Review: Galtres Festival, day one: Reef, Miaow Miaow and more

Miaow Miaow at Galtres: cooler than The Automatic. Photograph: York Acoustic on Twitter
24 Aug 2013 @ 12.27 pm
| News
Miaow Miaow at Galtres: cooler than The Automatic. Photograph: York Acoustic on Twitter
Miaow Miaow at Galtres: cooler than The Automatic. Photograph: York Acoustic on Twitter

Review: Galtres Parklands Festival, day one
Venue: Duncombe Park, Helmsley, Friday, August 23

What have I got myself into? I hate camping, I like my own bed, warmth, kettles and hot baths. I like television. I don’t like tents and sleeping bags.

But it’s too late to back out now, so I set off, shockingly prepared for a lady like myself. Goodbye, York. Hello, Galtres.

Imagine one of those days when everything just falls into place, that is my first day at Galtres Festival. Everything has been thought of.

You can park where you’re going to pitch your tent for a start, I was expecting a three mile trek with all of the bags. Then there’s the shuttle bus from campsite to festival… I gleefully hopped aboard and suddenly realised it was intended for children and pensioners, I felt a little guilty but at the ripe old age of 24, I’m certainly getting on.

I decide that my first move is to explore. The main site is small. The stages, bar The Duke Stage, are all packed quite closely together.

I was worried there’d be noise spilling in from other areas but, thanks to some strategically placed hay bales, there isn’t.

The Arts Barge Tent is my favourite. There are sofas everywhere, and for a girl that likes her home comforts the living room set up is welcomed.

I spend a good five minutes chuckling at The Preggas Bed, which, if you’re pregnant, you have the authority to throw anybody off. There’s an open mic on, where a duo called Badface are regaling the crowd with some acoustic folk numbers.

On to The Little Top, an intimate circus style tent. Chris Helme and Edd Barlow are playing here on Saturday, and I think it’s the perfect environment for their soulful acoustic styles.

On to The Firkin stage, popular because it’s where the bar is. There’s another open mic and the first act I watch in full is Ned The Kids Dylan. He can’t be anymore than 12 years old, but his confidence is ridiculous.

He’s walking into the crowd, flirting with the ladies, and he writes his own songs. Not to mention he’s a great little rock singer. He’s got it all. A timid looking girl called Ruby follows him, she announces that she’s 12 years old too, and I start to get a little depressed. She has a beautiful voice which she demonstrates on a lovely cover of Emilie Sande’s Read All About It.

And yes, she writes her own songs too, which she proves with Not Another Love Song, a clever and insightful anti-romance track. I have to leave after that, because I’m twice her age and I might as well give up all of my hopes and aspirations when there are children with talent like that in the world.

We have a wander around Pirate Village, but it quickly occurs to me that I look like a pedophile as I hide under a huge toadstool. The last thing I need is Operation Yewtree knocking on my door.

The Galleon Stage is in Pirate Village showing loads of theatre across the weekend. The BBC Introducing Stage, aka The Black Howl stage, is busy. Probably due to the quality of the acts on this weekend. When we arrive it’s Miaow Miaow, who I would describe as a slightly cooler version of The Automatic.

The Oxman Stage is next on my list, where I go to see Sarah Horn and James Cudworth, a wild fiddling folk duo. It tries to rain, I whip out my pack a mac, a defiant crowd gets up and dances.

The Duke Stage ready to rock. Photograph: Galtres Festival on Twitter
The Duke Stage ready to rock. Photograph: Galtres Festival on Twitter

We get talking to Angie and Pete on the hay bale next to us, Pete tells me they were the highlight of the festival last year. Children are going wild, mums are going wild, I briefly go wild, then restrain myself. There’s only one girl who I really wish hadn’t danced. Vigorous moves without a bra? You’re asking for trouble.

A highlight for me is the compere, clearly influenced by Bes, he announces a band, then rushes down to the front to dance. What a hero.

The Blueprints follow Sarah and James, a man tells me he’s here on his own and he’s never heard of The Blueprints but he thinks it’s a good name. Well, that’s a good a reason as any to see a band.

To me they’re a rock and roll one night only. The nameless man doesn’t look impressed and makes his way back to the beer tent. Each to their own.

Finally, The Duke Stage, where everyone rushes to see local boy Benjamin Francis Leftwich. Somehow I’m right against the barrier, if this was a Springsteen gig I’d die happy.

Ben plays those acoustic songs we know and love, it’s all a bit romantic and I feel like I should maybe give up my spot for some loved up couple. But I don’t, because if Ruby from The Firkin Stage doesn’t think love and romance is that important, then neither do I. To the back with you hand holding fiends.

I stick around for Reef, who are the headliners. To be honest though, we all just want to hear that one song. They could come on, do that, and go for me. But no, I’ll have to sit through 20 minutes of their new material.

Finally they play Place Your Hands, and the crowd are excited but restrained, nothing compared to the anarchy over at Sarah Horn and James Cudworth earlier.

It’s raining so I decided to head back to the tent, having lost my friends and feeling pretty exhausted. There’s a bus going to York and I almost get on… but who knows, maybe I’ll learn to love this camping lark? I’ll let you know on Monday.