Thursday, 1 September 2016

Beautiful Days Festival 2016 - a photo record

Beautiful Days!

This was the scene on the Sunday night after the Levellers had just left the stage after a performance that had the crowd jumping and all we were left with was the colourful festival backdrop. Our first Beautiful Days festival was over; flashback to the Thursday when we were sauntering down from the camper fields to get a preview of the site that would entertain us for the next three days...

This was the first example I saw of a popular male accessory at this festival, the pewter tankard.
Lots of families at this festival - see the next photo for the subject matter of her photo.
The funfair, complete with helter skelter and big wheel - a popular spot on the eve of the festival
A wheelbarrow comes in useful in more ways than one.
Beautiful Days one - Friday
The queue for the Theatre Tent on the first day of Beautiful Days Festival 2016
Crowds on the way to and from the arena
A fully equipped cider belt! The way I discovered that you are able to take your own alcohol into Beautiful Days Festival
Wicker sculptures of a fox and a badger outside the Big Top stage
A fuzzy photo from the back of the opening act of the festival - the traditional acoustic set from The Levellers
Horned warrior wearing psychedelic Beautiful Days 2016 Festival t-shirt!
First on main stage, Will Varley, who now maybe has to rewrite some songs because David Cameron is no longer quite the man he was.
A cosy couple, nicely costumed up, listening to Will Varley
The local Otter Ales in the beer tents - beer from £3.50 per pint and a range of local ciders too
Man in red beret and sunglasses - Captain, at this point it would be Sensible to expect The Damned on stage any moment!
Yes, it's Captain Sensible and The Damned. I really, really enjoyed this gig!!!!
It went down Damned well with the audience too! For all my Damned photos go to the full set in my facebook album at or with my other festival photos at
A great view for those in the enclosure for the disabled, just over the heads of the fans.
Next up on the main stage, a great set from Ezra Furman
Perhaps in an effort to keep up with Ezra Furman on stage, some late make up was being applied
The Unthanks deliver their distinctive magnificently morose notes on the Big Top stage
As night falls it became time to choose our feed from the stalls. We did not honour this outlet but it did look attractive after dark. 
The day wears on, venues become more crowded and I get too lazy to push my way to the front, even for Seth Lakeman

Billy Bragg had it seems given instructions that no flashy light show was to distract from his content - is this one bored lighting manager, or is he enthralled by the show?
Finally Billy Bragg entertains as the headline act on the Big Top stage to close off the first day. No he's not voting for Owen Smith!
Beautiful Days two - Saturday

This was the day that heavy rain and gales hit much of the country. We were worried for our camper van's awning which has seen better days and I spent a much greater time than usual during its erection making sure that everything was secure. Mercifully we were to miss the worst of the storms.

With an eye on the weather and, unlike Friday. no strong preferences on who we were to watch, we made for the cover of the Big Top and the relaxed notes of Sound of the Sirens
The Big Top can be a bit dark and gloomy so we thought we'd head out to a smaller covered venue - and this was our first sight of Beautiful Days' wonderful Bimble Inn tipi. Bigger than it looks!
The Bimble Inn festival lineup - closing at 3pm every morning, way past our bedtime
Kuki and the Bard play the Bimble Inn, a bar and music venue in a giant tipi made from canvas and wood
The ultimate laid back crowd in the Bimble Inn
Even the puppets pay attention to the music in here
Jess McAllister played the second set - we enjoyed both immensely
Zoned out on the slopes outside the Bimble Inn
A different sort of festival goer at the Over the Top bar - an array of tankards, would it be too hasty to assume that they came for the beer?
A more general view of the Over the Top bar
This was the picturesque thoroughfare between the Bimble Inn and the Main Arena. Our aim was to watch Hollie Cook on the main stage, my companion Shirley went ahead, and then suddenly with little warning the skies opened. It took me seconds to realise that I did not have my waterproofs - I hurtled down into the arena where people were running for cover in mass panic, and totally fortuitously in the crowds I ran into Shirley who was coming the other way. Fifteen minutes later it had all cleared.
Hollie Cook's energetic set on the main stage. We had picked up a Parisian hitch hiker about 2 weeks earlier who recognised ahead of us a Hollie Cook song playing on our music system; "the sound of summer" she said. At least it had stopped raining.
This was the scene in front of Escot House shortly before the rains came again, more persistently this time.
Stick in the Wheel were new to me, their dry humour and traditional folk a welcoming respite from that rain
This was the audience in the Big Top - no queue for the strawberries and clotted cream today!
The excellent Martin Carthy, about 35 years after I had first seen him in Kentish Town, London
The Oh Hellos - I seem to see a lot of bands with two drummers these days. And a lot of jumping was to be had.
That monkey is being shown on some weird big-screen-on-the-back-of-a-bicycle contraption
Hey! It's The Proclaimers playing Letter From America. But I was about to walk 500 yards for another dose of The Damned
On our way to The Damned, I uncharacteristically took a couple of videos within a minute of each other. They illustrate what was going of for those who dilly dally on their way to music stages. First the fire dancing hoopla girls....

