[Shelby Loasby | Head of Print]
Started at the barn, now they’re here! Generally known as Essex’s small, family festival, Brownstock 2015 proved that size doesn’t matter this weekend with an epic explosion of music, entertainment and unforgettable memories.
From a shisha lounge, silent disco and fairground entertainment, to five different stages of a plethora of genres and artists, Brownstock had something for everyone.
The festival kicked off on Friday 10th July, with streams of revellers arriving with wheelbarrows full of camping gear, food, and alcohol. Whilst some festival goers seemed to be getting irate with the long queues and hours of standing in the scorching heat, others were starting the party early and getting boozed!
Once wristbands had been allocated, bags had been checked, and items had been confiscated, people were through the gates and ready for the six o’clock start.
Whilst the music around the arena did start at six, The Stumble Inn venue hadn’t quite finished being set up so festival goers were not granted access until 20 past. Whilst this meant that some bands were playing for 20 minutes to only a handful of staff and VIPs, they took it in their stride.
The main stage saw The Grizzly Bears, a parody cover band, make fun of the situation.
“Woah Woah Woah everybody, calm down, “ said the lead singer to an empty field, “Now it’s festival etiquette for you all to take one step back and if anyone falls down, help them out.” The band didn’t seem to mind and continued their hilarious and energetic set of classic cover songs.
As the night progressed, more and more people finally started pouring in – or stumbling in in some cases. Each stage soon gained crowds of people, all looking for their favourite tunes.
The main stage saw ska band The Kubricks entertaining the crowd with some of their funky, mellow hits, whilst The Good Shed offered some of the biggest DJ hits from Dream Mclean and ‘German Whip’ main man, Meridian Dan.
The Slippery Saddle Saloon was a quaint little bar where the bands played their authentic old american rock in the audience. Revellers could grab a saddle seat at the bar and sip on a nice cold beer whilst watching Dave Ferra, Rostock, Hokum Boys and Penguin Party.
Meanwhile, The Stumble Inn showcased the sounds of Too Damn Glam, including Alex Jones, Mark Storie and other Stumble Inn Residents throughout the night for the hardcore party people.
Not forgetting The Treehouse stage, which hosted the alternative, indie music of Secret Company, the disco duo Patawawa, the incredible Stapleford, Anna Mcluckie with her harp and Dojo.
The headliners of the night didn’t fail to impress either, with DJ Fresh taking to the Main Stage at quarter to ten. His iconic songs, including ‘Gold Dust’ and ‘Dibby Dibby Sound,’ blasted out across the festival, whilst his accompanying MC and singer got the crowed hyped up and dancing. It was an awe-inspiring set from an internationally famous DJ, but the fun didn’t stop there.
Lethal Bizzle followed DJ Fresh in The Good Shed, putting on a show for all his fans at the festival – and on his snapchat. The ‘POW’ star was a true entertainer and closed Friday night with a bang!
The first day of the festival had been a success, but all thoughts turned to Saturday’s acts and saw revellers truly getting into the spirit of the festival.
With Brownstock being open to anyone and everyone, there was entertainment for all ages. When people weren’t off enjoying all the music on offer, they could grab a bite to eat at the numerous food stalls, including Pie Hard and Wok and Roll, or could give it a go on the BUMP Roller Disco or bumper cars.
The big highlights of entertainment at the festival was the Paint Fight at the Main Stage and the Kinetix parkour boys. The Paint Fight is pretty self-explanatory and saw hundreds of people throwing bags of paint over each other creating a multicoloured smoke cloud over the festival. The only thing that people didn’t seem to remember, however, was that not everyone had access to a shower – so being covered in paint on the second day into a three day festival was going to be interesting!
The Kinetix parkour boys were incredible to watch – not just for the muscles – they put on a show with their incredible skills and talents and even enticed members of the public into their mini arena, so that they could jump over them.
But back to the music! Once again there was a lot to offer around the arena, with the whacky yet mesmerizing Them & Us on the Main Stage, along with the popular Shakka AKA “Shakka with two Ks” as he liked to remind the audience about 30 times in a 30 minute set.
The rest of the stages saw the likes of DJ Duo Draig Cavid – one of whom also played with the Youth Club later that night – The Dave Jackson Band in the Slippery Saloon, the Next Wave showcase in The Stumble Inn and Stealing Signs Takeover at The Treehouse stage.
Before the highly anticipated performances of the evening took place, Trident Media managed to catch up with upcomers and Southend proud, Youth Club, as well as heros of our generation, The Hoosiers! You can read their interviews here on the website later this week! So make sure you check back for some inside scoop about all the boys.
The Hoosiers took to the Main Stage slightly later than expected due to some soundcheck difficulties, but it was definitely a case of better late than never. The boys provided a journey through their discography with songs like ‘Cops and Robbers’ and ‘Worried about Ray’ and from their latest album The News From Nowhere; ‘Fidget brain’ and ‘Handsome Girls and Pretty Boys.’ They put on a spectacle, with Irwin Sparkes jumping down into the pits and drummer Alfonso putting on his Taylor Hawkins face.
