Blues on the Farm Review

Monday, 20 June 2016

I was incredibly excited to be invited along to the 25th year of Blues on the Farm on 16 - 19th June. 
The biggest reason for my eagerness was the fact I have never been to a festival before, and I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to ease myself in with a family-friendly event that promised a weekend of top international performers, in a 40-acre setting on the Sussex Coastal plain, just a couple of miles south of Chichester. 

The plan was to arrive after work on the Friday and spend the weekend camping, but as they say: 'If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans for tomorrow.'

 Friday was cursed with a dramatic, spontaneous downpour that caused such a flood I thought I was going to have to fashion a canoe out of my desk and row home.

So, we decided it would be safer to head down Saturday morning instead. 

The first thing that struck me when I arrived, other than how it was physically possible for there to be so much mud in one place and how glad I was to have made a last minute switch from boat shoes to boots, was how delightfully happy everyone was.

Everywhere I turned people were smiling, laughing, singing, sporting wonderfully colourful hats and wellington boots, even dancing through inches of wet mud, it was clear instantly that no amount of rain had been able to dampen spirits or affect anyone's ability to move to the sound of the blues.

Blues on the Farm has a big reputation for presenting high quality music from World-class musicians,  and they certainly didn't disappoint.

We arrived in time to witness Ruby and the Revelators, an artist that I have reviewed before and who I find to be a wonderfully energetic and dynamic performer - you can check our her material here.

Soon after the stage burst to life with blues/rock band Red Butler, made up of Alex Butler (guitar), Charlie Simpson (drums), Jane Pearce (vocals) and Steve Eveleigh (bass).  Not only did this group provide a sound that was certainly their own, they had the audience right where they wanted them, even ending with Alex heading into the audience for an incredible guitar solo that took feet-tapping to the next level, with myself awkwardly trying to avoid getting the camera knocked from my hands by his swaying guitar. 

Later we enjoyed music from the ever-so-lively Sam Kelly's Station House, an amazing 'groove' band that put dancing at the centre of everything. I found myself grinning uncontrollably with their incredible stage presence and Sam Kelly's fantastic rapport with not only the audience, but his band members. 

The afternoon and evening of joyous music continued with the likes of high-energy New Zealand group Brilleaux,  four piece blues rock powerhouse Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band as well as eight-times British Blues Awards winner Ian Siegal and his band, and the absolutely incredible Gary Brooker MBE,  an artist acknowledged worldwide for his unique contribution to music of all styles.

My first ever experience of Blues on the Farm I think it is safe to say that it's very easy to see why the festival was dubbed by The Sunday Times as 'the friendliest festival in the UK' and for someone, like myself, experiencing this form of event for the first time, I couldn't have felt more at ease. I will definitely be keeping an eye open for their 26th year and will be sure to book the time off work in advance so I can enjoy the full four days of fun provided by this stunning event.

Elly xo

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