So it's been almost a month since you got a new show and it was really great to get behind the decks once again, fuelled with all the new music that I've picked up from the festivals. So what have I been up to? Well let's start where I left off... Driving back from the Big Chill I noted that the van's brakes were beginning to grind so I got it booked into a ATS Euromaster to get them serviced - they ascertained that it was the callipers that had seized but despite having the van for a few days, they couldn't get the parts to repair it, so we decided to take it to Green Man and see if we could get it fixed between Green Man and Festinho. Most of the journey to Green Man is motorway so I doubted that it would be that problematic, though coming off the M4 towards Abergavenny/Y Fenni it became apparent that the brakes were getting worse and worse...
Still, we arrived on site at 9:30pm, which was a bit annoying as I was supposed to play records on the Radio at 9pm, but we set up in the pouring rain and bedded down for the start of Green Man.
Green Man is rapidly becoming the best source of new (albeit beardy) music for me. Twice I've looked at the line up and wrinkled my nose at it as nothing seems too familiar, but after some excellent dissection of the program (mostly by Miko, she's organised enough to read it) we came away with a plethora of many new artists - more than I've got from festivals before. On the Americana/folk tip I've learnt about Mountain Man, Mega Faun, The Tallest Man Alive and First Aid Kit, in the psyche rock genre I discovered The Besnard Lakes and on the electronic oeuvre I've picked up on Gold Panda and Bear in Heaven. I spent £80 in the Rough Trade pop up shop just getting cds of artists that I heard at the festival. :) I LOVE THIS! MORE NEW MUSIC PLZ!!! The weather was variable between pleasant British dappled sunshine to torrential down pours, but nothing stops this festival and it's punters enjoying the weekend and the artists. Saturday Night we were all thoroughly entertained by The Flaming Lips who's live show is so impressive (even more so in a field in Wales) - i wouldn't call myself a fan following it, but I would go and see them again, they really are a truly awesome live act. I did a bit of compering on Saturday afternoon on the Main Stage and I loved it. Again: MORE OF THIS, PLEASE!!
Monday rolled around and after an extended morning radio show on GM Radio (3 and a half hours, instead of 2) we packed up, arranged for the van to be seen a LDV specialist that afternoon in Frome (pronounced "Froom") which was sort of on the way between Wales and Weymouth, our destination. The journey was fraught. The brakes were getting worse and worse. We eventually got to the LDV depot and they immediately took the van on to the rack to check out the brakes. The news wasn't good. On both sides of the front axle the callipers were seized, the pads worn down to bare metal and the discs scorched and scratched like an old 78 (and probably just as fragile). The service manager ordered the parts, guaranteeing their delivery the next day at 9am and they rearranged their work schedule to fit us in as a priority job, to get us back on the road to enjoy the rest of our holiday.
In the meantime we needed to find somewhere else to stay - the LDV guys offered their car park, but I had spied a rather plush looking spa hotel between Bath and Frome on the drive down so I convinced Miko that this was the sensible option as the Travel Lodges and the like would be all booked up with company reps (and after ringing around, they were) and luckily for us the Spa Hotel had a room (£159 for two of us including breakfast and access to the spa) so we booked ourselves into the Homewood Park Hotel. We asked the LDV staff for a cab number, but they didn't seem to like that idea so one of their staff gave us a lift to the hotel instead. How nice is that?? :)
We weren't really packed for staying in such a posh palace, but after a bath and wrapping ourselves up in lush dressing gowns, swim suits and slippers we extensively hydrated ourselves in the jacuzzi (oh sorry "hydrotherapy pool") and in the heated swimming pool, and in the sauna, and in the steam room. All of these were included in the cost of the room. Awesome stuff. In the evening we decided to stay in and order room service however the quality of the food that was delivered to our very comfortable room was good good it surpassed what you'd expect from room service - placing most hotel restaurants to shame. One thing I did notice was that I still had the keys to the van, so I was all prepared to take a cab to take the keys back to the LDV place and sit in their rather sparse waiting room while they worked on the van.
