Three factors determine a good music festival: the weather, the food and the music.
Staycation Live manages all three: lovely sunny day, good food, excellent music.
But let’s add a couple more: lovely location in the park by the river and it is free.
It was forecast rain, early afternoon, dark clouds, a heavy downpour, then the sun came out.
I arrived around one o’clock, it started at midday, so I missed Spotlight Cannibal on the bandstand and Telephone Road in the cloisters. There were not a lot of people, but then it was threatening rain.
As I arrived, Morris Men, reason enough to wander into the town. The reason Morris Men, to keep the noise level down, so as to not disturb a wedding in the Parish Church. These were Morris Men with attitude, Dark Morris, The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers. The music was good, as were they.
When people dress in traditional costume, play traditional music, I always find it dire. On the other hand, add a contemporary mix, and it is usually quite good, and that was true of The Box Hill Bedlam Morris Dancers.
I bumped into a friendly face from The Tumbledown Dick campaign. We both agreed, councillors in Aldershot and Farnborough retards. Godalming hosts a free music festival, wonderful atmosphere, good food. In Farnborough, councillors destroy c 1720s Tumbledown Dick for a drive-thru McDonald’s.
I wandered over to the cloisters which was an acoustic stage. Telephone Pole had just finished, and Jewelia was setting up. Jewelia was good, very good, backed by Andy on acoustic guitar. Mainly her own stuff, excellent rendition of You Know How I Feel, Nina Simone classic.
It was a pity the second half of her set was being drowned out by bells from the church. Then if that was not enough, the wedding party decided to muscle their way into the cloisters.
One has heard of people gate crashing a wedding, but a wedding gate crashing a music festival. They made themselves very unpopular. A pity they did not show the same consideration as had been shown to them.
Back to the bandstand where New Rising were playing. They did an excellent blues number.
Followed by an Argentinian group Silvestre y la Naranja. They were pretty dire. Time to to wander into the town.
Afternoon tea at Café Mila.
Sadly I missed whoever was splaying in the acoustic stage, and they had finished by five o’clock.
The timings between the two stages needed to have been better synched, ideally one is playing whist the other has change over.
The final act, Smoky Bastards, were unbelievably bad, it was almost as though a parody of a bad act.
Last year, everyone was selling CDs at a fiver. A fiver and people will part with their money and not think twice, make it a tenner and people will think twice. Last year bands were shifting their CDs, today those selling at a tenner were not.
Knowledge of bandcamp finally seems to be sinking into the conciousness of musicians, and yet perversely they are still not using. Announcing a new album on iTunes is crazy, anounce it on bandcamp. And to direct people to spotify it total insanity.
Two years ago, excellent food, then last year stainless steel burger vans, commercial tea and beer tents. Notice seem to have been taken, as no one was happy, this year back to local food and drink, Sail Bar with real ales, a hog roast, local Thai and vegetarian curries, and Dylan’s ice cream. A pity though the local butcher with his hog roast was not there.
Suggestions for next year:
- local butcher with hog roast
- Curries from Home
- HoBo Co
- Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage in Guildford
Last act finished at 7-30, allowing daylight to clear up.
This is Godalming, no litter anywhere.
Staycation Live continues through the night in various pubs in the town, then back in the park on Sunday, midday until around eight o’clock.