After the amazing start to the festival on Friday, the only thing that could have spoilt this year’s Chagstock was the weather.
(Spoiler alert, it didn’t)
The view from the campsite.
We rose from our luxury bed, availed ourselves of our luxury bathroom, and made our way down to our luxury guest breakfast room. We were met by our
luxury genial hosts, Alun and Gaynor, who served up our now customary, fantastic three course breakfast – fresh fruit, cereal and toast, and a full English with eggs from their own chickens.
Should you wish to pay Southcott B+B a visit, go here, but I wouldn’t bother trying for next Chagstock weekend, I think you’ll find it booked.
Suitably fortified, we arrived in the arena in time to be welcomed back by our esteemed MC for the weekend, Mr Tony King, and to see the first band of the day on the now-open Main Stage, These Reigning Days, or rather I heard most of their set from the nearby beer tent. They were very good indeed. Imagine a more cheerful, more melodic Editors, very tight, punchy Indie rock. A fine way to start the day.
By the time we had made ourselves comfortable in our own little piece of arena space – with several drinks apiece – it was time for the next band.
Big Boy Bloater has apparently been described by Jules Holland, no less, as “One of the greatest blues guitarists of our time” and he, and his band, the Limits, certainly put in a pretty convincing claim to that title. Highlight of the set being a storming guitar workout called Rocket Surgery.
Big Boy Bloater and the Limits.
Time to go in the shade next, for a chance to see someone who I’d been looking forward to seeing, ever since hearing the fabulous Gay Pirates a couple of weeks ago, the extraordinarily talented Cosmo Jarvis.
According to the intro, Cosmo is not only a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer, but also an actor/director/filmmaker. The man has more slashes to his name than your average IP address.
Cosmo Jarvis. Fame had made him turn his back on his bassist.
He came onto the acoustic stage with just a guitar and sat at a stool in front of a bass drum and pedal. He was joined by a bass player, and that appeared to be it.
The tent was already filling up, and as he is a bit of a local hero, many people had been looking forward to seeing him in particular since yesterday. The crowd were in for a treat.
I’ll say one thing for Mr Jarvis, onstage he really does give it his all. His voice, already on the husky side when he began, must have been positively shredded by the end of the set. He and his bassist – whose name I did write down but subsequently lost, apologies – played a really great collection of songs which ranged from pure folk to sea shanties and all ports in between. By the time he finished with a triumphant Gay Pirates, I doubt there was anyone in the tent not singing along.
Back out into the blazing sunshine again, and it was another trip to the bar, which was surprisingly empty. So, pints and Pimms in hand, I made my way back to our nomadic arena camp.
At this point, I would like to mention “arena psychology”.
This is practiced by almost everyone who goes to a festival, whether they know it or not.
You get to a nice clear patch of grass, with a good view of the stage, and you dump all the crap you’ve been carrying around with you – half a curry, a pint of warm cider, a rucksack, too many clothes, a massive great flag on a twelve foot pole that seemed like a good idea at the time until you want to sit in the chillout tent, chairs, etc – and you lay out your groundsheet.
Now, at this point, you have set up an invisible forcefield around your belongings, effective on all but the most intoxicated or terminally dickheaded, which people will automatically skirt around, even if you are standing up at the time.
A useful play on folks’ natural inclination to be polite, or the “festival effect”, turning us all into a big, happy family for the weekend? You decide.
As we’d been on walkabout, we had been able to hear The Martin Harley Band playing the main stage, and we drifted back that way to see the wonderful Mad Dog McRea. Having seen them before I knew what to expect, and they certainly didn’t fail to deliver.
Down the front with Mad Dog.
They played a blistering set, which included my personal favourite Am I Drinking Enough?, and Raggle Taggle Gypsy which left the crowd going wild.
Our intention had been to wander back to the Acoustic Stage to see The Monkey Gland Blues Band, The Travelling Band, and Juan Zelada in between each of the Main Stage acts, and although we could hear quite well enough to know that they were all going down a storm, I frankly couldn’t be bothered with all the moving back and forth, Elaine and the others were going back to the tent for a while, so I guarded – unsuccessfully, as it turned out – the remaining arena paraphernalia and soaked up the sun and the music coming from the tent behind me.
I got hungry after a while, having not eaten since breakfast, so left my rucksack – containing my shirt, my prized hoodie from last year’s Chagstock, camera, tobacco, socks and groundsheet – and my pint, with some friends of Inge’s, with whom we had been sitting.
Yours truly. Rucksack just visible, for now, bottom right.
I got held up in a food queue, the site being now sold out to capacity, and when I got back to it, neither my stuff, nor the people I left it with, were anywhere to be seen.
Now, I’m quite a positive person when it comes to people in general, so I naturally assumed that they would be back soon, finished my meal, and waited.
Ok, maybe they’re not coming back then.
At this point – it was about 6pm by now – it was beginning to get a little chilly to be wearing just a T-shirt. And since my clothes, hoodie, and denim jacket were all AWOL I had to take drastic action. I went and bought another hoodie.
They are very nice hoodies.
Ten minutes later, I got a call from Ho, telling me that Inge’s friends had my stuff and were bringing it back to the arena with them.
Like I said, the Festival Effect.
The united colours of Chagstock.
Concludes in part three…