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Wednesday, 28 August 2013 00:00

How I avoided the fickle festival finger of fate

Arts
by Attila the Stockbroker

I'm a Marxist. I don't believe in fate.

But if you live in England, start a brand new open-air music event in the West Country, call it The Forever Sun festival and make a roaring great flaming ball of fiery orbliness its logo - even though I don't believe in fate, I do know you're tempting it in so doing.

So I wasn't surprised at all to wake up on the morning of my scheduled appearance at the above to find it absolutely tipping it down. But, oh me of little faith, this was in Sussex and by the time I got to Dorchester the Forever Sun festival was living up to its name, everyone was smiling and a certain notorious '70s glam rock combo*, scourge of festivals since time immemorial, were nowhere to be seen.

As is my general tactic at festivals, I did an early slot. There are three reasons for this. First, it means I get to do my set when the audience is relatively sober and more disposed to listen to the spoken word, ie to being TOLD stuff.

Second, the main bands aren't on stage till later, so people are more likely to come to listen to little old me in the first place.

Third, it means that having done my set, I can get as much ale as I like down my neck while I wander round listening to everyone else without worrying about my performance disappearing in a sea of hoppiness.

This is something which took rather longer to learn than it should have done, I have to say.

So I saw up-and-coming garage rockers Peyote, The Dolmen - who seemed to have gone all muscular and heavy metal since the last time I saw them, not a criticism because there's only room for so many fiddly-diddly crusty-folky bands in this world - and the superb David McAlmont (pictured right), whose soulful voice grabbed me as I walked past his stage in search of ale and held me spellbound for half an hour or so.

And then came a big surprise - Republika.

Yes, they're back, and I have to say that live they are absolutely explosive, coming on like a collision between Kraftwerk and the Ramones. Headliners The Blockheads rounded things off with aplomb.

And, needless to say, it did tip it down on the Saturday but I was back home by then. Well done to all concerned. The following Friday I was off to the Ashes - not those Ashes, the Blyth Power Ashes. Four days of music, beer, cricket - 50 a side with a tennis ball - and, erm, trainspotting.

It was held in a field in the middle of the fens, hosted by Joseph and Annie from the utterly brilliant, inspirational and epic band Blyth Power and featuring all their/our mates. I had a wonderful reception and then got up at 6am to drive back and see Brighton win our first home game of the season, so I missed Blyth Power's sets over the weekend.

But I shall see them this Friday at the Duke of Wellington in Shoreham where, alongside Paul and Swill from The Men They Couldn't Hang, Wob, my band Barnstormer and more, we bid a final farewell to our old mate Roy Chuter in the way he'd have loved the best - a foaming sea of real ale and punk rock.

RIP, Roy. We'll miss you.

*Mud, of course.

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