I have just returned from my first festival as an 'artiste,' and man, was it a weekend.
Shambala is a lovely little festival, free from the big names and corporate branding that other festivals have become synonymous with in order to survive.
And to avoid major security issues, the festival organisers posted very limited directions. At first the website proclaimed that the festival was inbetween Towcester and Market Harborough. As my bandmates were all travelling down when I was at work, I decided to make my own way from Manchester via my parents' house in Banbury in the hope they would kindly take me the rest of the way. Sadly, as geography has never been my strong point, I didn't realise the festival was in fact 47.5 miles away, and much as my dear dad tried, there was no way he was going to take me the entire distance, especially when he had a Villa match to attend.
Anyway, I got there with very little hassle in the end, and set up camp with the Single Cell Recordings crew in the 'artist's camping'. After a practice gig the night before at the Bedouin Lounge, 'Boo' kicked off the Sunday night festivities in the Manchester run Rebel Soul Village, three tipis put together for performance space and an eaterie, with all proceeds going to direct action campaigns.
All the bands playing come under the banner of Damien Mahoney's Single Cell Recordings, so after Boo, Lunar Coup, a swingy-jazzy band, took to the stage to warm up the shivering masses. Badger the Hermit, playing original and arranged jazz chillout influenced pieces, were next. Will Lenton, the multi-instrumental whizz, kindly invited me on stage to join in with the gorgeous Bjork track 'Unravel'. Finally, Defunkles, a shambal-ic (see what I did there?!) arrangement of Damien Mahoney's beautiful electronic tracks made its debut with 12 of us on stage... after one rehearsal. It was manic to say the least, but we all danced away and enjoyed it. So much so we went on until 1 in the morning and the security closed us down, despite the fact we had two more acts to go!