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ireallylovemusic vs camp bestival 2012 : part 2 (the review)

[ re mk1, mk2 and bh : more detail ]

a week before the camp bestival festivities were due to take place, i was sat in the kitchen of ireallylovemusic hq watching the rain pour down.i sat and thought ‘what the f*ck am i doing taking 3 young’uns, mk1, mk2, and a family friend, to a 4 day festival in the grounds of a castle when its going to piss it down .. ‘

well, one week later, and as part of the ireallylovemusic rebuilding exercise myself and the young’uns were sat in the glorious sunshine watching the festival coming together, and not really believing our luck.
the weather had turned, the journey into camp easy, the boutique camping aspect had proven to be a good choice, and all in all, life felt good.

the pre-festival thursday was somewhat limiting as much of the site was closed off, but there was a bar, there were smiley people everywhere.
oh, and i got a hug from a gorgeous fairy.
fear not, i did check, and despite being 40+, i was eligible for a hug.
something i have needed for many a month.
still, even that short lived pleasure had nothing on the ‘wall of death’.
while i knew what was going to happen (motorcycle going round and round a vertical wall), nothing could have prepared us for the sheer visceral thrills of watching 3 folks on bikes going hell for leather round the wall.
pure adrenalin was the result.

so, friday arrived, we met up with a gang of friends and set about getting our bearings around the site.
hundreds of kids trying circus skills, impressive high rope walking, weird toilets, and a grumpy mk2 meant that things began to feel a challenge.
we listened to some boundary pushing comedy, and then headed for the main castle stage to check out the in-yer-face, girl power pop of stooshe, who despite not having an album out, seemed to have figured out how to play a good sized crowd, and don’t mess about with their dance inflicted pop.
then due to grumps, i had to go off and do dad stuff with mk2, while mk1 watched the japanese popstars.
the reports back from mk1 were that they were damn fine.
after some random stuff came the first real part of the festival.
2 of the guys from scaramanga six were performing under their being 747 alias, and doing a run through of their new science based edu-pop show.
of course, it being aimed at kids, the show consisted of a lot of costume changes, cheeky pop songs, and a lot of smiles.
despite having not heard any of the songs before, i can confirm that the lads have got their anthem heavy pop side locked down (personal highlight being a side sweep of the air classic ‘kelly watch the stars’), and it now felt that the festival was well and truly underway.
once finished, food for all was of the order.
while waiting for the tummy refills, adam ant and his band went through their well stuffed catalogue, and ok, it’s a new band, but i don’t think i could ever get bored with any band with dual drummerz.
and so it was with adam.
the band were brilliant, and adam was clearly loving every minute.
then, post grub, came a quick dash over to the big top stage to catch new art indie hopefuls spector.
now, i realise they will rub up people of a certain age as they are doing nothing new with their guitars, but the fact is, they were bloody good live.
the lead singer had a way with the crowd that bordered on antagonism mixed with genuine warmth.
for a band that did nothing for me when i saw them on ‘later with jools holland’, i was very very impressed.
(easy summary : art brut vs the departure.)
then of course the rest of friday evening was all about the build up to the olympics opening ceremony.
so, the gang settled down in the relevant spot in front of a big screen, and watched various attempts at comedy/variety etc before the big event, whereas yours truly wandered off and ended up in the bollywood tent reliving my old school acid house daze.
my hands were in the air for 45 minutes, and i just didn’t care.
f*ck the olympics.
however, reality hits, and mk2 was clearly flagging, so after a brief check on how hot chip were doing over on the main stage (again a band i have little time for but have clearly learnt their skills live, as ‘over and over’ was stunning), we settled down for sleep.

