For years I have been putting off attending a small festival and rather opted for the likes of Bestival and similar size events on the basis of bigger acts and gargantuan production values, never did I think that I could enjoy a festival the size of Blissfield with its comparatively small 5,000 attendees so much.
Blissfields is one of the most wonderfully coherent festivals I have had the pleasure of attending with an equally fitting community spirit that can’t help to put a smile on your face the throughout, all of the staff from security and stewards to food vendors, bar staff and regular attendees were amazing the whole weekend and really made us feel at home.
As a festival site it’s incredibly compact with the walk from our tent to the main arena only being 3 minutes long, but compact doesn’t mean that there was a lack of activity around the site with areas including The Larch with its sofas and acoustic music throughout the day to Route 375’s eclectic selectors there’s something for everyone whether you’re into Hip Hop or Ska, Indie or Drum and Bass, although the sound bleed from Now and Den stage and Blisscotheque bus could be avoided by not situating two big stages side by side but that’s a small gripe and wasn’t the worst thing in the world.
Thursday’s headliners The Correspondents were at their blistering best as usual although they did get off to a slow first ten minutes but soon with the crowd onside sped through a frenetic Electro Swing/Ghetto Funk set that really set the tone for the rest of the night and the weekend as people filtered out after their set to the Hidden Hedge.
The Hidden Hedge really is the jewel in the crown of this festival a truly astonishing site to admire at night with more lights and art instillations than I thought was even possible for a festival this size, the Hidden Hedge is the late night electronic section of the festival and where the fire pit burns nonstop during the festival as a beacon and symbol of the festivals enduring spirit. Standout performances of the festival were in abundance at Blissfields from the smaller acts in The Larch such as Daisy Chains and Sam Cotton to Pumping Techno from Dan Munro in Area 51 amongst others, the music on offer was incredibly rich and well selected with not a single terrible act on show.
Established acts like Blissfields Favourites Dub Pistols really brought the place alive on the Friday with their raw Dub/Ska/Jungle fusion bringing the festival to life in the 27 degree heat that radiated down throughout the whole festival.
The best act of the whole festival though was easily The Horrors, they were sublime, playing songs from all but Strange House much to the dismay of some of the crowd behind us begging for ‘Jack The Ripper’. Long gone are the days where singer Faris would lurch and sway uncontrollably over the crowd whilst dowsing his hands in black paint ready to confront the crowd.
Although The Horrors are tamer than before and have focused their efforts on creating lush sonic soundscapes to hypnotise and mystify their audiences into a luminous sea of hazy eyes and beaming smiles, you can’t take your eyes away from the imposing figure Faris cuts as he prowls stage. The best moment of their set has to be ‘I See You’ taking the on looking crowd on a 7 minute psychedelic adventure deep into the minds of one of Britain’s most exciting bands.
Honourable mentions must go to Ghostpoet, Ibibio Sound Machine, Beans on Toast, Simian Mobile Disco, Akala and Grand Master Flash amongst others but everything and everyone at this festival was perfect and it was an absolute dream to attend, truly one of the most unique and beautiful festivals on the UK festival circuit and one you would be foolish to not attend.