Beautiful Days Festival No. 7

Compared to the last 2 years of mud, it was a relief that the worst the weather did was give a serious threat of drizzle, but backed off before going through with it. The 2 previous years where we spent 3 nights sleeping in a VW Transporter van with 2 children under 5 who spent the day playing in the mud did test the resolve.

The Beautiful Days festival at Escot Park in Devon in now in its 7th year and it has taken me a week to get round to writing it up. The Guardian describe the festival as a family based folk punk hoedown with give a high level flavor. It is a middle sized festival at around 10,000 people with a mix of bands drawn from folk, punk, reggae and rock spanning the last 40 years of music, for example Hawkwind played the same stage and evening as The King Blues. With a couple of stages, you can't see every band and we also spent some time in the kids area. My highlights were

  • Hawkwind : 40 years and still delivering the nearest thing to space travel through the medium of guitar based rock. Great laser show and they really deliver a wall of sound. Probably my top act of the weekend aided only by the products of the Otter Brewery which may have put me in a minority.
  • The highlight in terms of exposure to new bands was The King Blues which was a folk punk mash up with some punchy lyrics.
  • An other highlight of the past for me was The Blockheads. I am proud that the 1st record I bought at the age of 10 was "What a waste" giving me some punk credentials 31 years later. Really nice balance between remembering Ian Dury and being a current band.
  • I have seen the Levellers so many times, that I can't judge if they were better or worse than previous times or other bands. I enjoyed it and playing the whole of "A Weapon called the Word" panned out well.
  • Its hard to say it, but I found The Pogues a partial disappointment. There is something special about Shane MacGowan which still comes out, but he came across as being in a bit of a state(read hell of a state). Still, the Pogues were a band I had wanted to see for a long time and I am please I stayed around.
  • Pronghorn, the worlds premier Cow Punk band was good fun. Suspect the are in a Gene pool of one, but still a good act for a open air stage in the afternoon.
  • It should not work, but it did. Les Tribute are all dressed in red, mashing up covers of disco, rock, new romantic and every other type of chart hit from the 1980's with serious showmanship and humor. Went down really well. I am curious how they find bands like that.
  • I had not heard of Lamb, Gong or the Subhumans, but all were a good way to spent an hour or so.
  • I have seen Dreadzone a couple of times and they were on form. Small people really got into the spirit of it during their set.
  • Howard Marks was interesting. I disagree with almost everything he says, but he is still good value listen to
  • Mitch Benn who does the music bit on Radio 4 "The Now Show" was very good indeed.
  • There is a lot of other stuff going on including full contact Morris dancing where they hit each other with 2 inch wooden sticks, various modern sculptures, a golf carts dressed up as a pirate ship and the option of Confession with Nuns who have whips (it would be quite hard to explain).

So, much fun had by the King family once again, made much easier by the weather and we hope to do it again next year.

An assortment of images.

Next race is the Nant Peris Horseshoe on Saturday at 18 miles and 8500ft of ascent where we have something to prove after last year's rather poor showing.

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