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★★★☆☆

“Overall I think the festival tried to be too grand. I...”

Written on: 24/06/2008 by voodooxtc (1 review written)

Good Points
The location, a well drained, large field that wasn't over-crowded sitting on the banks of the River Trent and within easy reach of the A38. Although I luckily didn't have to camp in the cold, damp conditions because I live down the road in Burton-on-Trent (Lucky me). The toilets were good. Excellent music from Jethro Tull - Michael Chapman - 9 Below Zero - Glen Tillbrook - Fairport Convention (in no particular order). .

Bad Points
Appalling weather (cold, wet & windy in different measure throughout the weekend) led to the closure of the main stage by midday of the 2nd day which caused continual hurried re-arrangement of the running order by festival staff and much confusion and frustration amongst the crowd. Mistakes were made again and again -see general comment. Food facilities were extremely poor and need to be vetted in the future. Too many tribute or poor quality, making up the numbers, acts.

General Comments
Overall I think the festival tried to be too grand. I think it would have benefitted from having fewer acts. There was a lot of poor quality, tribute or 'tribute' style acts (the Acoustic Beatles and Whitesnake being examples of both) that the festival could quite easily have done without (and who booked Tiny Tin Lady & The Toy Hearts???). The disruption caused by the weather and the main stage being closed meant that the organizers were fighting a losing battle trying to fit so many acts into the two marquees. Fairport Convention (who were excellent) found themselves playing in the smallest 'tent' which was full of deck chairs whilst most of the crowd was left standing outside the tent straining to get an occasional glimpse of the band. Fewer acts would also have meant that the crowd wouldn't have had to make choices like it was a game of Runaround (remember the kids TV programme?) , for example Midge Ure & Michael Chapman were playing at the same time (I chose Michael Chapman and believe I was 'one of the few' lucky ones). If there is a repeat of the festival, the organisers should consider a system of clearing out the deck/garden chairs which took pole position in both marquees throughout the weekend. Often they were un-attended (I half expected them to have German towels on them!) as this was annoying to everyone except, I suspect, the owners of the chairs who took up residence of their chairs for the main acts, relegating everyone else to the drafty outer confines of each marquee. As stated earlier I live in Burton-on-Trent (3 miles away from the site and is a town & district of 65,000 people). I saw no local advertising of the festival and only found out myself by word of mouth. I've played in local bands in the Burton area for over 30 years but didn't see any of my musical acquaintances, of which there are many, at the festival. I have spoken to many local people since the festival, very few of which knew of the event (probably only 10%), so, if that was repeated in other local towns (Tamworth, Lichfield, Stafford, Uttoxeter etc. not to mention the larger cities within 30 miles such as Birmingham, Derby & Leicester) the organizers have only themselves to blame for the low attendance. So there....