Ok, so festival No.3 - Big Chill Festival at Eastnor Castle - is now out of the way, and I'm half way through the festival line up for the year. Playing at the Big Chill has always been a highlight and without their support I doubt I would've continued DJing for so long, or had the career that I've had. The majority of my friends have all come about because of The Big Chill, so the emotional ties are stronger with The Big Chill than any other organisation. No other organisation has had such a profound effect on me, and that effect will last for many years to come. Earlier this year Chillfest, the company behind The Big Chill, went into liquidation and it was looking decidedly dodgy for their future. In stepped Festival Republic (the organisation behind, Leeds, V, Reading, Latitude, The Electric Picnic and Glastonbury to name but a few) and they bought the brand, keeping on creative director Katrina Larkin. With such a corporate company stepping in to save it from dying two things were obvious:
1) The Big Chill wouldn't die, it would be around for a long while yet 2) It would be radically different from previous incarnations.
So it was with a curious and skeptical eye and ear that I attended this year. Sadly, my role as a Compere had vanished so I'd ingratiated myself into the Big Chill Radio crew, but I was also booked as a DJ in one of the cocktail bars - The Monkey Shoulder Treehouse (see pic. thanks to Debbie Keen). The following text is what I posted on the Big Chill Forum as part of the feedback about peoples experiences ( http://forum.bigchill.net/index.php?/topic/698769-big-chill-2010/page__view__findpost__p__2290334 ) :
On the whole: Not bad. I had a good time.
It's certainly gone through a radical transformation in both the front and back stage areas and often it felt that some one had pretended to put on a big chill, building the site up from photographs from previous years.
The site seemed to work quite well, in moving people about from one end to the other and it looked lovely, with many little touches like the ziggurat and the globe lights. The Enchanted Garden certainly had a lovely vibe about it and I'd wished I had more time and energy to explore it in greater detail than I did. I loved the lampshades on the festoon lighting
The loos (and this only applies to in arena public ones) were on the whole, fine. Mostly well stocked, and with wash basins out side and lots of that instant handwash. They were well lit and I rarely had to queue.
The Bars seemed busy but service was quick and the staff seemed happier too.
Explosions in the sky, Thom Yorke, Massive Attack on Friday was just fantastic line up. I was so happy.
Toddler T at the Starburst stage. AWE + SOME.
Tracklisting TSO's ambient set. Double Plus Great.
I had one of the best DJ experiences in my life up at the Monkey Shoulder Bar on Saturday night. It was the first time playing out with Torq and it went really well (in so much there were a couple of technical issues, but I fixed them and it worked fine from there on in). The view from the bar was beautiful, overlooking the whole site and there were plenty of smiling, gurning, gyrating punters at the bar, dancing in the sunset and occasional showers. Nice drinks too.
Camping in Production was such a great escape from the festival and it meant I could get decent spates of sleep as and when required between my radio shifts.
Working on the Radio was awesome. Made new friends, worked hard, listened to awesome music and have a million and one stories to tell. For instance, I tracklisted Sir Norm's set on Sunday so managed to watch him in action, move from a quietly unhappy and hurt man, to a smiling, ebullient and chilled musical genius. A genuine rare and unique opportunity and I was proud to be part of the crew that turned his experience of the weekend around. And it was a top set too.
A lack of gas & balloons.
It was great to catch up with so many good friends, many of them I only get to see in a field these days.
Lots of very nice people saying how much they missed me talking between acts on the main stage (you made me cry)
It was great to see so many young people on site. You're the future of festivals and it's great to see you coming along.
Disco Shed - one big throbbing love for you guys.
Katrina resplendent in Blue (clothed).
It seemed that the programming was done by people with no idea of who the actual artists where are where they would work best, and more about how much each artist had been paid.
There seemed to be an incredible lack of respect for artists - Norman Jay being soundchecked over, the late night DJs on the main stage playing a half an hour after the last live band, and then the stage crews working with work lights striking the stage down for the night while they played - Joe Goddard played to an empty, rubbish filled field; Bonobo (a 12 piece band) playing on the smallest stage you have ever seen. Chillfest always made you feel special and welcome at any of their events, it appears that Festival Republic couldn't give a sh1t about them.
The Clash Stage was so small it was beyond a joke. It looked like some teen with a rich daddy and no class had knocked it up. Burn it. Seriously.
A lack of love/joy/care from the top of the chain that just filtered down to all the staff. I didn't meet many working people (both paid and voluntary) would wanted to be there, nor who felt that they were wanted.
No flexibility from event staff.
Being forced into buying a live in vehicle ticket that I didn't actually need. :/
'There is no "Last Year"'.
Watching a head honcho ball out menial staff in full view of everyone over trivial, minor matters. Get a grip.
"Alan" but yea, ok I was young once too and damn I was a precocious brat at that age.
My showing of First Light (360 degree edit) was (on a personal level) incredibly disappointing.
Sailor Jerry's "brand new" shanty town bar, with security. This was the new Rizla stage and I didn't want to be part of it.
Sky TV adverts.
No screens or cameras on the main stage. The sound system on that stage had been ramped up too, and I have no idea why.
A distinct lack of visuals.
But on the whole I did have a good time at the Festival, I just didn't really think it was a "Big Chill" festival. Faux Chill, more like. ==== Anyway, that's enough Big Chill navel gazing. Next week is Green Man and then the weekend after that is Festinho and Solfest, so expect a little radio silence until September. Until then, here's this weeks
The Orb - Live '93 - A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Loving U) Echaskech - The Calm Wagon Christ - Receiver Magnetic Man - I Need Air Dark Sky - Something to Lose MJ Cole - Sincere (Nero remix) Joy Orbison - The Shrew that could've cushioned the blow Todd Edwards - I might be (MJ Cole remix) The Books - Chain of Missing Links School of Seven Bells - I L U Vital Substance - Roswell Lusine - Everything under the Sun Zero 7 - Sleepr The Books - A Wonderful phrase by Gandhi BTM20100812 by machv