Category Archives: Festivals

Alice Wicked Tea Party – Photos

Sandwiched smack between Bearded Theory and Download is Alice’s Wicked Tea Party.  Curated by Wicked Spins Radio Alice’s Wicked Tea party is a tiny grass roots festival showcasing an array of alternative music.

Of course at events like this the bands you see are unlikely to be household names but that does not diminish the quality of what is on offer.  Having spent the evening there yesterday I saw eight bands all of whom I would happily see again, not a dud amongst them.  I thought it would be nice to share a few photos before I head off to today’s festivities.

The festival is situated behind the Cross Keys pub just a few miles from Wimborne in Dorset.  Day tickets are just £25 on the gate if you fancy a day out.

Bearded Theory – Wow!

Wow, what a weekend at Bearded Theory.  Incredible weather, brilliant bands and spending time with my festival family – just fantastic.

Lots to come over the next few days but here are a few photos of fellow festival goers, the wacky people who make festivals the joy that they are.

Cappadox Festival – photographs of a true wonderland

I am just home from my trip to Cappadox festival in Turkey.  It was an incredible environment to hold a music and arts festival.

Check out some photographs of an event that is unique in so many ways.

Cappadox Festival – Cappadocia, Turkey

Let’s be totally honest here, Cappadox festival is not what we in the UK have come to define as our usual festival experience.  Cappadox is so much more, something that combines music, art, culture and wellbeing and sets it against one of the most incredible natural environments on our little planet.

I was up and around early this morning, a 6am start is certainly not something you experience too often at a UK festival, if you are up at that time it is because you haven’t been to bed yet.  As I stumbled bleary eyed from bed and opened the curtains of my hotel room I was greeted by the sight of dozens of hot-air balloons rising gently into the dawn light with the mountains as a backdrop, it was a breathtaking experience.


I started my day photographing a pranamaya class, a form of energising breathing that left the participants positively glowing, energised and relaxed.  Cappadox has. A lot of these types of exercises going on and it really is a huge part of the festival experience.

After breakfast we headed off for a walk in Love Valley, a stunningly beautiful experience.  The area is so green and natural, the soft rock has been used to carve out cave houses, animals shelters and even pigeon coops that are used to collect dung to fertilise the land.  The landscape is quite unlike anything I have ever seen the scale is breathtaking and yet the walk is a reasonably gentle one, well within the capabilities of anyone of moderate fitness.  

As the walk nears its end you come upon a meadow where you are able to sit and rest, enjoy a drink and some fresh fruit whilst listening to local musicians playing a concert for your enjoyment, the steep walls of the valley adding an acoustic backdrop that can only be described as stunning.  It is this kind of little surprise that makes Cappadox a totally unique experience.


Our afternoon was spent at the Goreme Valley open air museum, the primary features being literally dozens of Christian churches and burial grounds carved into the soft rock.  It really allows you to reflect on Turkey’s history as the meeting point of the Eastern and Western worlds.  The sheers scale of the endeavour that must have gone into carving out these places of worship 1,000 years ago is mind-blowing. 

This evening sees us headed out to enjoy some music and a gastronomic experience so watch this space for further updates.

Cappadox Festival Turkey – preview

What do you think of when you envisage a festival?  As a UK festival fan I see gathering with friends and those of like mind to enjoy music and cider in a field.  I anticipate that at some point I will get wet, both inside and out, and I come prepared for mud.  I expect quality music, perhaps some visual entertainment and an atmosphere that would save our health service billions if only it could be bottled.  For me music festivals are the elixir of life, the beating pulse of the UK music scene.  I have never seen music festivals in any other way.  Until now.

Earlier this year a press release from Flint PR dropped into my Louder Than War mailbox.  It advertised Cappadox Festival 2016.  Like many of you this was a new one on me and, because I have worked with Flint PR in the past, I assumed this was a new UK festival.

A little exploration of the festival website revealed the festival was in fact smack bang in the middle of Turkey.  The description of the location of Cappadox festival on Lonely Planet immediately had me intrigued.

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“As if plucked from a whimsical fairytale and set down upon the stark Anatolian plains, Cappadocia is a geological oddity of honeycombed hills and towering boulders of otherworldly beauty. The fantastical topography is matched by the human history here. People have long utilised the region’s soft stone, seeking shelter underground and leaving the countryside scattered with fascinating troglodyte-style architecture.”

I confess I was hooked.  This sounds like the stuff of photography dreams.  It is clear that Cappadox festival is about much more than just music.  Cappadox aims to provide the definitive Cappadocia cultural experience through a progressive multi-disciplinary programme of music, contemporary art, gastronomy, nature and outdoor events over four days.  In other words Cappadox aims to provide a unique experience in a unique location.

