Forget Glastonbury ~ Get on Down to Brighton’s Wilkommen Festival


The idea of camping overnight at a pop festival is one of my worst nightmares. Hunting for one’s tent in a muddy field of countless thousands, surrounded by lots of people and their kids…

I have close and dear friends who love that sort of thing, but it’s not for me. The sort of festival I like is one that lasts for one day, no more, or at a push, when the organisers are good enough to put all the decent bands on the same day (Phoenix ’96 springs to mind, or was it ’97, with The Cardigans, The Fall, JTQ, The Specials and, ahem, the reformed Sex Pistols). I do confess to having had a jolly time at Canterbury’s Lounge on the Farm and the Truck festival, somewhere in Oxfordshire, in recent years.

I must also say that this year’s line-ups for Latitude in Suffolk and the Green Man are quite enticing.

And so today I’d like to recommend the Wilkommen Festival in the delightful setting of Stanmer House in Brighton. It was Pop Junkie’s Sean who sent this my way, being that the headline act are Ivor Novello award nominees The Leisure Society (pictured), described by The Independent On Sunday like so; “Unflinching clarity and a sense of longing…a uniquely British take on Americana; almost as if Scott Walker or Nick Drake had ‘gone country’, making music for coalminers rather than cowboys.”

The quote doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me (am I being dense?), but I don’t think the reviewer meant that Drake & Scott made music for cowboys… Anyway, the magic words Walker and Scott were quoted and the collective ears of Pop Junkie were pricked. I must say, in my dotage I’ve become very partial to this sort of lo-fi folkiness that the younger element are playing these days. In fact, it seems apposite to mention that is it me or is ‘indie music’ in as healthy a state in 2009 as it ever was? I get this impression from listening to Marc Riley on 6Music and being amazed at the number of great young bands around at the mo. Comments welcomed.

Also on the bill are Alessi’s Ark (alas nothing to do with Oh Lori, the ultimate guilty pleasure song), Peggy Sue, Sons of Noel and Adrian, Caroline Weeks and Pete Roe.

It takes place on Saturday 5th July and is a crazy cheap £12 from We Got Tickets. The Wilkommen collective also play a free event at the De La Warre Pavilion on Sunday 30th August. I’m not saying I’m going, but given the choice between Wilkommen or Glasto I know which I’d prefer.

Of course, if you have the stomach for it, you could go to both…


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