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Friday, 9 August 2013

CAMBRIDGE ROCK FESTIVAL 2013

Cambridge Rock Festival 2013, I can say little more than has been said by several other 'Bloggers' music writers, Facebook posters and a plethora of other aficionado's but what the heck, this is from my 'Punters perspective' and anyway it was first and foremost a Fellowship of the Stick  annual outing!

Firstly I must say. and I know I echo the thoughts of many, a huge vote of thanks to Dave, Julia and Mary Roberts (The organisers) the organising committee and the vast army of volunteers, stewards, litter pickers, toilet cleaners, first aiders, bar staff, camping supervisors, site manager & team, stage crews, in fact everyone who helped in any way to create and run one of the best, most efficient and friendly festivals this side of the ominiverse.

The new Fellowship Logo had its first airing!
Cambridge 2013 was the 10th anniversary festival and my own third year in a row with my cohorts from The Fellowship of the Stick, the line up over the four days was simply awesome, spread over three stages and such an eclectic range of music there was plenty for everyone to enjoy.

This will give you some idea of who was on
OK, so Thursday night is, by tradition, top class tribute acts on the main stage and young / unsigned / local bands from BBC Introducing on Stage 2.

'Camp Fellowship' is established
After arriving and setting up our camp which this year included Kaz Da Kampa as well as Fender's Den and after enjoying a few wholesome snacks and several warming drinks, we set off for the main festival site, a mere 5 minutes walk away!

I enjoyed several of the bands on stage 2 on Thursday, the only tribute band I really watched on the main stage was the amazing Are You Experienced? Totally fantastic, not just sound alike but look alike too! A fabulous show all round.
Having been up since before 5am and also had rather a lot to drink I had to bale out and head for bed before Cregan and Co. but by all accounts they were splendid too.

Friday morning, after a somewhat sumptuous breakfast cooked by our magic breakfast master-chef Chris, it was time to start the party all over again!

Now that's what I call breakfast!
Stage 2 had kicked off with prog rockers Habu, a damn fine little band and my first CD purchase of the festival 'Live at the Railway' is a really good recording and shows just how good these guys are live.

Making our way up to the main stage it was time to catch the majority of the bands on the main stage throughout Friday and the evening, such as, Loveless Luck, Luna Kiss (Nice fans by the way), Walkway, Split Whiskers, The Carnaby's, Eddie and the Hotrods, Sweden's amazing Bonafide and topping the bill, The Quireboys.

Split Whiskers - Beads a flying!
 But it wasn't all main stage, I took time out to see the wonderful Adrian Nation on the acoustic stage and, one of the discoveries of the festival, it was a prog night on stage 2 and Italian prog Rockers (Emphasis on the rock) Loreweaver whose album Italic is almost constantly playing on my CD player and they were followed by the awesome LandmarQ, again, Entertaining Angels is a somewhat special album too.

Loreweaver from Italy, highly recommended
So, this was a Fellowship / Corona's outing and this year, for reasons known only to ourselves, we decided that we would wear kilts, why? Just because!

It's a skirt unless you go the full Scottish!

There was only one way to start on Saturday and that was with Cherry Lee Mewis on stage 2 and boy oh boy what a performance, one of the best of the festival.

Cherry Lee in action
I had to buy Cherry's new EP and I'm so glad I did, this lass has come on in leaps and bounds over the years and it's no surprise, she IS that good.

Saturday, well certainly during most of the day, stage 2 and Blues / Blues Rock ruled with The Bare Bones Boogie Band and Del Bromham Blues Devils being the highlights for me while on the main stage I sneaked off to see the lovely Hazel O'Connor (Who still has a brilliant voice and is still as political as ever) and, for me, one of the bands of the festival, Caravan who I have loved since the beginning of time and they turned in one of the best performances I have ever had the pleasure to witness.

Still buzzing from the amazing day it was time to finish off in style and if ever you want to see and dance your proverbial off to one of the best party bands around, go see Buster James, we did, we boogied along with a lot of friends, party animals, beer monsters and crazy crazy folk, but, that's what it's all about!
Amazing timing award has to go to Buster James, they finished their set at 23:59:59 to beat the midnight curfew!

