And secret it most definitely was. Arriving at Huntingdon station on Saturday morning with only the vaguest instructions of how to navigate my way to the site, I was amazed that I managed to find myself a mere few minutes and secret passwords later with a wristband on, in the most beautiful festival site I’ve ever seen. The beauty of the place was helped by the fact that it was the hottest day of the year keeping spirits amongst the mild-mannered revellers wonderfully high. I spent the first hour or so wandering around getting my bearings. In this time I found the 1 minute disco (a disco that takes place for 1 minute only every hour on the dot), a group of people dressed as zebras that were doing various bizarre performances throughout the day, a pirate ship in the middle of a lake that you had to use paddle boats to reach, a cupcake decorating stall, lots of people dressed as grannies, a woodwork shop, a drum workshop, a giant game of twister, mass hoola-hooping and that was pretty much as normal as it got. The randomness and brilliance was pretty much endless.
It took me a while to actually settle down into seeing some music being that I was pretty distracted covering myself in glitter on the face paint stall and eating the amazing food on offer, it mostly involved falafels. Plus I didn’t have a programme, making any kind of planning quite tricky. It’s just not that kind of festival, it’s far far too chilled for plans. First band proper of the day was Hush The Many, who were on rocking form and played a good set considering one of the band was suffering from an allergic reaction to penicillin and was repeatedly sick on stage! I spoke to frontman Nima later on in the day, who I think enjoyed the set despite the sickness problems, he was busy celebrating by destroying a bottle of warm red wine.
Now, I know I saw about three bands in the next couple of hours, but I can’t remember any of their names. This probably means they weren’t too amazing, or I was too busy trying to not collapse out of heat exhaustion. I found that large pints of cider in the shade were the best cure for that. A treat was instore, however, at 4pm when Josh Weller hit the Living Room stage, a pretty little stage decked out like, surprising enough, someone’s living room, it had a mantelpiece and everything. It would have been even better if the stage wasn’t running late and myself and Kate weren’t subjected to listening to a terrible performance from a guy who seemed to be under the false impression that he made enjoyable music. He was wrong. I thought Kate might stone him. Our endurance paid off though as Josh hit the stage with Sam Deschamps (of Le Shark fame) and played an awesome awesome set. Personal highlight was ‘What Will My Girlfriend Say’ in which Josh invited various members of Mumford and Sons and Beans on Toast on stage to finish off the set. Much larks.
A couple of hours were now lost as I detoured back to Kate and co’s tent for a vodka/glitter top-up. The next thing I knew I was watching Beans on Toast back at the Living Room stage singing about how we’re all addicted to cocaine. Very amusing, almost amusing as when I last saw him as the quizmaster at the Puregroove Pop Quiz last week – he’s multitalented that’s fo sho. Amongst the crowd at Beans on Toast I spotted Mr. Joe Lean of Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong fame. I was tempted to commiserate with him about his album being scrapped, but I thought that was mean so just silently laughed to myself. This actually made me feel a tad evil, he in fact seems like a nice chap. Next on the bill was Jay Jay Pistolet. There was a big convoy of Londoners who traipsed down to see Justin, aka Jay Jay Pistolet, in action. I had my doubts having heard his myspace stuff in the past and deeming it to be pretty average, but man I was wrong, the boy can play. Much more heartfelt that it sounds on record, I was actually (ahem) captivated by the whole performance. Marcus Mumford also made his second cameo performance of the day playing with Justin on his last couple of songs. It was a very heart-warming moment, though if I’m honest, that could well have been the vodka/whiskey concoction.
Off next for some dancing in the Fish Seeks Bicycle tent. I’ve actually forgotten the name of the band we went to see, which I feel very guilty about being that I met them earlier in the day and they seemed like very nice fellas, but yes, they were good, a bit like Metronomy kinda thing… I then mooched off in search of food and friends and found a panini and Jules and Johnny, so success all round there. Having demolished the panini we set about to see Beardyman beatbox like there’s no tomorrow. He really is bloody talented, ingenious use of a mouth, that is. As we approached the end of the night I had the dilemma of whether to play it safe and get the 10.30 train back to London (I’d heard rumours earlier on in the day that the 11.10 train I’d planned to get back to London didn’t actually exist) or just enjoy the brilliant Whip and take a risk. I compromised with myself and watched half of the Whip’s set before a mad rush to get the fuck back to the station. You’ll be pleased to hear I did indeed make it on to my train and was joined on my journey by none other than Sam Deschamps (once again of Le Shark and Josh Weller fame). We shared tales of losing things and his history in hip-hop and before I knew it I was at Finsbury Park and walking homewards.
Ruddy hell it was good, I’ll go again, next time for longer.