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.
no time to blog yet about the big chill. but we had a fab time. am now on holiday but stopping in to get intenet to catch up on greenbelt and proost. i have been sorting through photos and will upload them no doubt at some point but here's one of my favourites.you could get these lanterns that expanded with hot air and flew magically over the festival into the night. i saw some people letting them off on the hill and was trying to get a shot of one being launched with the festival lights in the background...
Technorati Tags: bigchill
great warm up for the big chill last night with tom middleton aka amba playing with a four piece band and VJs at the national film theatre. fun in the bar after catching up with pete and jonny from ikon, kester and beki from the south london allotment crew and ian from moot...
the latest big chill podcast has a feature on the open decks competition at the big chill bar. joel played fantastically when he entered and we all (completely biased) thought he should have won. well he obviously stuck in the memory of the organisers as he is name checked as someone to look out for - so how come he didn't win???!!!! somewhat embarrassingly i also get mentioned as his dad wandering around taking pictures like some sad old guy with no friends. o dear!
joel entered an open dex competition at the big chill bar last night and was brilliant. the winner was a guy playing very leftfield norweigian psychadelia (or something like it). the judges clearly liked that over joel's selection. but joel definitely was up there with his mixing and tunes - a fun night. not sure the big chill bar was used to a crowd of 6th formers turning up either...
one of the things about living in london is that there is so much fab stuff to do. whilst there is a lot that can cost loads there is also a lot of free stuff. here's a few i'm going to be checking out...
art installation at the V and A - 25 november - end january. robert del naja and neil davidge have collaborated with massive attack's tour designers UVA on an installation in the courtyard of london's V&A museum. 'volume' opens on 25th november and runs until the end the end of january.
belleville rendezvous with live music score - 3 december. i am really excited about this one. i caught some of this at the big chill. the film is shown but with a live score that is a mix of DJ and live instrumentation. it may sound weird but it will be a wonderful experience.
ben westbeach at big chill house - 28 november. ben wetsbeach is a new kid on the block, and his no 1 fan seems to be gilles petersen, (and his no 2 fan seems to be joel). he's playing a live set
jon hopkins and ulrich schnauss at big chill house - 30 november. second fab free gig in a week at the big chill house. jon hopkins album contact note is one of the most played on my ipod at the moment along with the compilation the art of chill 2 which he put together a few years back and is currently a bargain on amazon.
laura b at the big chill house - 6 december.
and some things i'm lining up that are not free (sadly)...
a visit to the wildlife photographer of the year exhibition - always an annual baker family pilgrimage
chelsea v arsenal - yes i have got tickets - can't wait - will be our first match of the season
DJ shadow at brixton
ice skating at kew gardens - that's also become a bit of a christmas tradition for a few of us from grace
looks like it's going to be a good month...
have been trying out the flickr mosaic tool/toy. you can add any jpeg urls or flickr pages to create mosaics. pretty easy to use. in flickr you can also add notes to photos so i have added notes that cover each square with a direct link to each picture - you'll have to look at the mosaic in flickr to see what i mean. why? for fun i guess...
i have uploaded the best of my pics from the big chill 2006. i am really pleased with how some of them came out - you can see the set here... this is definitely the cheekiest one!
[update: the link to the set was wrong but is now fixed! - thanks seb]
back from the big chill - a wonderful weekend. i will of course add some photos to flickr later in the day or week. not sure how to review the weekend as we packed so much in but here goes...
why i love the big chill
i have followed the big chill since coming across the first compliation album they did - eyelid movies. i listen to a lot of chilled/ambient/leftfield music. and the big chill clearly had similar taste. i also love the experimental approach to music, creativity, new media and the arts - embracing the creative underground rather than becoming too commercial - where else would you get a live score performed along with belleville rendezvous?! the festival typifies the chill's approach - an exquisite location set in the malvern hills (spiritual home as pete lawrence describes it), plenty of space to move around, lots of creativity everywhere, a full on festival vibe with partying everywhere, attention to detail - lit up trees, the lights on the lake, fab showers, a chilled atmosphere, an eclectic music line up - DJs, classical, chilled, bands, acoustic, soul, hip hop, dance, etc (though not much rock in site - hooray!). i go to greenbelt every year (which i also love) but at greenbelt i never have time to go to much as i help plan the worship, and i spend a lot of my time bumping into people i know and chatting (which i love) - at the big chill i can just go to stuff and i don't know many people!
