It's one of my favorite weekends of the year. We're really lucky that Eastleigh lays on a music festival. I know it's not Glastonbury or anything but it's nice to be able to hear live music within a few minutes walk from our home. It's been a bit different this year as the main acts have been indoors in The Point. The sound quality's been alot better but I must admit I miss the outdoor atmosphere (and the beer tent!). Sadly, the attendance hasn't been massive - I find it amazing that more people don't come out to support this - c'mon folks of Eastleigh! Live music! On your doorstep!
Here's a few of the bands we've seen this year:
First up on the Friday evening, Flight Brigade are a Hampshire band. If you look up the Facebook page, the second track in the player, "When The Water Whispers", was the one that really stood out for me with its haunting violin arpeggio.
Dry the River
Harder edge to this London band (although the bassist is from Southampton ... never mind). Apparently they were suffering a bit from an after party the night before with Plan B but they still delivered with plenty of energy. I thought I could hear alot of Editors in there, which is no bad thing.
Stornoway with The North Sea Radio Orchestra
This was a lovely set but also educational, with beautifully crafted indie-folk interspersed with anecdotes about bizarre extreme sports like chessboxing and zorbing. Really lucky to see this as it's one of only two gigs supported by The North Sea Radio Orchestra, which for me just took the music to another level. There's a wit and melancholy to the vocals which made me think of Belle and Sebastian.
Ellen and the Escapades
The Saturday night kicked off with local band Doyle and the Fourfathers (who included a song about the age of austerity that gave libraries a mention!). They were followed by Ellen and the Escapades who delivered an acoustic set as their drummer couldn't be with them. Amazing vocals - Ellen has a great country voice. We their EP at the end because we wanted to hear what they sound like with drums and have to say it was well worth it.
The Travelling Band
It must have felt a bit weird for The Travelling band. A few weeks ago playing to thousands of people at Glastonbury and this week playing to at The Point to about a hundred people. But they gave a good performance. Again, it's a real shame the numbers aren't better - especially when you consider all the work that goes into organizing it and that all of the bands give it their all. I had a bit of a moment during this set when they did an acoustic arrangement of the Roses' Waterfall - which they dedicated to the ghost of Ian Brown :-)
The Leisure Society
The last act of the Saturday were The Leisure Society. The guy next to me had come all the way from Bedfordshire to see them and I don't think he was disappointed. You can just about see a lovely hollow bodied Gretsch in this picture (complete with Bigsby vibrato). One of my favourite guitars and you could hear the clean, crisp sound coming through.
At the end of the set the band came into the audience to do an encore. Which was lovely and just goes to show what a good opportunity this festival is - yes it's small but it gives you a chance to get close to the music that you don't get anywhere else. It's tough times and I guess councils all over are going to be cutting arts and culture - I really hope Eastleigh survives!