Volksfest offers a weekend of quality acts in a picturesque setting

Plymouth Volksfest 2010 Review

published: Fri 4th Jun 2010

around the festival site (2)

Friday 28th to Sunday 30th May 2010
Newnham Park, Plympton, Plymouth, PL7 5BN, England MAP
£45 for full weekend pass (4 days)
last updated: Fri 4th Jun 2010

The festival started a day later for us than expected. A night at the NHS Walk In Centre replacing a clear warm evening enjoying Dreadzone, and Goldie Lookin' Chain, and a night of entertainment which clearly impressed - as everyone we spoke to when we did arrive on the Saturday said the previous night had been great.

around the festival site (2)
We arrived early on the Saturday, and it was a good job we'd been before as there wasn't a lot of signage letting us know how to get there. This could have been down to the fact the festival was a sell out, and no tickets were available on the door, fortunately we already had our, and people were being turned away at the gate. Once inside the perimeter we headed along a leafy lane beside the campsite area which had greatly grown since our last visit, although we had no problems parking up, there were a lot more fields being used for campervans and tents.

The walk downhill afforded a great view of the site, with a new large tent housing the main stage now located at one corner of the site, and the entrance was at the other end of the arena, next door to the VW groups parking. Getting our writbands was swift, and we were given a bag of goodies, stickers, free random CDs, and a programme.

The age range of attendees seemed much wider this year, and cut across all types from hardened festie veterans and punks, to groups of playful teens, families with their kids, old folks, and Volkwagon enthusiasts, all happily enjoying the weekend.

around the festival site (2)
There are many more camping this year in tents on the slopes (as opposed to campervans), and the festival days are split into two halves - quiet days, and busy nights. the weather was a bit patchy but with so much covered areas I hardly noticed the rain, and it never was heavy enough to make puddles.

The morning is taken up with Volkwagon 'Baja' displays, show & shine and a chance to look at the vehicles on display, and a wealth of stuff for kids from cabaret and magic, to circus skills, bouncy castles, bunjy jumps, and even zorbing. There's also a variety of stalls from clothing, car parts, and paintings, to handmade mirrors, kids toys, and jewellery. There's even a graffiti artist - The Urbanist - who tags personalised T-shirts with whatever you fancy. Food outlets have increased and there's quite a variety on offer - from proper meals to snacks, and all very reasonably priced (no increases on last year).

Quercus Brewery in Kingsbridge provide the ale choices at two bars (all a reasonable £3) including the festival's own Volksfestivale, and there's also organic cider, and the usual lager and spirits on offer at two normal bars.

From noon the music starts up, and the second stage in a long marquee provides alternative entertainment, if you don't like the local acts. These vary from the indie stylings of The Quails, and rockers Hillside Heroes to Cornish metallers Kernuyck (loved their metallized version of 'Eleanor Rigby') and fiddle driven covers band The Wireless (a great little act). All decent quality entertainment.

around the festival site (2)
Out in the main drag there's Asian Grub Foundation, and a coffee cafe offering soundsytem entertainment, and the Plymouth Generations Together acoustic tent offering woodland arts, storytelling, singalongs, penalty shootout competitions (I was rubbish), workshops, and more. During this time the festival arena is fairly quiet there's mainly families and kids about, and a few people in the tents enjoying the entertainment, and it's nice to chill and meander about.

The festival suddenly steps up a gear each night from 6pm onwards, suddenly the tent housing the main stage is packed, and there's queues for the loos, there's probably not quite enough by the main stage. But the whole place comes alive, the bucking bronco is busy, and the whole place buzzes with people spilling outside the tent to chat in the warm night air.

Both headliners on Saturday and Sunday night are excellent, although the superb and lively Neville Staple and band struggle with feedback issues on Saturday, there's no such problem for the excellent Kid Creole and the Coconuts on Sunday. Both prove to be great headliners, and the support acts of The Undertones and Zion Train are also fantastic entertainment, although the latter wander into techno territory before the end of the set, and I prefer their insidious grooves.

Over in the marquee there's comedy on offer in the form of Ian Cognito, and other stand up comedians who get the packed tent giggling. There's also Rufus Hound who I foolishly miss 'Teenage Kicks' to see, and proves to be not even slightly funny.

around the festival site (2)
So despite us missing the talent of the Friday night, the festival still packed a lot into the two days we were there. The relaxed atmosphere and a decent quality of music all day provided the background to a chance to enjoy what was pretty much rain free days with a well chosen choice of entertainment.

A nice laid back start to the summer in a lovely location, a chance to meet some old friends, chat to some new ones, and enjoy singing and dancing along to the hits of the major acts. I saw no trouble over the weekend, and security were low key, although a few of the campers got a bit vocal during the night. The organisers had got everything nicely balanced, although the number of show and shine vehicles seemed to be down on last year, and I do like to oggle the lovely looking VW conversions. The bigger tent housing the main stage was a great addition.

I suspect this lovely little festival, which always picks out quality acts will be even more popular next year, so it's worth getting your tickets early for next year.

around the festival site (2)
review by: Scott Williams

photos by: Scott Williams

Friday 28th to Sunday 30th May 2010
Newnham Park, Plympton, Plymouth, PL7 5BN, England MAP
£45 for full weekend pass (4 days)
last updated: Fri 4th Jun 2010


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