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Watchet Festival 2012

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Watchet Festival 2012

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Joe

The Watchet Festival on the north Somerset coast near to Minehead always has an eclectic line up, with this year being no exception as new bands, some familiar faces from the indie rock circuit such as Miles Hunt weirdly rubbed shoulders with The Wurzels and The Cheeky Girls.

Patch & The Giant...among the best new acts at the event

Take the first day for example, we started in the  Croissant Neuf tent where we were treated to a powerful set from female fronted metal band Zoltar, and by the end of the evening we were watching seminal 70s pub rockers The Blockheads, with their cheery post Ian Drury take on the cockney rock singalong. Classics such as ‘Sex and drugs and rock n roll’ went down well with the crowd.

On the second day it was time for a guilty pleasure of seeing former MP Lembit Opik’s favourite band The Cheeky Girls with their euro-pop proving a world away from the likes of Zoltar the previous day.  After a grey start to the day the weather improved as well, which was perfect for the ska of 360.

Among our highlights from the older acts performing were Miles and Erica from The Wonderstuff, and Tom Hingley, that’s right the chap from The Inspiral Carpets, who was performing here with his new band The Lovers. Newer acts that caught our eye included Patch & the Giant (pictured above), a north London based alternative folk act that have only been going for a year.

Words by Ryan Perry, Picture by Mathew Danby

 

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Wonderstuff’s Miles Hunt Among Confirmed Watchet Festival Acts

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Wonderstuff’s Miles Hunt Among Confirmed Watchet Festival Acts

Posted on 12 July 2012 by Joe

The Wonderstuff’s Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls are among the acts confirmed for the sixth annual Watchet Festival in Somerset.

Joining the late 1980s indie rock stalwarts on the eclectic bill will be former Inspiral Carpets man Tom Hingley & The Lovers,  and Lembit Opik MP’s favourites The Cheeky Girls.

The Blockheads, will be headlining on the Saturday Night as they continue their 35th anniversary celebrations this year. The Wurzels and psychobilly/bluegrass/ska outfit The Boot Hill Allstars also join the bill.

Neonfiller will once again be sending a reporter and photographer to the event. To see our review of last year’s Watchet Festival click here.

Situated near Minehead, the former home of the ATP Festivals, this year’s event takes place from August 24 -26, with tickets ranging from £125 for a family with camping for the weekend to £12.50 day tickets for 13 to 15 year olds. More information about tickets and the event can be seen here.

by Joe Lepper (pic. by Mathew Danby)

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Watchet Festival 2011 (Aug 26-28)

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Watchet Festival 2011 (Aug 26-28)

Posted on 02 September 2011 by Joe

Nestled on the north Somerset coast the Watchet Festival rarely gets the publicity of its noisy neighbours, the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival at nearby Minehead or the mammoth Glastonbury Festival an hour or so away at Pilton.

But while it may not get the headlines, it is nevertheless something of a success among the dozens of boutique festivals around the UK that it competes with.

Now in its fifth year part of its appeal is its eclectic line up with this year being no exception. Along side up and coming local acts, there are some well known names, a few standard tribute acts and bizarrely an X Factor winner.

All About Flux

Opening the festival were the lively and energetic All About Flux, an up and coming pop punk band from Somerset. They provided a strong opening to the festival and drew a sizeable crowd of all ages. Even with the heavens opening above us, the mood seemed light and cheery. Esther, the lead vocalist of the band, provided especially strong vocals.

They debuted their latest release, ‘Party All Summer’ for the first time live; a particularly catchy tune. All in all, each band member performed with passion, getting the crowd jigging and creating a positive atmosphere for the rest of the night.

Among the tribute bands The Lily Allen Show were one of the low points, especially for  covering Allen’s song ‘Fuck You’. A spectacularly poor choice at this family friendly event.

U2UK faired  much better, delivering a very accurate rendition of the songs, proving extremely popular with the largest crowd of the night. This fake Bono was an excellent lookalike as well.

Come 11pm  the Croissant Neuf Tent was the place to be,  where  DJ Liam Gallagher (no, not the real one) succeeded in packing out the venue.

Come Saturday, and the first notable act of the day was 360, an excellent SKA band. They drew a large crowd and got everyone bouncing along. If only you could be in two places at once! Then you would join Josh West for the Drum Nation workshop. As participants, we felt a great sense of unity as the whole tent joined together to make music!

X Factor winner Leon Jackson appeared half an hour earlier than expected, and on the main stage instead of the Croissant Neuf  as expected, catching most people off guard. The word soon spread and the crowd gathered fast.

Since being dumped by his label young Leon has attempted to reinvent himself as a Scottish folk rock act.  But in keeping with Jackson’s post X Factor career the festival experienced its first technical problems here, with four counts of sharp audio feedback, piercing the eardrums of many. Poor Leon.

Leon Jackson

Headliners Dreadzone provided the largest and most energetic crowd I had seen so far at the festival! There was such a positive and lively atmosphere. All the crowd was cheering. The light show was synchronised well to the music and particularly punchy.

The entire performance had a very much improvised and freestyle feel. They put on a great show and the crowd stayed consistent throughout.Dreadzone formed way back in 1993, and effortlessly mix reggae, electronica, dub, folk and rock together to create entirely new music.

Dreadzone

Onto the Sunday and Somerset’s very own The Wurzels provided a highlight to the festival. In true Somerset style, there wasn’t a single person insight (bar the kids!) that didn’t have a pint of cider in hand. The entire crowd was singing along and the audience interaction was at its best. The Wurzels really were the high point of the festival spirit.

As the last main stage act of the Festival drew near, a massive crowd gathered that remained dense beyond the festival flags. The host limbered up the crowd with tunes such as House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ and Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.  The crowd cheered and jumped and sang!  The hype was incredible. This led to the biggest anti-climax imaginable. 1990s indie rockers Dodgy were nothing like the crowd expected. Completely different to everything they had been prepared for.

Dodgy

Looking around I could see that, after two songs, half of the crowd had become distracted and started their own conversations amongst each other. In fact by the end of the night, Dodgy’s crowd was only a third of the size. Many of which had drifted over to the Croissant Neuf Tent quite a bit earlier than 11 in anticipation of a rave with DJ Pauls Stevens.

Overall the festival was a massive success. Reasonable food and alcohol prices kept visitors and campers alike happy. Even the toilets didn’t smell and stayed hygienic for the duration of the festival. The Eavis family should take note of that.

Words by Sean Horsfield, pictures by Mathew Danby

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