Review: Bowlie 2 Festival
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In British history, south west England may never have seen a Scotch invasion quite the scale of that witnessed during the Bowlie 2 weekender this December. The music festival is a reprise of the 1999 Bowlie which spawned the yearly ATP festival series. Just as when people were more concerned with the Millennium bug than a war on terror, this year’s Bowlie 2 saw Scottish twee heroes Belle & Sebastian return as curators, bringing reams upon reams of fellow Scots with them (both bands and fans) to Somerset’s Butlins, which must’ve seemed like a subtropical paradise compared to the highlands up north being seized by permafrost. Detractors argue that Butlins is a crass place to hold a music festival; where you can watch the bands on the Pavilion’s main stage from the seats of a Burger King. Certainly, Friday’s openers Teenage Fanclub seemed too long in the tooth to thrill everyone and steal all the attention away from half-eaten Whoppers, but are still at their assuaging best when Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley’s guitar solos knit together tightly. The Zombies were possibly the farthest band from the burger queue, since their elderly stature puts them at a reasonable risk of heart disease. Having said that, their ancient crooning on ‘Time Of The Season’ or Rod Argent’s stomping ‘Hold Your Head Up’ still sounded vital. Foals are at the opposite end of their career to Argent’s bunch; very much at the forefront of the music world after 2010’s stellar Total Life Forever. Their austere, calculated musings suited the cold climate of the Pavilion’s huge upturned udder (a tent of such magnitude is clearly hard to heat). The Go! Team and their incendiary frontwoman Ninja took to the Centre stage late on to jolt those thinking of their chalet beds back to life, and the oddball indie funk of The Phenomenal Handclap Band kept the momentum up past midnight.
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