Osfest 2012 Review
Arriving at Oswestry Showground just in time for the gates to open at 2pm I could not contain my excitement: surrounded by incredible friends and being supplied with an incredible and diverse choice of music, I could not help but think just how far OsFest had come over the past 3 years. The sun was shining, the people were happy, we all had 4 days off, the weekend was starting well.
With headliners such as Razorlight, Hard-Fi and The Big Pink sharing the stage with (recently signed) The Taste, The Jude, The Colour Movement and Live and Unsigned runner up Lucy Spraggan, as well as local band The Clocktower.
This year OsFest were well prepared for the masses, with a better camping area, a larger bar, the addition of a silent disco, as well as the original main and second stage, fun fair and stalls and activities. Sponsored by Levi Roots’ and incorporating his new soft drinks throughout the festival the festival had a much more sophisticated feel than in previous years and is definately heading in the right direction.
What I will say is OsFest is a very young festival, young in the sense it is only 3yrs old and young in the sense that it is full of 15-18yr olds. I at the ripe old age of 23 felt like one of the oldest people there! This year the camping area was much more secure following the fiasco of last year, but there was a high number of “scallys” on site: people’s property was damaged (including mine), tents broken in to and general anti social behavior. Now, I appreciate that if you stick a load of under 18’s in a field for a weekend they are going to mess about, and that’s fine. What I will not tolerate is feeling threatened or not wanting to leave your tent for fear of thieves or vandals, and despite the higher levels of security this year, this was unfortunately the case on occasion. Security is always an issue at festivals, at the end of the day, you have a load of people cooped together drinking and having fun, and leaving their prized possessions in a canvas tent! So, please, to stop your weekend being ruined, do not leave anything valuable in your tent. Keep it on you at all times. The security on the gates was stepped up this year, bit more of a presence in the camping area throughout the day/night and most of the “scallys” will be put off!
As I said, the festival is a very young festival and every year improvements have been made and they are so close to getting it right, just a few little tweaks here and there and it will be brilliant.
The weather was atrocious, that couldn’t be helped by anyone, but in true Brit spirit there were some hardcore fans in front of the main stage at all times. However, when I paid for a weekend lineup booklet so I could ensure I didn’t miss any of the acts I really wanted to see I was surprised to see there were no times on there at all. The only information I had was that gates opened at 10am and a general running order of acts. Now, I know that nothing ever runs smoothly at festivals and timings are always out. However, I expect that- I am prepared for that. What I would like is to have a rough idea of who is on at what time, so I can aim for a certain stage at a certain time and not miss out.
The acts I caught over the weekend were fantastic, and I really enjoyed them. Despite the rain putting a “dampener” on things somewhat! As much as I always love the headliners at festivals, I generally have the most fun watching some of the lesser known acts over the course of the weekend. Some of those that I caught and would definitely recommend you guys check out would be;
The Colour Movement played the main stage Saturday night and the crowd absolutely loved them. I had seen them at OsFest in 2010 and have been itching to see them again, and they blew me away. They were funky, fresh, polished and full of energy- everything you want from a festival band. With a unique sound, catchy songs, gorgeous looks and charisma these boys are going to go far, believe me.
Lucy Spraggan who opened up the main stage on Sunday (very early). With her incredibly unique mix of folk and pop it’s easy to see why this girl is drawing in fans across the globe. Talented and with the most naturally warm stage presence you could imagine, she was the highlight of my OsFest last year, and did not let me down this year. It seemed a shame that she was playing while people were still queuing to get into the festival, but bless her, she powered on and pulled a relatively large crowd by the end.
The Taste, a recently signed local band who drew a brilliant (soggy) crowd Sunday afternoon. With a single release imminent you can just feel that these guys have worked bloody hard to get to where they are now. They are hungry for it, and it shows. Their original sound and songs are honest, gritty and fresh and after the first or second song you started to see people coming from all over the festival site to see what was going on on the main stage.
The Clocktower hit the second stage Sunday afternoon. By this point the festival site had turned into a mud bath and they still managed to have the damp crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. There is some serious talent in this band- so look out for them when they visit your area.
The Jude played to a seriously wet and soggy crowd early Sunday evening and warmed the crowd up nicely for the evening’s headliners. I had never seen these guys before and had been looking forward to it after listening to some of their stuff online. With their “vicious skiffle”- punchy, energetic and dance friendly rock ‘n’ roll. Having had top 10’s on iTunes Alternative Chart last year and with the support of 6Music’s Steve Lamacq this band are in it for the long haul.
Previous readers will know that I am a massive Goldie Lookin’ Chain fan, and these guys really do know how to play to a festival crowd. With their well choreographed dance routines and catchy lyrics they just make me laugh! Whether they should be playing at a “family friendly” festival at 6pm is a totally different matter, but I enjoyed them! The Big Pink followed and made an incredible sound across the festival site. Hard-Fi next who I had been really looking forward to seeing played a collection of their biggest and most well known songs before opening up the stage to Razorlight who ended the festival in style. They are by far the biggest headliners the festival has ever pulled and it’s clear to see that it is growing year by year.
The weather put a lot of people off, that is a given. With some day tickets available for £20, there is no doubt that Sunday should have pulled in a bigger crowd, I just hope people can see past that and remember that people create the atmosphere at festivals and come rain or shine the bands need people there to feed off!
All in all my OsFest 2012 was a blinding experience, best friends, great music and a cracking location. A few tweaks here and there and the whole festival will be perfect!
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I work for a fab website I get to see some amazing bands and go to fantastic festivals, do previews and reviews and promote them. =)