The Big Feastival is truly a family festival, with endless food stalls, a kids area (including farm park) and of course, the live music, there really is something for everybody.
Firstly, I think I should mention the food. With hundreds of stalls, trucks and pop up restaurants and cafes, it really catered to everybody’s taste. We made the most of many food stalls offering free samples, particular shout outs should go to Shorrocks Cheese (who made the potentially disgusting flavour combination of Strawberry and Champagne cheese work), Yum Yum Tree Fudge (try their peaches and cream flavour) and The Collective Dairy yoghurt (the passionfruit is to die for). After our extensive sampling trip (as I obviously couldn’t give an honest review if I didn’t try everything) we took a trip down street food alley. Everything smelt amazing, and we eventually settled on the Paellaria, which was delicious. We also took a trip through the Jamie’s food tent, and took a trip to Alex James’ cheese hub (and sample his cheese ‘Blue Monday’ which was being relaunched at the festival!)
Brightlight City were the first band up on the Bandstand. These boys came runners up in Jamie’s summer Jam competition, and although they were playing at 11:30am, they managed to attract quite the crowd with their indie rock music and catchy dance numbers. Frontman Jamie really played to the crowds demographic (as it was obvious this wasn’t the usual audience the band played to). Joking about their business cards and throwing free tee-shirts into the crowd, they were a great start to the day!
The bandstand, sponsored by Spotify, was just that, a bandstand. Here there was live music, and fun Spotify activities throughout the day, like musical bingo, a quiz and a silent disco. We also caught the Polka Dot Dolls on this stage, a 40s style girl group who covered classics by Sinatra and Glen Miller. Though obviously a very talented group, the novelty of their act ran thin towards the end of their set.
The Mainstage was opened by Jamie’s Summer Jam winners: Fickle Friends. Completely undaunted by the huge stage, they commanded the crowd. With tight instrumentals and Natassja Shine’s powerful vocals, you could easily imagine the band playing the mainstage at Reading! Next up was Jasmine Hill, a local singer songwriter. It was just Jasmine and her guitarist on stage, with lots of backing track; which led to Jasmine coming across as slightly nervous. But her catching pop music went down well.
I’d never heard of Duke; but I’m definitely a fan now. A group who had apparently appeared on Britain’s Got Talent, and they did everything live. Just 3 guys and a guitar, with some incredible beatboxing. Their set made the crowd grow very suddenly, and you can see why! Blasting their way through covers of hits like Bruno Mars’ ‘Locked Out of Heaven’, ‘Blurred Lines’, ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ and The Fresh Prince of Bel-air theme tune they got everybody up and dancing. Finishing their high energy set with Seal’s ‘Kiss From A Rose’, the band looked shattered as they’d put everything into their set, yet still went and performed on the bandstand a few minutes later!
Will Joseph Cook is another local singer-songwriter. He produced some nice summery music, which was perfect to listen to whilst chilling with a glass of pimms. He had an early Maroon 5 meets Maverick Sabre vibe due to his awesome, soulful voice.
Lianne La Havas was the highlight of the festival for me. She’s effortlessly cool and so humble, making Miss Havas a joy to watch. Her beautiful vocals translated perfectly from record to live show, and watching Lianne I could see quite how talented she was. Playing hits from her 2012 iTunes album of the year Is Your Love Big Enough, she attracted quite the crowd, and even the drunken girls trying to wipe what seemed like pints of uv face paint on me couldn’t detract from the incredible performance. Her band were tight, with perfect harmonies and never a note out of place. Singles ‘Forget’ and ‘Is Your Love Big Enough’ got the crowd singing along (even if they didn’t know the words), and made Lianne La Havas a name to remember.
Rizzle Kicks were what the crowd had been waiting for. They always bring so much energy, and get the crowd going from the moment they stepped on stage. Singles like ‘When I was A Youngster’ and ‘Lost Generation’ got everybody dancing, and the band had amazing crowd interaction. It’s really hard to fault the bands performance; instrumentally, they’re tight, and it’s always nice to have the addition of their virtuosic live trumpeter. I was gutted when we had to leave their set half way through to catch out train, as I knew it could only get better.
The early train also meant we missed Basement Jaxx’s set, and this was my main complaint about the festival. You would’ve thought at a music festival this size that a couple of extra trains could’ve been run, however my small complaint can’t taint what was an incredible festival, one I’d recommend to everybody, no matter what age.