MUSIC LINE-UP

Cappadox will host more than 20 prominent names in ethnic jazz, world music, experimental electronic and classic instrumental on five stages, including: The Sun Ra Arkestra, Dhafer Youssef Quartet, Fennesz, Erik Truffaz Quartet, Taksim Trio, Kaki King, Ceylan Ertem-Cenk Erdoğan-Cihan Mürtezaoğlu, İlhan Erşahin & Oceanvs Orientalis, Karsu, Laraaji, Esmerine, Gevende, Şirin Pancaroğlu, İnsanlar, Udi Yervant, Adam Hurst a nd Emre Engin.

Cappadox will also reveal Surprise names during the festival, to perform in the Full Moon and Sunrise Concerts.

The prospect of taking a guided walk through the incredible landscape, on which Cappadox festival is located, to enjoy a sunrise concert to a backdrop of hot air balloons simply blows my mind.  Guided walks, cycle rides yoga, meditation and pop up stages in incredible locations are all part of the Cappadox experience.

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Cappadox arrived on the scene in 2015 and aims to help festival fans to experience something unique through music, contemporary art, gastronomy and outdoor events.

Cappadox has a fairly unique approach to festival pricing.  Events can be booked separately and through a choice of two levels of access pass.  Obviously the pricing is different dependant on how flexible you want to be.  The highest price tickets offer the greatest range and flexibility and even the highest priced tickets are broadly in line with UK major festival prices.

Taken as a whole Cappadox festival offers an opportunity to visit an unspoilt region of Turkey to enjoy a unique cultural experience.  With concerts from both local and international artists, contemporary art performances and installations, gastronomy events, 21 outdoor expeditions and a multitude of select well-being sessions spread across three days.

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Cappadox 2016 has me excited, so much so that in three weeks time I will be on my way to Turkey.  Be sure to keep an eye out for my review of Cappadox festival and find out if it can live up to my expectations.

NB This article is my work though I did originally publish it on louderthanwar.com

Something Else Somewhere Else – Sunday Photo’s

Good morning friends, here we go with my last batch of photo’s from last weekends Something Else Somewhere Else photographs.

These are all from Sunday, I hope you enjoy them.

Something Else Somewhere Else – Photographs Saturday

Hi folks, I hope you are all having a great day.  I thought I would share a few of my photographs from Saturday at last weekends Something Else Somewhere Else festival.

I hope you enjoy them.

Something Else Somewhere Else – Friday Photo’s

The past weekend saw me head off to Duns Tew in Oxfordshire for my third festival of the season.  As you are probably aware I love grass roots festivals and the Something Else Festivals are top of my list.  I simply love them, it is like a gathering of family in a field whilst surrounded by great music and fuelled by beer and cider.

These photo’s are all from Friday and you just have to check out Gaz Brookfield’s new biggest fan.  Look out for some more photographs and a full review in the next day or two.

 

Handmade Festival Leicester – Day One

My festival season is certainly up and running already.  Last weekend saw me in the Forest of Dean for the Something Else season opening party.  This weekend sees me heading north with my wife for my first experience of Leicester’s Handmade festival.

The journey was a bit of a nightmare with the usual Friday of a bank holiday weekend traffic, nonetheless we arrived in decent time only to find that your truly had booked the wrong hotel.  Premiere Inn has a hotel 5 minutes walk from the venue, it also has one that isn’t!  I shall leave the rest to your imagination.


Handmade festival is interesting as it is based at Leicester’s O2 academy which itself is based on the campus of the University.  The music is spread across four stages within the venue with some fringe events elsewhere in the city centre.  As you can imagine the festival focuses on emerging talent with a few better known acts as headliners to ensure that tickets sell.

The music line-up is eclectic with 65 Days of Static and We are Scientists topping the bill.  Our day started at the main stage with indie rock outfit Ash Mammal who had attracted a decent sized crowd for so early in the day.  With a 5pm start it was always likely to be the case that the crowd will build during the evening as it most certainly did, but from the beginning of the evening there was a great atmosphere from the mostly student aged audience.  

I must confess that two of the mainstage acts for the evening really didn’t float my boat.  The experimental outfit Her Name Is Calla left me cold.  Let’s just say that they are so experimental that they were 15-minutes into their set before I realised they had actually begun.  I had assumed that they were still trying to sort out the sound and the guitarist was playing with his cellphone on stage, I hadn’t realised that this was part of the show.  Once I realised they were actually playing their set I scuttled off to find something more to my taste.

I found it at the Cave Stage with Reckless Youth.  I thought these guys were absolutely excellent but frustratingly they were 20 minutes late starting a 30 minute set.  As a result this meant they only had time to play for about four songs.  I’m sure they will have a great reason for being so late but sadly this is just unprofessional.  


