Well, this is all very civilised, I’m on the barrier waiting for my favourite band and the people next to meare sharing a cheese board, complete with a selection of cheeses, crackers and grapes. Others are drinking from brightly coloured metal water flasks we collected at the entrance, at any other festival theywould be confiscated as a potential weapon!
But this is no ordinary festival, this is House Festival organised by members club Soho House and todayheld in the grounds of the beautiful stately home Kenwood in Hampstead. Billed as the ‘poshest festival in Britain’ tickets are a whopping £250 each! A large percentage of the proceeds are going to charity, so Unicef and English Heritage are set to benefit from the sale of all 10,000 tickets.
The 11 acts playing over 2 stages are an eclectic mix, with Rita Ora, my favourites the Manics and Nile Rodgers and Chic the biggest names on the bill.
It feels much more like a giant garden party than a festival, with a huge range of food stalls, cocktail bars and a mini funfair. Oh, and did I mention once you’re in everything is free?! Time to go mad at the Soho House barbeque with lobster and fancy salad, quickly followed by the cake and fruit stand with cream scones, rainbow sponge and chocolate brownies, then a vodka cocktail from one of the many bars, and finally, (for now) a 99 ice cream cone with a Flake. Saving pizza, fish and chips and churros for later, well, I don’t want to get sick in front of the Manics.
Might revisit the cake stall too actually …
It’s probably not a good idea to go on the Dodgems yet, so I wander over to the second stage in time to see Manchester indie band Pale Waves. Singer/guitarist Heather Baron-Gracie looks ice cool in the Summer heat and her band’s jangle pop songs draw a large crowd.
Soon the Manics will be on so I go back over to the main stage where Rita Ora has just finished her set and make myself comfortable on the barrier. The band are fiercely proud of their working-class roots so have mentioned they are not particularly comfortable playing today. I expect James to tell people not to clap, just rattle their jewellery but he prefers a self-deprecating ‘Someone let the white trash in today,we’re here to play for you’. The 12-song set is over in a flash and by the end I’m a sweaty wreck who needs to go and sit down to recover.
It’s dark by the time Nile Rodgers and his band take to the stage, an amazing musician his performance is slick but fun, and great entertainment.
As the day draws to a close it’s time to have one final slice of cake and make my way to the exit. On the road outside black taxi’s stop every few seconds to pick up my fellow revellers. I walk across the street to find the bus stop and look for my Oyster card. Ah well, it was good while it lasted but now it’s back to reality.
Eternal gratitude to Sean Moore for giving me a place on the Manics guest list.
The Zine UK’s very own Dead End Dolly. Epic Photographer and Manic Street Preaching photo-journalist with a love for cats.