Looe Music Festival - a 'magical journey of discovery'
Looe Music Festival
Review by Gareth Bartlett
BY their own admission, the organisers of Looe Music Festival admit the location is a bit of an issue.
The official guide opens with the question: “Who in their right mind would organise a music festival in Looe?” and goes on to outline potential flaws with access, lack of grass and wide-open flat spaces.
And when you see it for yourself, you see the size of the problems they face.
But far greater is the success in creating a unique and sensational festival.
They transform Looe into a beautifully higgledy piggledy smorgasbord of entertainment.
It feels like a magical journey of discovery walking through the streets – craning your neck to get a peek down side streets as music emanates from seemingly every nook and cranny.
You didn’t know what you were going to stumble upon next – a samba band, some sea-shanty-singing pirates, or a Dumbledore-alike playing a nose-flute. It was all so very random and bizarre. But brilliant.
There was food galore too, trade stalls wherever they could fit, and shops opening longer hours, while restaurants put on alternative festival menus.
Everyone seemed to be in high spirits, and even though the weather could’ve been better, no one really seemed to care.
Because with 60 bands playing on four stages and a huge number of other entertainment in other little venues, there was always something happening.
The scheduling was spot on and it was non-stop in the Blue Banana as two stages meant the crowd simply had to turn around for the next act a split second after the previous one.
Musical highlights for most will be the headliners Reef and The Darkness.
Topping the Saturday night bill, it was sad to see Reef lose a fair few people straight after their big hit, Place Your Hands.
It was a similar story the following night as the last note of I Believe In A Thing Called Love dropped, and the folks standing next to me called it a night half an hour or so before the end. But the venue was rammed, and the Lowestoft rockers were in good form, though it was a bit of a shame that there wasn’t much played off their new album, which made way for almost the entire track listing of their debut.
And while Sham 69 were rather awful, they certainly had their share of passionate fans, and The Damned more than made up for it with a hugely entertaining set.
Chas and Dave were fab, as you’d expect, though we did have to listen from outside the tent and peer in through a gap, given how rammed the venue was.
But the true brilliance of Looe Festival wasn’t the big names. The sheer volume of local talent was immense, and there were plenty of acts who deserved a place on the big stage, more so than some of the “has-beens”.
Bands like Hold The Sun, who performed a storming set of rocking-yet-tasteful tunes, were the heart and soul of this festival.
But the biggest performance was off-stage, by the organisers.
They deserve an encore of their own. See you next year.