As Friday morning dawned, four thousand Blissfieldians crawled bleary-eyed out of their tents and dragged themselves across the extended festival site for a good dose of caffeine and a pyjama-clad showing of The Jungle Book. The Electric Dreams tent proved popular for young and old alike over the course of the weekend, and there’s nothing like a rendition of Bear Necessities to bring everyone together!
Wolf Alice were first to take to the stage on Friday, as the awake half of Blissfields sprawled out on the grass before the Wild Stage and drank in their versatile sound, which combined hazy, folky vocals comparable to Daughter and First Aid Kit, with rocky riffs reminiscent of the Vaccines. Lead singer Ellie captured the mood, saying ‘this is the most chilled out and relaxed festival we’ve ever been to.’
During the afternoon, Strong Island-loved local artists didn’t let the ominous clouds steal their thunder, with Luke Ferre delivering a poignant set of new material to a ever-growing group of eager fans, and Bellyeyesmile treating the Hidden Hedge to a effortless blend of classic Krautrock, combined with other, more upbeat pop influences such as Neil Young and the Beach Boys.
As the evening drew in, Dan Croll brought his amped-up-acoustic sound to the Wild Stage, delivering crisp melodies and witty lyrics, not dissimilar to Blissfields veterans Spector. Croll’s track ‘Maway’ provided the perfect accompaniment to a my second butternut squash and halloumi burger in two days. Johnny Flynn also provided sunset pseudo-folk to his loyal Hustle Den crowd, which was packed with swaying bodies by sundown.
Finally, Sleigh Bells braved the downpour to shower fans with distorted vocals and dance beats. For those who were not quite as brave, inside the Hustle Den Gypsie Circus provided a carnival atmosphere with their bright and brazen contrasts of farcical pantomime style dancers with paper mache heads, and a beautifully embellished belly dancer, who warranted rather a different sort of cheer from the crowd…
Photos: Stuart Barker and Daniel O’Neill