Deer Shed 2

Deer Shed Festival #2 July 22nd To 24th 2011


“Have they had their Calpol? They’re all off their heads on Calpol!!!!” (Frankie & the Heartstrings commenting on the audience.)

Now the drugs at most festivals are probably things not to be discussed on the internet. The drugs of choice at The Deer Shed Festival are alcohol and Calpol!!! The audience being a strange mixture of the over 30s and the under 10s. But the strange mixture makes for a great week-end. When they say Family Friendly they mean it. The Deer Shed has grown in size since last year but has lost none of its appeal or charm. Like a big village fete mixed with art work shops, a circus and a splattering of great bands it is one of the best week-ends of the year. Yes, the sun played it’s part by shining and the rain it’s by not bothering to attend but even so the atmosphere, and dare I say ambience, of the whole thing is perfect. I took two of my girls (4 and 6 year old) and the wife (slightly older but none the wiser!)  and we all had a great time. To list everything that went on would be impossible so I’ve picked my high lights and the things the girls enjoyed the most. Take a look at the pictures featured here as well as a whole lot more at our Facebook page (link below) to get the idea that this was a special week-end. I’m looking forward to next year already…..

HOPE & SOCIAL: The first band we saw was also one of our favourites. Leed’s very own Hope & Social. They started off sounding a bit dodgy and seemed to be sound checking as they played live but within a couple of songs they were up and running. A mixture of tracks from their new album Sleep Sound and their previous, the adorable April. All splendid in their blue jackets they look a bit like Five go mad in a festival or Hope & Social and the Prisoner of the Deer Shed. The look gets them noticed but it is the songs that people remember. Almost everyone was in agreement that they were great. Will their time ever come? Well we will have to wait and see.  Highlight of the set was a marvellous version of Red, Red Rose which included snippets of 3am Eternal by the KLF and most of You can call me Al by Paul Simon. (Catch it on youtube) A great set and a great way to start the week-end.

ERLAND & THE CARNIVAL: Now if you haven’t heard of these you really are missing out. We caught them at the Westgarth a while ago and they were brilliant. Their debut album is fantastic. Since the gig in Middlesbrough they have released a second LP; Nightingale, which is not quite as good. The band themselves seem to have realised this as todays set is heavy with tracks from their debut. Like an early Bunnymen mixed with The Verve they are a great start to Saturday’s proceedings. At first few are watching, by the end the stage is a buzz with people wondering who this band are. Highlights were a plenty but Love is a killing thing, My name is Carnival , You don’t have to be lonely and Gentle Gwen are all top tunes. Only disappointment; no The Derby Ram probably my favourite but still a great set.

THE LEISURE SOCIETY: Another hidden gem are The Leisure Society. Like Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes (does everyone use Fleet Foxes as a comparison to every band???) They conjure up an atmospheric mix of instruments, moods and textures. I was also thinking of Fanfarlo as I watched their set. Looking forward to seeing them again soon.

THE CANDY FLOSS MAN: One of the girls favourites of the day. He made each and every one there and then. Now this was great once you got to the front of the queue and saw your own candy floss being made. The girls loved it. The downside was the wait to get to the front. Next year bring a few more machines.

MATTHEW & THE ATLAS: Beards, Banjos and  Accordians. A folky ensemble with hints of Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, The Animal Collective and  bits of the Cowboy Junkies. A great way to spend half an hour or so on a Saturday afternoon. Although a lot of people were not familiar with them they were given a rousing reception as they left the stage. Definitely one for next years festival.

FRANKIE & THE HEARTSTRINGS: Now I wasn’t sure how Frankie would fair in a crowd of over 30s and under 10s. Their audience is probably made up of the 18 to 25 market. But they pulled it off with ease. A mixture of great songs and some wonderful crack with the audience made their set one of the highlights of the day. Pantomime sing-a-longs, jokes about calpol and a set of instant hits matched by the energy of Frankie’s dancing made sure they would win over the crowd. Highlights included Possibilities, Fragile and Tender but really the set never dipped. I’m looking forward to seeing them on home turf at the SPLIT festival in Sunderland in September.