All too soon Sunday had come around but what a Sunday! Another day of awesome music, beer and fun.

What better way to kick off a Sunday morning than with Scotland's own HM exponents, Attica Rage, the buggers had me drinking real ale at least an hour before I had planned to start!

Attica Rage in full angst
Next up on the main stage it was local heroes made good, Hekz, and a damn fine job they did too, it was starting to be a rocking Sunday.

Now, apart from mentioning Adrian nation, I've not said much about the acoustic stage, well this year there was a full line up for all 4 days and a well managed and well run set up with a decent sound and plenty of space and some absolutely cracking artists and Sunday was no exception.

Soulweaver played an acoustic set, yes, Soulweaver, so good to see these guys doing so well after all the years of blood sweat and toil, Soulweaver are one of the hardest working bands around and a real family, it was so good to see them draw such a crown and go down so well and with a new sticks man too boot!

The exceptionally talented Soulweaver on the acoustic stage
What's more, Soulweaver were not the only exceptional treat on offer on the acoustics stage that day, after a significant campaign on Facebook those of us who initiated and supported it managed AT LAST to get the awesome genius that is Matt Stevens up to CRF to mesmerize the crowd in the acoustic tent with his unique and awesome guitar virtuosity.

The genius that is Matt Stevens
It is an amazing feeling watching a friend have the effect on an audience that Matt does, brings a lump to the throat and what's more it was his birthday too, what a fine way to celebrate it!

Back to the main stage, I flatly refused to go and see Praying Mantis, one of the best NWoBHM bands of their time, not because I don't like them but they have recently sacked their long term singer and their long term drummer Garry so, stuff 'em, gone and got some Euro fill In's, OK, they went down a storm but I only went in to get a beer!

One of our favourite bands, Mostly Autumn were playing the prestigious early evening set on the main stage, did we go and see them? Did wee hell, the awesome Roadhouse were playing at the same time on stage 2 and after spending some quality time that afternoon with the lovely Mandie G where else would we be?

Roadhouse rocking Stage 2
Another CD purchase, the new Roadhouse album 'Gods and Highways and Old Guitars' is a stunner if you like you Blues Rock dirty and hard and spot on.

I have to admit, despite all the hype and excitement, I found Magnum on the main stage somewhat boring and quite frankly The Animals didn't do it for me, thank heavens for Dave Edwards 3 Piece Suite who absolutely rocked stage 2 in the evening and the Bizzarros who brought the whole festival to a close, another great party band.

It was so good to catch up with so many friends, to make a host of new friends, to see bands we love and discover new bands along the way, in many ways it was the perfect festival. If there are bands and artists that I have not mentioned and there are many like Cornerstone who were great, The Temperance Movement, Carlos, Tommy, etc. etc. Where I caught then I enjoyed them it was just that there was so much else to do, dogs to stroke, random people to chat to, just hang out, oh how on earth did four days pass so quickly?


Festival Daze

Four days of Fellowship, music and beer
It’s Festival Daze, that time of year
Where old friendships are renewed
New acquaintances made
Future plans laid
New bands discovered
And reality is suspended for a while

Now here’s the thing
It’s always a good idea to take it easy
Take it slow
On the first night
But what the heck, anything goes
And with the great music and real ale bar
All good intentions don’t go very far 
And………………………………………..

It’s something to do with the anticipation
The realisation
Of just being there
Letting down your hair
Celebrating the fact that
You’ve made it through another year
And now the Festival Daze is here

It’s so good to see so many happy people
Such a diverse crowd
Just hanging out together
This time in wonderful weather
This is the true reality
Not just a passing phase
It’s that wonderful release
Of the Festival daze.

Grant Meaby
09/08/13

Cheers everyone, until the next hot rocking time, have a great summer.

2 comments:

  1. Hey, it's Andy from Habu here - thanks for the mention! Glad you're enjoying Live At The Railway :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Andy, indeed it is a good recording and does you justice, really enjoyed your set at Cambridge, great start to the day.

    ReplyDelete