Arthur braved the rain and mud at this year’s Galtres festival and was rewarded with some memorable music, food and beer as well as some forgettable conditions.
It wouldn’t be too unkind to say that this year’s Galtres festival got off to a bit of a shaky start. Torrential rain all day Friday had reduced the parking, and most of the on-site camping, to a boggy wasteland by the early evening. Some car parks were shut while still half empty to prevent people being caught in the mud, which led to a bit of a breakdown in communication and one or two frustrated punters. However, the persistence of the rain and the miserable state of the ground underfoot did nothing to dampen spirits once the music kicked off.
British Sea Power followed an atmospheric set by Mostly Autumn, with a typically gutsy performance, playing to a large crowd including plenty of loyal (rain-soaked) supporters. The audience were pretty lively, with the contingent of BSP fans ensuring a good, raucous atmosphere. In Fear of Olive impressed on the firkin stage afterwards, with great vocals accompanied by excellent musicianship and an authentic, bluesy feel.
The following morning heralded a welcome return from the sun and with it, plenty of smiles! Also due in no small part (from my point of view at least) to Boogie Breakfasts, who kept up a steady stream of bacon, mushroom, sausage and veggie sausages all morning to keep spirits up.
One of Saturday afternoon’s highlights were Eureka Machines, who played an energetic and well crafted half hour set, crammed with dangerously catchy pop-punk tunes. Perhaps not unexpectedly, The Charlatans (with special-guest support slot from Shed Seven) played to the biggest crowd of the weekend with a good couple of thousand turning out at the Duke’s stage to hear all the old favourites. Another big draw on Saturday was David Ward Maclean and the York mariachi scratch band, who played to a packed out Firkin stage. The crowd really got behind them with singalongs and a pastiche-cum-tribute to the Leonard Cohen favourite “Hallelujah”, which went down well. Over on the Duke’s stage, THePETEBOX mesmerised with crazy loop pedal skills and inventive use of the human voice and a guitar. The fabulous Littlemores were the last band I saw on Sunday night, combining the lyrical wit and world weariness of the Arctic Monkeys with catchy ska and reggae infused hooks.
The variety and strength in depth of this year’s lineup stood out, showing that the organisers were really on their game when it came to booking the acts. The same was also emphatically true of the catering. I was only able to sample a fraction of what was on offer but some of the highlights were; Afro-Caribbean, serving delicious goat wraps. For those who are yet to try goat, I would strongly recommend you do! Here, it was tender, succulent and barbecued to perfection. Sizzle and Spice again proved massively popular; their delicious curries proving the ideal accompaniment to an evening with the Arts Barge collective, who were sharing their tent. Tasty Treatz lived up to their name with vegetable curry that certainly was, their lentil dhal was also particularly good.
There were tons of diversions aside from the music and food. The star shade area was a welcome addition this year, featuring fairground rides and a giant, technicoloured spider’s web, woven from balls of coloured string by a gaggle of contented kids. Children (and some adults, ahem) were mesmerised by the storytelling too, which provided a welcome respite from the non-stop activity (and rain) elsewhere. The Snickelway theatre group put on enjoyable productions and workshops for children in the pash tent, while over in the Little Top, Dan Nightingale held it all together with hilarious audience interaction and witty asides. Beth Black left little to the imagination with adult content that left you wincing and biting your fist at the sight of 3 rows of children crowding the front of the stage!
Without even getting me started on the comprehensive selection of Yorkshire beer, wine and cider on offer, Galtres was an overall success. Very few people went away feeling anything other than happy and satisfied after an excellent weekend of top class entertainment of one sort or another.
Book now for next year’s festival. Prices rise by one pound per week, so get in early to snap up the cheap tickets!