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Standon Calling Festival 2013 – Review

9.0 10 Excellent

It’s been said, smaller festivals make the extra effort to impress, as they cannot always rely on the big acts to draw the crowds. Standon Calling has formulated the perfect balance, with huge headline acts such as Band of Skulls, Bastille, AlunaGeorge and Del La Soul set alongside flying trapeze artists, cycling monkeys, a big top circus tent and the infamous “Cow Shed” night club. Sounds like a crazy dream right? Dream on…

For the first time in the festivals history, 2013 was a sell out in terms of weekend tickets as festival goers of all ages flocked to the Hertfordshire Lordship setting that is – Standon Calling. Set, in an almost, valley wonderland and surrounded by rolling green hills, this 3 days festival continues to impress by not just expanding every year but also improving.

As the sun was breaking through, so was Our Festival Fresh Unsigned winners Tubries who played an impressive debut festival slot on the main stage on the Friday, check out how they got on here (review coming soon).

One of Fridays highlights, had to be Bastille, returning to co-headline a festival they played 3 years prior where they performed to a handful of punters in a small tent on a Sunday afternoon. What a difference three years makes, as the commanded the main stage and didn’t disappoint as kids and adults sang back catchy songs in the form of latest single ‘Bad Blood‘, ‘Pompeii‘ and ‘Flaws‘.

An impressive cover of ‘Rhythm is a dancer‘ had mums and dads moving, reminiscing their younger days whilst young teenage girls screams accompanied front man Dan on more mellow tracks like ‘Overjoyed‘. A great festival band performance and probably one of their smaller ones this season as they hot footed it off to play the mega Lollapalooza festival on Saturday.

Saturday really kicked off the festival, as the Circus themed fancy dress was on show. As you’d expect, there were some great interpretations of the ‘Running away from the circus’ theme. Giant monkeys, leotard clad men with moustaches and various circus animals among the many, many crazy outfits.

The Skints got the party going on the main stage as the sun broke through the clouds, bringing their Ska/Reggae sound to the masses. This was a great booking and great scheduling of an early evening slot.

Their energy was transferred off stage and into the crowd as the band ran around during their set working the festival crowd. “Have you had enough of reggae yet?” guitarist/singer asks the crowd towards the end of the set, to which the response is an affirmative and resounding ‘No!”

Treetop Flyers brought their fusion of country folk rock to The Lordship Stage around 9pm. After a few technical difficulties at the start (beyond their control) the band impressed playing well know tracks such as ‘It’s about time‘ ,’Things will change‘ and the mesmerising ‘Is it all worth it‘. The harmonies were every bit as beautiful as the lyrics. The bassist thanked the crowd for ‘sticking with us‘ in reference to the earlier sound issues.

Band of Skulls headlined the main stage and had a good crowd in attendance to soak up their rock/blues tracks such as ‘Devil takes care of his own‘ and ‘Bruises‘. They rattle through hits off their first and second albums (Sweet and Sour, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey). A really tight performance from the group with their huge festival experience shining through.

Read the review of Sunday at Standon Calling by Nathan Brown


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