Well that's it over for another year. I'm just back from the Summer Sundae festival in Leicester where I was with assorted friends and family (some of the gang are pictured above). It was all pretty good. No real major musical stand-outs like last year, but a lot of fine stuff seen and heard and general fun had by all. There'll be much more to be reported on over the next few days, but for now, here's a few non-musical highlights and lowlights.
The De Montford Hall and gardens continues to be an excellent festival venue. This year featured an further expanded Rising Stage, which was regularly rammed out the door throughout. Only it wasn’t rammed inside – the two entrances on one side meant that the far right of the tent was always pretty uncluttered while the poor latecomers had to stand outside. This year the marketplace area (with the cabaret tent that I never ventured into) at the top of the hill was a welcome addition giving space to relax, eat and drink away from all the bands (festivals are not just all about music y'know).
The weather was rubbish again. Not only is Summer Sundae a terrible name for a festival, but each year it tempts fate with the 'sun' part of the name, and the references to ice cream, neither of which were much in evidence this weekend. It all started so well on Friday when we were pitching up, only to degenerate to the soggy mess of Saturday night and Sunday morning. However, the rain of the past four years has taught us to be prepared. Wellies were brought out.
Like last year, there was a real ale and cocktail tent. Real ale and cocktails. Together! What a great combination! Why is this not done more often? Mind you, just because it's real ale doesn't mean it's good, and with no real time to get tasters, it was a bit of a shot in the dark. Thankfully all the ones I tried were alright. Which is less than we can say for the shockingly watered-down cocktails on Saturday night.
Sea Cow had easily the best fish and chips I've ever bought from a van, and way better than should be expected at festivals. Chips and fish done just right (how often does that happen?) which more than made up for gripes about the size of the fish. If you see these people at a festival near you, do yourself a favour and get some.
I'll be covering the music over the next few days. As they're the main media partner of the festival, BBC 6 Music has a load of live stuff recorded over the weekend, which I'm hoping to post for your listening pleasure.
There's a small, but growing set of photos on my Flickr stream...