You could be forgiven for thinking that a first festival might be a bit of a tame affair – not a bit of it
The first ever Common People festival kicked off at the weekend promising a feast of live music, DJs and fun stuff for the whole family. With the team that runs Bestival and Camp Bestival behind it how could it be anything other than a roaring success?
Writstbands attached we made our way onto the surprisingly large site to see a riot of colourful flags and a mighty impressive main stage and big top. It was clear that this wasn't going to be just a tiny provincial festy.
A stop off at the press tent to dump unneeded gear and we trundled off to see The Novatones on the main stage. A longer review follows but for now let's say that we were impressed. I'd set myself a target of seeing as many local(ish) bands as I could during the weekend and these guys proved to be a worthy kick off. Tight and enthusiastic the growing crowd gave them a fine reception.
Feeling guilty that I can't catch every live band I march over to the other side of the site to the uncommon stage to catch another enjoyable set from Dead Rabbits but too early I'm called away to go and muster in the pit for the next main stage artiste.
One of the acts I'd highlighted as a must see was George the Poet. If you haven't seen or heard him then George is an interesting proposition.
George Mpanga features a mixture of spoken word and R&B and his stuff is largely a positive message, often about his own struggles for acceptance and to gain the opportunities that are often denied to some.
Reading his backstory shows that the guy is clearly an achiever and I'm wondering if his Hip-Hop,Grime,RnB,Rap influenced sound is perhaps a reaction to the ultra misogyny and violence of traditional American rap. Refreshing and challenging it's impossible to be bored by this engaging performer.
Once George is done we have 40 minutes to kill and it's over to the food quarter to have a look at what artisnal delights await. Actually there's a lot of good food on offer and we've timed it right as the queues aren't huge. Later in the weekend that won't be the case.
For the final main stage live act of the night it's the legendary De La Soul (minus Plug 3).
DLS were awesome for 3 reasons.
- They were awesome
- They made all of the photographers put our cameras down and join in the dancing and
- I got a high 5
Great set and I got a good amount of shots from the legends. It's difficult to overstate the effect they've had on the music industry in general but a quick look at the sort of names they've collaborated with shows that they have made a serious impact.
Be that as it may it was an A1 set that got the crowd jumping. These guys are pros and know exactly how to work a crowd.
if you've enjoyed our ramblings about day 1 then check back tomorrow where I will be posting a load more of my usual guff regarding day 2
and one or two half decent photos.
Unfortunately this was where we encountered two of the few annoyances during the weekend as it transpired that not only was there a 45 minute gap between main stage sets but that they had been pretty much scheduled for the same time as the smaller live 'Uncommon Stage'. This meant that choices had to be made.
We decided to spend our time wandering round the site and having a looksee. It was big old site and everything seemed quite widely spaced but that would become a godsend later when there was 30,000 people hanging around.
Next up on the main 'Common Stage' was Plastic Mermaids from the Isle of Wight. This synth based indie quintet were warmly received and proceed to give forth a sort of Snow Patrol meets Public Service Broadcasting type set.
Playing a wide variety of stuff, from sea shells to megaphones, some of which looked like it was covered in their grannies wallpaper it was a set that I felt never really got going. Clearly some really good quality work but the need to swap instruments meant that there were gaps between songs and in fact this appeared to hamper their individual performances. That having been said Al liked them a lot more than I thus proving the adage that it's a game of opinions.
I meet up with a friend who manages to phone me through the terrible phone signal and we part promising to catch up later (but we don't). We're spotted by some friends who we haven't seen for a while and I get told off for not letting them know that we'd be there. We sit in the glorious sun and shoot the shit with me periodically disappearing to fire off a few shots of DJs Jaguar Skills and DJ Yoda.
To be fair there's not a lot that you can do with a bloke behind a table so I take a few for the record then turn round to see what I can find in the crowd before returning to the picnic blanket in the middle of the field.
I'm told by friends that were there that Jaguar Skills was brilliant.
To me it was a bloke playing some vinyl and pressing laptop buttons.
Shows what I know.
Finally on the main stage was Fatboy Slim.
Never having seen a FBS set before I was curious to see what makes someone a celebrity DJ apart from being married to the daughter of the most legendary maths teacher in the world.
Certainly Norman proved a superb closer for the first night with a set packed full of toons and a multi media expo to die for. There was a damned fine light show too.
I shot some from the pit area but unlike the superb stage lighting for the live acts, Cook appeared in a gloom made worse by an overzealous application of smoke. This gives me a photo set that looks like it was shot on an early 80s disc camera but I manage to sort of save a couple in post processing.
Anyroadup, being a live music fan the fact of the matter is that you can only take a certain amount of 'bloke behind a table' and so after about an hour I slinked off to check out what was happening in the hookah bar (open mic) and the People's Front Room (great jam session by PFR Jam band) and I hang around there for the rest of the evening until a wonderful firework display ends the night.
Comedy moment of the night comes as I spot a drunken punter trying to get into a knitted caravan.
Did I mention there was a Knitted caravan?