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Friends Of Mine Festival 2011

Smudge Jones on the triumphs and tantrums of the Cheshire festival

Written by . Published on May 30th 2011.


Friends Of Mine Festival 2011

ON the morning of Sunday 22 May, I actually wanted to commit murder. Now I’m not an angry person and very rarely lose my temper but there was a man in his late fifties with the habit of dressing like a pirate who was pushing me close to breaking point.

The transformation from being a city centre club night, to a fully blown three day camping festival was always going to be a tough one, so hats off to the team behind FOM for attempting to make the step up and give Manchester a much needed outdoor long weekend festival.

By this point, we were into the third day of Friends Of Mine Festival (FOM) and after a weekend of heavy drinking in a field, I was a bit worse for wear.

Imagine my horror then when, for the second day running, the clocked ticked to 8am and the middle aged pirate and his mates who were living in a wigwam, started boshing the bongos, strumming the guitar and singing such groundbreaking lyrics as ‘Hold on to your heart, it’s very heavy; Don’t let go of my love, I’m not too steady’.

Who brings a van full of musical instruments to a festival then plays them for six hours a day in the camping area? Idiots.

FOM Fest Willy Mason 2011 106.JPGDespite from being the place where I almost ended another man’s life, FOM was actually an enjoyable weekend. The transformation from being a city centre club night, to a fully blown three day camping festival was always going to be a tough one, so hats off to the team behind FOM for attempting to make the step up and give Manchester a much needed outdoor long weekend festival.

Set across the wonderful backdrop of Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire, the festival boasted an incredibly strong line-up for the first year including an array of Manchester and North Western legends such as The Fall, Buzzcocks, The Charlatans and The Farm alongside a host of unsigned or up and coming artists from across the country.

All in all, the festival should have been deemed a success. There was a large number of established acts - enough to keep those happy who had only came to see more mainstream acts - alongside a number of smaller bands of the calibre who could go to be as successful as those at the top of the bill.

FOM Fest The Fall 2011 032.JPGAs pointed out by my mate, it was the first festival we had been to where “everything we’d seen was good” and it seems the promoters had put a great deal of time and effort into heavily vetting bands, so there wasn’t much filler on any of the stages.

Bands and artists such as The Janice Graham Band, The Rainband, The Tapestry, Where’s Strutter, Danny Mahon, Kid British and Twisted Wheel all prove that the talent well hasn’t dried up in the Manchester music scene since the glory days of the eighties and nineties.

Added to this, there were other perks to the festival. Camping was easily accessible and everything was simple enough to find. There were high amounts of fresh water available and areas for families to entertain their children away from the noise.

There were also, of course, some teething problems that you would expect from a new festival. Tent and stage closures meant that not all acts on the bill got to play, which was a disappointment. It also seemed that the festival wasn’t a sell out and therefore crowds were on the thin side.

FOM Fest The Naughtys 2011 011.JPGThis, coupled with some downright bizarre security procedures - the most mental being that one person had to go and get their wristband whilst the other waited with the tents outside the site only for them to have to queue again to get their own band- means that there is scope for improvement for next year.

However, hopefully FOM will continue and get another year. It’s fair to say that lessons have probably been learned from this year’s event and now it can only go from strength to strength. If you get the chance too, get yourself down there next year.

Images by Katy B. www.katybphotography.co.uk
 

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