after the mad dashes around site all thursday and friday, the plan for saturday was to set up camp at the main stage and just soak it all up.
the day centred around the comperes dick-n-dom, and damn, they did not disappoint.
however, the biggest cheer of the whole weekend was for mr tumble.
something that i fail to understand.
he’s a lovely guy, and little people love him, but what on earth are big’uns getting all excited about !?
most bizarre.
then as the hours ticked by, my nerves were getting the better of me, as unbeknownst to my boys, i had pulled in a favour, and organised a meet and greet with dick-n-dom.
so, at the appropriate time i rounded the lads up, and went to the meeting point.
within a few minutes we were backstage sat amongst jimmy cliffs live band, howard marks, radio presenter barry peters (who it has to be said was hilarious), and rizzle kicks.
the grins alone made this the highlight, and that was before the cheeky chaps turned up.
then after a few nudges from the relevant folks, they appeared, chatted, and generally proved to us all just why they are still so good at what they do.
no pretension. no attitude, just 2 blokes who have an amazing rapport with kids, and each other.
i did wonder if this 5 minute chat would end up proving that we peaked too early.
(note : see previous post for visual proof of this moment of perfection .. and just look at the smiles .. )
i need not have worried.
the rest of saturday ended up with us taking up our spot back at the main stage and enjoying the ‘saturday night is disco night’ excess.
nile rodgers proving to all and sundry just what an amazing catalogue he has (involving madonna and david bowie covers of course !), earth wind and fire, and kool and the gang.
of course there was a slight element of ‘featuring one solo member of the original band’ aspect that did make it feel like we had all just had a great night out at some holiday camp, but with an excess of alcohol and sunshine such concerns were quickly discarded.

unlike the headache on sunday morning.

thankfully, the gorgeous orchestral pop of ren harvieu helped sooth the day along (as did an hour of dick-n-dom adlibbing with a crowd in a small tent), and prepared my mood for little roy, who totally raised the game for me.
old school reggae in the sunshine, with a full live band, select cover versions, and a voice that melts, little roy was a hugely enjoyable and unexpected highlight.
of course such pleasure meant that all plans for a booze free day were quickly side stepped, and from thereon the day flowed a lot better.
crowd pleaser rolf harris did his thing (again, like mr tumble, i did not get the reason for love, but hey), king creosote and jon hopkins performed their serene layered folk pop beautifully, scroobius pip out bearded us all with his tougher than leather rock riffs and word spitting, and the stage was set for the finale with the happy mondays.
well almost.
you see before shaun hit the stage was a set by the dub pistols.
a band i have known about for a long long time, but never really felt any need to check out.
well, more fool me.
their mix of ska’d up grooves, dubbed to excess funk, hip hop, and everything else inbetween totally hit the spot.
the sun was setting, the full band were on fire, and i cant deny that i became a convert to the cause there and then.
and so to the big name festival closer, the happy mondays.
of course being of a certain age i have strutted my weary bones to their skunk infused beats many a time, but there is no way i would ever profess to be a fan.
i don’t even have any albums but them (just a remix ep buried deep in the archive), so why is it that when the lights kicked off and the groove and moods of ‘loose fit’ prepared the masses for the party did i become overfilled with emotion.
too much booze, or, a trigger as such grooves take me back to happier times.
who knows.
all i can say is that for the next hour the band were totally on it.
shaun looks great, bez looks healthy, and the band were tight.
of course it was a hit filled set, but when they filled the stage full of kids and involved them for vocals, it was clear to all that here is a band that are totally loving having a second (third ?) chance.
and so it came to an end.
well, almost.
once the mondays finished to rapturous applause, the crowd were then advised by the gruff dulcet tones of howard marks to turn around and look at lullworth castle, the awe inspiring backdrop to the main stage.
for the next 10 minutes the castle became the centerpiece to some stunning animation and fireworks that totally upstages anything i have ever seen at a festival previously.
quite simply breathtaking, and closed the festivities perfectly.

for  many there were some smutty, oh so clever double entendres from jimmy carr, but to be honest after 10 minuutes of his schtick i got bored, and realised just how brilliant dick-n-dom had been earlier on sunday during their adlib q-n-a session, so decided to take mk2 back to the tent for some much needed sleep.

what with the glorious weather throughout the weekend, the excellent facilities on offer, the relaxed vibes, the extra treats, the unexpected musical highlights, the proper all out belly laughs, the joy on the faces of mk1 and mk2, i can definitely state that camp bestival 2012 was the best festival i have ever been to.

simple as that.

more detail : here