In the morning, we rang the depot and told them about the keys, and they sent a parts van up to the hotel to pick them up, saving me another taxi journey. In the meantime we checked out and asked the reception to look after out luggage while we swanned about the very stately homely reception rooms waiting for the work to finish. At about midday we got a call with some bad news - one of the calliper bolts had seized and they would need to order another, but that meant we'd need to stay another night in the hotel. Oh Dear! What a calamity. :) So we booked ourselves back in to the luxury we were rapidly becoming accustomed to, this time booking ourselves into the restaurant for dinner.
Aaaanyway to cut a long story short (and yes I could go on and on about this, but I realise it's only Tuesday and we've still got two more festivals to cover!) we picked up the van on Wednesday morning, paid the bill (that was less than quoted) and set off on the road again. We'd cancelled the Weymouth Caravan park as one night wasn't really enough to justify the trip and booked ourselves in to a caravan park just outside of Woodstock in the lovely and familiar county of Oxfordshire.
We set up at Bladon Chains (pouring rain) and I set about grabbing my laptop so I could work on the video for the two Echaskech gigs at the weekend... only to find that I'd left the power supply at green man. I wasn't too happy. In fact I was in tears. The pressure of the van repair, the amount of money we'd just spent in two days (well over £1000 - the holiday was only supposed to cost us £60!) , the state of my very red bank balance were all weighing down on me, the dreadful weather and the cramped state of the van (i can't stand up in it - it's very frustrating) and to be let down by my own stupidity (even when I'd made a concerted effort to remember it, only not to) broke me and I wasn't a happy chappy. I wasn't in the best state.
Thursday was a new day with sunshine (mostly) so we packed up and drove to Milton Keynes to visit the Apple Store to pick up a new power supply (I'd tracked my old one down - it was experiencing a week in Edinburgh) and a new leisure battery from Halfords for the van as that had died on us, too. Then onto Festinho! I was already trying to ingratiate myself to somewhere (ANYWHERE!!) that could offer me a power socket so I could work on the set for Festinho but it wasn't going down to well - things were quite fraught with the production team - an appalling lack of volunteers and stewards had really piled on the pressure so the last thing they needed was little ol' me wanting to get in the way of it all. But with a huge amount of thanks to Simon, a corner of the desk was found on Friday afternoon and I set about preparing video for the evening's performance. Which went rather well. :)
Festinho is awesome - I could wax lyrical about how incredibly special, initimate, friendly, well organised, loving (and a million other superlatives) Festinho is, but seriously the only way is to experience it first hand. It's hard to find a more warm, smiling group of both punters and staff. Here's miko's photos of the weekend if you need some encouragement. :) I haven't felt this way about a festival experience since going to The Big Chill's Enchanted Garden Festivals. Yes, it's that magical. :)
Saturday afternoon I met up with Dom and Andy and we packed Dom's dad's car and drove to Silloth in Cumbria where Solfest was - we got there at about 8:30pm and bimbled about, catching a bit of The Wailers and Eat Static. I slept for about an hour and then we got about playing our set in the fantastic Dogs In Space tent, finishing at about 5am - Huge thanks to Michael Dog (yes, he of Planet Dog and MegaDog Fame) at which point we packed the car back up and drove immediately back to Festinho. We really didn't want to miss anymore of it, because Festinho was all full of friends and love and fun and good times and in agreeing to do this Solfest gig we were missing the best part of it - Saturday night! We got back at 10:30am, and I got into the swing of things and had a wonderful Sunday, managing to stay awake until the end of AGT Rave crew awesome set and then slept for 11hours. :) Home on Monday, back at work on Wednesday.
that's about it - (amazingly) there's quite a lot of detail I've left out, but you'd never know. ;)
Anyway I hope you like this weeks offering, here's the
Verulf - United in Two Variations Origamibiro - Quad Time/Bloodpulse of the Hungry Fingertip Beak - He Descended into his Memory First Aid Kit - Ghost Town Sam Amidon - Way Go Lilly Moon in the Gutter - Jack Rose Gillian Welch - Everything is Free Sarah Jaffe - Even Born Again Quadron - Far Cry Bonobo (ft Andreya Triana) - Eyes Down The XX - Night Time The Arcade Fire - Modern Man The Besnard Lakes - Chicago Train Lost Idol - Wish I was there School of Seven Bells - Dust Devil Yoshinori Sunahara - The First Step Lusine - Auto Pilot Echaskech - Shatterproof Portishead - Roads (Max Cooper rmx) Future Sound of London - Max