The stars of the day for me played back to back on the scholar stage.  Black Honey and Pretty Vicious both turned in stunning sets with a ton of energy in front of an very enthusiastic and appreciative audience.  The Guardian identified Black Honey as one of its bands to watch this year and the band showed why.  It is great to see a female fronted band doing so well and singer Izzy Baxter showed why the Brighton four piece are so highly regarded.  

Pretty Vicious have been knocking on the door of the big time for some time now and are very highly regarded.  Having already played at Reading & Leeds Festival and Glastonbury and supported the like of Manic Street Preachers the punk tinged rock outfit are surely headed for the big time.  For this ageing punk seeing the like of Pretty Vicious, Palma Violets and AllUsOnDrugs breathing new life into this scene is a real shot in the arm.


65 Days of Static need no introduction, they have after all been around for well over a decade.  Their electronic based, instrumental post rock sound is the sort of thing you either like or don’t.  Their music is the sort of thing that it is great to chill out to through if I’m honest I like my rock a deal heavier and with more of an edge.  I was also hugely frustrated that the played their entire set without any front of stage lighting meaning that bright backlights made it totally impossible to shoot anything more than silhouettes.

Headliners We Are Scientists have also been around for pretty much the whole of this century.  The Indie 3-piece from New York have six albums under their belts and are well regarded by the UK audience.  It did the band no harm that they praised Leicester City to the high heavens something that certainly got the majority of the audience even more on-side.  Their sixty minute set went down very well with the crowd and as the first day of Handmade festival drew to a close I am pretty sure that like me the audience will be looking forward to a great day on Saturday. 

Something Else warm up

Something Else Season Warm-up – Review

Spring has arrived at last.  For those of us in the UK Spring has brought snow, sleet, hail high winds and rain.  Despite the unseasonal weather the arrival of spring has UK music fans licking their lips in anticipation of the music festival season to come.

Where others see the flowering of the first daffodils or the shift of the clocks to British Summer Time as the arrival of spring for me the seasons first festival is the only true indiction that spring has arrived.  Again for me the seasons first festival is the Something Else warm-up party held in the beautiful Forest of Dean.

The Something Else festivals have become a staple part of my festival season.  These provide an amazing sense of true grass-roots festivals, the artists mingle and camp with the fans.  Facilities are fairly basic but for me and many others the Something Else festivals offer something unique.  Each of the four festivals has a maximum capacity of 500 people and advertising is largely word of mouth.  As a result you can be sure that you will know, or at least recognise most of the people on site.  For me the Something Else festivals feel like coming home.

Something Else warm up

When you arrive at a Something Else festival you will quickly realise that everyone is smiling.  People are smiling even when it is cold and wet as it was last Friday.  You just know everyone is there to drink, party and listen to a great line-up of music.  You know that you are amongst friends, even if you have not met them yet.  The truly wonderful thing about grass roots festivals is that you know that you have stepped into a bubble where, at least for a few days, the outside world does not matter quite so much.

When you came to a Something Else festival leave your concerns and prejudices at home.  This is an all inclusive family.  Race, religion, nationality, sexuality, patriarchy, disability is immaterial.  The only thing that matters is whether or not you are a twat.  Don’t be a twat.  National flags are not even allows here, we are all one.

As we gathered round the camp-fire for Beardy Keith’s Uke Jam on Friday evening it was cold and drizzling but every face was lit with a smile as we sang, played and laughed together.  As we drifted off to the campsite later in the evening you could happily gather with friends around their fire and party all night.  Many did!

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Saturday was the day of organised musical entertainment that ran non-stop from 11 am. to midnight. We were blessed both with a quality line-up and with some beautiful sunny (though bitterly cold) weather.  We were even treated to the irrepressible Les Carter (Carter USM) playing a solo acoustic set, something he tells me he hasn’t done for years.

It is difficult to pick out musical highlights from the line-up because every act was superb in its own way.  Of course headliners 3 Daft Monkeys were brilliant as always. I also enjoyed Muddy Summers & The Dirty Field Whores who treated us with a listen to many of the songs on their excellent new album Seeing Red (& Black).  Perhaps my favorite set of the day was from my good friends Tobias Ben Jacob and Lukas Drinkwater.  These two guys get better every time I see them.  There is such a great synergy between Tobias and Lukas, their playing is top quality but it is the almost telepathic understanding they share on stage that really sets them apart.  This gives both the freedom to improvise and embellish their music in a way that always seems entirely appropriate.

As always it is always a wrench to have to head home after a festival though the consolation is knowing I am off to another festival tomorrow and my next Something Else festival is just a week away.

Life is good!