Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017 @ Abbey Fields, Kenilworth, 17/09/2017

Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017Located to the south of Coventry, Kenilworth is a small town most notable for its 12th Century castle and surrounding parkland. This beautiful scenery provides the perfect spot for a local festival that's ready to own its boots. The Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017 is a huge project undertaken by local patrons, to celebrate not just the Warwickshire community's efforts but the work of a select group of artists from across the UK. This year the bill includes everyone from headliners Treetop Flyers to Bristol's own Kizzy Crawford, while enticing evening events stretch into the week to encompass workshops, talks, and exhibitions.

At the tail end of 2017's festival season, it's a welcomed surprise to wake to clear skies before we begin our exploration of the site. The hardworking group behind Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017 have brought in as many stalls as an established camping festival would deem worthy, and despite its relatively small calling, the festival is bustling with excited attendees as they browse what's on offer - including everything from a local fudge maker to a Birmingham-based cartoonist. Speckled across the site, there's also tree climbing, hula hoops, bubble blowing and more, while a fire-breathing climbing frame doubles up as an art installation and burns its way through a small spiral of land at the front of the festival. It's quaint, but it's also more than you'd ever imagine of an event of this size.

Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017 is free of charge, and with so much on offer, it's no surprise most of the local community has turned up to show their support. But the arts and craft area isn't the main attraction. Neither are the dogs (of which there are plenty). This title is awarded to the tent at the centre of the field, which hosts a day's worth of music demonstrating the finest up-and-coming, singer-songwriter talent the UK has to offer. Just our bag for a Sunday afternoon in a field.

As we swan in at lunchtime, Kizzy's music settles on the crowd and attendees sprawl across the site. It's an appropriate soundtrack, continued by whistful London troubadour Tom Speight. Although the sun burns bright, it's a little dark inside the partially closed-tent, and many audience members opt to listen from the grass outside. Still, there's a decent turnout for the day and the hosting gives a special, intimate feel you usually wouldn't experience at an outdoors festival.

Our musical experience begins properly with Low Chimes, who we recently introduced on DrunkenWerewolf thanks to their spellbinding single, "Blood Orange". Joined by Pete Roe on keys and having already made a decent impact on the Stroud music scene (which is partway between Kenilworth and home) it's great to see the band command people into the tent and towards their sound. Combining a crystalline, folk-style vocal with guitar noodles and jazz percussion, Low Chimes' eclectic mix transforms watchers into fans. It also proves Kenilworth Arts Festival 2017 is a must-attend if you're interested in the new music scene.

Next on stage before an early close at 6pm, it's Loose Records signees Treetop Flyers, who are inarguably the Big Fish of the day. They play to a sizable audience who are chomping at the bit for their music, and as bad weather kicks in, the tent finally becomes the focal point of the festival. The five-piece tirelessly play their way through an hour-long set of brooding rock, but with little interaction from the stage, it falls short on the community spirit other performers have embraced so well. It doesn't put a damper on the day, however, as all leave fully charged after an enjoyable 6 hours in Abbey Fields, Kenilworth.


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