Following her review of the Thursday and Friday of this year’s Blissfields Festival, Laura Cox takes us through her highlights from the concluding day of the festival on the Saturday.
The music on Saturday kicked off with Big Sixes at The Den. On a (very) hot afternoon, it was clear that the majority of
the crowd was tired, hungover (or both) and so, despite the band’s best efforts, their audience was reluctant to dance. However, this isn’t a reflection of Big Sixes’ set; they played with bags of enthusiasm and energy.
Big Sixes were followed by Southampton’s very own singer-songwriter Ben Goddard, whose songs of love, longing and loss were a little more apt to the crowd’s desire to relax.
We then headed over to the Main Stage to catch Blissfields favourite Beans on Toast perform. It was his first time on the Main Stage, but he was definitely in the right place with crowds flocking over to see him. Beans’ unique take on folk, with topical songs which are both comical and poignant, was a highlight of the Saturday.
The Main Stage then welcomed Cosmo Sheldrake, who returned to Blissfields after playing last year. Sheldrake played tracks including ‘The Moss’, ‘The Fly’ and ‘Rich’ as well as creating an improvised track whilst onstage. Sheldrake’s quirky sound, reminiscent (for me) of Alice in Wonderland, is perfectly apt for Blissfields’ ‘party in a forest’ atmosphere. Sheldrake cites Lewis Carroll as an inspiration, so the ‘Alice’ link is probably not surprising! Having played Blissfields for two consecutive years, I hope Sheldrake, like Beans on Toast, becomes a Blissfields regular.
We seemed to stay at the Main Stage for the majority of the day on Saturday – there were so many amazing artists we wanted to catch. We caught Karen Harding‘s set, whose song ‘Say Something’ proved popular with the younger members of the crowd. Ibibio Sound Machine then followed, getting the crowd to their feet and dancing in the scorching sun.
The standout performance of the day, and Blissfields 2015 itself, was was Grandmaster Flash‘s set. Fresh from a performance at Glastonbury with Mark Ronson, the iconic DJ got the Saturday night party started from almost the second he set foot onstage. Flash moved his decks to be closer to his audience (the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at Blissfields!) and ensured that everyone was having fun. In the afternoon sunshine, Flash performed a combination of his own tracks as well as remixes ranging from Blondie’s ‘Rapture’ to Coolio’s ‘Gangster’s Paradise’. Flash’s passion was clear and it was enjoyable to be part of a crowd all singing along. You definitely feel as if you are part of a family at Blissfields and this is a huge part of its appeal. Sets like Flash’s, which bring all kinds of festival goers together are definitely something special.
Blissfields 2015 drew to a close with an impressive performance from Simian Mobile Disco on the Main Stage (although the Hidden Hedge and Blisscotheque were still going strong into the early hours!). Simian Mobile Disco played remixes of popular tracks and were accompanied by an impressive light show.
Overall, Blissfields 2015 was another fantastic weekend, with a wide variety of talented artists, fun activities for both children and adults, and beautifully sunny weather! I’m already looking forward to the return of Blissfields next year.
Tickets for Blissfields 2016 are on sale now and can be purchased here.