ADMIRAL FALLOW: Best Band of the Week-end. Bar None!!!!! Sorry to Frankie & the Heartstrings and Hope & Social and everyone else for that matter but the band that won were Admiral Fallow. Check out the superb version of ” Dead against Smoking” that I recorded for YouTube:

Some of the comments put up already allude to the fact that they are brilliant AND that they don’t know it. This is always a good thing. Bands that are cocky about their talent usually fade away as they believe their own hype. Admiral Fallow are unassuming Glaswegians who write songs of beauty and elegance with lyrics that touch the heart and kick you in the face at the same time. They open with “These Barren Years” which must be my tune of the year. I play it so much even my daughters know the words. I spoke to Louis at the end as he signed CDs and was generally enthralled by the adulation his band gets. He should not be surprised. They are part of  The Sound of Young Scotland (c) (remember that slogan by Postcard in the early 80s?) Well the new Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, Josek K etc are Admiral Fallow, Washington Irving, Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers, The Last Battle and I bet a whole lot more. There must be something in the water, or the Irn Bru, but Scotland is the place to be at the moment. Admiral Fallow I love you!!!!

BIG TOP: Now not many festivals have a big top which included such delights as Acrobalance for kids and mums and dads, The ancient art of Poi and Staff, Circus skills for all, Creative juggling and finishing with NY Sushi Disco! There was enough going on to keep kids interested all day. Workshops were held, faces were painted all under a real Big Top. Superb.

TIGERS THAT TALKED: The surprise find of the week-end. We only caught the last three songs as we stumbled across them in a far off bar. If only we’d known and seen the whole set. Like early Manics mixed with JJ72 (Remember them?) This three piece were excellent. The  crowd who were there seemed to be thoroughly enthralled. The first encore of the day. Bass player in the crowd. What more could you want? We stopped to talk at the end and they let the girls have a go of their guitars. Great lads. I look forward to seeing a full set from them soon.

LOUNGE BAR: Like a VIP area in a posh club this bar just seemed to pop out of nowhere on Sunday morning. It had been there all week-end but we hadn’t discovered it. Which is a pity as it really was fantastic. Check out the pics to see the sofas and decor in a field, I kid you not!!!

I AM KLOOT: Firstly I have a confession to make. I left about half way through their set. Don’t get me wrong I like I am Kloot but the toil of the day and the fact they aren’t the most upbeat of bands meant that my tent seemed like a far better proposition. The sad fact is that a lot of others felt the same. There were droves of people leaving long before the set was over. Partly due to most people having kids that were probably tired but also I think that the headliner needs to have a bit more oooomphhh about them. The Go! Team got everyone going and then I am Kloot came on and the atmosphere was lost. They would have been much better lower down the bill. Last years headliners; The Wedding Present, were perfect. The right age for the audience but also the chance to jump about and sing a long before bed. This is my only downside to the week-end and I know others felt the same. Don’t get me wrong the whole thing was great and I’m sure some people loved I am Kloot but they were just a bit too steady for a headliner.

HARRIS III (Master Illusionist): We came across this bright young American on Sunday morning and what a great find. The girls were mesmerised by his “magic”. Not magic but illusion. He explained what he was doing and why but still left us gob smacked when he did his tricks. His stories were enthralling and heart warming. We got some signed pics at the end and I know we would certainly go and see him again.

BIRDS OF PREY: Mollys favourite of the week-end. Owls, eagles and other such birds of prey. Most looking very fearsome, especially the vultures. Great entertainment on the Sunday morning for both children and adults a like.

SAM AIREY: I was recommended to see Sam by Andy Carr and I wasn’t disappointed. A folky type singing like Bob Dylan and Martin Stephenson on a lovely hot Sunday lunch-time, sitting on the grass drinking Magners. Does life really get any better? Sam is a young lad from Leeds with a big future. Superb guitarist, lovely voice and songs with intriguing lyrics about the sea and the Stars and Oak Trees. Wonderful.

Well I think we’ve covered a lot but certainly not everything. This is a great festival. If you’ve got kids and fancy a festival then I can think of no better. A big thanks to all concerned for putting on a great week-end; Oliver and Kate, Andy Dalton, Oliver Smith and Jim Beadle, Claire Ruddick, Rachel Whitfield and Paul Smith. And anyone else who I’ve missed.


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By peter on July 26, 2011

Check out all the pics

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