it's a bit late but better late than never i guess. time for a review of the big chill festival 2007.
i finally uploaded a set of photos.
we headed off to eastnor on the thursday to set up camp. it gives time to get your bearings, take a wander round the site, play a bit of frisbee, and read through the programme to work out what to do about the clashes when two things you wanted to go to are on at the same time!
in spite of loads of rain in the area in the run up to the festival a dry few days and weekend meant we were spared the potential mud bath. the festival is set in the malvern hills in the grounds of eastnor castle. it really is a wonderful setting with hillsides overlooking the festival and lakes in the valley. it looks almost magical at night with the wonderful creative lighting that enhances the setting. reflected light in the water along with the lights from stages at night and the sounds coming from around the various stages all add to the vibe. the art trail is also brilliant - this year there was a mirror tiled boat being DJed from on the water (it was highly amusing when someone swam out to deliver fish and chips to the captain) which looked great in both daylight and at night, another lake and lit up tubes across it. and there was a tree with lanterns in that were connected to bikes underneath. a lantern would be lit when someone rode a bike - they were lit pretty much the whole time. the decor around the site generally is wonderful. i loved the sculpture women at the entrance to the mind body soul area.
if you've never been, it's not too crowded - probably about 35 000 i'm guessing - it may sound a lot but you can go to pretty much anything and get in ok. there are four stages with artists performing outdoors. the open air stage and castle stage have the bigger names i guess. enchanted garden is a smaller stage with more leftfield acts - i saw jon hopkins and lj kruzer there for example - and the village green is more acoustic. i finally got to see foy vance and a man who could fly! as well as bands performing the stages are also used for DJs - it's such a simple idea and i can't understand why more festivals don't use a stage in that way. then there are two main bars which have outdoor DJ booths. people grab a drink, sit down and listen to music and as the day progresses these become fantastic club venues outdoors. the club tent is huge. then there is a media mix tent with film and all sorts of creative stuff, a cabaret venue, a mind body and soul area and food and other stalls scattered throughout and probably a load of stuff i have forgotten such as croquet which we fitted in a game of. i think i said this last year but greenbelt is the other fetsival i go to in the summer which i also love but as i help run it i don't get to much and know so many people there that when i am free i'm just catching up with people (which i love). at the big chill it's the opposite. i don't know many people and haven't got to go anything so can just go to stuff and enjoy it.
it's hard to pick out highlights. one of the acts i was most looking forward to were kruder and dorfmeister - i've been a fan of their work for years and never seen them. they had a good set up and DJed for the evening 2 hours each. whilst there were some great mixes it was a bit disappointing. i expected more artists or creative input. bonobo were brilliant as ever. daddy g and norman jay played great sets, with norman jay drawing a huge crowd as ever for his sunday afternoon set and getting everyone on their feet dancing and having a good time. this is how it looked from the hill behind. ty gave me hope for british hip hop with his no labels approach. the cinematic orchestra were sublime. and i loved abraham wilson and the delta blues project who performed with the london community gospel choir doing the songs from the first ever gospel choir to visit the uk whose name i forget. ben westbeech looked to be having a blast. it was quite a surpise to encounter that there but it just shows how open and eclectic the big chill is.
i took a bunch of photos - i'm really pleased with some of them. i even managed to make the toilets look nice at night! i have linked to them throughout this post. the visual side will give you a better impression than the words i expect. always hard to pick favourites but i love the lantern that is being launched and the open air stage across the lake. the weather was wonderful and we even had a sunset over the stages. it seems to have become an annual fixture for me so i hope to be back next year.
thank you big chill for a wonderful festival.