Monday, 7 September 2009

Offset Festival

On Friday night, Mike and I dug out our tent and blew the dust off as it hadn't been used since Reading 2004.

This year we went along to the young, new (it was the second year) Offset Festival which takes place in Hainult Forest in Essex, about a 45 minute drive away from where we live. Also, a much cheaper festival at only £45 for a weekend camping ticket, it seemed worthwhile despite not knowing that many bands, although The Slits being there was also a big deal for me!

Anyway we set off about 10am on Saturday, and arrived at the site about 11, the first thing we did was go to the campsite that didn't seem very big (but got expanded through the day) and set up our tents. Then it was time to crack open the beers and the rum!

We went into the arena area in the early afternoon, we were quite suprised about the security, they frisked you everytime you went in! We weren't allowed to take any alcohol in with us.

The first thing we did was buy some food, luckily for us and RxKitten, there was plenty of vegan food available. It was still pricey (as is all festival food) but didn't seem so bad when we realised the portions were massive! The first thing we had was from the Leon Lewis veggie stall, I had a very tasty chickpea curry.

We went by the main stage and the first band we watched was the female fronted An Experiment on A Bird in the Air Pump, which actually set the tone for the day, as you will read, most of the bands I saw on Saturday were female fronted!

We hung around after them to see KASMS who were amazing. I would defintley recommend them for fans of riot grrrl. The singer was also completely mental, throwing herself around the stage and trying to climb up the poles.

We all went for a bit of a look around, then when trying to find Rxkittens boyfriend we went into the Guitar hero stage where we saw a band called Berlin brides who were awesome. They were from Athens and we even got given a demo after, so expect to hear them on MTJR!

After them, Mike and I stayed at the Guitar Hero: New Bands stage to see The Duloks, the name rang a bell, I was certain I had them on MySpace friends list (I was right)! Really glad we did, as they were also awesome. All female nutters that wear gym outfits (apparently they first performed at a fancy dress party and the costumes stuck ever since). They were very punky, fun, a bit like Le Tigre, and also hilarious. They interacted with the audience loads, and joked about the Offset crew people (that they all looked like they were from a TopShop advert- which they did) amongst other things. They also did a funny song called Bad Vegetarian.

We went back to the tents for more drinks and to have a bit of a break, before going to see Bombay Bicycle Club on the main stage, the first band of the day not to be female fronted! I quite enjoyed them too.

After that was The Futureheads, we didn't see the whole set as we had something to eat (veggie chili and refried bean wraps- messy but good)! and popped our head in the Hardcore tent I wasn't too entralled by that, so we went and watched the rest of The Futureheads just around the side of the stage, where we could see Rxkitten's boyfriend Dave and our friend Paul had somehow sneaked themselves backstage and into the press pit! We even witnessed Dave dancing to them, despite being known as "Heavy Metal Dave"... The Futureheads finished with their cover of Hounds of Love and it was pretty brilliant actually.

Then we stayed right at the front ready for The Slits, inbetween the djs on the mainstage were playing awesome music like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Elastica, so we had a bit of a boogie! Then we saw Dave and Paul get kicked out from backstage- oops! So they came and joined us to watch The Slits.

The Slits were of course, my favourite band of the whole weekend, they sounded awesome, and were so funny! Girls we have make our "poon poon" happy! lol. At one point they invited two girls up to the stage but a whole load actually joined them, people were climbing over the barrier to join, I was really tempted but the barrier was quite high and I was drunk so it wasn't going to happen. Soon the security kicked them all out. It was great to watch! I can't wait for their new album.

Sunday we didn't see as many bands, and was much more chilled out. We went and had another look around the stalls, there was a vintage clothing stall where Rxkitten bought a few things and I got a dress for £10 that I'm going to wear for the Amanda Palmer gig I'm going to next weekend, as well as some earrings!

Band wise, the first one we saw were Shrag, who were male and female fronted and were quite good.

We went to the Hardcore stage to see Kong, who were bloody scary with their weird facepaint and masks, and weren't really Mike and I's thing at all, so we had a wander and ended up seeing a band called brontosaurus chorus on the new bands stage who had all sorts of instruments including violins and sounded a bit ska- ish as well.

Then we went to another stage to see someone called No Bra, who really doesn't wear a bra (in fact no top on at all), she was meant to sound a bit like Peaches but she sounded awful so we all ended up leaving, as did quite a few others sitting in that tent.

Later on in the day we visited the hardcore tent again for Rolo Tomassi, the tent was getting packed so Mike and I stayed just on the edge. Was so suprised that the female singer is so small, as she has a proper heavy metal voice! It wasn't our thing either though so went away AGAIN and this time had a look in each tent and ended up by the main stage where we caught the end of Clinic, who sounded a bit like Placebo, was a bit disappointing that we missed most of their set.

The final band we actually watched were the Horrors, we watched about half of it, but personally I can't get into them, so ended up going back to the tent. Although I am told they had a lot of sound problems and threw a hissy fit, so wasn't their finest hour in any case.

To sum up, I thought it was a great festival even though I didn't enjoy as many bands on Sunday, the atmosphere was much more relaxed than reading, there was no fires allowed so there was no trouble whatsoever in the campsite. I'm defintley planning to go again next year.
Tip though, bring a lot of cash, as there was no cashpoint on site (despite it saying so on the website) it was quite a way off the site to get to one,. Toilets a lot cleaner than other festivals, food good, and vegan food easily available. Oh and security most of the time was pretty high, I got frisked almost every time I went into the arena, so you won't sneak alcohol in that easily!

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