Deer Shed Festival 2013

“So Future Boy where are you from? My time machine crashed over yonder……” (Future Boy by Turin Brakes)

Well it seems my time machine has crashed firmly in the late 80s. Last week I was watching The Wedding Present perform George Best. One of my favourite albums from 1987. This week-end I went to my favourite festival to see The House of Love who’s debut was one of my favourites from 1988. Not my favourite you understand, that would probably go to Surfer Rosa by The Pixies or Green by REM but definitely in the top 5. I was genuinely excited to see The HOUSE OF LOVE who I was in awe of for a lot of 87/88 but only saw them twice. This week-end would hopefully make up for this. And make up for it it did. Best band of the festival with ease. Although they looked like time has not been kind they sounded brilliant. Even their new material went down well. My only gripe was that they didn’t play for longer as there were loads of songs I still wanted to hear. But this bodes well for seeing them again.

So were the HOUSE OF LOVE the only highlight. Not a chance. The Deer Shed has gained a reputation as “The” family festival and as I had 3 kids with me they were testament that it deserves this reputation. Loads to do, loads to see and the best atmosphere anywhere all summer. Now you don’t have to take my word for it just see how many tickets are sold before a band is announced, how many people return year after year. As we have said in the past it is like a giant garden party or village fete. Everyone seems to be having a great time and with the great weather this was even more apparent than in past years. So, what were the best bits?

Now we only arrived on Saturday so the Friday night will be covered by my partner in crime Andrew Storey. So first up in the way of highlights was SWEET BABOO. A superb band from that hotbed of great bands; Wales. Following in the esteemed foot steps of Super Furry Animals, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and the, sadly, recently departed Race Horses. They have that Celtic lilt that makes every tune sound like it was recorded at sea, bobbing along gleefully. They also have that Dylanesque way with words. Not Bob Dylan but Dylan Thomas in his prime. Highlights of their set include Let’s Go Swimming Wild, If I Died and C’mon lets Mosh. But every track is great. Lead singer and main man; Stephen Black has that pleasant and easy manner of a man who knows people are going to love his tunes. He jokes, invites audience participation and generally gives off good vibes. I look forward to seeing him again later this year.

TO KILL A KING are a band that have been around for a while but I had yet to have the pleasure. Now that this has been corrected I hope to see them again soon. They remind me of Noah and the Whale, which is good. Mumford and Sons, not so good. Arcade fire, superb. The singer, Ralph Pellymounter not only has a great name but a great voice. He also tells us that his mother is here selling CDs. Now this may not seem very rock n roll but at the Deer Shed it goes down a storm. Check them out before they’re so big you have to pretend to hate them.

Next highlight is the already mentioned HOUSE OF LOVE. They mix tunes from their 1988 self named debut with a few of their later hits and a smattering of tracks from their new album; She Paints Words in Red. I had put off buying the new album but after seeing them live it is now top of my shopping list. Yes they look old. Yes it may seem pointless playing new stuff when everyone wants the old stuff. But I thoroughly enjoy them and hope they get the acknowledgement and riches their talent deserves.

Other Saturday highlights included the Helter Skelter and the Big Wheel (not Jake Burn’s band but amusements for the children). Musically we enjoyed DEAF CLUB and WILLY MASON. We were not too sure about DARWIN DEEZ but he seemed to go down a storm so we wont complain.

Now Sunday mornings at the Deer Shed are very different to most festivals. Less obvious are the signs of over indulgence seen at most. More obvious are the amount of people cooking their own breakfasts as children play amongst the tents. Also less in view are people getting back on it and a lot more people enjoying a nice drink whilst watching someone talk about a book, or helping your children to make badges or robots or sock puppets. Again this may not seem very rock n roll but they are catering for a certain audience and that audience loves it. So, I spent the best part of 3 hours on Sunday morning relaxing on an arm chair listening to DAVID CONN, author of “Richer than God: Manchester City, Modern Football and Growing Up”. A really enjoyable talk which I still don’t full agree with. If your memory is good you will know there was a similar talk/debate last year about whether or not football has lost its soul*.

This talk was followed by a question and answer session between TOM HINGLEY (former singer with the Inspiral Carpets) and DAVE SIMPSON (Author and journalist from the Guardian). This event drew a huge crowd showing that Tom’s claims that the Inspirals were a great band are true. They had Number one albums, they sold out arenas, they were part of the Holy Madchester Trinity. Yet their place in pop history seems to be as the band a certain Noel Gallagher roadied for. This is very unfair as Tom points out. He also reminds us that on this very day 23 years ago his band had sold out the GMEX Centre in Manchester. I was there and at the time they were one of the biggest bands on the planet. Time may not have been kind to their legacy and the fact they have re-formed without their lead singer probably doesn’t help. Tom, at times, does seem a little bitter but always stops short of being too critical. After the talk, which was excellent, he performs a few tunes. He does 3 or 4 Inspirals hits which go down a storm. What I took away was a yearning to listen to “Life”, the superb debut from 1990, and a thought that my time machine had only managed to move two years!!!

Final event of the day was KING CREOSOTE on the main stage. The main man from the Fence Collective in Fife is someone I have followed for many years but not seen. What a great way to end the festival. His tales of love, life, the Longpigs, la di da di da….. are just the way to end the most relaxed festival ever. The crowd grows as he plays. Instead of going home people are drawn into his tales, his witty rapport between songs and his great tunes. As we leave the girls are still singing along to his la di da di da di da song. A great end to another great week-end in the company of the Deer Shed family. Me and the girls are already looking forward to next year and what will be Deer Shed #5. We cannot wait.

A big thank-you to Kate and Oliver Jones who get all this together. To all those who work and help to make it a great festival. To Anna Wade who sorts out our passes. And to all the bands, performers etc who made this a great week-end.

*I will post last years reply as the arguments are very similar.









By peter on July 25, 2013

Check out all the pics

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