They ended their set with the infamous ‘Goodbye Mr. A,’ accompanied by circus performers and killer guitar solos. (They also tweeted us at Trident Media and we got a little over excited!)
@TridentMediaUK can I use this shot as my profile pic? … Too late! Thx!
— Irwin Sparkes (@IrwinofSparkes) July 12, 2015
Over on the Treehouse Stage, Youth Club put on a fantastic performance of their EP – Brothers. Whilst they had been offered a Main Stage slot, the boys had turned it down as the Treehouse stage was the perfect setting for them with the right vibes. Lead singer, Gerrard, sang flawlessly next to guitarists Joe and Danny, as they gave their fans a taste of summer. The catchy ‘People’ and ‘I’ll give you my all’ got the crowd going and proved that the only way was up for the band. Back over on the Main Stage, the music took a change in direction from Indie to House music with Sigma taking to the stage. The famous ‘Nobody to love’ was an instant hit with the crowd and saw hundreds of revellers running over to the stage, ready for the night’s headliners. Performing other massive hits like ‘Higher’ and ‘Changing,’ Sigma warmed the crowd up for the big name of the night – Basement Jaxx.
The Saturday night headliners put on what can only be described as a theatrical performance of energy, entertainment and head-banging, body-bouncing tunes. Basement Jaxx pulled out all the stops with a variety of singers and performers, and even some massive props to end the show. The set was a never-ending change-up of their biggest hits, including ‘Do your thing,’ ‘Where’s your head at,’ and ‘Never say Never.’ The night continued into the early hours in The Good Shed with Shadowchild, Bondax and MJ Cole, whilst The Stumble Inn kept the night alive with the Next Wave showcase. (Unfortunately we – at Trident Media – were not hardcore ravers and needed our bed and a cuppa so had to leave early.)
Brownstock showed everyone how a festival was done and made sure that Saturday 11th July was a night everyone would remember.
Whilst Trident Media spent most of the day at the Red Bull Soap Box – great fun by the way! – we managed to make it back to Brownstock in time for the headliners of the night.
Before we headed over to the music, we caught up with a few familiar faces and members of the audience. Vocalist MC, who had been performing over the weekend, loved Brownstock and said, “Smaller festivals are always better as you have everything in one place – it’s all in good proximity.”
Whilst most people said the festival was “sick bruv!”, others had some more negative comments to make. A festival goer from Colchester said, “The space isn’t as big this year. Last year The Good Shed was much bigger, and there were two main bars. There’s only one main bar now and you can’t get beer there!”
She added, “It’s a much younger crowd now. And where last year was more chilled and had an r&b feel, there is now a more ravey and angry crowd.”
Although she wanted the festival to revert back to how it used to be, she said she was still having fun and couldn’t wait for Sunday’s headliners on the Main Stage; the infamous and crazy rockers The Darkness, and the complete opposite genre DJ/rapper Example with DJ Wire.
The Darkness came on stage with their iconic fashion sense – bright, sparkling pants, long hair and lots of tattoos. As a few acts were running behind, The Darkness had to zoom through their set, but this didn’t stop them from having a bit of fun. One photographer had left his GoPro and tripod in the pits, and lead singer, Justin Hawkins, was reluctant to return it.
“Whose is this?” He said, “If no-one claims it back I’ll have to hold on to it.” Hawkins, who was now topless, proceeded to undo his trousers and shove the GoPro down his arse. “Still want it back?”
The photographer was standing in the pits, sheepishly watching the entire thing, waiting for Hawkins to finish abusing his GoPro. Unfortunately for the photographer, Hawkins decided this wasn’t enough punishment for leaving the camera, and confiscated it until the set was finished.
Despite his decadent behaviour, the gig was everything you could have hoped for from The Darkness, with hits ‘One Way Ticket’ and ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love.’
To end the night on the Main Stage, Example was joined by his regular partner in crime, DJ Wire. The two gave the crowd exactly what they wanted and performed some of Example’s biggest club anthems like ‘Changed the way you kissed me’ and 2010 summer hit ‘Kickstarts.’
If Example’s set wasn’t enough to end the festival, The Good Shed offered one last epic act to take the stage – Sub Focus. The ‘Turn back time’ star rocked the big red tent down with the bass pumping and massive balloons being bounced around the venue. It was the perfect party tent to finish the amazing weekend at Brownstock 2015.
Having been shortlisted for the Best Small Festival and Best Promoter of the Year in 2014, we have no doubt that Brownstock will be nominated again for its efforts and successes in this year’s UK Festival Awards.
The organisers, the PR company Full Fat, all the assistants, security guards, caterers and tech teams did a fantastic job over the weekend, and Trident Media couldn’t thank them enough!
If you missed out on the festival this year or are suffering from PFD like us – Post-festival depression – have no fear, BSTK 2016 tickets are on sale now! Go buy you tickets on the Brownstock website.
Were you at #BSTK2015? Let us know what you thought and send us your photos at @TridentMediaUK