Monday, July 17, 2017

Snooky Fest @ Warren Farm, Dawlish - Saturday July 15th 2017

Having had a little hand in putting on a few festivals in my time I know just how much hard work, planning, money...more hard work...blood, sweat and tears goes into them, not just on the day itself but the many months beforehand too. So even before getting on site I was stuffed full of admiration for the organisers of Snooky Fest for getting to this stage.

Pretty soon it became clear they’d nailed it too, from the lovely handpainted signs all on the way into the site through to the mix of stalls, number of loos (oh so important for a festival), security and sound (big up to the sound dudes who did a cracking job all day). Atmosphere’s key at a festival and Snooky Fest just felt right from start to finish. In between the crowd were treated to a wonderful mix of music from the main stage’s opening act Brother Of The Walrus’s funk filled classics packed set right through to Eventine’s brilliantly eclectic mix of covers climaxing – in true festival style – with some fireworks.

There were many highlights but personal picks of the bunch were Keir and Seven Cities, the first coming from Bristol the second...well...apparently they’re from some place called Dawlish. Past single Troubled Mind’s a blues rock belter with Muse-tastic guitar solos and enough punch to make Royal Blood sound positively anaemic. 

They’ve got a good half dozen equally strong songs up their sleeves too though and with Black Sabbath now seemingly on a permanent sabbatical I’d like to think that Seven Cities could soon be filling their stadium filled hole. A seriously impressive performance.

Equally strong but adding a touch of soul and even gospel to the rock mix was Keir. Imagine if Freddie Mercury and Prince had got it on, the resulting lovechild might well have sounded a little like this. Good grief he’s good. Prowling the stage, raising his hand to the heavens and beating his chest like a man possessed during set highlight Squeeze Me Keir’s already a star, trust me, and once the rest of the world catches up you’ll be seeing him on the Pyramid Stage at Glasto.

Other highlights? Oh go on then...deep breath...singer sonwriter Cloudi’s cover of Lana Del Rey’s Blue Jeans, Datura’s sax-ual cover of Horace Andy’s Skylarking, Wax Cylinders Reef-ish West Country rock, Ten Bob Notes Socks and Sandals ska smasher, Sarah Yeo’s West Country meets West Coast Roadie, Ollie Stephens giving Gregory Porter a run for his money on Don’t Lose Your Steam, N.U.M.B’s marvellous mashing up of reggae, hip hop and dub, the punky, spunky Bunny Boilers getting the kids united Sham 69 style, Vivid Vague bringing a little Slits-ish attitude via self penned track Dolly and Eventine’s riotous Uptown Funk. Thanks also to Ventons Cider for keeping us suitably refreshed (ahem) throughout the day with some of the finest pints this side of, well, anywhere.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the whole purpose of Snooky Fest and that’s to raise dosh for The Snooky Trust which helps out people with physical illnesses between the ages of 18-40. We’ve not been in Dawlish long but it’s clear they do some ruddy great work and hopefully the profits from this year’s inaugural Snooky Fest will go on to help many more people and – fingers firmly crossed – bring this wonderful heart warming, booty shaking, good time vibe filled event back next year.

PS: Big hugs to Caz Steffans and Rob Coleman who clearly worked their butts off to make this happen and to everyone who helped out during the day. You did Dawlish, Devon...heck...the whole Country proud.      

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