Blissfields 2017 @ Vicarage Farm, Hampshire, 06-08/07/2017

Blissfields 2017The sun is burning. Cowed by recent experience, we've loaded up the car with rainy day camping equipment and all manner of comfort-keeping non-essentials to ward off bad weather. Little do we know that by the end of the weekend, we'll be wearing the same pair of shorts, a hefty sun tan, and half broken sandals that are smeared in UV paint and glitter. Blissfields 2017 is here, and it's going to be a hot one.

The festival is located south of Basingstoke, but typically mimics the weather and landscape of closer still Winchester. Tucked away in a patch of green space that has as many trees as it does blades of grass, it's an idyllic setting that's brilliantly enhanced by the summer weather... When it cares to show up. Rain has put a dampener on recent years, which makes the ++ temperature of Blissfields 2017 enough to put a smile on our faces as soon as we've parked the car.

We're already off to a good start, and the music has yet to begin. On Thursday night we treat ourselves to a tour of the site, which has a new layout to accommodate multiple funfair attractions, all in line with this year's Bizarre theme. To the left of the main entrance, the kids' area has been pushed back to allow families more privacy, and space for a hot air balloon ride on Saturday. There's also a helter-skelter, dodgems, and one of those God awful looking rides that swings you about all over the place and would undoubtedly make any adult feel sick. (We don't go on that one.)

Another major change is that the camping area under the trees has been reserved for boutique camping at an extra £40 charge. That means that all the normal types like us are moved across the road and into a field with no shade at all. Many burned shoulders appear before the sun goes down on Blissfields 2017 for the first night.

By Friday morning, everyone's acclimatized and bathed in factor 50 suncream to be on the safe side. Weekend campers flood through the gates and we stumble towards the sound of music. Anna of the North kicks things off with a set that proves she's worthy of the main stage's opening title. Glistening Scandi pop that leans towards the more melodic end of the spectrum, it sets Blissfields 2017 up for a great full day ahead. Shortly afterward, The Japanese House cools things down with Amber Bain's hyped electro-pop. It's a decent and technically adept set, but we find ourselves wondering whether the two pop chanteuses might have faired better by swapping set times. Despite the downward shift mood, it's still a decent introduction from a well-rounded artist, and we can't complain about Bain's enthusiasm for her crowd.

The stars of Friday night show their faces as the sun begins to go down: Sundara Karma and Shura perform two very different, but very brilliant sets. The first band travels from their base in Reading for a huge turnout on the main stage, performing indie rock minus the lad to rapturous applause. Shura, on the other hand, is greeted by relatively few fans, but still, manages to conjure up a magical pop treat by way of trip hop and electro.

With our music levels topped up, we wait for the longest time for an empanada to cook, before moving on in search of drunken fun. Quickly falling upon a secret cocktail bar behind the Blisscoteque, we're made a gorgeous yet highly pungent grapefruit concoction by a small man dressed as the devil. (We swear that happened.) Then alt rock band Flamingods blow away all the glitter, dust, and citrusy fruit we've acquired through the day, by ramping their amps up to 11 and raising the roof of the Larch tent. Situated in a corner of the festival and playing into the early hours, it's a pleasant surprise to find the tent packed out before the band perform. Thanks to their insatiable knack for experimenting with rhythm and sound, the Bahrain-formed act go down as a highlight of the evening.

Saturday morning comes around and the heat's demand for water means we're relatively steady on our feet despite GrapefruitGate. A good thing too, because today's set of performers are even better than the last. Beans on Toast is given the task of starting things off on the main stage, with a gig that remains inappropriate for children despite being performed at midday. No one seems to care, least of all us. Saturday is also home to fellow Blissfield regulars Dub Pistols, who wakes everyone up in time for evening celebrations, and The Diamond Age, who on the reverse suffer from bad sound and a lack of energy in the Larch tent.

None of that really matters, however, because we're approaching the point in our review where we begin to gush. Our half broken sandals are well and truly knackered by the one and only Bonzai. The Dublin-via-London garage artist makes her existence known on the main stage midway through Saturday, with a bass heavy set of hair whirling antics, and God is it good. If we take one thing away with us from Blissfields 2017, it's a resolution to put 10 copies of her album on pre-order as soon as it's announced.

Of course, situated in the middle of the day, Bonzai isn't the end of Blissfields 2017 by a long stretch. Performing to the entire festival turnout at the end of the night, Metronomy takes pride of place as headliners - but fall short on the entertainment barometer. Don't worry though: firefighters, trapeze artists, acrobats and the odd oompa loompa do more than enough to keep us and everyone else awake until the early hours. After all, this is the last Blissfields experience we'll have for a while - the festival is taking a well-deserved break in 2018 (sob).

Like what you read? You can stay up to date with Blissfields-y goings on here.


One Response to “Blissfields 2017 @ Vicarage Farm, Hampshire, 06-08/07/2017”


    1. Blissfields 2017 @ Vicarage Farm, Hampshire, 06-08/07/2017 – Live List - 12/07/2017

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