Our Travel blog
The festival is held on Uttoxeter racecourse. Uttoxeter itself is a quaint old market town with its imposing soot stained sandstone church and some fine old timbered buildings. Although it's situated in an affluent area much of the town centre is given over to cheap stores and charity shops.
Talking of charity shops is it just me who gets irritated by Barnardos shops strapline "Believe in Children"? Believe in Children my arse, the little buggers are everywhere. It's like being told to believe in bricks or believing in crisps. There is empirical evidence that they exist, you don't need to believe in them. Some marketing company probably charged a fortune to think up this nonsense.
On the plus side I did buy a walking shirt in one of the charity shops that I was delighted to discover has a sewn-in spectacles wipe on the inside. I couldn’t have been more thrilled with this discovery if I’d found it had a carabiner attached too. I don’t know why these little things appeal to me but they always do.
And on that note we'll leave Uttoxeter, wander past the ugly new Waitrose and back to the festival, which this year adopted a steampunk theme. If you are not familiar with steampunk it’s like science fiction set in the Victorian era. There's a lot of 19th century steam power ascetics and flamboyant costumes; frock coats, embroidered waistcoats, corsets and plenty of lacy frills. Goggles on bowler hats seem popular, copper and brass adornments, pith helmets and a dash of military chic. It’s a very stylish look and many people sported lavish outfits in dark colours and more than a few regretted their decision as the sun beat down on them all weekend. Others went for the headgear only, adding copper or brass goggles to their hats. Looking out from the stage the acts must have thought they were performing to a crowd of rusty Minions.
We worked three very long days, grabbing occasional breaks when we could to see a particular performer or to grab some food. I should point out we do the work and hours we do because we love it. We adore this festival and want it to do well. A big part of its success is in ensuring that the paying customers enjoy the experience. That’s why the crew take pride in it by facilitating its smooth running and aiming to keep the festival and camping areas as clean as possible. If you stand more than one person in a field there will be things that don’t go to plan. A festival on this scale is no exception. Imaging having to book the site, all the bands and artists, sell tickets, arrange all the staging, lights, sound, fencing, security, toilets and showers, arrange advertising, attract and manage the traders, food, crew, stewards, waste removal, sewerage, fresh water, tents and marquees and deal with the local authority, fire service, police, health and safety and rely on the weather being favourable and you’re not even half way to arranging a successful festival experience for the punters. Things will go wrong and a good festival team know this and take responsibility to sort out issues as they arise, before they become serious.
Having said all that this year was the smoothest running Acoustic Festival I’ve been involved with, thanks in no small part to the experienced team behind it. It also helped that we had four days of glorious weather; the sort of heat where your shadow melts. We saw people in camping chairs guarding their precious place in front of the main stage, glowing lobster red. We could have found them in the dark.
Festivals are about music and there was plenty on offer, of the highest calibre. We are not reviewing bands on this blog but like our entry for the Hay Festival here's a flavour of who we saw; this is where Ray had the distinct advantage of litter picking in the areas where he could see most performances.
The festival finished on the Sunday night so Monday morning was spent dismantling the site. We started nice and early and by mid-morning were at the point where most of the remaining jobs were for the specialist teams; dismantling the marquees, taking staging away and suchlike. We wandered into Uttoxeter to grab some provisions and then, in the spirit of solidarity with our comrades still working on the site and having to stay under canvas for another night we buggered off, taking Mavis to the Caravan Club site next door and spending an hour each under a hot shower, drinking tea, having another hot shower, making dinner, having another shower and finally sleeping and dreaming of more hot showers.
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