It’s been a few years since I went to the Cambridge Rock Festival (or Rockinbeerfest as it was back then) and seeing Mostly Autumn on the bill justified the £35 for a ticket to Sundays performance.
First of all, the organisation of the festival is superb. Easy to get to, no big queues to get in, no one to tell you that you can’t come in with a bottle of pop in your back pocket. On entry you can buy beer “tokens” at £10 for 3 pints – that’s an extra pint for your money compared to normal festival prices and what’s more the bar is a real ale bar (so the beer is good) and the use of tokens mean that bar service is speedy. There are quality food stands within as well and I had the best smoothie ever, strawberry, honey and cinamon. Programmes detailing all bands with all stage times in were just £2, there is a lot to be said that is right with the Cambridge Rock Festival and I haven’t even started on the music yet! And it’s in Cambridge.
The first act I saw on this Sunday I enjoyed from the sitting on the grass outside Stage 2’s tent. Later metal newcommers the Crimes of Passion rocked the crowd on Stage 1 with tales of touring with Saxon, fresh high octane old school heavy metal packed with complex fast riffs (think Maiden, Helloween, Saxon) and finishing with an awesome cover of Dio’s Holy Diver that pretty much blew everyone away in the middle of an afternoon, fists in the air metal, that’s how I like it. New album is out in October so I’ll be sure to check that out.
On the Access to Music a young band are rocking out and a pleasure to watch in the sun – but I have no idea who they were. But here’s a snap of then, lead vocalist in an old school Def Leppard shirt – they rocked.
Similar to the High Voltage Festival the festival was a case of running between two stages to catch the best of quality acts. CREDO on stage one had a proggy feel, possibly slightly celtic. Over at Stage two Bad Influence take to the stage with Thunder’s Harry on drums pumping out some loud dancy blues, but after a few songs I return to Stage one for Mr So & So. Argh decisions, it’s back to Stage 2 for Bad Influence and then back to stage one for the end of Mr So & So’s set. The best of both worlds, well as best as you can get!
The band I’d come to see were Mostly Autumn and before they came on stage there was a moving talk from the charity Pilgrim’s Bandits about the excellent work they do – not a charity I’d come across before but they raise money for brave forces victims who have suffered injury and take them out on adventures and confidence building exercises – the website where you can find out more is here http://www.pilgrimbandits.com/
Mostly Autumn are on stage just before 7 and the tent was packed. The band were awesome and this was the greatest festival live performance I’ve seen this year – fantastic atmospheric prog rock from a band with 7 highly talented musicians. What more could you ask for – Olivia the perfect front woman captivates the crowd, Bryan’s floyd style soaring guitar tones, Anne Marie takes centre stage for a flute solo, Iain Jennings superb tones from the keys. Most of the material is familiar to me featuring heavily from the Go Well Diamond Heart album – but Evergreen really stands out from Heather’s era. I never saw them with Heather up front (I regret not taking more notice of colleague from work Pete’s suggestion that I must see them live) but I’ve got an exciting time ahead exploring the back catalog.
My regret for the festival – not going for the weekend, what an awesome no fuss festival. And in a rock music fan moment I had my snap taken with Mostly’s Olivia – check out my cool Pythia shirt!
The festival really was different to other festivals, it felt less corporate oriented (or not corporate at all I should say) which could be due to it’s size – you can just sit back and enjoy great music, beer and food. Let’s hope the line up next year looks good!
Cambridge Rock Festival : http://cambridgerockfestival.co.uk/
Mostly Autumn: http://www.mostly-autumn.com/
Crimes of Passion: http://www.myspace.com/crimesofpassionrock
Autumn Leaves: http://www.autumn-leaves.co.uk/
Andrew Stawarz Photography has some pictures on flickr of the event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stawarz/sets/72157627358676694/