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Festival review: Blissfields 2013

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We arrived on the Thursday night just in time to set up our tents and catch Blissfields’ veterans Man Like Me. My first experience of the cheeky London based duo was at Strummer of Love Festival 2012, and since then I’ve been obsessed with their infectious beats and equally infectious personalities. 


They played to a fairly small crowd but got a good sing-a-long with the likes of hit tracks ‘Squeeze’ and ‘London Town’ completed with practiced boy-band style dance routines. Man Like Me were the perfect start to a fabulous weekend. 

Friday came around and the sun well and truly had its hat on. We began our day by watching The Staves. The immaculate trio of sisters performed a set that highlighted their beautiful harmonies. Their humour made them all the more charismatic and despite the scorching heat they put on a great performance, and still managed to look beautiful and serene. 

The next performance came in the form of Bristol based five piece The Other Tribe. Their upbeat dance tracks were the perfect solution for a sunny Friday afternoon. The crowd responded so well to their high energy set, including hit summer anthem ‘Skirts’. 

London Grammar are currently riding a tidal wave of hype, but they were just ‘okay’. Vocalist Hannah has incredible vocal ability, a mash of Florence Welch and Lana Del Ray, and she is also stunningly beautiful. Yet, I couldn’t help thinking they were on at the wrong time. They were sending me towards being a sunburnt drowsy mess. We watched the majority of their set but then found we had to go and perk up by drinking some Blue Nun after nearly being sent to sleep. 

After recharging our batteries we went and had a bit of a dance to the wonderful Fenech-Soler. The guys put on an awesome show and shook everyone out of their London Grammar-fuelled doze. Their set had so much energy and new single ‘Magnetic’ was sounding fantastic in the late afternoon sun on the Main Stage. A perfect warm up to the headline act of the night, The Mystery Jets

I’m going to admit, I’m not the biggest Mystery Jets fan. In fact, I could only name you that one song that everyone knows, ‘Two Doors Down’. Front-man Blaine Harrison was fantastically charismatic and appeared to be genuinely humbled to return to the Blissfields Main Stage.

They drew a significant crowd and manage to harness a few sing-a-longs but I think my lack of knowledge of their back catalogue left me feeling a bit lost amidst their set. Having said that, they were worthy of the Friday headline slot and seemed to please the adoring crowd. 

For those that wanted to continue to dance the night away the Blisscotheque stage (more of a bus with a DJ booth) and The Hidden Hedge went on until late into the night. Being the old woman that I am (trust me, being 20, I felt like an OAP amongst the 16 year olds) I got an early night ready for a music filled Saturday. 

Sam Smith graced the Main Stage early on Saturday afternoon and he was honestly the highlight of my Blissfields. He’s been a featuring artist on some of the biggest tracks of the past 12 months including ‘Latch ‘by Disclosure and the former number one ‘La La La’ by Naughty Boy. He sang both of these tracks without the dance background and sounded absolutely incredible. Hearing Smith sing with minimal accompaniment truly illuminated his insane vocal abilities. Sam Smith is definitely one to watch.

After catching up with the guys from Bastille we all decided to go and see Matt Corby play a few songs. I had never even heard of the guy before Blissfields but apparently he’s kind of a big deal, especially among the female population.

I can now see what all the fuss was about. Yes, he is beautiful. Yes, he has impeccable musical talent. Another one to keep an eye out for as some of the biggest names of today (i.e Ben Howard, Jake Bugg) all started their journey playing Blissfields Festival. 

By around 7pm we secured our spot on the barrier to see the final three acts on the Main Stage. First up were Clean Bandit. They were amazing! Merging electronic-dance music with classical music seamlessly and with so much energy.

I couldn’t take my eyes off violinist Milan Neil Amin-Smith. Not only was he simply, rather handsome, but also his talent on the violin stole the show. A particular favourite from their set was their experimental cover of SBTRKT’s ‘Wildfire’. Along with hit single ‘Mozart’s House’, their performance was fantastic from beginning to end. 

Unfortunately the next band fell flat after such a high energy performance. Theme Park have been climbing their way up in the ranks of popular music for the last couple of years but I still don’t quite understand who they are or why there is a definite hype around them.

 With records produced by Ed MacFarlane from Friendly Fires you can definitely hear the influences on that part. But in all honesty, they’re not as good as Friendly Fires. Miles’ vocals are, however, noteworthy. I found listening to him rather interesting but that’s about as far as it goes. If they work out what sound they’re trying to achieve the future could be bright. 

Surrounded by teenage girls who had been waiting for hours at the front of the stage there could only be one more act left to perform. Half an hour before their performance began there was already a substantial crowd forming to see Bastille.

Opening with their debut album’s title single ‘Bad Blood’ came rapturous screams from the (mostly female) crowd. As Dan Smith and co. rattled through track after track from their number one record the energy never dipped. Even when playing ‘Oblivion’, one of the slower tracks, the crowd were in awe, stunned into silence by Dan’s beautiful lyricism.

Finishing the initial part of the set with single ‘Flaws’, Dan climbed, with great difficulty and a hand from tour manager Sam, onto one of the speakers to sing. Coming back out for an encore consisting of ‘Get Home’, ‘Of The Night’ and ‘Pompeii’ Bastille concluded a phenomenal headline set. 


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