Hop Farm Festival 2012 reviewed
When Damien Rice took to the stage at Hopfarm Festival he only spoke twice throughtout his charming set, but managed to sum up the vibe in a few short words.
He giggled then stated how refreshing it was not only to have such an attentive audience but also how the festival wasnt strewn with corporate advertising and sponsorship. A rare thing these days.
Hop Farm festival is nessled in the heart of Kent (good Kent, that is, not bad Kent), amongst a large expanse of meadow and small copses of oaks, giving off a mellow air that makes both louder acts and quiet even more poignant in the vast grasslands.
After battling like a bastard with the erection of my tent, we heading down to the mainstage to watch Ray Davies. There is something powerful about seeing a man who’s been there from the beginning, play classic songs in their original form with the stories behind them and the energy that even some young bands cannot muster. “Waterloo Sunset” was played to meloncholy perfection whilst “You Really Got Me” was as huge and dirty as it probably was in a London club in the 1960′s .
Peter Gabriel closed the first night, and although a massive spectacle with Gabriel, looking like a Bond villain fronting a huge hundred New Blood piece orchestra bathed in laser light, we did feel a little disonnected. His voice was incredible and intimate, but the huge sounds did rather over power him. My compadre, Mr. Goodchild pleaded flatly that: ‘He’s amazing, but could he play some shit that we’ve heard?’ We hear you Mr. Goodchild.
The second day really brought the best of the music. The Futureheads absolutely killed it, Gary Numanwas as cool and baffling as ever, the aforementioned Damien Rice played probably the most beautiful version of “9 Crimes” I have ever heard whilst proving still that you can be one man on stage and belt out your heart and it be as intense as anything a full band can produce. Even the legend that is Sir Bruce Forsythe brought the afternoon audience to tears when him and his very talented grand daughter sang Smile into each others eyes between show tunes and his ever charming skits.
Patti Smith was as poetically punk as ever whilst Bob Dylan showed us once again how he is the king of the land with his band of very talented misfits. Although “Blowing In The Wind” wouldnt have gone amiss. Selfish bastard.
We couldnt fit all the bands in, but I heard Frightened Rabbit were as captivating as ever, as was British Sea Power.
As my mate Damien Rice reminded us, too many festivals are littered with commercialism and it is pleasing to find a festival with the same great acts but with the feeling that you are not just in an outdoor version of a TV advertisement break but you are part of something special.
Post by TR WICKS