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Standon Calling Festival

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Producer Jax | 12:59 UK time, Sunday, 21 August 2011

Stealing Sheep


Summer festivals have featured heavily in news stories lately, with talk of too many to chose from and poor ticket sales this year. So how would Standon Calling Festival stand up in the current climate? The festival started out with just 25 friends, a swimming pool, a set of decks and a birthday BBQ back in 2001. It has built up in size and reputation with a commitment to championing new artists while maintaining its homegrown ethos.

 You may remember a few weeks back we had festival booker Tamsin Mclarty in as a guest on the show who talked us through the Road to Standon competition: an opportunity for young and aspiring bands to stake a claim for a main stage spot. We are happy to say that Fresh on the Net faves Citizens were the lucky winners who got to play a set on Friday.

From the moment we arrived, the atmosphere couldn't have been warmer. The site is compact but feels spacious and what a joy to see a good sized main stage with decent sound - plus an amazing bar nearby built into a clump of towering horse chestnut trees, well-staffed and free of queues! You really do feel like the festival is putting the punters first.

Musically the line-up ranged from plenty of new and emerging artists mixed up with a few more established names like Lamb, John Cooper Clarke, Hercules and Love Affair (who played to a packed tent) and the chillwave blissed out grooves of Washed Out who were a big hit with the Friday night crowd.

  Washed Out

Battles provided an intense headline set on Friday night, followed by Azari and111 over in the Twisted Licks tent. And things don't close down after the bands finish. You could enjoy the 6am licence, as DJs and various other performers continued through the night at an open air club this year decorated to fit the festival's theme of Gods and Monsters with an array of home-made furry (not very scary) critters.

For those of a more folkie, chin-strokey persuasion the Magpie's Nest was a great little stage nestled up near the main house on the lawn.  Amongst the stand out acts of the weekend on this stage were Introducing faves Stealing Sheep, and The Moulettes, who headlined on Saturday night with a blinding set featuring their virtuoso cello and violin players.  Special mention must also be made to Sunday openers Downtown Wolves who roused revellers from their morning snoozes with their distinctly non-folkie Zeppelin/ QOTSA inspired riffs! And Sound Of Rum who managed to lure the crowds away from the dog show on Sunday Afternoon with Kate tempest's awe inspring rhymes

The festival had a real genuine mix of people and it's definitely one for new music lovers. It makes a refreshing break from the corporate festivals that punters have to endure and yes you really could swim in the pool if you so desired! Long may Standon continue ...



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