Stand Calling, Festival Review, Hertfordshire
- Credit: Archant
Weather was a mixed bag but a good time was had by all at this eclectic mix of village fete, rave and family friendly music festival
Hardcore festival-goers deny the weather plays any part in their enjoyment, but the rest of us know it’s a huge factor in the whole shindig.
Last weekend was a game of two halves at this beautiful Hertfordshire estate. After weeks of high temperatures - when we fretted about sunstroke - early birds arriving at Standon Calling were forced to gravitate towards the shady trees and open air swimming pool to cool down.
By Sunday we were chilly and damp, but glad we hadn’t booked for Camp Bestival where extreme weather conditions called time on the last day of activities.
But there was much fun to be had in between at this quirky cross-breed; somewhere between an eccentric village fete, a rave and an eclectic jukebox of musical treats.
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It felt as though half of north London had decamped to Standon for what is a very family friendly affair. Our kids loved sawing and hammering away at building a woodland pirate ship, learning circus skills, hurtling around a soft play bus and rocking along to CBEEBIE’s Andy and the Oddsocks.
The older ones enjoyed the fairground rides, an hour of scatalogical fun at Horrible Historie’ Barmy Britain show, the comedy tent with the likes of Seann Walsh, and Standon’s legendary dog show.
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Over the weekend the site was dotted with aliens and astronauts dressed up for the annual costume parade. One group of young women toting zimmer frames, false teeth and saggy bits, creatively interpreted the theme of The Future by coming as their future selves.
My festival sweet spot came sitting in the sun with a beer while The Cuban Brothers roused the crowd with their infectious Latin American infused silliness. And if his brand of melodic folk pop isn’t the most upbeat, Saturday’s headliner George Ezra offered charming chat and a crowd-pleasing set of past and present hits that had us all singing along to the likes of Budapest and Shotgun.
Besides, Indie and dance fans were more than catered for with sets by The Horrors, Goldfrapp and Gaz Coombes over the weekend, a DJ set by Jarvis Cocker, and Bryan Ferry’s sultry tones for the perfect Sunday evening sign off.
A woodland pig roast, delicious Indonesian curries, and burgers by Patty and Bun were the highlight of the food offer. Best of all was after hours when the kids were in bed and the site came alive with a dozen different tents where middle-aged ravers could let down what was left of their hair - alongside teens out for the whole night and a few anxious dads. What beats a balmy evening dancing under the trees to Camden’s own Dig It Sound System in a warm communal atmosphere of hedonistic fun? We will be back.