On the first weekend of July, a hoard of friends and I travelled to Bradley Farm, Hampshire, UK to go to Blissfields, an independent festival celebrating it’s 10th anniversary, that had a couple of thousand attendees. The festival did a great job on car parking (£5) and miscellaneous activities (yoga in the morning, hot tub on a double decker party bus, tractor rides and a shisha bar). Due to the fact that the main reason I went was due to the locality of the festival, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from the line-up but suffice to say the organizers really outdid themselves. Last year it included Super Furry Animals, Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, and Cherbourg, sadly I missed out on Gruff Rhys Jones’ masterpieces last July.
This year, a brief glance at the line-up brought my gaze upon James Yuill, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Imperial Leisure, Band of Skulls and Fenech-Soler, a pretty good glam band complete with front man wearing gold sequined top. Out of all the bands however, it seems the ones that brought the crowd together in lack of sobriety, thumping beats or delicate plucks were, Beans on Toast – a regular on the circuit with a modern Billy Bragg feel to him, Rebel Control – a great reggae band from Brighton/London, and Polly and the Billets Doux a jazz/blues band from Winchester fronted by a lovely girl with a double bass, who really had a good set incorporating harmonicas and acapellas.
James Yuill was high on my to-see list as his style of folktronica has created a little bit of buzz around the blog circuit. The set he played included a couple of these songs, but a large portion of the set was overshadowed by his full-on electro material which is where he’ll start to lose some audiences. Highly skilful musically though, the electro would have fared better if he didn’t have a big wooden box surrounding his synth.
Disappointment set in when rumours escalated that Band of Skulls had pulled out, and everyone was on edge to see what would happen, I happened to be in the midst of some billowing flags when the announcement of Slow Club came over the PA, a band I’ve been following for a while now. They got everyone dancing and it was a fitting replacement, but as much as I wanted to hear they’re ‘bigger’ hits ‘When I Go’ and ‘Me and You’, I didn’t hear them. Most of the material came from their sophomore album which failed to build upon their first release with any hard hitting singles. They are a great band live though as the harmonies between Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor worked so beautifully and complimented the slowly setting sun so well.
The festival ended on the Sunday morning but it was well worth the £60 price. The food stalls, price, and the hidden hedge, a mini-disco in the bushes that ran until at least 5am, have definitely enticed me into going again next year.
James Yuill – ‘On Your Own’ (Summer Camp Remix)’