Monday, July 21, 2008

Gillingham Festival & Woolley St Festival

No festivals for ages, then two come along at once! This was a bit of a logistical nightmare, but fun in a hectic kind of way. First up was Gillingham Festival in Dorset, a very slickly run operation where everyone fell over themselves to be helpful - we were issued with passes & plied with tea as soon as we arrived, which made a nice change from the usual "You're the band, then? Don't need you for another hour, sod off." If we'd asked for a big bowl of smarties with all the blue ones taken out, I'm sure they would have done their best to accomodate us...
Lovely big stage, nice sound, crowd a bit thin on the ground, but then that's what you get with an early afternoon gig. Apparently this one was recorded off the desk, which'll be interesting to hear - if it's halfway decent, I'll post it online.
Right, all pile in the van & off to Bradford on Avon for the 10th Woolley St Festival; a cheerfully shambolic charity fundraising affair in the street outside the George. We have to park quite a way away, and lug the gear up to the stage through the crowd (sadly without the sacktrucks, which got left behind), so we're knackered before we start. Luckily, there's about 4 hours to hang around and recharge our batteries before we play. I say luckily, but after a couple of hours of covers band hell, I wasn't so sure. At one point, an atrocious cover of Teenage Kicks was 'dedicated to John Peel', whom I'm sure would have gnawed his own leg off and beaten the singer to death with the soggy end if he'd heard it.
The headline act were a Pink Floyd tribute band who seemed to take themselves even more seriously than their heroes. They'd got a CD out apparently, which was being relentlessly plugged between everyone else's sets.
Bit of a head-scratcher, this: why would anyone in their right mind want to buy a CD of some half-assed tribute band doing Pink Floyd covers? If you like Pink Floyd then you've probably got their original albums already, surely? I mean, is it me..?
Anyway, to add injury to this insult they then decided to set up all their gear onstage before we went on. This left us and the bands after us with a titchy space to set up in, which didn't improve morale. Neither did our set being cut to half an hour, but what the hell, mustn't grumble - it sounded pretty good onstage and the crowd seemed to like it - which is the point of it, after all.
If this festival season has so far taught us anything, it seems to be that tribute acts & covers bands are now considered to be 'what everybody wants to hear', so it seems we have no option: we'll form a Billy in the Lowground tribute band! All we need now is a name... how about Barely in the Lowground..?

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