Live Music + Gig Reviews

Hove Festival 2007, Day 2 @ Tromya, Norway

29 June 2007

You don’t have to create waste to get wasted. So goes the eco-message around which Hove Festival is based on.

From my arrival, festival goers have been carrying towering single helixes of plastic cups. What clean, nature loving folk these were. It was then that I realized what lay behind this green altruism: for every cup handed in to be recycled, you got 1 krone (10 pence). The jackpot, however, was a discarded pizza box. That would net you a pound. Whatever the incentives used for making revelers less slovenly, I have never seen a more cleaner festival site.

The environmental pro-activism ran deeper than just visible site cleanliness and segregated recycling bins. The organisers of Hove have formed a five year partnership with Bellona (Norway’s equivalent of Greenpeace) to make sure that Hove remains an environmentally exemplary festival. All cars on site were either hydrogen, electric or ran on bio-diesel. They even had all the bands agree to set aside some of their fee to a carbon offsetting project to cover the carbon footprint left by their arrival

All this eco-friendly stuff meant that you started the day with a clear conscience, if not a clear head. After breakfast of smoked salmon and rye bread I headed to the chill out zone.

Follow a dirt track lined with bunting featuring the most eclectic collection of lampshades and it will lead you to a clearing where hammocks hang from the trees and you can doodle to your hearts content in the art tent. I lazed around, listening to the sea, marvelling at this great little place to catch up on some shut eye.Then the heavens opened and it rained well on into the next day, so wellies were required.

Rappers, low slung jeans and eye catching bling gave way to terrifying facial hair as Slayer and Mastodon rolled on to site today. I tried to get into the groove, head banging with burly, 20 stone men and giving the devil’s horns a workout. Metal is big here and the crowd loved it – perhaps it’s the dark winters, strong vodka and high suicide rate.

Whilst Slayer left me cold, my find of the day was wacky New York based singer songwriter Nellie McKay, who I stumbled on in the atmospheric Amfi stage, with its steep tiered seating cutting back into the grassy bank.

McKay is a Regina Spektor derivative, kooky, bookish and verbose. Her words tumble out in a chirpy wry commentary on modern day living. Quirky and very watchable, its no surprise that her 2004 album Get Away From Me garnered such massive critical acclaim and a bidding war to sign her.

The set of the day came from Glasgow’s greatest export since Iron Bru, 1990s, in the luminous pink Telt tent, who produced the sound bite of the festival from the song Cult Status: “My cult status keeps me alive, my cult status keeps me fucking your wife.”

The killer choruses on Arcade Precinct, You’re Supposed To Be My Friend and You Made Me Like It, ignited the place. It was the sort of feel good stuff that made you glad to be alive. The place was left littered with empty beer cans, as eco warriors scavenged over the remains.

The Long Blondes followed with an incredible set. Kate Jackson dominated the stage. Once and Never Again and Separated by Motorways were storming. They have so much going for them and brought a pumped up frisson to the room

After the anthropological participant observation that was my experience of Slayer, I headed to the Flekken tent to join my people. By day the Flekken tent it is a chilled out sophisticated eaterie, playing live acoustic music with a mad mishmash of sofas outside to recline on but by night, it is a sweating cavern full of people dancing their hearts out.

Post midnight I queued outside in the rain to catch Rob Da Bank. Revellers were flinging chairs and tables out of the tent to create more room to dance as he showered the crowd with hundreds of multicolored glow-sticks. The day ended in triumphant style singing along to Justice vs Simian’s We Are Your Friends.

I saw a Moomin as I wandered back to my mobile home, but perhaps that was a trick of the light glinting from the low slung Norwegian moon.

Hove: Day 1 |Hove: Day 2 |Hove: Day 3 |

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