Rain Doesn't Stop Play At Ashcombury Music Festival

Cheddleton's First Music Festival Gets Off To A Great Start Despite Rain

Leah Hamer || August 30th

Walking through the green of Ashcombe Cricket Club, greeted by the roaring sound of 5 Point 0, the bustle of kids running to bouncy castles, the tangy smell of the barbeque and the array of colourful waterproofs and umbrellas- I knew immediately I was in for a good, hearty, local music festival.

Ashcombury Music Festival was lovingly devised a few months back by cricket club members, Mark Jones, Rich Goodwin and Delamere’s guitar hero Ashley Egerton. In a mid to raise some money and bring some attention to the Cheddleton community, Ashcombury was born, and with the sell-out success of its debut, I have no doubt that it will be reborn next year.

Umbrellabird (previously known as In View Of Humans) were the first band I managed to catch, after pottering about and getting a round in. As alternative as they come- with no vocals or guitar, the trio still satisfied the crowd with just a bass, keyboard, drum-kit and some pre-recorded speeches. A cool fusion of American Football and Public Service Broadcasting, their sound was addictive and mesmerising. Crazy time signatures and a surprising blends of genres including jazz and electronica- they were a memorable start to the day.

Firecrackers Release took to the stage next as the rain howled down on us and we huddled in the marquee, but frontman Caleb Allport is not one for taking shelter. He spins about from the stage to the grass, drenching himself in rain and beer, zooming about like he’s warping between vortexes. The genius contrast of the succulent violin and the raging vocals in tracks like Back To The Old Routine and their new single The Inevitable is what makes Release such an exhilarating and fresh band.

Dirty Rotten Souls swaggered on next, bringing us some of their thunder and lightning to the rain. Zipped up in his mac, frontman Mark Bailey is still a vocal titan, singing out tracks like Cocaine Submarine, Jaguar Blood and You’d Look Better With A Bullet In You, with all of his usual might and power. All three were gracious to the crowd, repeatedly praising us all for trooping on through the weather. But DRS are the sort of band that actually suits looming clouds and gallons of mud- they needed a vicious, dirty, mosh pit going on- and had it been later on in the evening, I guarantee they would have gotten one.

Feeling the chill, I had a gander indoors at the Acoustic Stage, where hidden gem LiVVO began his set. Bloody hell that man has a voice on him. As the football was playing out on the television beside the stage, the room went silent and ignored the scores, and instead marvelled at him. Playing a mixture of originals and covers including Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way, LiVVO took over the room with just a guitar, a loop pedal and an unthinkable voice.

The nifty little riff of Fears Chella’s Cool echoed outside, and I instinctively ran into the rain and plonked myself in the middle of the mud. No physical force could prevent me from watching this band, who combine the indie, grunge goodness of bands like Wolf Alice, Darlia and Swim Deep all at once. They are exciting. They stand calmly with trendy styles, easy-going attitudes and give out smart lyrics, intricate licks and well, just general coolness.

Whilst I snuck off for a chippy and to retrieve extra layers, Citrus Heights and The Manalishi braved the weather, and both of which, I have been assured, knocked it out of the park. Ash Egerton spoke to me astounded by Citrus Heights, remarking that they were the best act of the day so far. But it was Moitessier who welcomed me back into the swing of things, giving the crowd a swinging, rock and roll blues affair. Despite some technical hiccups, the fivesome showcased their grinding, American tavern sound with ease, leading the crowd to sway back and forth and toe tap to their hearts content. And I finally learnt how to pronounce their name, it’s M-es--y. As the rain withered away towards the end of their set, the audience had tripled in size, as the headliner dawned.

You know when a national band comes to the area and there is a huge buzz about it for weeks on end? A Delamere performance has the same effect. Their t-shirts and stickers can be spotted across the crowd, and pretty much everyone there had already seen them just last week at their album launch night. They are band that you would happily watch every Friday night for the rest of your days. Playing all the glorious treasures from their self-titled album, including fan favourites Black and White Space, Regress, Heart, Bright Young Things and the fitting Rain, the crowd knew every word. Then they pulled out their takes on seventies classics like Young Hearts and kept us entertained with DJ impressions and Ash’s singing attempts. With all this, it was easy to forget that ten minutes in they has a smashed in snare, a broken microphone, and five minute interval messing with wires. But it did not make a difference, I still walked away from the crowd calling them flawless.

Ashcombury was a resounding success, despite the rain, despite the technical faults, despite the changes in the line-up, it triumphed. It was spectacular to see such a warm sense of community and such a caring and distinct support for local music.