Camp Bestival 2009: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
The weather is usually a bigconversational topicat an outdoor festival. Stories are usually swapped on how campersmanaged tosurvive flash floods and trench foot in previous years. Those of us who had been listening to weather forecasts on theradio during the weekend were convinced that Sunday would be the day when a torrential downpour would turn the CampBestival site into yet another mud bath.
Waking up on Sunday morning, it was a pleasant surprise to find it was dry and sunny again.The rather pleasant weather seemed too good to be true, so packing a cagoule seemed like a good idea before heading over to the Farmer’s Market to buy some of their delicioushomemadebread to accompanyrucksack supplies ofprocessed chesse.
The fast and furious Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pipset (they were on stage for less than hour) included the topic of child suicide and revenge murder in Angles and the excellent social commentary ofThou Shalt Always Kill.The vaguelyreligious themecontinued when theduoended their performance with the brilliantLetter From God To Man. A superb start to thefinal day of the 2009 Camp Bestival.
Those of us who had missedtheO’Deathgig at the 100 Club a few days earlier, were pleased to see that the last date of the their UK tour before returning to the USwould include a performance in the Camp Bestival Big Top. Although they draw on traditional folk and bluegrass styles, this isn’t musicto sit downand listen to.Thebanjo, ukulele and fiddle sounds mix with aslightly deranged rhythm section (displaying some impressive torso tattoos)and play fast and sweaty dance music.
The band’s singer and guitarist, Greg Jamie, told us they enjoyed playing in tents and regretted missing the previous evening’s PJ Harvey show before launching into a frantic version of Nimrod’s Son by the Pixies at the end of the set.The drummer had an impressive trick of standing on his drum kit and dropping battered cymbals to make a great crashing percussive sound. If they hired the drum kit for this UK tour, they may have problems getting their deposit back when they return it.
Horace Andy‘s unique soaring roots reggae voice sounded as good as everduringhis version ofthe Massive Attack collaboration, Spying Glass, on the Castle Stage. It soon became apparent, though,that Horace was unhappy with some organisationalaspect of the festival and appeareddisinterested throughout his performance. After performing Skylarking, Horace and band left the stage without saying a word. Horace Andy’s truncated set of songs had lasted less than 30 minutes.
Considerably more energy and enthusiasm was on display during Candi Staton‘s Castle Stage performance later on Sunday. Damon Albarn’sHonest Jon’s label has given Candi Staton a higher profile recently, with a great re-issue of her early 1970s recordings and two new studio LPs. On the evidence of Sunday’s show, Candi’s soulfulvoice is as strong as it was when she started recording in the late 1960s. The sequence of I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart (Than A Young Man’s Fool), Young Hearts Run Free and You’ve Got The Love transformed the area in front of the Castle Stage into a field offrenzied dancers.
With the deaths of Chic members Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson over the past few years, there was some concern that the Nile Rodgers 2009 incarnation of Chic might prove to be an unsuccessful attempt attrying to re-capture past glories.Once thetechnical difficulties with the trademarkRodgers guitar sound had been sorted out, the placing of Chic last on the bill on Sunday night seemed to be a very good idea indeed. As well as performing great versions of Chic classics such as Good Times and Le Freak, the band concentrated on all of the Nile Rodgers recording career. We were therefore treated to versions of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance (sung by the drummer) and covers ofSister Sledge and Diana Rosssongs originallywritten and produced by Nile Rodgers. Although it started raining during Chic’s performance, this was the first time that inclementweather had been an issue at the festival all weekend.
Although Camp Bestival is only in its second year, it appears to have alreadyestablisheditself as a more intimate familyfestivalwith attractions for everyone (although sharing a campsite with 15,000 other campers might stretch the definition of ‘intimate’ a bit). The festival makes an extra effort to entertain children, butit’s certainly not essential to be a parent accompanied by a child to have a good time there.