Located just outside of Winchester is Blissfields, a small festival that has a community feel like no other. It’s the only festival where they openly say ‘it never rains at Blissfields’ and it’s the only festival where you can walk around and have a conversation with anyone or anybody. The line-up was huge this year and although it rained for one day, the other days were scorching hot and it was an incredible weekend. Impact share their highlights of what was on show.
It’s safe to say the band are just a class act and they showed all of their class at Blissfields. Playing songs from both debut album ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ as well as their upcoming album, the set was a hit. Particular highlight has to have been ‘Reeperbahn’ a song off the new album. It has the makings of a future anthem, and one that I look forward to hearing in both record form, and again live. Frontman Fred Macpherson is a showman, there is no doubt about it, coming on in a signature suit, he saw the rain hit Blissfields. However when the rain hit, the jacket came off, and the crowd stepped up just like the band. The band were the highlight of the weekend, and they just took the weekend to another level. In a festival made for everyone, the band produced everything, and for that reason they truly were a class act.
As a band that have performed for the last four consecutive years at Blissfields, Dub Pistols knew exactly what the Thursday night crowd in the Hustle Den wanted. The audience ranged from the young ‘just finished A-Levels’ lot- probably born the year the Dub Pistols formed in 1996 to the fans who had been there from the start; but each and every person was dancing. Even if you didn’t know their music, the Dub Pistols put so much energy into their set it was infectious. Covering well known songs such as ‘Gangsters’ by The Specials or the Stranglers ‘Peaches’ had all ages jumping up and down whilst attempting not to drop the serial crowd surfer, frontman Barry Ashworth. Festival tents always have this effect of making everything outside go away and joining the crowd together whether that be through trying to fit into a band’s stage ‘selfie,’ or singing along to a great song. Leaving the Hustle Den after the Dub Pistol set it felt as though the crowd, and the band, could have gone on all night.
Having reviewed Mr Croll’s debut album ‘Sweet Disarray’, I knew he was a talented singer and songwriter. What I didn’t realise was how incredible his songs would be live. Dan Croll’s music was the perfect addition to quirky Blissfields’ sunny Friday evening. The afro-sound that inspires Dan was brought alive by the band that accompanied him to the festival and the energy he expended with each song had the crowd smiling almost as much as he was. The great thing about a small festival like Blissfields with a relaxed crowd meant it was possible, after the crowd had finally stopped shouting “encore,” for genuinely nice guy Dan Croll to come out to the audience after his set and take photos or sign things and have a chat.
It was an ironic statement that when Bipolar Sunshine came on, the sun was well and truly out. With the recent release of ‘Deckchairs On The Moon’ , there was big hype around the one man singing sensation. Bipolar Sunshine, or Adio Marchant was the perfect accompaniment to the Hampshire weather. Listening to tracks including ‘Love More Worry Less’, ‘Where Did The Love Go’ and the current single. It really was a flawless set. Bipolar Sunshine deserve all the attention on radio as possible, because Adio is a talented man, and the music produced is something of a calibre beyond what we are use to at the minute. It was safe to say that sat down with a cold pint in hand, Bipolar Sunshine absolutely killed it on the main stage and it’s really worth buying a ticket when he graces the Rescue Rooms stage in October.
Meeting Lorna Jane in the queue for the campsite portaloos, I would never have guessed she’d be performing that night at the Blisscotheque stage. In the ‘stage’ – a big, red London bus with decks stood Fauxlo (her stage name) cat ears and all, looking like she was having a blast. Her music includes a wide mix of genres from Downtempo and Bass to Electric Swing. The two best moments in the set were a remix of the Jungle Book theme chosen for Blissfield’s 2014 Theme ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air mix that followed. The latter received shouts of ‘play the whole song’ by those who wanted to show off their lyrical knowledge; to which Fauxlo replied “Mine’s better!” She wasn’t wrong. After placing third in the 2012 BBC Radio 1 Superstar DJ Talent Search, she has since supported Netsky, Dub Pistols, P Money and Benga. Now she has played to the largest crowd the Blisscotheque stage saw all weekend- if you haven’t already, you’ll definitely have heard of Fauxlo soon.
Blissfields really was an unbelievable weekend, and tell me this… How often have you stood in a crowd where a man beside you is dancing with an aubergine? I’m assuming never, but hey, that’s Blissfields for you.
Dan Jones & Harriet Keep