this year's discovery...
in a word fink. there are plenty of things we went to that i knew nothing about. fink was one - partly on the strength of him being on ninjatunes. a set of songs played on acoustic guitar, acoustic bass and a simple drun kit (bass drum, high hat, cymbal, nsare and brushes) - but just sensational. i bought the album biscuits for breakfast straight after the gig and haven't stopped playing it yet.
belleville rendezvous played with an original live music score was just amazing. i really hope this is performed in london - i'd love to go again
amba - one half of global communication tom middleton's act. i'd heard a couple of tracks (which i love) on big chill compilations - very chilled emotional music. but for the festival tom had got a full orchestral string section to play live with his beats and bleeps and the result was amazing.
fat tuesdays - this is one of the party tents. set down by the lake serving cocktails all day long. a DJ booth is set up outside and you can listen to tunes in the sun or get up and dance. by midnight the place is full on party. we sat having a beer/cocktail listening to tunes each afternoon (with joel being a tune trainspotter) - it didn't sem to matter too much who was playing either though i enjoyed dave hill's sunday gospel set and it was good to end the festival partying while coldcut mixed up the tunes.
lou rhodes - i absolutely love lou rhodes voice - it is sensational - love her stuff with lamb. her set at the chill was beautiful - an amazing set of musicians - you could hear every note of everything and it was an exquisite blend - the percussionist/drummer was possibly the best musician i saw all weekend and together with the double bass player provided a sensational rhythm section. and her lyrics are uplifiting, vulnerable and spiritual - moved me to tears. delighted to see she has been nominated for the mercury prize this year
coldcut - amazing as ever. the show was recorded live and a limited edition of 2006 CDs available to buy on CD the next day
good times - norman jay brought the sun and the crowds out on sunday afternoon as ever. with his infectious eclectic blend of tunes you just can't stay sitting down. good times 6 will be out in september.
brian eno - fantastic video and sound installtion as part of the art trail at night in the wonderful enchanted garden
friday - flipside | roger eno | lou rhodes | mr scruff | the beauty room | joes gonzalez | AIM | d'archetypes | ursula rocker | x-press2 | coldcut | nathan fake
saturday - mark pritchard | amba | arrested development | fink | a skillz | bugz in the attic | jose padilla | chilled by nature | nightmares on wax | (then off taking night photos)
sunday - dave hill | norman jay | lily allen | nicole willis | billy woods | gilles petersen | ben westbeach | bent | laura b | coldcut (dj set) | sundaze rescore belleville rendzvous
things i wanted to see but didn't - they clashed...
longrange | boozoo bajou (dj set) | all the late night take me home sessions ( i just can't take the pace and stay up all night!) | steve reid and kieron hebden | sebastien tellier | the egg
roger eno's set (ended up leaving) | pete lawrence singing - (joel leant over to me and said 'you can tell it's his festival - i.e. he wouldn't be up there singing otherwise - it was a bit of an embarrassing dad situation - clearly hadn't done it before, looked awkward and sounded very nervous...) we forgave him of course as he's the person behind the big chill! | the beauty room - this had been bigged up as the greatest new album - you could tell that the music is good but the lead vocalist seemed to sing just under or off the note on quite a few tracks which ended up being a bit painful.
didn't get why the big chill had pole dancing and other over 18s stuff going on - just doesn't fit the festival vibe. sure it was late and in an indoor venue for over 18s but why?
run the showers on monday morning? (the showers were a stroke of genius this year - communal school changing room style all in together - meant lots of people got through quickly - i didn't have to queue once)
albums now on the wish list (or already purchased)!
fink | jose padilla | jose gonzalez | good times 6 (sept 06) | mr scruff big chill classics (sept 06) | laura b (jan 07) | AIM (sept 06) | longrange | bonobo (sept 06) | arrested development (yes they are back - oct 06) | beauty room (probably good in spite of the lead vocal live)
anyway i guess i'm boring most readers with an over indulgent post but as you can tell we had a fab weekend. pictures to follow. you might want to listen to gilles petersen's show (online just this week) from the big chill to get a flavour. or i've just noticed that pete lawrence is presenting a new weekly radio show on chill radio (if you've got DAB you can find it - mike has been raving to me about the station for a while). see you there next year?...