Lindisfarne Festival 2017 review
Vikings & Punks unite for an epic Lindisfarne Festival
Here at Nights Out In Newcastle we need no excuse to party! We love a BIG night out and so were absolutely thrilled when Lindisfarne Festival invited us for an epic weekend of fab music, fun entertainment and endless excitement. We dusted off the festival gear and packed up the Nights Out In Newcastle mobile with suitable supplies of beer, energy drinks, junk food and wet wipes!
This was our first time at Lindisfarne Festival and we were excited to see what fun and crazy things they had in store for us. The festival was open from Thursday 31st September. We could not make it until the Friday but prepared to make up for lost time as we blasted up the A1 from Newcastle on Friday afternoon, heading through some beautiful Northumberland scenery to Beal Farm where the festival is held. It may only be an hour away from the city but it feels a world away from reality! Overlooking the causeway to Holy Island you couldn’t ask for a more relaxing and impressive setting. We pulled into the car park, unloaded the car and set off down to the campsite.
The first thing that stuck me was just how friendly everyone was. I find festivals can go either way, either super friendly or a bit in your face at times! The best ones are known for the friendly atmosphere and sense of comradery. Lindisfarne Festival was definitely up there in terms of its general vibe, with a great mix of festival goers. The theme for the festival was Vikings and Punks, with people dressed in all manner of crazy outfits. The music line up was an eclectic mix of folk, hip-hop, dance, house, blues rock, indie, soul and more! This meant a real mixed crowd. On the walk down to get our wristbands we encountered nearly every type of reveller, with dreadlocked hippies in brightly coloured clothes, beer fuelled vikings, aging punks with impressive Mohicans, dance crazed party-animals with all manner of lights in their elaborate costumes and even a local biker gang (a very friendly one at that!).
We grabbed our wristbands and walked the small distance to the campsite. A few hundred metres away, it was a small but well organised camp. With a not-too-big-and-not-too-small capacity of 3500, Lindisfarne Festival is an intimate, boutique festival. There were separate areas for motor homes, clamping, camping and a quiet zone. We quickly threw down our gear and hurriedly set up camp (something we regretted later when our tent started to sag in the middle of the night!). The friendly and fun atmosphere was the same in the campsite, with everyone saying ‘hi‘ and helping out. We were treat to a breath-taking gradual sunset over the beautiful Northumberland hills before we headed on in to the festival proper.
“End your summer on the ultimate high note and make some memories that will last a lifetime!”
You accessed the festival through an opening, with security on hand to check your wristbands and bags. The staff were very friendly and we were through to the main area in no time at all. The festival consisted of a series of large event tents, stalls and vendors, all corralled in a large circle with a giant construction made of hay bales in the middle. With a hippie-friendly and free vibe throughout, the lack of a main stage area mean they had space to play with and it had an open feel, with people meandering between venues to see what was on. With over 100 acts on 7 stages there was plenty to choose from, with something for every taste and genre.
We decided to grab a drink before checking out what music was on offer. I went for a beer from the Craft & Draught bar. At £4 a pint it was decent enough and very popular. My partner in crime found an amazing gin shack selling Pink Fizz and Gin cocktails for the same price.
We headed over to The Saltgrass Stage for our first act. I’d love to say it was carefully planned out but it wasn’t, we just liked the sound of it and headed over!
We were treat to a really pleasant surprise too when we came across three piece indie/electronic band The Baltic States. They blend techno and electronica with epic soaring vocal melodies and rifts. It was a perfect fit for the wild location and a great start to our festival experience. The singer, Helen Morrisson, had an amazingly haunting and hypnotic tone.
With pulsating synths, powerful vocals and epic beats their tracks build and have a dangerously infectious quality, you can’t help but get swept up in it all! A truly captivating sound, the crowd were really into it with some people dancing like crazy at the front.
