Larmer Tree Day 2

Never meet your idols as you’re sure to be disappointed…

Day 2 started with the traditional festival fare of a cracking full English and then a sprint into town to get the stuff I forgot to bring in preparation for what promised to be a corking day of music and frivolity.

Back on site we march up to the press tent and check out who’s on offer today. It looks like a decent day with winner of the Larmer Tree competition Lily MaCaulay. We meet up with her, say hello and then wander round for a bit doing crowd shots. One of the great things here are the street theatre troops that make sporadic appearances around the site. You never know who it’s going to be, one minute it’s St Joan’s Ambulance (hope there isn’t a real emergency), the next Bonnie and Clyde. Today I happen upon The Bee Gees making their presence felt and fire off a few reaction shots.

We wander the back way and come across squeeze doing their sound check. I’m the only tog around so I sneak into the pit and shoot off a load of shots. The sound engineers, stage manager and even Glenn Tilbrook seem fine with it so I stand there blatting away. Eventually a couple of stewards approach and I think I’m about to get a bollocking but they tell me that they are my replacements and it’s clear that they think I’m one of them. Still I shoot on! What’s impressive is the whole band are there for the sound check and they insist on doing it themselves. When things don’t go right then there are no raised voices or harsh words. Glen and Chris are pleasant and respectful to the sound guys throughout the whole thing which makes a nice change.

We mooch off back to the tent for a well-earned cuppa and a choccy biscuit only to find that the sun has melted the chocolate into one big mass that the missus then proceeds to eat with a spoon. It’s a girl thing apparently

I return to the Big Top to find ‘Doors to Manual’, a local band with a proper young girly following. They’re pretty damn good as you’d expect and I shoot from front then go into the wings and backstage to get some slightly different angles.

Off to the press tent to charge some batteries and upload the day’s photos. I send off the least worst shots to the press office over their wifi which has mighty speeds. Update facebook, check emails, empty my memory cards and suddenly the PRs are flapping. We have to go NOW for access to the pit for Heavies. I wasn’t too fussed about it but think that I should show willing. How glad I was as I then get my shot of the day (right). Just like Sir Tom last night we’re only allowed two songs. I speak to some of the guys and they all say that they’ve never come across this before.

More beer, more long and crowd shots with a particularly impressive lit balloon line coming through the crowd. The guys finish to rapturous applause and an encore of ‘Cool for Cats’ and I nearly cry (nearly).

The band are signing their new album so I trot off to the tent and cover the whole thing whilst chatting to them. They are really keen to engage with the fans and there’s a particularly funny moment where a very posh lady asks the bass player if it’s his band. Chris Difford, one of the best songwriters of all time sits quietly by whilst bassman says he’s got a couple of quite good musicians helping him. I say thanks to the guys and we chat and shake hands before they are ushered quickly into the distance. I’ve met my idols and I’m not disappointed. I’m left with the impression of very professional musicians who have seen it all before and take fame with a pinch of salt.

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Back to the ARC where Lily is going down a storm. She gets a well deserved ovation from the crowd. I resolve to catch up with her when she emerges but then never do.

We take tea in a converted double decker bus and peruse what’s going on. I decide to cover a story telling session in an attempt to get some good kiddie expressions. The mime performers engage them but leads to quizzical faces all round. Except for one mum that is who crosses her arms and looks very angry through the whole thing!

The Heavy are stunning and Kelvin is the ultimate showman. The lighting is just right and I get my settings bang on. Result!

Then front of house for a few crowd and long shots and suddenly it’s beer O’Clock. Most of the togs meet up with significant others and take a bit of down time before the main event- Squeeze.

We assemble in the press area to be told it’s again 2 songs but this time it is songs 3 & 4. I venture the opinion that someone is just throwing dice now. We get marched down to the pit and stand around chatting about bands we love and Squeeze come out well. Gossip about arsehole bands and festivals you don’t want to do before we’re under starters orders and off. We launch out and I get some really good shots. I’m impressed with Chris who stands back from the mike and gives the shooters some angles to get good photos. I have fun with the rest of the band by making faces and get some lovely reaction shots and a couple of really nice crowd pics. All too soon the crew are bundled off and Chris gives me a wink as I leave. Which was nice.

Do we fancy another beer? Yes we do so I get a couple of the Larmer brews in and we wander over to The Big Top where Selector have already started their set. The place is rammed and I have a hard time getting to the front. It’s hot, sweaty and full of drunken revellers and I have the feeling I’m about to have some expensive kit broken so I fire off some shots then make my way to the side. Thunderstorms and lightning erupts outside and the external watchers now move in filling the place even more. I push outside for some fresh air.

Spot Bradley out of that Black Water County and we stand in the lightning and pissing down rain talking about their new EP, Graphic design and Frank Turner. Finally I trundle over to the lock up to check my kit and then off to bed with another successful day in the bag and ‘Too much pressure’ ringing in my ears.

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