And then the procession of illuminated umbrellas...

And so onto The Damned. A second set! This time on the more intimate Big Top stage with a set that lasted close to 2 hours. Wonderful!
To round off the day, that's James on the main stage and a dad checking on his nipper in the rain. The branded golf umbrella might be a bit out of place here but sometimes it's needed. And that was it for day two of Beautiful Days 2016.
 Beautiful Days three - Saturday
The weather forecast had perked up a bit and today being the final day there was to be the theme of 'stars'. As you will see later on, we were relatively restrained in our costume selection...
My outfit, homemade star additions by Shirley and star earrings by me.
How Shirley used the same stars
But first some non-starry costumes - maybe this person (gender neutrality seems best) had not been told.
And the Morris Dancers were not going to let the stars deflect them from their traditional garb
This stall holder was still getting ready for the day ahead
Flight Brigade bring their melodies to kick off the day on the main stage
Oh My God it's the Church! are on stage and the crowd are obeying instructions!
Here's some starred up folk

And here is starring up in progress
I still cannot work out the starry connection here...
Ming the Merciless? Maybe....
Another short downpour sent us into the Little Big Top. I think it's Revelation Roots on the stage but the t-shirt goes back to 2003 when the festival first was staged. It was only on for two days - The Levellers and Dreadzone I notice as two bands appearing in 2016, its 14th year.
Back to the main stage - RagnBone Man had just ushered his band off stage to do a little Acapella number
So entranced by the music that they might not have noticed that it had stopped raining
Although maybe they were right about the rain! The great think about it being windy was that the ground dried quickly and there ware very few muddy areas
Another shiny tinselly costume!
A group hug
The Fiddler's Elbow beer tent again. People normally do not hang around here so yes, it was raining.
A starry headband for Show of Hands on stage in the Big Top
Hand swaying audience for A Show of Hands

Back at the main arena....
The Selecter with Pauline Black, unlikely to be under Too Much Pressure
There were some musical dinosaurs at this festival...
Scooted back to the Big Top for more folky music, this time from Quebec with Le Vent du Nord. That's a hurdy gurdy!
A little festival food photography - a vegetarian Indian treat
While we ate, Mariachi El Bronx took to the main stage
Back to the Big Top yet again, for the tail end of the Fotheringay set
Not all the music was on stage in front of a huge audience...
...but most was. The penultimate band of the festival, The Coral.
The Coral certainly warmed the audience up nicely
But There's Only One Way of Life when it comes to how this festival is going to finish
To psychedelic backdrops The Levellers pleased the audience with song after song
Clear the Beautiful Days Festival stage! Steven Boakes is to play the didgeridoo....
... weird lifeforms are going to wander among the audience.....

..... and then POW! It's all over.
These and many other photos are at the Beautiful Days Festival page at my site.