This was our 4th Beautiful Days, and our second in Velma. In fact arrival day at BDs was exactly 2 years to the day that we bought Velma. For the first time in our 4 visits we had good weather throughout, with just a couple of hours of rain on Saturday morning. When the rain started we all thought "here we go again", but the site swallowed the rain, didn't get at all muddy and it was sunshine all the way from there.
Music....well we really were spoiled this time. Sometimes BDs can seem a bit "old school", but we had some real treats this weekend, including some surprises from the "old school" end of the spectrum.
Friday evening we listened to the Levellers Acoustic whilst lazing on the grass outside the Big Top, and then had a run of great bands, all of whom we were able to watch from the rail or thereabouts, I Am Kloot were amazing on the main stage, good banter from the lead singer including "this is so nice, but we are going to pay for it as we are at V with all the chavs for the rest of the weekend!!". After I am Kloot we moved to the Big Top for a great John Grant set and then waited for The Low Anthem, who were one of the highlights of the weekend, finishing with a totally acapella (sp?) Bird on a Wire (which improved once I stopped singing along). They had been nearly half an hour late coming on, so the set didn't include 737 or Ticket Taker, but it wasn't until we were talking about it later that we realised they were missing, the rest was so great.
Saturday started slowly, not exactly a first night runaway but a fireside chat back at camp meant a 230 bedtime for some of us. Anyway, the rain meant a slow start was in order, so once everyone had showered and had a good brunch it was off for a wander and a couple of hours listening to bands outside the Bimble Inn. Then across to the Big Top for Ade Edmundsen and the Bad Shepherds. The old songs were great, but the 5 or so new ones just aren't as much fun in my opinion. He has managed to choose my least favourite Specials & Stranglers songs to cover. Anyway, it was fun but losing its novelty for me. We lazed in the sun and listened to a bit of Eddi Reader then to the main stage for Afro Celt Sound System who got everyone jigging about. Tired people then retired and a few of us stayed out for Carter USM who were a real surprise. I had intended to see Roddy Woomble and the Oysterband, but Carter were really great. Incredible lights and energy, catchy half familiar tunes and an amazing atmosphere.
Sunday we camped in front of the main stage and made foray's off in different directions. After Wolf People and the start of the Beat I went to the Bimble Inn to see Ahab, then crossed to the Big Top to meet up with Gin, Pip and Jess for Tim Minchin "only a ginger can call another ginger ginger!", who was very very funny. Tent was completely packed and roasting, so we were grateful for some air when we came out and caught Stereo MCs, Flogging Molly and the Levellers, with a dash back for evening clothes while the MCs finished and Floggin Molly started. Talia has a tale to tell about Sunday evening, which I will leave for her!! The Levellers played easily my favourite Levellers set, which given that we must have seen them a dozen times in the last 7 years, is saying something. It was Levelling the Land end to end, plus Devil Went Down to Georgia, Cholera Well, Carry Me and Beautiful Days, plus a couple of tracks I didn't know as well, and the fireworks at the end were superb, even choreographing with the last 2 minutes of Beautiful Day, then at least 5 minutes more after it finished.
And now heading up the M5 to Shropshire, Talia will post her story up a bit later and we will add some photo's.