Monday, 25 August 2008

Festival on Festival, no holds barred, action

Having attended two musical festivals in a fortnight (Mrs B was less than impressed with her social secretary and has threatened to sack me). I thought it would be a good opportunity to compare the two events. A real David (Standon Calling) versus Goliath (V 2008) contest, so gloves on and lets hope for a clean fight which means no biting, scratching or kicking, unless you think you can get away with it.

Ding, Ding, Round one

Festival Length
Standon takes an early lead, as it gets out of the blocks a whole day ahead of V with proceedings kicking off on the Friday afternoon. This turns out to be a false start from our point of view as we couldn’t make it until the evening. Then, when we arrive to see Friday’s headline act (the “Mystery Jets”) they failed to show. Oh no, were we getting dragged down the same path as restaurants closing before our very eyes from a few weeks back? This feeling was enhanced when we arrived at V. We managed to miss the first three groups that we attempted to see as 1) the timing sheet that we had purchased with good money was wrong and 2) they swapped the main stage and the Channel 4 stage around from the previous year. Despite the evidence before our very eyes, written in LARGE letters, spelling out the actual stage that we were watching, our bodies were so conditioned to last year’s setup it took a couple of hours to get over it. A genuine case of Festival-lag……

1:0 to Standon

V 2008 – estimated attendance 100,000 (aside 1)

Standon Calling – Estimate 2,500 (aside 2),

While I’m tempted to say dealing with 2,500 is a much more pleasant experience, reality tells me that V 2008 has equalised by a rather large margin.


This depends how you score it, V 2008 managed to make itself look like a rubbish dump by early Saturday evening. Hardly any bins and a crowd that seemed happy to sit in its own muck.

2:1 Standon goes back into the lead.

Get serious, these are both music festivals – no score for either, even though Standon had pictures hanging in their toilets and hand cream, but it was still not enough…..

Mrs B has a great defence mechanism for this. Her bodily functions shut down and refuse to go until she gets home from such festivals. I wonder if she could package this and pitch it in the 'Dragon's Den'

Score remains at 2:1

Food and drink
Standon provided decent food at a reasonable price and the bar provided a source of entertainment (aside 3).

V 2008 offered punters over-priced rubbish to eat and the opportunity to queue for half an hour to purchase a beer token which then allowed you the opportunity to queue for an hour to pick up a watered down beer in a plastic cup for £3.30. Another easy one for Standon….

But hang on, I don’t drink and I discovered a fantastic Milkshake stand at V 2008 which was easy to get to as everyone else was stuck in beer queues.

So, 3:1 to Standon from 102,499 people’s point of view but 2:2 in my world.

I wouldn’t want to be accused of being biased though, so I’m generously going to call it another draw. What do you mean sounds like the judges at the Beijing Olympics scoring a Chinese athlete? Now where’s my Milkshake…?

Score remains at 2:1

For Mrs B Toblerone & Pims makes for a happy bunny, While Ediane demonstrates how people in Brazil drink using just a finger, Ingenious just wish us Brits could manage it.....

Standon £60 for three days including camping – not that we did V 2008 £135 for two days without camping

3:1 to Standon

Possibly a little unfair, as this is out of the hands of the organisers but life’s like that, while V didn’t get much sunshine, Standon attracted more rain.


Standon had 5 stages including an underwater one (well alright, speakers in a swimming pool).
One of the stages at Standon. On closer inspection it turned out to be a cow shed posing as a Disco

Highlights included
Super Furry Animals
Mystery Jets (well almost)
Florence and the machine
Old Street Musical Union

Low lights
Almost everything else

While V had 6 stages Musical highlights included
Kaiser Chiefs
Maximo Park
Amy Baxter
The Zutons
The Feeling
Noah and the whale
Pigeon Detectives

Low lights
Girls Aloud - Mrs B wanted to see them and then promptly fell asleep it was that dull. I just wished I had as well.

Amy Winehouse – I had hoped for either good Wino or bad Wino (ie the falling over abusing the crowd Wino). But all we got was ‘Average Amy’ who performed a lacklustre set and spent most of her time tugging at her short skirt threatening to flash an already frightened crowed. It was reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s rather embarrassing crotch-grabbing routine, from the eighties.

So that’s all square then, leaving value for money as the decider.

Value for money
When it comes to music, V is streets ahead but Standon hangs on in as it did provide some excellent non-musical entertainment:-

Reverse binoculars football
The theme for this year’s event was Japan – old and new. So I’m not sure where this event came in, perhaps it’s big in Japan. It was great fun to watch and made up for them not having one of those blow up Sumo competitions…..

