Deershed 2018 – A Review


Well what can we say? The best festival just gets better. Yes the weather plays a huge part and after last year’s soaking it was great to actually be bothered about the kids getting sunburnt rather than drowned. Great weather, great bands, great atmosphere. Where to begin?

Let’s start with a little story from Friday night which sums up the whole festival. We had been dropped off with all our equipment, tent set up, everything ready to go. Just needed the air bed blown up. I had a pump but it was in need of a proper plug. So I set off to look for one. I met a man who was carrying two fully blown up air beds. I asked him where/how he’d managed this. He had a pump in the car. If I waited by his car he’d be back in 10 minutes. 15 minutes later I had fully functioning air bed. This might sound trite but to me it sums up the whole festival and the attitude of all who go to it. And this hasn’t happened by accident. The organisers have worked hard to foster a laid back, everyone’s welcome, happy go lucky week-end. And it works.

Friday night saw us take in the delights of Joan as Policewoman, HMLTD, 6% cider, the great new layout and headliners Drenge. Who we hadn’t really listened to before hand but they were superb. Their version of I wanna be your dog was brilliant. My middle daughter, Molly, voted them best band of the week-end. Praise indeed.

Saturday morning we woke up to brilliant sunshine. Now obviously all festivals cannot guarantee this and as already mentioned it rained quite a bit last year. But the weather does help. I know DeerShed is still great even in a storm but in the sunshine it really is the best week-end of the year.

What else makes it great? No litter. I know this may not bother some but certain festivals you end up knee deep in plastic pint pots and other such unsavoury mess. Here the bins are used and emptied regularly. With kids this is a massive plus. My girls spend all day doing cartwheels and rolling about on the grass. This becomes difficult if the place is strewn with litter.

Even the t-shirts are a cut above other festivals. This year’s “Joy Division” design is surely the best festival t-shirt ever. I wonder what they’ll come up with for next year?

So, Saturday was henna tattoos, fairground rides, coloured hair spray and Ethereal Beauty face gems!!!! But less about me and more about the bands.
Slug were first up; makems in barber shop quartet shock with a nun as lead singer. Great sound but not sure about their dress sense. Then one of the bands we’d been looking forward to seeing, Boy Azooga. Wales finest and they didn’t disappoint. Great tunes, great guys, looking forward to seeing them again at Twisterella in October. Other notable mentions of the day were AK/DK, Public Service Broadcasting and Gaz Coombes. The ex Supergrass man was superb and could easily have been a headliner. Looking forward to his new album.

Best band of the day? Well, there ain’t no party like an Avalanche Party. I was concerned how they would go down in the sunshine in front of an audience of kids and adults who probably didn’t know what to expect. But they smashed it. The first mosh pit in DeerShed history. They did divide opinion but those that loved them will probably go back for more and those who didn’t really don’t know what they’re missing.

Then it was early to bed as my youngest had had enough. We were asleep before Goldfrapp but the general consensus next morning was that they’d been great.

I love Sunday mornings at DeerShed. I think it’s the best part of the festival. Red wine Sunday has become a tradition that has lasted for quite a while now. No one can remember how or why it started and most usually cannot remember taking part but it exists and will be done again next year and probably the year after that.

Best band on Sunday? Best band of the week-end? Ladies and gentlemen I present Bill Ryder-Jones. Yes, he was bit unprepared. I would suggest he writes a set list next time. Yes, he seemed not too sure where or why he was there but songs like Two to Birkenhead, Daniel, Wild Roses and Catharine and Huskisson made up for any meanderings. Beautifully constructed tunes that I’ve been waiting a couple of years to hear live. And it was worth the wait. Absolutely spellbinding.

Other mentions go to Bryde, Pictish Trail and then Field Music finished off the day in superb style and then it was all off home to recover and plan for next year.

Now next year is the 10th year of DeerShed. Having been to all 9 I cannot believe we are up to 10. It seems like no time at all since the Wedding Present performed the whole of Bizarro at DeerShed #1. As next year is the 30th anniversary of that album I think they should do it again. Just a suggestion. Next year is going to be the best yet so get the dates in your diary. Friday the 26th to Sunday the 28th of July 2019. If you’ve been to one or all of the previous 9 you know it makes sense. If you’ve never been you don’t know what you’re missing so get tickets as soon as they go on sale on the 6th of September.

Thanks to all at DeerShed for another great week-end. Looking forward to number 10 already.

By Barry Bell on July 25, 2018

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