Posts Tagged 'festival'

Isle of Wight Festival

IOW 2009Last weekend I went to my first festival: the Isle of Wight Festival. It was a weekend of many firsts, my first time on the IOW, my first time camping, my first meeting with portaloos – yuk.

I had a great time! Saw some good bands that I hadn’t previously heard of, saw some great bands that I had heard of but hadn’t previously rated, deliberately missed out on a bunch of bands that I thought were over-rated.

Camping was more fun than I expected and I got some really good night’s sleep in the tent. Obviously I need a harder mattress at home. The tent got way too hot in direct sunlight – I’d wake up fairly early in the morning, but it would be the tent getting ridiculously hot that drove me out. The only downside of the camping was the portaloos, I don’t think I could camp for more than a few days in a row. The weather was pretty good too – only one or two drops of rain. Not sure what camping in the rain would be like.

I spent way too much money on random crap: 2 maxi dresses and 4 pairs of stripey socks. I love stripey socks. So much buying occurred that I ran out of money on the first day. Then my card wouldn’t work in their ATMs, uh oh. I spent an evening collecting cups (10p each to return for recycling) in order to get enough money for food. I did succeed in getting enough money for some grub, but I was too tired by that time. A friend loaned me money to tide me over the rest of the festival.

The cups thing is a very cool idea. If you’re concerted about it there’s lots of money to be had. It’s a good earner for kids. During the day there were loads of kids filtering through the crowds collecting people’s finished cups. Sometimes you could see these kids coming by the bobbing towers of cups that were above head height – probably nearly a tenners worthof cups at that point. I personally was a fairly poor cup collector – making only £4.

Post-festival downside – I got a really bad sore throat the following week. Bad enough for serious mickey taking from my colleagues (I squeak when talking and bark when coughing on sore throat occasions). Unlike the other member of our group who came away with a sore throat I don’t even have the excuse of kissing randoms to account for the germs I caught.

Glad to be back at home with my cats and my fella, but I don’t think that this will be my last festival.


Awesome Weekend: Sunday

Pictures from the Hat Fair 2008

Pictures from the Hat Fair 2008

Sunday was the last (and best in my opinion) day of the Hat Fair. The Hat Fair is a festival of street performance that takes place in Winchester every year on the first weekend in July. Friday and Saturday there are performances and stalls in Winchester town centre, but on the Sunday the fair heads up to Oram’s Arbour, a big wedge shaped grassy park up the hill from the station.

We arrived at Oram’s Arbour in the drizzly rain at about half twelve – which was when the first act was scheduled for. Nothing was happening, and I was quite worried that the whole thing would be a let down with none of the performers wishing to risk their lives in death defying stunts on sodden, wet, slippery grass. However we’d barely stepped on to the field before the sun came out and by the time we had walked to the ice cream van it was so sunny that there was no excuse but to have an ice cream.

With the sun out the organisers leaped into action setting up pitches, amps and speakers. I had just enough time for another ice cream before the first act started. The first act was Bill Ferguson, who spent quite a while gathering his crowd with a combination of pointed comments at passers-by and hostage taking of gullible people’s possessions. It felt like he had the biggest crowd of all the acts I saw, even though it was still early in the day and there weren’t that many people yet – then again he did have no competition from other pitches. The climax of his act was juggling a pram, a crutch and a fold-up stool, which was pretty impressive.

Next act we saw was Shep Huntley, whose impact was lessened by the fact that we’d seen him last year. The first half of his act was pretty much identical to last time. But last year (as far as I recall) he ended by laying on a bed of nails, this year he climbed up a 3 metre pole and juggled knives and ate an apple at the same time.

Mr. Spin was the third act we watched. He was another who we had seen last year, though last year he was performing with Pandora Pink. Again I think he was better last year – mostly because he let her do all of the talking and patter. He was the most technically skilled performer I saw (I missed out on Haggis and Charlie this year), with a higher trick to patter ratio than the others. But the patter he did have got old very quickly – there’s only a certain amount of times a man can giggle manically and scream out “rock ‘n’ roll” and have it be funny.

Next was a magician – Andrew Elliot. He was really good. Normally I’m a complete old cynic with magic (having read too much on the subject for my own good) but his show had quite a few moments that took me by surprise. I was very busy thinking “Ha! I saw where those oranges came from.” when I got surprised with a “Where on earth did that watermelon come from?!?”.

Last of the day was Famos Bramwells. He was the act I was least blown away by. Granted he had it tough being the last act, he was following a magician who had a lot of good tricks with his act that contained two easily explicable tricks, and I was mainly there to be impressed by jugglers rather than by magicians. But still he was my least favourite act.

For overall performance I’d have to say I liked Bill Ferguson best, and for coolness of skills Mr. Spin.

Another Hat Fair has come and gone, and I can hardly wait until next year. Though one thing’s for sure – next year I’ll have to have a better camera. The three shots at the top were some of the best my little compact could manage. I’m definitely going to have to buy a digital SLR in the near future (or at least drop weighty hints to my loved ones in November/December time).

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