Fancy Dress competition
Worst entry for the Fancy dress competition had to be the four idiots that dressed up as Pandas. Hello guys the theme was Japan not China. They were so embarrassed when their geographical error was pointed out to them as they were informed that if Pandas had been in Japan they would have all been eaten centuries ago. They were christened Japandas after that and went onto make even bigger fools of themselves by losing to a team containing girls in the Reverse binoculars football.

I can understand the "Monkey" costume, just not sure about the rest of the fancy dress costumes

Cornetto Trilogy
OK, not strictly a Standon event but it was part of the weekend and with the weather turning against us we were all rather relieved not to be camping so returned home early on the Saturday and watched the first part of the Cornetto Trilogy. I had not realised until Costas, who had not even seen the films, informed me that the Simon Pegg films “Shawn of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” contain gratuitous scenes of Cornetto purchasing (this is a homage to the famous French trilogy “Three colours red", "Three colours white", "Three colours blue”. Apparently it’s not that famous, however, as Mrs B just informed me that she has never heard of them). With the weather even worse on Sunday it was the perfect opportunity to catch up on the second part of the trilogy, followed by a rather nice pub lunch and a short tour of the delights of Bishops Stortford. This proved a bit too exciting for Ediane and Costas who took the opportunity to exit stage left, leaving Mrs B and I to return for the Headline act “The Super Furry Animals”. Mrs B almost recognised one of the tunes…..

But just as I start to waiver towards Standon I remember those glorious Milkshakes…

V is the clear winner (In my warped mind anyway).

Sorry Standon, my advice for next year is do whatever it takes and get a decent milkshake purveyor and some more groups that people have heard of.

-----------The end of another BlackLOG hope you had fun---------------------------(Click if you want to leave a comment )------------

(1)On the Sunday, Teach sent her two boys down to us for their first large festival experience. They did OK for teenagers but just did not have the stamina to keep up with us festival veterans. Plus they got embarrassed by two people the wrong side of forty having a good time… (Return to text)

Mrs B and her minders, if only they had been trained to stand behind her she might have seen some of the shows

(2)Standon Calling apparently started 8 years ago with 30 people. Unbelievably my Brazilian friend Ediane and her Italian husband Costas accidentally volunteered to join us for this event. I don’t think they realised what a low key event it is. (Return to text)
While Edian embraces the Japan Theme, Mrs B and Costas don't seem to be quite so up for it

(3)The world’s worst Barmaid When we first reached the bar there were only a couple of people about. Costas and I watched in amazement as the barmaid, almost in slow motion, served a round of drinks to a couple of people. She then spent 5 minutes chatting to some friends (not even serving them) allowing a size able crowd to build up. Undaunted, our gallant barmaid took an order for a couple of bottles of wine - only she was incapable of opening them. With the crowd getting restless Costas took pity on her and took the bottles and opened them for her. She then tried desperately to sell them to him. When he pointed out that we had not ordered them, she took off with both bottles in hand and did a convincing impression of a nomad wandering around the bar desperately trying to off load them. I then took pity on her at this point and bellowed across the bar

Me :- “Has anyone ordered a couple of bottles of wine?” Silence…….

Me :- “Has anyone ordered a couple of bottles of wine?” ……

Nameless woman :- “Oh, that was me, I hadn’t forgotten that I had been served.”

With the wine delivered safely we looked forward to being served. Not a bit of it, despite our assistance and long term residency at the bar our barmaid sold us out and ignored us, choosing to serve other people really slowly…….

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  1. who is that very tiny person standing with my boys? Oh, its Nicky! Haven't they grown! Lovely photograph, made us all laugh

  2. I believe this was trick photography, Mrs B in real life towers over the boys...... Ok perhaps not but what she lacks in height she makes up for in personality.

  3. As instructed has jumped across hyperspace from Jamesthebluecat blog, oh and I was feeling nosey!

    Surely Standon should get a point for being easier to get to, you can cycle it and know you are helping to save the planet. Those hills aren't as steep as they look.

    I am a bit surprised that Standon Lordship have a festival, but it has obviously retained it's exclusivity and small numbers, due to the fact that it isn't that easy a place to find.

    I did go to a garden party there a couple of years ago (the other half grew up in Puckeridge and has connections) but as I had to launch myself (fully clothed) into the swimming pool to fish out the smallest boy as he started to drown, I've been disinclined to go back, and so far the In-Laws haven't dared suggest it!

  4. Welcome aboard Imo, hope it is not to boring an experience for you after the "Blue Cat".

    It's strange we do a fair bit of cycling around the area but had no idea that the Lordship was there. Live and learn. I would have scored Standon higher but those Milkshakes were real good....


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