Thursday, 26 August 2010

Guest Blog: The Great British Summer, Part One

By Nina (Eldest daughter)

As the summer draws to a close (did it even properly begin?), the inevitable forward march of the seasons and the impending dawn of dark afternoons, wellington boots, woolly hats, and the drizzly dreary months of autumn and winter cast a rosy hue on your memories of summer. The rain-soaked barbecues which had relied on the BBC weatherman's promise of a sunny afternoon and which went horribly wrong become the greatest meals of your life. The tedious village cricket match featuring a hodgepodge team of several overenthusiastic fathers, a handful of braying home-counties OAPs, and a sprinkling of disappointed teenagers becomes the most gripping sporting event witnessed by man, a series of athletic feats finished up with a heroic victory. The overpriced Pimm's with more fruit than strictly necessary crammed into the glass before it was poured to ensure the use of the minimum possible amount of actual Pimm's becomes the ambrosia of the gods.

In these two guest blogs I will explore the two aspects of the British summer which I love, and which I truly did enjoy despite the questionably summery weather, starting with Part One: The Music Festival.

Armed with our tickets and wristbands, my friend and I set out on our journey across the Oxfordshire countryside.

The trip there involved many winding, narrow roads, charming villages, and one or two cows, but we got there eventually.

Cornbury is massively family friendly, and there were people of all ages milling around, enjoying the funfare and the candy floss stalls.

The festival has, through its usual patrons and general atmosphere, earned itself the soubriquet 'Poshstock'; this is probably somewhat justified given that it is possibly the only music festival in the UK where you will be greeted by these sights:

Posh or not, the festival still has its share of typical festival goers, from aging hippies... to younger hippies:

And of course the food linked in with this, too:

There was a massive amount of different kinds of food to choose from:

But in the end we chose to share a not-so-healthy plate of Mexican deliciousness:

By this time the festival was crowded, with the day pass carriers arriving en masse, and the campers making their way down from the campsite.

And of course, it was time for the most important part of the event: the music.

The Blockheads were there, proving that they can still rock:

Despite their age and the death of Ian Drury, the Blockheads were undoubtedly one of the most charismatic and energetic bands who performed; absolute rock legends.

Later the lovely Newton Faulkner played a set. I hadn't had much experience of him beforehand, but he completely blew me away with his obvious talent and charming personality.

As the day wore on, other bands such as Reef and The Feeling played (The Feeling as amazing as I had hoped that they would be). The sky grew darker, the fields slightly worse for the wear:

But there was an incredible buzz in the air as everyone prepared themselves for the headline act: the incomparable Jackson Browne.

Having set up site right in front of the stage a good hour before he was due to start playing, my friend and I had an unrivaled view:

And then he arrived, the man himself:

As if the evening couldn't get any better, he was accompanied by David Lindley! They played an amazing set, with all of the golden oldies (Mercury Blues, Running on Empty, Somebody's Baby), as well as some awesome new material.

An amazing day and an amazing experience, music festivals are clearly the way to go to experience the best of the British summer.

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