Deer-stocking.. across the universe.. (part two)..

IMG_4816Feeling surprisingly fresh we emerged from the van into an already pretty warm day – greetings made, breakfast acquired (again, from Nana’s Kitchen), we had an early appointment up at the arena.

Saturday was Pixiestock day – so it started for us in the kids tent, where Tina was telling the assembled young ‘uns a story about why foxes and badgers live in holes.  Ella was up next, complete in tiger onesie, to read The Tiger That Came To Tea – with the temperature already soaring it was warm work!  Kezzi followed with a fairy story before the assembled children were led to the glade by the Pixie King.

IMG_4817Lucky escape for me, Naomi had been plotting for me to dress as the pied piper at one point for the purpose of leading the procession to the stage!  Once in the glade Spike read The Gruffalo complete with amusing accents – before we were treated to a frankly slightly sinister yet oddly compelling Mouse Circus puppet show.  One of the fantastic things about Deerstock is the amount of thought that goes into keeping the young folk entertained.

There was a vote whether the wooden deer mascot called ‘No Eye’ should be burned or saved – I’ve no idea what the outcome was.  I voted to burn him. Mwah ha ha!

IMG_4826Then t’was time for the music – and who better to kick things off for us than Black Thorn?  Their infectious folky goodness was just the ticket, I’ve been pretty bad on set list duties although Psychic Sally stood out – debunking a ludicrously rich psychic, the next song is one due for release and they’ve been collecting fan-recorded videos for its release, I recorded one which I’ve popped below.

Catch Me If You Can was duly Facetimed to Maia by Ella, before they unleashed a nice surprise of covering Ferocious Dog’s Hell Hounds – a cracking version, with Adam taking over vocal duties from Joel.  I shared a video of it in the Ferocious Dog group and it picked up some great feedback!  They finished up with Cabin Fever (or was it Cannon Fever?) before hotfooting it off to a BBC recording session – returning later to the festival!

IMG_4830Continuing the black plant-related-things theme Black Rose Garden took to the main stage to assail us with boomy rock goodness.  The temperature was creating an irresistable pull to both the wares and shade offered by the Scrumptiddly Cider Bar, where the music could be enjoyed along with a nice relaxing environment!  Adam Clarkson took over on the Roy’s Place stage for some lovely acoustic songs.

We did emerge from cider bar revelry in time to catch Maelor and Chantelle – rather than perform together they split the set in half, Chantelle Barrow was up first – starting with three of her own numbers, Travelling, Festival Vibe (very apt!) and one I didn’t catch the name of – a lack of nail file meant intricate finger-picking was out, so it was more energetic strumming – still highly engaging, and what a voice.


IMG_4834She finished up with an invitation for folk to sing along the intro to Flying Pickets’ Only You – really nice!  Maelor Hughes was then up next – I completely neglected to note his first two songs but he finished with Morning Sun and then after nearly going for Milltown Boy finished with Better Day instead (giving us plenty of chance for some Oi Oi-ing, which is always welcome!).  It’s a shame they didn’t both have a full set really!

By this point the cider and the heat had me feeling a bit dodgy – a combination of heatstroke and dehydration, I suspect – normally I’m pretty good at taking on water but hadn’t been, so I had to make a tactical retreat to the van for a lie down and a bit of a nap!  Oh dear!  Two naps in two days!  Upon waking I stuck to water for a few hours before starting to alternate water and alcohol.  Top tip kids, drink plenty of water when it’s hot, who knew?

IMG_4837We wandered to the Guerilla Stage planning to catch Ellie Keegan, only to find Harriet finishing up her set there – there was a Pearl Jam song in there, a rousing cover of Hozier’s Take Me To Church before finishing up with Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz – promising the loudest singer-along a free t-shirt.  I thought I was in with a shout but another chap was clearly louder!  I contented myself to buy a CD from her instead which I’ve still not had a chance to listen to!

IMG_4841Then Ellie Keegan was up – fresh from performing at Splendour earlier in the day, she kicked of with original songs On Your Own, Leaves and Quicksand – she’s gotten really clever with the loop pedal to provide both backing track layers and also backing vocals too. A big cover-medly (including The City, ABC and No Scrubs and probably more!).  A request from the crowd saw a clever mash up of Lose Yourself mashed up with Come Together before the pace was slowed to finish with Subconsciously Seeking.

Next up we made a really tough call.  With Dirty Vertebrae due on the main stage we decided to hang around for Parson’s Lot in the glade.  We’ll be seeing Dirty Vertebrae at A Midsummer in the Park next weekend, and we don’t get to see nearly enough of Parson’s Lot.  As it happened, a combination of the free-and-easy stage timings and the logistics of setting up a six-piece band on a small stage meant we could’ve seen both, but chilling in the glade wasn’t a bad way to spend the time!

"Get back on stage! Confounded fiddler!"

“Get back on stage! Confounded fiddler!”

Parson’s Lot were ace – it’s true the set up on The Guerilla Stage was never intended to have so much going on in one set – but still!  A soundcheck of Bastard Beer (thanks Jethro!) led in to the set proper – Paddy on the Railway led into The Hurriers Toil, telling the tale of the young lads doing a bloody tough job in the pits.  Drink Away The Tears melds seemlessly into I Fought The LawNo Regrets fortunately wasn’t a Robbie Williams cover before Bostin’ Days track Liberty finished the set, mashed into The Rocky Road To Dublin.

Ace set.  As much as I love Dirty Vertebrae, the right choice.  We were loving life down in the The Glade so opted to spend the evening chilling out there – it was handy for Nana’s Kitchen for some chips and cheese, I even encountered Her Majesty the Queen whilst picking up the evening’s sustenance – which was, in truth, a slightly strange experience!

IMG_4853The Fox and The Pirate were next up in the glade – aka. Jonny Wallis and Brian Stone.  With Stuart from Sweetchunks in the crowd I suggested they play Kiss and get their revenge, they missed that chance – The Boatman opened, Maty had his biscuit tin lid to the side of the stage.  My Mate Mark had been missing from Brian’s earlier set so made a welcome return here, alas with no Mark to provide the Dad dancing, although Rob made a good go of it.

Jonny played one of his songs next – but neglected to tell us what ist was called before a bit of a Levellers-a-thon happened with Julie and then Riverflow (by this point Maty and his bin-lid were on the stage!).  An encore was demanded and duly provided with two of Brian’s songs in Barrow Downs – made all the more lovely with some backing harmonising from Jonny, and Why Is All The Rum Gone? to finish.  Ace set.  Looking forward to seeing what Brian and Jonny come up with between them for their forthcoming tour.

As we were all in the vicinity we decided to have an impromptu Star Copiers jam by Kev’s van – I might have accidentally on purpose joined them to play a bit of cajon.  Having only acquired said cajon the day Deerstock started it’s fair to say I’m definitely an amateur, but that’s pretty in keeping with the ethos of the band.  We had fun running through some  songs with Amanda and Ella helping on vocals. Isaac is also bloody ace on the guitar!

By the time we’d finished the arena was closed and it was time for a wimble back down to the wooded bit of the campsite where we were camped up ready to go to bed to get ready for another day.  Unusually our day wasn’t centred around seeing all the main acts – which underlines the diversity of offering you get at Deerstock, all the hidden bits that you might miss if you just focus on the main stages.  It wasn’t always planned, but that’s what makes it better!

Stay tuned for Sunday’s shenanigans!



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