Shindig Weekender 2018 ‘The funkiest festival in the West’!
I’ve been waiting for the glitter filled rainbow dust to settle after what can only be described as the best festival to hit the West Country in recent years.
Deep within the rolling hills of Bruton, Wiltshire, lies a hidden gem of epic proportions.
The sold out Shindig Weekender entered it’s 6th year to rapturous aplomb.
I’m a relative newcomer to Shindig, this year was only my second, however as a Bathionan the festival had been on my radar for several years before I finally made the switch, and it turned out to be the gift that kept on giving.
There is something intrinsically unique about Shindig, something I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it is the stunning undulating countryside, twice now I have watched spectacular lightening storms move their way across the valley; causing festival goers to wonder in awe, scream with delight and take shelter when the downpour hits. But not even the mighty weather can dampen our spirits. At the opposite end of the scale on the Friday, we were welcomed by the most beautiful sunshine, it seems that little Sundance we all secretly did enticed the sun out from those grey skies.
I took up my position behind the decks, ready to perform the opening set and warm up for Mr Scruff at the Dig Inn, the tingle of excitement merged with butterflies, the promise of an entire weekend dedicated to having the time of our lives filled the air, like blossoms on the breeze.
It was an honour to be asked to open the festival, I will never forget watching people arriving in their glittery & sequinned splendour, slowly making their way down the hill and into the tent, a gradual trickle turned into a pouring mass of iridescent dancing and smiling happy faces.
I recall one moment whilst watching the growing throng of people, the Dig Inn felt like it burst at the seams. Mr Scruff on my right, we exchanged smiles and appreciative nods. This is really happening! The atmosphere was palpable, all buzzing on the same wavelength. The crowd joined together in music for the joyous occasion. Every molecule of built up excitement, anticipation and expectation exploded into the most incredible moment of my DJ-ing career thus far. I can not thank you all enough for the positive vibrations and feedback.
What makes Shindig so special? Without a doubt the people, from the organisers Will Lardner & Jess Chambers, (bless up), the festival crew, security and most of all, ‘you’, the most friendly, welcoming, accepting, beautiful, radiant, colourful, revellers who exude nothing but positive and happy vibrations. The riot of colour inspired by this year’s rainbow theme, was the most glorious sight to behold. One of the things I love more than anything about Shindig, is the freedom of self expression and bursts of creativity.
This year’s theme of rainbow, was completely embraced by everyone, with childhood favourite ‘Rainbow’, bringing many people out in Zippy, Bungle and George related attire. Those who were old enough immersed themselves at revisiting their childhood.
Shindig is a place where you can bring your children, in fact it’s the children who make the festival what it is. Kids are free to play, run and explore in a safe environment.There is plenty for them to do, the kids field was teaming with laughter and colour. The children are the barometer, the balance in keeping the hedonism at it’s optimum level without spilling over into chaos.
An important part of the dynamic, laidback atmosphere is due to the line up, which is directed towards a more mature ‘old skool’ party crowd, yet is attracts a wide diversity of people of all ages and backgrounds. There really is something for everyone, from comedy, social conscious talks, circus entertainment and quiet reflective chill out zones like the new Story land nook.
This year’s sell out event paid homage to some of the music scenes best loved heroes with artists such as: Soul 2 Soul, Mr Scuff, Norman Jay MBE, The Jungle Brothers, Stereo MCs and Danny Rampling taken centre stage. With a distinctly 90s and early 00s vibe invoking euphoric recall reflect to those who experienced it first hand, to newly acquired fans. Underground dance floor heavy weights, featured DJ acts from the likes of: Stardust Collective, Cut Chemist, Deekline Ed Solo, Mickey Finn & Aphrodite and Dub Pistols amongst many others. Not forgetting the bristling assortment of upcoming artists from around the West Country; Bristol based movers & shakers; The Backroom aka DJ’s Simon Lloyd & Luke Stereo who held court in the Stardust tent for 5hrs in the glorious sunshine. Rising stars Eva Lazarus & Gardner, Bad Sister. Bristol Hip Hop, Funk & Soul vinyl sensation Boca45.
Personal highlights of the weekend have to be Mr Scruff of course, Norman Jay, Friday night in the Stardust tent was out of this world with the likes of Terry Farley and Danny Rampling bringing the vibe alive to a packed out crowd.
Kudos to Graham S who kicked off the Saturday session at the Dig Inn with two hour, funk, soul all played on 7inch vinyl! Reliving the old skool UK Hip Hop, in the shape of Blak Twang, Rodney P, Skitz. DJ Producer Chris Munkey throwing down heavy D&B beats in the Nautylicious. 2 Bad Mice, Top Buzz in the Tutti Frutti beach bar resonated with the sound sirens, jungle hi hats and bass lines.
After several days of partying hard, a much needed Sunday afternoon revival by Bristol’s Boca 45, The Allergies, Parker and DJP was heaven sent.
Watching the eagerly anticipated Soul 2 Soul band perform impeccably less than a meter away from me, was unbelievable, like listening to the soundtrack of my childhood.
There is so much more to say about this small but mighty festival, I could continue writing about the strange and wonderful sights and sounds, the belly laughs moments or the shenanigans back at base camp.
For me Shindig represents all I hold dear about growing up and living in the West Country, it has reconnected me with friends I haven’t seen in years, reignited and solidified friendships, giving me enormous sense of well being and belonging. In my humble opinion Shindig is one of the best boutique festivals I have ever had the pleasure of attending, long may it continue to be the ‘funkiest festival in the West’.
Sending out massive thanks and appreciation to Will, Jess and all the Shindig Crew, to each and every person who made this year one to remember.
Sending out massive thanks and appreciation to Will, Jess, Slim, Jeff and all the Shindig Crew, to each and every person who made this year one to remember. Big up to all the Bath, Bristol, Swindon Shindig family.
Link to warm set for Mr Scruff https://www.mixcloud.com/angelmel79/angel-mels-warm-up-for-mr-scruff-shindig-weekender-2018/