I was really excited to be invited along to Coombe Weekender on Sunday 4th August.
I had been eying up tickets ever since they announced that Craig Charles would be DJ-ing in the main stage. Followed by TopLoader who are a band who I always enjoyed hearing such hits as Achilles Heal and of course Dancing In the Moonlight which came out the year I was 16! As a Blogger I do pay for things, but decided that if I couldn’t get in for free, then I’d just miss out. Tickets were about £45 each for the Sunday, and I felt the two acts I wanted to see were not worth that amount of money.
Saturday, I had been a bit of disaster by all accounts. There was a delay in opening the site, which meant the bands were also delayed, and two bands which were local were actually cut from the main stage. The people who went said that the music, (in particular) The Libertines Were brilliant.
There were plenty that the festival got right. There were plenty of bars and toilets, which meant that queues were at a minimum most of the day. Also, the toilets seemed well looked after, and stocked with toilet paper. There had been full schedules announced, a free bus (which had to be booked in advance), ample parking and plenty of useful info available online. There was a good amount of staff litter picking, which was great until later in the day when the crowd was too large for this to continue.
It is the first year of the festival, and I think a lot will improve over the next few years, but I have to say it was a great start. The site was small. Easy to navigate, and the two stages were far enough apart to prevent too much sound crossover.
The second stage was in a big top. During the day, before the acts kicked off, I was really pleased to see Raver Tots, who do decent rave music, but in a friendly environment so the kids can dance with their parents (or us old folk can enjoy a bit of nostalgia)! I lived that Chaplins Party’s where in attendance (I was thrillled to dance with them as super heroes and as princesses.) Also there was a stilt walkers, who was very good with her POI! RaverTots #throwshapesnottoys
I did lose interest in the music after Toploader, but there was a massive storm to keep us entertained. Kelis was delayed by 50minutes while all the power was turned off. I was a bit confused to wether this was a power cut or safety precaution. Both seem a bit strange with an outside festival in the uk (which I’ve been to a fair few). And I’m shocked that the weather had such an effect.
Anyway, we sat under our umbrella while everyone else ran for cover (generally to the bars) to wait out the storm. It was a rather dramatically torrential storm, but it has England, so I was prepared!
Kelis, for me was disappointing. The act seems to be more about her DJ, rather then her. It was almost like she was singing along to her hits, rather then performing. To the point that she walked off while Milkshake was played! If that was an act I wanted to see, I’d have been bitterly disappointed.
In fact the number of DJs on the main stage on the Sunday surprised me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a talent in its self, but it doesn’t compare to the energy of a live band! I understand that they had put a bit of an eclectic mix of styles together to pull in the crowds, but I didn’t have a clue who most the acts were!
Fleur East was a crowd pleaser, as were Sigala, although I didn’t know their music, they were interesting enough to watch/listen to. But as you might have guessed I don’t follow the charts or listen to current music much! Their notariaties were missed by me. But both did a version on Mark Robson’s Uptown Funk, which wasn’t a spot on Craig Charles’ mix of it with Seven nation Army by the Whitestipes. Maybe the same song on three times by three acts wasn’t the best organisational idea!
I do think putting a festival on in Coventry was always going to be a difficult task. We have Godiva, which until this year has been one of the biggest free music festival in the UK (only £2 for tickets now, but that’s still been an issue for folks). The Lineup was epic, with Feeder, The Levellers and Busted being in the top spots over the three days.
I went to Godiva Festival on Saturday evening, and it was brilliant. I choose not to eat there, but I could have taken a picnic if I’d have wanted to. I did drink (and although drinks prices were steep, I didn’t feel to bad about paying as I was watching awesome bands for £2). If I’d paid £45 for the ticket, and had to pay those prices (£6 a pint) I’d have felt hard done by.
I do feel that the Drinks and food prices are something that is a big issue with any music gig. Rubbish food that is over priced, drinks that are ridiculous. Restrictions on what you can bring in on safety grounds (I mean we were told that we could bring in water bottles, but only if they were empty!)
The Banned list for Coombe Weekender was long, including; picnics, drones, fireworks and liquid of any kind. But missed out knives and Guns! When we went in, i had half a sandwich in my bag, and they let me in, but we saw many people with picnics, bottles, smoking illegal substances and even a drone! there were plenty of staff around and on the door, and we saw a few drinks being dealt with, but there was obviously something wrong in that system.
I don’t know if I can put the disappointment in the festival down to organisation or the value it offers. I really hope that Coombe weekender does happen again, but maybe if the ticket prices remain at the level they are (after all this is how the venue makes money) but maybe picnics should be allowed in, and drinks prices should be a bit lower?
So in conclusion, the fledgling Coombe Weekender made a good first attempt at its first event, but rules need to be slightly relaxed, security improved. Outside equipment and power need to be looked at, and drinks prices need to be reduced. But it was a nice location, transport was well considered. And the performers, although not all for me, were interesting and seemed to enjoy the experience! Next time maybe less DJs on the Main Stage, unless it is billed as a Dance event!
With extra special thanks to:
Read her blog here.