Live Music + Gig Reviews

Camp Bestival 2009: Day 2 @ Lulworth Castle, Dorset

25 July 2009

Camp Bestival 2009: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Considering theyouthful ageof many of the Camp Bestival attendees, it would perhapsbe reasonable toassume that the person using the PA system to shout out numbers at 7am on Saturday morningwas reading out a listoflost children. Further investigation revealed, however,that the numbers being read outwere forpeople in a queue for shower facilitieswhichalready had a two-hour waiting list.

Apart from queuing for showers, the other early morning attraction on Saturday was the 9amchildren’s story telling event on the Bandstand. Another option, though, was to wander over to the WI Tea Tent for some teaand peruse the music listings for the day.
Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon remarked from the Big Topstage that the day he hadspent onSaturday at Camp Bestival had been’The nicest day I’ve ever spent in this country’. His day was probably made even nicer with the enthusiastic response he and the other members ofBon Iverreceived from the audience in the Big Top . Bon Iver have evolved as a live band over the past 12 months and bring an added dimension to many of the songs which were performed relatively quietly in front of audiences last year. Theaddition of two drum kits wereparticularly useful in adding dynamism to many of the understated songs from the For Emma, Forever Ago LP.

Howard Marks reading children’s stories to an adoring audience of under fives on the Bandstandwas an intriguing sight as some of the Camp Bestival crowd started to head over to the Big Top for PJ Harvey‘s highly anticipated evening show in the Big Top. As this was to be Polly Harvey’s only solo show of the year, the tent was already almost full as she walked on stage.

After opening the show with To Bring You My Love, Harveyannounced that she would be performing some of her favourite songs in the way they were originally written.During the next 60 minutesshe accompanied herself on piano, keyboard andguitars on familiar and less familiarsongs. The electric harp she used to accompany herselfduring thespine-tinglingDown By The Water was aparticularly effective reinterpretation of a great song. As well as re-visiting older songs, Harvey also performed two new compositions for the first time (footage shot by a fan ofLet England Shake and The Last Living Rose are already availableto view on YouTube).

The inclusion of White Chalk, with its “Where Dorset’s cliffs meet at the sea” lyric, seemed appropriate forCamp Bestival’sDorset coast location andreceived a little cheer of recognitionfrom some inthe audience. By the time Harvey started to end her performance with a rousing version of C’mon Billy, nobody wanted this uniquely talented performer to leave the stage.

It was going to be difficult to find anything to top the PJ Harvey performance on Saturday, but thelate night skiffle session fromthe legendary Chas McDevitt in the Black Dahlia tent was certainly worth catching. There seemed to be some sort ofattemptat recreating a 1950s skiffle session in one of the nearby tents as I trying to drift off tosleep. Luckily, I was too tired for the aspiring guitarist and tone deaf friends to keep me awake.

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