The Baltic States were a brilliant surprise and I’d definitely see them again. Hopefully they will be coming to Newcastle soon! We only popped in for a quick look but stayed for the whole set.
We headed out after their set and decided to grab some more drinks, a bite to eat and check out the festival stalls. There was all the usual suspects plus a few more unusual additions.
One such bizarre occurrence was a collection of metal monstrosities that spewed fire. There were several spiders made of various metal moving parts, pipes and scrap. This flame-throwing spider giving new life to a scrapped Porsche engine, the brain-child of twisted tinkerer Bob Farrow from the Flaming-Eck Team. A team of creative technicians with a crazed engineer who butchers scrap car engines into an assortment of flame-throwing creatures.
These apocalyptic creations looked amazing when they light up the dark Northumberland starlight night sky, sending flames flying through the air. They also helped warm us up as it was a pretty cold and clear night.
They had some slightly ominous looking heads on spikes around them (previous festival goers perhaps?), and would randomly spring into life sporadically. We watched them, beers and cheesy chips in hand, and planned our next move.
We made a bee-line for the hay bale construction in the centre of the field. The Conical Bass area known as the ‘Circle of Inclusion’.
This area was great and a total surprise. Featuring a DJ booth crafted from an ageing old oak tree. Hand-crafted by local tree-surgeon and Glastonbury-veteran ‘Dr Green’ (Richie Elliot), the installation will feature an array of weird and wonderful features and creatures, including chainsaw-carved wooden cobra sculptures that sinisterly spewed smoke from time to time.
This area was a place for people to let loose and dance the night away with some phat bassy beats. It was fab to see, there was a great mix of ages, people and outfits, with everyone just letting loose and getting down. They had some cosy sofas for people to chill out on and it was a firm favourite venue with us, not just for the tunes but the warm (literally with all the people and hay bales for insulation!) atmosphere. Ten minutes in there dancing and we were back up to optimum festival goer temperature and ready to party.
The ‘Circle of Inclusion‘ had an optional fun exit for the brave, a tunnel you could crawl through between the sofas that led outside. This usual exit, a kind of Conical Bass birthing ritual proved very popular with everyone!
Warmed up and ready we headed over to see what else was on offer when we accidentally bumped into a familiar face from Newcastle on the way, Geordie Spiderman.
Safe in the knowledge the web-slinging super hero was on the case of crime we headed into the Shorefields tent to see Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5. I’d been recommended these guys by a friend and was interested to see what all the festival hype was about, and I was not disappointed. We arrived and made our way near to the front, there was already a huge crowd and a real sense of anticipation in the air. The festival as a whole had a great turn out of fancy dress, and lots of the bands had their distinct followers, dressed for the occasion, but the this crowd were something different. Fans of the “yellow movement“, it was hard to tell who was in the band and who was a die-hard fan!
As we waited for the band to start we tucked into a free banana, as they were handed out by people dressed as bananas! It was an interesting precursor for some of the fun and sheer craziness that was to follow. As someone who had no real knowledge of the band and what they were like live I could tell I was in for something a little different to what I had seen before.
The band came out to huge applauds, wearing the customary yellow and with some serious party outfits on show, before John McAlinden, aka The Colonel, came out with the largest disco ball I’ve ever seen on his head. It was a sight to behold and it must have taken some serious neck strength to wear. They kicked it off and had the crowd instantly bouncing, it is easy to see why these guys are becoming festival favourites. Bringing ‘Peace, Love & Mustard‘ to Lindisfarne Festival they were the perfect act for the opening night. They brought energy, positivity and a bag loads of fun to the night.
With the opening song down. ‘The Colonel‘ stepped down to a more modest sized but equally sparkly hat and chatted to the crowd about his love for the festival before kicking off once again with some seriously catchy tunes. ‘These Are Not The Drugs‘ got the crowd pumped, waving their five fingers in the air. They really got the crowd involved and dancing along. This was at its most furious when they played ‘Dance Off’‘, they had the crowd jumping, driving the car, knocking it out of the park, punching the air, and busting some serious disco moves. They cleared a small area at the front for the brave to do an old-fashioned dance off while the crowd went nuts.
