The ever-popular annual music festival Standon Calling is back. With its biggest number of attendees on record, this lively garden party turned festival drew the crowds to Hertfordshire for a weekend of sun soaked fun. Running from the 29th-31st of July, this boutique festival is set in an idyllic location, with easy access from both Cambridge and London. 'Legend of the Lost Seas' was this years theme, and from the moment I entered I was transported into founder Alex's imagination.
It is my 3rd time at Standon Calling, and once again they have provided a knock out line up that rivals that of larger festivals. Suede closed Friday night, whilst Jess Glynne and Kelis headlined over the course of the weekend, providing something for all age groups. Jess Glynne was my particular favourite, belting out hit after hit whilst maintaining a down to earth, grounded persona as she chatted between songs. Blossoms, Clean Cut Kid and Everything Everything also took to the main stage, The Hives rivalled the headline slot on Friday night, sorry Suede. Standon Calling has always championed up and coming music, proving to be a great source of discovering musicians, or genres that you may not think about listening to. The Hot 8 Brass Band came in to that category; fresh from New Orleans, their hip-hop, jazz and funk filled sound brought something completely new to Standon, proving to be a crowd favourite. A multitude of smaller stages showcased a variety of musicians, personal highlights being Flyte, Nadia Nair and Blood Red Shoes.
Alongside the music, Standon put on a variety of extra activities to pass time between acts.Rockakoke and Gospeloke at the Old Mout Kiwi Camp was the perfect opportunity for an out of tune sing along, whilst the Clock Tower hosted a 2 hour dance off. A music quiz brought out revellers competitive side, culminating in a 'show us your dance moves' round which got everyone young and old off their seats. Sunday began with the notorious dog show, which saw the return of the legendary Nigel, a beautiful and rather photogenic pooch who earned a respectable 3rd place in best dressed! Fairground rides proved popular with the younger generation, offering a spectacular view over the festival by night. Standon is not only renowned for its music; it provides an excellent array of comedy acts too, from stand up to improv.
Plenty of food stalls across the festival ensured no one went hungry, ranging from delicious macaroni cheese from the Mac Factory to headline act Kelis' Le Bun pop up restaurant, which offered mouth watering burgers for a bargain price. Pizzas, Nachos and Beef topped fries were a plenty, but no meal was complete without a slice of cake from Kitty's Cake Emporium. Bars offering beer, wine and cocktails kept the adults happy, and although at times the queues were vast, cheerful staff did their best to keep punters happy offering a large selection of drinks at reasonable prices, my favourite being a Gin Fizz from The Flaming Lips Bloody Mary Bar.
I will definitely be returning to Standon Calling; there are few festivals which manage to give you that same buzz you get from the first time you visit 3 years on, yet Standon does just that. Remarkably, it manages to appeal to everyone without trying too hard; an outdoor pool for the youngsters keeps children busy, late night music in the Cow Shed after festival face painting means teenagers can dance the night away, and music spanning all ages followed by a soak in the Soulful Sanctuary and Hot Tubs means the adults are pretty happy too. Families are well catered for when travelling as a group too; a baby and toddler area in the Kids Area keeps children occupied, and family camping area guarantees a good nights sleep. I will certainly be purchasing an early bird ticket to secure my spot for next year, as this hotly anticipated festival continues to grow in popularity. Be sure to get your tickets soon, you certainly don't want to miss out!