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Gate to Southwell Festival, Southwell Racecourse, Nottinghamshire - 8th June 2017
It's too far from the town; they don't allow dogs on the festival site; the views are restricted in the big top marquee (hefty support gantries to each side) latecomers are allowed to stand at the front of the stage, blocking the view for many seated punters and the beer tent was too focussed on light, over-hopped lager-type ales. Cask beers and ciders a rip-off; £4 a pint.
BUT a well-organised camp site; friendly stewards; well laid out food/shopping areas (a bigger general greengrocery/deli/butchers would be an improvement - see Shrewsbury's offering) and a good mixed bag of mainstream/upcoming performers. Highlights were Daphne's Flight, Summer of Love (superb) BOC (beyond wonderful) East Pointers, Jim Moray, Henry/Martin, Les Barker, Ranagri, Cloudstreet, Tannara, Wookalily, Gnoss, Ofelia, Kadia (one to look out for) Omnivibes (Virtuoso).
Headliners? Sorry. Kate R is overexposed, Jon Boden an acquired taste as a solo performer(where did that vibrato come from?) Le Vent du Nord outclassed by BOC. Too much polemic in Megson's set; Chris Smithers one for the afictionados. Loved the Witchmen and the unashamedly traditional make-up of Stone the Crows. Move back to town; replace the bar supplier and rethink the big top seating and we'll come again next year. Well, we will anyway - it's a great festival!
Posted by John Barleycorn on 20/06/2017
Southwell is a great festival which I can happily attend with a diverse group of friends who have very different tastes - something for everyone.
Positives- the compact venue with seated tents, range of music and spoken word, proper toilets, excellent stewards, atmosphere, reasonable priced, quality food and drink offers, beer/cider festival
Negatives - hard to find local accommodation if you don't want to camp, price and accessibility of programme. Biggest complaint this year was too much music with an american feel (don't mind a bit and all was great quality BUT every other act was playing american music - even young people from Scotland!!)
Posted by Angela on 15/06/2017
This was our first time at Southwell and we enjoyed it very much. Toilets and showers were kept clean the whole weekend and the campsite was nice and flat with plenty of room for everyone. The line up was excellent with a whole range of quality bands to satisfy almost everyones taste.
The only criticism I have is for those who have small children with limited attention spans it is difficult to sit and enjoy the music for any length of time.
It's probably a difficult one to address, but perhaps if the TV screens could be placed outside the marquees then those with young families could, weather permitting enjoy the music while the kids played around them.
Alternatively if space permitted, could a family area be created?
Posted by Sue on 13/06/2017
As always this year's festival was a great weekend's entertainment. There's not many festivals that you can mix freely with the performers. It has that safe feeling. I don't have a favourite act but, thoroughly enjoyed the Summer of Love Concert. Well done to Mike Kerridge and committee for yet another successful event.
Posted by Frank on 13/06/2017
A lovely weekend with lots to do and see.A little disappointed by lack of headline acts.
One concern - in todays climate announcements should be made, both in the program and at the concerts, regarding leaving bags unattended. A bag was left unattended in the big top which I reported to staff but was worrying to see. Unfortunately we cannot be too careful today where there are large amounts of people and as no bags were checked on entry to the site to see one just left lying around was a little scary.
Posted by PW on 12/06/2017
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