Deer Shed Festival 2016 Review #2

Here at the Northern Line we are always looking for new writers. At this year’s Deer Shed we asked everyone to do a review and thankfully a few have obliged…….

So i’m on my way. My camper van is packed as I leave Hay-on-Wye, an enchanting little market town on the South Wales border at the foot of the Black Mountains.
I’m heading north, back to the place of my birth; North Yorkshire.
The sun is shining, my favourite tunes rent the air as I embark on the five hour journey I have done many times now.
I briefly wonder why I’m leaving the stunning scenery, sunshine and friendliness that exists in the bubble of Hay.
I don’t usually need a reason to follow the magnetic draw of the North. This time though, I have one, I’m going to the Deer Shed Festival.
Like a homing Pigeon I follow my built in compass, slip into auto pilot and contemplate the soon to be reality of Deer Shed 7.
Fast approaching my mid forties, I’ve already been to many festivals.
The very first was Reading in 1989, a couple of Vs and Carling festivals, Glastonbury 3 times (or was it 4 ?!).
The Zenith of debauchery was T in the Park up in Scotland.
It was during my last of many visits to T, around ten years ago, walking back to the car, crunching and stepping through the broken bottles of Buckfast Tonic and rubbish, that i came to terms with the fact my body and mind was no longer equipped to deal with this.
I’m under no illusion that Deer Shed will resemble T in the Park in any way whatsoever and this fills me with healthy joy.
Deer Shed is a safe, family orientated festival, which strives to offer something for everyone, even those of us without children.
With cutting edge and contemporary live music, an extensive cinema programme and even a Q+A session with the cast of Dads Army, not forgetting to mention the 80 children’s workshops available, and much much more, I’m quite certain I’m not going to get bored.
Add to this the prospect of meeting up with family and friends, old ( some of whom I haven’t seen for decades) and new, I can’t reach the festival quick enough.
Upon arrival I’m efficiently and effortlessly guided to my spacious pitch, where i receive the warmest of welcomes from my new neighbour, who also happens to be traveling alone.
We strike up instant conversation, discussing the bands we’re hoping to see, where we had travelled from, what modifications we had made to our almost identical camper vans. I was even offered a hand to put up my awning.
This is for me, what the North is all about. No pretension, warm welcomes and being prepared to invest a little time in strangers, perhaps help them if needed. More often than not this investment pays off and friendships are born.
We then collected our wristbands with no delays, it didn’t take long to find all the old friends and family I had expected to see there. Big hugs and long overdue hello’s were exchanged all round.
Deer Shed is like that, spontaneous, cosy , friendly, unlike the other larger festivals I have frequented.
You don’t really need to worry about losing anyone, they can never be that far away.
Peter of The Northern line, who has been a good friend for many years now, has always been a fountain of knowledge on many topics, especially music (football bores the hell out of me!).
It didn’t take long for me to pick his brains about which bands I should be going to watch.
I already knew I wanted to see Richard Hawley but that was about the height of my Deer Shed 7 band knowledge. Pitiful, I know!
Peters suggestions didn’t disappoint, most of which he has mentioned in his Deer Shed 7 review.
The Plastic Mermaids, who’s captivating and intensely sincere performance brought a tear to my eye (I told my friends I’d got some sun cream in my eye!).
C Duncan, with inconceivable quantities of musical talent and modesty, sent me on another magical journey.
Declan Mckenna will be one to watch over the next several decades I’m sure. At only 17 he possesses an aura way beyond his years and sounds superb.
I caught the last two songs of the performance by ‘Fews’, the first act on the Dock stage on Saturday morning. (as much I love Yorkshire tea, I regret having a second mug that morning).
There tune titled ‘ILL’ an incredibly intense and hypnotic journey left me craving for more. A perfect start to any Saturday.
I’ve wanted to see Richard Hawley for some time now and it was certainly worth the wait. When I was a child I wanted to be a Teddy boy for some reason? I can only think it was my uncles influence and his love of Showaddywaddy!
Mentioning Richard Hawley and the above abomination in the same sentence is surely a crime? Please don’t judge me just yet. Where am I going with this?? Oh yes, I’ve since realised, now I possess a small quantity of taste, what I really meant to say when I was a child, was, “When I grow up I want to be Richard Hawley”.
Hearing “Tonight The Streets Are Ours” I couldn’t help but think of the Banksy film “Exit Through The Gift Shop”.
(If you haven’t seen it you really should. The best thing about it is it’s all true. I’m reliably informed).
He finished with “Heart of Oak” a bastion of Northern integrity and wholesome goodness, perfectly summarising the affection I have for my Northern heritage.
I couldn’t think of more fitting act to headline a festival in North Yorkshire.
Dancing Years were another recommendation of Peter’s. Once again he was on the money. They were playing on the Obelisk stage who kindly reserved me a comfy armchair (it seemed that way anyway), I kicked back with some red wine and a portion of hand made chunky chips and took in the performance.
Peter had told me about their song “Here’s to My Old Friends” before the show and how special it was to him. I was so touched by this sentiment I even gave up my armchair and chips (if that isn’t true friendship i don’t know what is) to sit next to Peter for the rest of the performance.
We had a bit of a fleeting “bro-mance” according to social media, with pictures to prove it. Long may it last I say. (Don’t worry Rachel Martin, Peter is definitely still all yours). “I miss you everyday”. All of you.
I really couldn’t ask for any more from a festival .
So many great things to see and do, plus many things I didn’t see or do!
There were many top notch food outlets that cater for every culinary requirement.
From simple hand made chunky chips to a mussel vendor, there really is something for all.
A favourite was the curry stall named “Ghandis Flip Flop”. Don’t let the name put you off, it was bute.
There were DJ’s and raves on multiple occasions throughout the weekend, ranging from an 8.30am family rave, to DJ sets into the wee hours from Mark Riley, Andy Kershaw and many more.
Comedy, spoken word and literary content, yoga, a sports field, morning runs. I’ve said it already but all bases were well and truly covered by the Deer Shed team this year.
I laughed, cried, drank and ate. I made some fantastic new friends, caught up with old friends and met their children for the first time.
Talked about the highs and the lows of the last few decades, the things that make us who we are now.
I don’t really buy into the ‘glass half full/empty’ analogy. I’m just thankful I have a glass and friends to raise it with.
It was lovely to see my sister and friends, my niece and nephew for whom it was their first festival.
Lets drag Nana along next year hey!
I even got to meet the incredible team of people who set up and organised the festival making it such a pleasurable experience and resounding success.
To all of you, thank you. You all contributed to my experience, created precious memories that have further enriched my soul.
Priceless, I’ll be back for more of the same I’m sure.
See you all next year at Deer Shed 8.

A big thank-you to Johnny Bradford for this piece.



By peter on August 1, 2016

Check out all the pics

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