James are the shining light of Wakestock on Saturday

Wakestock 2013 review

published: Mon 15th Jul 2013

around the festival site

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July 2013
Penrhos, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 7HG, Wales MAP
£135 with camping, £110 without camping
daily capacity: 15000
last updated: Thu 13th Jun 2013

With the sun beating down on the tent it was an early morning start, I opened the tent up to see the odd few people staggering round like a scene from 'Shaun Of The Dead' but mainly the brigade of young girls in onesies queuing for the toilets. A bus pass was a £10 charge for the weekend to take the shuttle, and it really felt like Wakestock were hell bent on taking every penny from the moderate crowd that was there. 

I still made the short trip to Pwllheli to watch a bit of wakeboarding action, and after an hour with the sunshine beating down and the temperature up near the 30 degree mark, I decided to head back towards the site and go for a swim. I went to Llanbedrog beach, and it really was your archetypal postcard beach! The water was crystal clear, a nice curved beach with colorful beach huts and a beautiful little bistro type café that sold amazing ice creams, with the music not starting until later in the day, I chose to spend 3 hours here, perfect and merely about a mile from the site. 

Feeling totally refreshed by my swim in the sea, I headed back to the site, ready in anticipation for an evening of top quality music. I got back to my tent and all the zips were wide open, it was clear to see that someone had been having a ferret around, luckily I never keep anything of any value in the tent, so only a multi pack of batteries had gone missing. 

It was only 5.45pm and already the whole of the campsite seemed a mess, with the prices inside so high, everybody was binge drinking and in a short time span were getting into a right state before stumbling into the arena. This created quite an antisocial feeling in the air! 

With to many teenage hormones flying around, I made the short hop into the arena, and noted where I would normally enjoy sitting in the sun with a cold drink watching the rail gap competition there was now a Dominos Pizza mobile stall. 

The first band to emerge were Mallory Knox on the West stage, probably the heaviest band on the bill, they played to a crowd of about 200 people, but they obviously did something right as the crowd had more than trebled by the end of their set. It was very refreshing to get a band with a bit more kick thrown into the mixer, even if only to help broaden a few young minds to the fact there is more out there than bassline. 

Hot on their heels on the East stage, was soul singer, Jacob Banks. He had a beautiful voice, and was backed by a very tight band, but really was nothing out of the ordinary, and with the standard issue soul cover of ‘Valerie’ he just seemed like another product off the conveyor belt. 

Little Comets were headed to the West stage next, the twin stages worked a treat, with the 400-500 people in the tent shuffling across between acts, and it also gave the optical illusion of the tents feeling fuller than they actually were. Again Little Comets much like the act before them just seemed like another generic act this time turning out indie landfill! It was at times like this I really missed the rail gap pool being on site, as if there was ever a few dull moments, it was immense being able to sit and watch the superb skills on display there. 

I did notice that the demographic of the crowd change, with a mass influx of James T-shirts starting to flood into the tent, it was a shrewd move by the booking team, booking Echo And The Bunnymen and James on the same night, as it must have meant a timely boost to the ticket sales! There seemed to be treble the amount of people that had been on site the night before. 

I nipped to the South stage to get my yearly fix of for me an act that epitomizes Wakestock's usually famed laid back attitude - Dash and Ben Proudlove, with a perfect funk filled DJ set, and outside on a hot sunny day it really felt like the festival was getting back on track and hitting some form. A few technical problems early in the set were brushed aside and they were soon drawing in a big crowd. Whilst I was watching them there were 7 fence jumpers, that came flying over the fence and made a mad dash away from the security. 

I returned to the West stage for an epic performance by Echo And The Bunnymen, sadly the tent was again only half full, but obviously with an older generation of day ticket holders. They were rewarded for their purchase, again another moment to remember was produced with the epic sing-along to 'Nothing Lasts Forever'. 

Once the set had finished, there was a total change of the tide in the tent, with the day ticket holders seemingly evacuating to the bars and food stalls whilst all the hammered, and mainly obnoxious teenagers pilled into the tent pushing all aside to watch Wretch 32, and they were welcome to him! 

I sat outside the tent in the remaining minutes of the sunset, listening. To be fair it was a very polished performance, in which he had the crowd in the palm of his hand, but the crowd inside really didn't entice me inside. It seemed there was a fight or scuffle breaking out every few minutes. I was quite glad when Wretch had finished and yet again the mass exodus happened to be replaced by the more laid back day ticket holders again. A few of the younger fans stayed around to keep a good place to watch Rudimental after, and they were all shocked by just how good a performance James put on for them! 

With a set strewn with classics with a couple of new songs thrown in, this was easily the shining light of the weekend, with Tim in imperious form. Jumping into the crowd to sing 'Come Home' and finishing with an untouchable double barrage of 'Sit Down' and 'Laid' it was clear to see they had won over a new generation of fans again. As the main of the crowd headed back in after another hour of doing beer funnels back in the campsite, the unenviable challenge of following James fell to the band of the moment Rudimental

They played to the first crowd I had seen pack out the dual staged main tent, and they rose to the occasion, with a full brass section providing a very classy rich sound, they smashed through their number 1 album, with huge soaring renditions of 'Stronger' and 'Feel The Love' again providing a sing-along to nearly remove the roof of the tent. 

Upon them finishing I went to the car to lock my valuables away for the night, and whilst walking back to the arena and campsite was pestered many times by people asking for beers, plus my festival wristband and my money amongst other things. It was getting a little lawless out in the car park again, with scuffles breaking out all around. The youngsters now unable to take their beers into the arena or campsite, meant this was where most of the binge drinking was taking place. 

We returned back to our tents through a sea of youngsters trying to recreate episodes of Jackass. Again I found my tent open upon arrival, had a couple of cans and tried to settle for the night. It was a very rowdy night on the campsite with sound systems booming all night long. I woke at 5 to the sound of someone pissing on my tent, even though we had camped only 50 yards from the toilets! 

If I had caught hold of the little idiot that did it I would of more than given him a piece of my mind. No less than an hour later someone fell on my tent. I had reached the end of my tether! Before going past snapping point I decided to pack up my tent and head home. As I did so I bore witness to so much anti social behavior that I found myself getting more and more wound up, which is the polar opposite of how I normally like to feel at a festival. 

To be fair they had a new security firm in this year that did commendably well compared to the last few years, but the clientele were not the company I would chose to spend a weekend with again! Obviously I may of only bumped into the minority, but this was enough for me. A nice line up in a beautiful place! But maybe Wakestock should look to attract more people to its festival instead of 'shooting the fish that are already in the barrel'.


review by: Jamie Licence

photos by: Jamie Licence

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July 2013
Penrhos, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 7HG, Wales MAP
£135 with camping, £110 without camping
daily capacity: 15000
last updated: Thu 13th Jun 2013


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