I always look forward to Leefest and this year especially so. All the troubles in the world at the moment made me look around Leefest and think I wish life everywhere would be like this.
Such a diverse and inclusive crowd, from all walks of life, young and old and even a few dogs all getting along and being wonderful. Strangers are welcoming, some are not so strange.. I've been going to this festival for a few years now and the same faces pop up each year and we all recognise each other, Leefest friends! I'm even getting to know the vendors that return each year and the stunning Charity Kase who always adds some glamour to the proceedings. I absolutely love how the lost boys, pirates and mermaids stay in character all the time. The look of amazement on the children's faces as they experience these artists is quite a sight.
I get adopted, as I'm there on my own, by different crowds of people, whenever I sat outside my tent many of my neighbours would invite me over to join them.
This year's chosen charity was most deserving, they were collecting for The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) who are dedicated to preventing male suicide. I was also impressed that the bar made people aware of the current movement to go strawless and Greenpeace were in the camping field helping raise awareness.
Anyway onto the fun! The torrential rain the day before didn't stop play in Neverland but it did delay our antics a little, but once everything was finished and open it was good times as usual.
I have two highlights, both are very different, the first stopped me in my tracks and the second got me dancing!
I was utterly transfixed by the amazing Kate Tempest, her powerful performance of Europe Is Lost left everyone awestruck. Kind of a bittersweet awe though when you think about all the wrongs in society that she so passionately highlights. I genuinely could not move.
After the set people were hugging each other, people they had just met, because they were so moved.
One of my favourite things about Leefest is how brilliant they are at booking up and coming artists, I always leave with a list of new bands to look up and enjoy later on. This year I loved Parcels, I was wandering over during the soundcheck when I hear Nile Rodgers' like riffs coming from the stage (coming from a guitarist who used to play metal too). I thought to myself I definitely have to stick around for this... as apparently did Daft Punk when they spotted Parcels play in Paris. If you take a listen to Overnight you probably don't need me to tell you that Daft Punk produced this single!
Crazy P were the perfect follow up to the Parcels set, I'd like to see a bit more disco action in festival fields! As usual Leefest also catered to the harder punk side of my musical tastes over at Hooks Rock in the pirate area. Yowl and Graceland really impressed me.
Yet again I left exhausted and having thoroughly enjoyed myself, the slogan is never grow old and as I don't intend on doing that anytime soon I hope to back once again, like a renegade master, next year. If they'll have me.
Review & Photographs by Tracy Hayden