The crowd was a real mix of ages, with everyone enjoying it and taking part. There was an elderly couple next to us putting everyone to shame with some serious dance moves! The fun element to the songs and crowd participation was great to see! This was most evident when they performed ‘Cross the Road‘.
This fun song was originally something McAlinden sang to his kids when they crossed the road. It is now a party classic, as they get the whole crowd to one side of the tent before getting them to cross the road, back and forth across the grassy dance floor. This was great fun, and got everyone taking part. People mingled, laughed, hung onto each other and broke out into mini conga lines at times.
It is rare to see in modern music and definitely an experience worth seeing, a real feel good memory, perfect for festivals. It makes you wonder why more bands don’t do this, it isn’t a gimmick, it is heartfelt and adds to the performance.
It is safe to say the band don’t take themselves too seriously and their infectious tunes, energy and party atmosphere will rub off on even the most battle weary hardened festival goers. Their style of performance means there are no boundaries between the band and their fans, they regularly jump in, jump on, and dance with members of the crowd.
This was taken to a new level when the dancer DJ crowd surfed on a gigantic inflatable unicorn!
This was a sight to behold, I’d love to say I got a photo but at the crucial moment he flew of and the unicorn was catapulted into the air before landing promptly on my head! Luckily I am happy to say no reporters or unicorns were hurt in the making of this blog!
Inflatables, sparkle and sheer enthusiasm aside Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 are a really great band, their tunes are super catchy, infectious and well performed.
They aren’t afraid of politics or more serious messages. They just appreciate the performance side of the music too. It makes for a real experience and something to remember long after the festival is over.
They ended the gig on a huge high note, joined on stage by hordes of performers, a rapper, a bongo playing Stormtrooper, bananas, dancers and more!
It was a real party atmosphere and the crowd went wild. This was our stand out performance of the whole festival and we would definitely recommend seeing them if you get the chance.
With the performance finished we headed off for a few more beers and something else to eat before going to see the headline act of the evening, Scottish indie rock band The View.
Having tired ourselves out from all the ‘Crossing the Road‘ we grabbed a seat at the side of the tent on some hay bales laid out.
The tent filled up as everyone jostled for position to get the best view of The View. The band members from Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 were stood nearby, enjoying a drink or two and chatting to fans. This was great to see, this was one of the features of Lindisfarne Festival with bands and fans mingling without any problem.
There was a bit of a wait while the sound engineers made the last preparations to the stage but then we were finally in business.
The View came out to a huge applause. It seems like just the other day they burst onto the music scene but the Dundee four-piece band have been around for over 10 years now and have release six albums in total with a huge back catalogue of hits. They were straight to it and on fire from the beginning, getting the crowd dancing and singing along.
They were a great fit for the festival, with many die-hard Scottish fans making the short way across the border to the festival.
We danced and sang along, as they banged out hit after hit, it has to be said they looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves, which was great to see!
It was a really good strong set and showed why they are so hugely popular on the festival scene.
As the gig drew to a close we headed off back to the campsite for some well earned rest. We were a bit lightweight but had packed a lot into the evening. Although the main acts in that tent had finished there were various other things on across the site well into the very early hours. People partied all night long and it never really stopped to be honest.
The next day we woke in a slightly saggy and damp tent to a beautiful sunrise. Much to our surprise and relief we found the staff had cleaned the toilets and replenished vital loo roll stocks. I have to admit this is a festival first for me and much appreciated!
We headed back in to the main festival for some much needed coffee and food.
There was a wide range of choice with Tapas, African, Mexican, Vegetarian and BBQ style food. Some familiar faces from Newcastle such as Zapatista and the Fat Hippo fleet had made it up to the festival.
