I caught up with Blissfields favourite folk singer-songwriter Beans on Toast on the Saturday of the festival.
How are you, how have you been finding the festival so far?
Beans: I’m fine, yeah. Although I only got here, to Blissfields, earlier today, I’ve been many times before. I think, actually, Blissfields might have been one of the first festivals to ever book me. So we’ve got a long, long running relationship. Enough that when I’m touring, when I’m in Winchester, the Blisses [Paul and Mel, the festival’s organisers] will put me up. So yeah, I wish I could have come for a bit longer, but I’m a little bit in and out, in the sense that I only got here today. But we’ve got tonight to reckon with first, I’m sure it’ll be good.
Have you been doing anything in particular in preparation for your set tonight? Is there anything you do before you perform?
Beans: Because of my long running relationship, I’m hosting one of the stages today [The Larch]. It’s a great opportunity because it means I get to book other people to play on The Larch stage. But, you know how some things are nice on paper? There’s a little bit of that! You know, it’s good because I’ve got mates that are playing, but, also, people are turning to me and saying ‘What’s going on?’ I never really like being the person that knows what’s going on! [Laughs] So I’ve had to play a bit of that today, so hence it’s been quite rushed! But yeah, it’s a nice thing, to be able to offer other people shows. They play and then I’ll be playing later. I don’t put any thought into my shows anyway! Let alone today, it’s the last thing I’ve been thinking about! [Laughs].
So you’ve been a part of Blissfields for years. Do you have any highlights from previous Blissfields or any other festival moments that really stand out for you?
Beans: The first time I came to Blissfields, I guess I came, same as this time, pretty much straight from Glasto. I remember arriving, thinking ‘let’s find out what’s going on.’ Well, there’s the car park, there’s the stage! This was five or six years ago, so it was way smaller. I remember thinking, there’s nothing here! [Laughs] Just come from this huge festival… and it was the best three days ever. So, sometimes small is really beautiful. It took me about a day to leave! By the time the three days had passed, everyone was my friend! So it’s beautiful in that respect.
Yeah it’s got such a nice atmosphere. Do you prefer the more intimate sort of vibe to Glastonbury, or bigger festivals?
Beans: I don’t reckon it should be a competition. I don’t really prefer anything. I love Glastonbury, I love Blissfields, I love wherever the hell I am next weekend! [Laughs]. Everyone always says, ‘Where’s your favourite?’ But they’re all good for their own reasons.
Do you have any festival essentials, as a guest or as a performer?
Beans: Booze! [Laughs]. Festival tips, they’re a funny one. Everyone wants festival tips, everyone always says bring toilet roll! So I guess that’s one!
Did you attend festivals as you were growing up?
Beans: Yeah, I went to Glastonbury alone when I was sixteen, and then I just started breaking into festivals. I cut my teeth on Glastonbury and Reading. They’re two completely different places. After going to Reading for ten years on the trot, I stopped. I still go to Glastonbury. It’s under a lot of fire, isn’t it? There’s a lot of jokey press, everyone wants to say about how it’s raining. But it still makes more sense to me than like PC world, or all the other shit you have to deal with in real life! I don’t understand why more attention isn’t drawn to it. It’s just people getting together and it should be celebrated, it shouldn’t be knocked at all.
Have you got any standout Blissfields performances from other artists from over the years?
Beans: Well, I mean, Marling and Mumford at Blissfields! That was a big one. After that, Laura Marling kissed me!
True story! Admittedly, she thought I was someone else! She was going out with Marcus, this nu-folk celebrity couple. That was a highlight! [Laughs].
Are there any up and coming artists you’re excited about?
Beans: Yeah, a lot of the bands I’ve booked for The Larch today. Frankie Forman is phenomenal. I guess, she’s local, so she came on and loads of people ran to the front. Will Varley, he’s the best songwriter I’ve heard. Cosmo Sheldrake, he’s playing here, he’s another big one. But I suppose, it’s kind of ‘find out for yourself’ isn’t it? I can’t say what anyone else likes!
So , after this summer’s festival circuit, what’s next for you?
Beans: So, I have a tour in December that we announced six months early – well prepared! It’s bigger venues than we’ve done before. I’ve got a bunch of posters to put up! [Laughs]. It’s all good at the moment, just gigging, constantly. I’m going to Europe then back for the big tour in December, then the album out. On and on and on!
Beans on Toast will be playing at various UK festivals for the rest of the summer, followed by a 17-date UK tour at the end of the year. Find out more here.