Ey Up Mi Ducks! The friday file..
Uncharacteristic bad planning from me made me think that Ey Up Mi Duck started on Friday evening – and as such I hadn’t arranged the time off work to get there until early evening. We did, however, think forward enough to get down to Amber Valley Rugby Club on Thursday evening to get the tent set up to save us a job once the festival was underway, so after finishing up with work with excitement we headed to the site.
A lovely setting – a raised Rugby field for camping, stalls and the acoustic stage with a dip down to the clubhouse and the main stage – and the Meadevil Bar – and already a festival well underway, with plenty of folk to mingle with whilst clutching the first of too many ciders purloined from Pete (and a pink mead – which was amazing). After a good while we realised we’d not eaten, so made a beeline for Nana’s Kitchen for plateful of steak and ale pie, mash and peas. Awesome food.
We’d settled with Dave, Caroline and Murph – which was fortuitously next to the Cheezy Vinyl Bar – I couldn’t resist a cheese platter despite not exactly being starving, Phil and Debbo served up a monumental (not emmental – ha!) portion which I battled my way through with relish, washed down with a lovely slug of port. Happily the Cheezy Vinyl Bar will be making appearances at plenty of other festivals on our roster this year!
It’s not easy being cheesy. But I’m happy to keep giving it a good go.
Suitably nourished and more than a little alcoholically lubricated the music for us started on the main stage with The Outlines – an energetic start (and my humblest apologies for the earlier artists I missed out on). Fall to the Drop kicked off the set with Vanilla Poison, Sound of Rain and Waiting leading into their awesome cover of Guns of Brixton. During Static Kyle had a guitar-strap-snap moment, soon fixed with some gaffer taper allowing them to finish up with Streets of England.
We ambled over to the acoustic tent, manfully managed by Chris from Acoustic Roots in time to see Spud. A feel good irreverent set as ever, not belying his ear for a catchy tune and hilarious lyrics. He started with Wherever I May Roam before dedicating My Friend Christopher to the aforementioned Chris. A song about people’s enjoyment of a certain recreational horticultural product prompted a mass photo-call infront of the stage.
A lovely cover of Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright was up next as Will Varley arrived on the site to watch, Spud’s song about DHP never giving him a gig was underway before he spotted the celebrity observer, dedicated the next one – Billy Bragg’s To Have and To Have Not to him. Self-penned dedication to Robin Hood – The Legend of Nottingham was next and a rip-roaring finish of Chocolate Biscuit finished up the set, with Sam on guitar and Spud chucking chocolate digestives into the crowd. Such a fun set.
Gingerbread were up next on the main stage, Paige‘s voice and Sam‘s guitar (and vocals at times) are a magical combination. They kicked off with Glorious You by Frank Turner and then into Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths – Paige admitted at this point she’d really like a mead and hadn’t tried one yet, it was a short hop to the mead tent to buy one for her, haha. Sorry about that.
Gabrielle Aplin’s Sweet Nothing was next followed by Hourglass by Catfish and the Bottlemen. Jake Bugg’s Trouble Town was next followed by Wagon Wheel. I think there might be a gap in my viewing / notes / memory (who knows – there’d been a few visits to the meady cider emporium over the course of the evening) but I was on hand to see the lovely finish of Home by Gabrielle Aplin. I’ll warn you in advance these lapses might become more frequent as the blog goes on!
A swift wander back to the acoustic tent saw us in time for The Star Botherers – they kicked off their set with 13 Years in Oregon which I’ve not heard them play for a while, always a welcome thing! Just Around the Corner was next and then Ringing In Sick. Bad Guys gave us the inevitable singalong (which to be fair most of their songs comprise these days!) but did eat into the set time, leaving time for One Inch Death Punch to finish what seemed like a short but very sweet set!
By this time – retrospectively – the cider was starting to kick in. Blind Fever Band were playing up a storm but I suspect I was wandering around the camp site – that said, I remember the Mashed Potato song, Sittin’ on Top of the World, Freight Train Blues and Come on Down serenading us over the field. We’d made it back to the stage in time for Urban Spaceman and a highly appropriate Ey Up Mi Duck song.
The main stage was now the sole performance space for the rest of the evening – and next up was the incomparable Funke and the Two Tone Baby. Dan had arrived on site earlier and it was great to see him have time to mingle and take in some music (by the same token Nick Parker was also out amongst the crowd enjoying himself). With the sky darkening the light show really kicked in as Funke started up with Never Used to Dance – certainly not true of the crowd who were all definitely dancing!
Bella’s Kiss was up next, followed by his new song about working in an office – I haven’t learned the name yet, I can relate to the lyrics though! I’m Not Well was next followed by The Great Storm. It was around this time a shoulder-ride for Lisa’s Pixie proved expensive – I knocked my glasses onto the floor and just as a kind gentleman had spotted them on the floor it was too late to stop them getting accidentally stomped.
Normally I don’t bother wearing my glasses at gigs that might get rowdy, and I didn’t think this one would but even so it was a bit silly of me not to dig out an old pair that I wouldn’t have minded getting damaged – not my nearly new ones! Oops! This is the point my friday notes become a bit, well, gappy – certainly I recall Medicine for the Soul and of course signature tune Not Enough Bonobo – with Andy gorilla suited up and Tim in his duck costume cavorting onto the stage.
Apparently Tim then fell off the stage – since no permanent harm was done I’m regretting my increased inebriation! By the end of Funke’s set I’d made my way to sit on the grass bank with Nick, I remember Will Varley‘s set starting up and starting to enjoy his more relaxed songcraft before, well, being asleep! Nick confessed the next day he didn’t want to disturb me so regrettably I managed to sleep through the headline act only a few yards from the stage!
I later discovered that Will invited Spud on stage to play King for a King with him which must’ve been great to watch – meanwhile after-show partying went on late into the night in the club house at an open mic. Meanwhile back in the field my homing instinct served me well and a circuitous route back to the tent saw me safely in my sleeping bag, fully clothed! Oops! Echoes of Rockstock I’d lost my e-cigarette, and guess that the water I’d guzzled helped stave off a hangover too bad.
But well, the hangover is Saturday’s story – the dawn of the Star Copiers! This is about Friday – a magical evening, Suzy and her team have shed blood, sweat and tears at times over this festival, and just on that one evening it was obvious that it was going to be a success. I just wish I’d planned my work better to have been able to stay over Thursday night, get the full day in on Friday and maybe brought my first night festival fever forward a night.
You live and learn! Stay tuned for Saturday…