With The Deer Shed festival conscientiously trying to stand aside from other musical events by billing itself as an inclusive, family friendly, outing, it’s interesting to consider how (if at all) this year’s monumental ‘me too’ moment has affected the organisers logistical and line-up thoughts following successful previous years.
Superbly put together, in an atmosphere where washing your hands after you’ve been to the toilet is considered the correct thing to do, The Deer Shed’s setting is as inclusive as you’re likely to find at any festival. Free to play sports arenas, sing along cinemas, arts, crafts and woodland walks offer a great introduction to festival life for anyone, but especially younger children, all wrapped up in an atmosphere of calm and enjoyment.
Really though, the value of a festival comes in it’s musical line up as much as it does in its ambience. First up on the main stage, Pictish Trail, all hypnotic rhythms and Radiohead styled narratives welcomes us in alongside the morning’s sun. Ren Harvieu is up next, her lush, soulful voice blends with perfect strings in a sound recalling early Dusty Springfield. Breath-taking and mesmerising, Ren puts on a show utterly compelling and perfect for a festival willing it’s performers to show authenticity and sincerity.
Penultimate act of the day, Bill Ryder-Jones, carries on the authenticity with his array of soulful guitar-based music, including ‘Wild swans’ and ‘Lightships’. Slightly nervous, Ryder is hypnotic when he opens up his guitar, closes his eyes, and forgets anyone is watching. ‘Daniel’ is the standout track of todays festival, building slowly from a Coral-styled jingle into a forceful, Spaceman 3 sounding, sonic attack. It’s exceptional.
Field Music finish off the day with their blend of post-punk funk meets gorgeous pop. As always, they’re the exactly correct blend of humour, seriousness, political and intellect.
The Deer Shed festival organisers should feel proud that theirs is a shining example for all festivals to follow.