This was the festival I was most looking forward to attending this year because the line up was a belter for me, with 4 of my top ten acts in amongst a varied mix of popular bands and newly discovered talent the only downside was knowing I’d have to miss out on a few of them.

The location itself is quite remote so I was relieved to be travelling by car but if you do have to use public transport the festival organisers put on coaches from various locations and shuttle buses from Buxton or Matlock train stations. From the time we arrived to leaving I found all the people were very friendly and welcoming and even as a lonesome camper for a few nights I felt quite safe. The campsites are divided into different sections and many regulars said to me it was worth the extra money to go V.I.P. There were plenty of toilets, cabins with mirrors, plug sockets, hairdryers and straighteners( don’t rely on the showers, they were hit and miss), water points and food and drink vans on the camp site as well as a V.I.P section near the main stage. You can also choose to bring a live-in vehicle, use a ready to go tent or go glamping(which I definitely would choose if I was with a group of friends). If you forget to bring anything there are shops on site but they are expensive, the food stalls and bars were standard festival prices, I particularly enjoyed the Halloumi fries with various toppings. As well as the music there was plenty of other stuff to keep all the family occupied, funfair rides, childrens activities, discos and late night club tents,be aware you will need a week off to recover!!!

On the first day, Thursday, the acts are only on the main stage and I got there in time to see LUCY SPRAGGAN, THE HUNNA and headliners THE KOOKS who were all fantastic. Everyone in the media tent were very friendly and I soon made friends with the other photographers, big shout out to Andy and Tom for keeping me company. 

Friday morning( after a noisy night, bring earplugs if you like sleep), was just a waiting game until the arena opened at 11am so I was glad to have brought a camping chair and it wasn’t raining.

Isle of Wight youngster LAURAN HIBBERD opened the main stage, it was the first time I’d seen her, she’s great fun and the crowd loved her. Chart royalty GABRIELLE drew a massive audience and she was fabulous, she looked stunning and her voice was perfection. I also caught a few from THE SNUTS on the main stage and watched the brilliant DAYTIME TV in the giant squid tent, gutted I had to miss THE REYTONS because it clashed with MANIC STREET PREACHERS who were unfortunately an hour late on stage due to a technical problem so I could have seen both with hindsight. The issue didn’t affect their performance though, outstanding as always and the fans soon warmed up again after the long wait. After starting the set with MOTORCYCLE EMPTINESS and SUICIDE IS PAINLESS the hits just kept coming and they even did a fantastic cover of THE CULTS SHE SELLS SANCTUARY. 

THE STEREOPHONICS headlined the night and although they sounded great I happened to be standing in the crowd and overheard 2 fans discussing that some of the song choices were bizarre for a festival audience and were more suited to a normal gig. They performed my 2 favourite tracks, DAKOTA and I WANNA GET LOST WITH YOU so I was a happy camper.

Saturday started the best way possible, MR MOTIVATOR on the main stage. The crowd was massive and everyone joined in for 35 minutes of light exercise and entertainment, such a lovely guy and he just never gets older. THE LANCASHIRE HOTPOTS provided some humour and I also watched THE FUTUREHEADS and THE SEA GIRLS on the main stage and ORLA GARTLAND in the Quarry tent and THE MYSTERINES at the giant squid, all of which were really good. 

8.15pm came along and I finally got to photograph the amazing NOTHING BUT THIEVES and I turned into an excited, giddy teenage wannabe for and hour. We also spent the rest of the set at the side of the stage singing and dancing to tracks SORRY, AMSTERDAM and IMPOSSIBLE with the lads from SAN QUENTIN, a band that opened the main stage the day before but I missed out on photographing them, caught a few songs though and they were fab,lovely guys too. NOTHING BUT THIEVES were outstanding and they get better every time I see them, I also caught a quick hi and hug as they came off stage, made my year that did. 

THE COURTEENERS headlined Saturday and I think they brought the rain with them from Manchester, great live band though so the crowd was enormous. We headed to the V.I.P bar and then the Club Malibu tent for some raucous singing and drunken dancing to all the classic anthems. 

It absolutely chucked it down all night and my tent only just held out til Sunday morning, last day and although I really couldn’t wait to get home for a sleep in my comfy bed I knew I was going to enjoy what was left. In the quarry tent we watched ZUZU, GIANT ROOKS and DREAM WIFE who were the surprise of the weekend for me, really great punk rock band comprising of crazy vocalist Rakel, energetic bassist Bella and phenomenal guitarist Alice. 

On the main stage BABY QUEEN was at her absolute best, great songs, energetic and quirky performance and the crowd absolutely loved her, she was so kind and made timefor her fans as she left the stage too. We also watched the fantastic AMY MACDONALD, JAKE BUGG and EASY LIFE too. 

THE VACCINES played an absolute blinder of a set, all the sing-a-long favourites IF YOU WANNA, NORGAARD, POST BREAK UP SEX, I ALWAYS KNEW and latest album tracks HEADPHONES BABY, JUMP OFF THE TOP and XCT, I’ve seen them 3times this year and they always put on a great show. BLOSSOMS were main stage headliners but unfortunately they clashed with BLACK HONEY at the giant squid and they are one of my favourite bands so I had to go there instead. No regrets, they tore that tent down, even had a rowdy pit circle going on. Izzy is quirky and always interacts with their fans especially during FIRE, CORRINE and RUN FOR COVER, wasn’t quite right for any crowd surfing that night but she did get in amongst them and let one guy sing the last line of CORINNE into the mic and told everyone to buy him a beer after. 

We left straight afterwards and although it wasn’t too bad getting out of the car park we did stand in something unpleasant on the way so thanks to whoever left that goodbye present!!! The festival itself was really well organised and everyone I met was lovely, I had a great time and look forward to returning next year.

Photos and Review by Joanne Marsland 


Philip Goddard

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