We perused the various stalls and vans and pondered what to go for. There were some comedy sites with many never making it to bed and still out on the drink! One of my favourites was the man with the robot head made out of a cardboard box. We kept seeing him thorough the weekend and he literally never took it off once the whole time. You have to admire his commitment, if not his craft skills!
We opted for the Beatroot Café, a veggie homemade style stall with some fab comfy chill out seats and fire pits nearby. The Beatroot Café is a family, community based, project run on a complete profit share/co-operative basis. Wholly vegetarian they provide home cooked, nutritious and delicious food at realistic prices.
It has to be said we chose well, they had great comfy seats, did a belter cuppa and brought the food out to you! We had a couple of breakfast butties and some of their fab chocolate cake for dessert. Fuelled up we were ready for a wander. There were no bands on until the afternoon so we had a couple of hours to kill.
We checked out a few of the stalls and made some rash early morning hungover purchases. A nice warm woollen poncho and some vintage knick-knacks for a few quid a piece.
The friendly festival vibe continued with people chatting and swapping stories of the best acts they had seen in the queues for food. I have to say as someone who has done a few (possibly a few too many!) festivals in his day I think this has to be the most friendly by far. I tried to work out what exactly it was, the countryside, the mix of people, the hippy vibe or fresh sea breeze! Whatever it is I liked it!
As we sat on a hay bale and chilled out we were treat to a random and fun interlude as the biker gang we had seen the night before roared into town, doing a lap of the circle on their impressive motorbikes before parking up in style.
While I got my petrolhead fix checking out the bikes my partner in crime did a little more retail therapy, checking out the face-painting, clothes stalls and random stuff for sale.
The weather could not have been better (especially after the cold night) and we were treat to some fabulous views of Holy Island as the sun blazed down on the festival.
Fed and watered we began checking out what acts to see. We checked out a few bands before we stumbled upon The Lancashire Hotpots. I’d only heard about them after the whole “Olympic” controversy. Intrigued and a little bemused by the audience it was something to watch! A change of pace from the usual festival fare, this comedy folk band got the crowd going with their unique drinking songs.
All the drinking songs got us in the mood for some beers and we decided to sink a few while we chilled out in the sun. There was so much going on with Punch Drunk Comedy Takeover, The Dingle Dell and BBC Introducing, showcasing big headliners of the future.
We took in a few more bands before heading over to see our first hip-hop act of the festival. The UK hip-hop duo, TOO MANY T’S were high on our list after seeing their amazing Facebook Live Video for their brand new single “Hang Tight”.
These guys had quite the trip to come up to Lindisfarne but it was definitely worth the wait! They made the crowd smile and absolutely smashed the gig (despite a few technical issues to start). It was great to see a hip-hop act at the festival and credit to the organisers for giving such a wide array of acts. Pumped up from the T’s we headed over to the Shorefields tent to catch The Fratellis.
Apologises for no photos but by that point the crowds were huge and the beer had taken its toll on us! It was the perfect end to our festival and we danced away the night as they blasted through some of their best hits.
It was a great festival and I can’t recommend enough! It has such a friendly and laid-back atmosphere and is really unpretentious. The organisers have done an amazing job of keeping the small and boutique feel but still giving a wide range of acts for everyone. I will definitely be going next year and can’t wait to see what is on!
If you want to make Lindisfarne Festival 2018 a great one check out their plans below…
Lindisfarne Festival announces plans to launch £150k Crowdfunding Campaign for 2018
Officially launching through the Crowdfunder platform on Tuesday 12th September 2017, the campaign will help support the development and growth of the 3 -day music event as they set their sights on securing even bigger named artists to entertain festival-goers next summer.
2018 tickets can be purchased online via Crowdfunder from 12h September 2017.
Details of the 2018 Crowdfunder campaign will be announced on 12th September via Lindisfarne Festival’s website and social media channels.
Check out the Facebook page here for more details.