George Clinton And Funkadelic Parliament
On Friday,George Clinton And Funkadelic/Parliament took to the stage and treated the crowd to an extremely interesting, and entertaining performance, it was hard not to get into the groove with these guys, their energy was infectious, it was safe to say, the Hop Farm Festival had begun.

Peter Gabriel headlined the show on Friday and brought the energetic first day to a somewhat boring close. It was obvious the reason he chose to have the Orchestra on stage with him to steer fans away from the fact he wasn't doing anything. The general response from the crowd were mixed, Peter Gabriel fans loved it, and everyone else, didn't.

Bruce Forsyth
On Saturday, the question on everyone's lips was "what is Bruce Forsyth doing at a Hop Farm festival?" Bruce had forty minutes to answer the crowd, and did so in true Brucie fashion, he toyed with the audience, and made his first festival appearance with his Grandaughter, singing 'Smile' she captured the hearts of music lovers. Which ultimately is why You go to Hop Farm, its hard to imagine this crowd staying in on a Saturday night to watch Strictly Come Dancing!

On her second year at the festival, its clear to see Patti Smith, belongs on the stage at Hop Farm, its safe to say, Hop Farmers are never happier to see Patti Smith back in Kent. Although she takes a song or two to warm up, mid way through the festival the profanity and spitting caught the eyes of everyone, and although some fans were unfavourable of this behaviour, You can't help but think, this isn't a classic FM show, this is the Godmother of punk!

Then there was Dylan, opening with a great version of 'Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat', as the show went on, Dylan droned on. You can't help but imagine what Dylan would sound like if he decided to stop doing his best impression of Popeye. Having heard Dylan's new album (Out in August 2012) vocally on par with his 1970s work, to contrary belief it's truly hard to believe the fact he's just past his time, in essence this guy just can't be bothered. In this form, does he deserve to be the headline of the show? Ultimately... no.

Suede literally blasted through the hits, giving the audience a true feast, whilst vaulting off the speakers. They rounded of the festival with 'Still Life' which wowed every single member of the audience, both young and old.

Whilst Hop Farm came under fire, from social media followers, in true Hop Farm style it stared adversity in the face, taking just 3 days to silence the critics who were entirely won over by Sunday evening, when the festival drew to a close.

And whilst 'Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan and Suede' are hardly likely to appear together on anyone's playlist, for the fifth year running Hop Farm have yet again delivered on everything from the music, the atmosphere, the people, and the total unique morale of Vince Power that this festival isn't about what makes money, it's about what makes people happy.

It would only be fair to say, "You can't help but love this festival."

around the festival site
review by: Laura Bradley

photos by: Laura Bradley

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