Wychwood Festival: Day 3 Roundup

By on Tuesday, 14th June 2011 at 2:00 pm

As dawn breaks over Cheltenham racecourse for the final day of Wychwood Festival, the sun is nowhere to be seen. Despite earlier forecasts stating the weekend’s weather would be warm, it is raining. Around the camp site wellies are being donned and waterproof ponchos unpacked, nothing is stopping the revellers enjoying the remaining hours of the weekend.

Opening the BBC Introducing stage is someone who could easily be headlining the tent this evening, Tim Gilvin. The self-described “postfuturist experimentalist diamond in the rough of neoconsumerist aspirationalism”, Gilvin and his band deliver a moving set of melodic minimal pop. Having attracted a large crowd, it appears that Wychwood are more aware of Gilvin’s approaching success than he is. The real talent in the music comes from Gilvin’s lyrics, as well as have a stirring voice his words are both powerful and emotional throughout. Although the dancing is kept to a minimum, there’s a air of appreciation for Gilvin and his own brand of heartfelt music.

Over on the Main Stage is the lovely Liverpudlian Delta Maid (pictured above). Despite being from the land of Scouse, her singing is akin to that of Mississippi blues. Although her soulful voice hasn’t brought the sun out, the rain has subsided and Wychwood are on their feet, with both young and old fans singing along together. The smile on her face says it all, that she loves music and delivering her message to the 1000+ people in front of her. She plays a mixture of songs from her new album ‘Outside Looking In’ including the fan-favourite ‘Any Way I Want To’, which she wrote about being bullied whilst working in a hospital. These emotive and honest songs are what make Delta Maid one of the finest singer/songwriters in the UK, hopefully soon to be discovered by the mainstream.

For a very different style of music, the Big Top is housing Chapelier Fou (French for “Mad Hatter”). This one-man cacophony of electronica provides welcome relief to those who have been subjected to one too many acoustic acts throughout the weekend. Armed with a violin, a harpsichord and a synth, Chapelier Fou creates some hooky loops and melodies to transform the Big Top into a fantastical soundscape. Drawing influence from the likes of Aphex Twin and Flying Lotus, the electronic beats coalesce with the violin to produce a dancey tune which is at times haunting but equally as upbeat. One of the most original acts of the festival.

Headlining the Main Stage this evening is one of the titans of prog rock. Ian Anderson and his merry men are performing the hits of Jethro Tull, the band with which he found fame. For the past 40 years, Ian Anderson has become synonymous with progressive folk music and huge instrumentals – something which he doesn’t disappoint with this evening. Treating the crowd a greatest hits set from Jethro Tull’s back catalogue, including ‘Thick As A Brick’ and ‘Budapest’, Ian Anderson and co. have the Wychwood crowd almost hypnotised and fixated on the show before them.

Despite Anderson being 63 years old, he still leaps and dances around the stage like a minstrel possessed. Lead guitarist Florian Ophale from Rosenheim, Germany (which causes a number of cucumber jokes from Anderson) almost steals the show with his electrifying solos and intense shredding. ‘Aqualung’ is the highlight of the hour long set, although the choral element expected by the crowd never truly came to fruition. Ending the performance on ‘Locomotive Breath’ is cause for much celebration from the ageing hippies and crusty rockers in the audience, despite the younger members not truly understanding why an old man is dancing around with a flute, the majority of Wychwood can go home happy.

As the food stalls begin to pack up and the car park begins to empty, Wychwood Festival has had another successful year. Despite the weather not holding up to its side of the bargain, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the 10,000 festival-goers. As those without work on Monday continue to drink into the small hours, there’s a communal question amongst the campsite – who’s up for next year?

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