The Weekend Party Starts At Blues On The Farm
Blues On The Farm is back! Now in the 25th year, this year’s four-dayer features a strong lineup from start to finish. We have decided to extend our weekend, take a few days away, and review as much of the festival for you as we can. You can catch up with our greatest hits, beer reviews and general updates by following us on social media. You can find us on Twitter by clicking here, or on Facebook by clicking here.
The Journey In
When I see ninety miles on the map I always think ninety minutes, but I am often disappointed. Bearing in mind we are in Essex and that a lorry had broken down on the M25, our two hours and fifteen minutes getting there was quite reasonable. The journey was a nice mixture of back roads and dual carriageways, but be careful of the five-plus speed cameras we encountered on the way in!
Fortunately my sat nav took me to the top of the road where the festival was, which believe it or not hasn’t always been the case on away days. I had to invest a little faith that I was on the right road as there wasn’t a road sign. Around a mile and a half down you encounter signs for the festival entrance. This is where the carnage begins.
Now I am not quite sure how much rain they have had in Chichester lately – but it is boggy! I wouldn’t say if you haven’t got boots don’t bother – but you will ruin a good pair of trainers before you are even out of the car park. Wellies are advised, if not some sturdy walking boots.
Car parking and camping are both signposted very well, with the car area immediately left and camping straight ahead. The festival area is a less than two minute walk from the car, but by far your muddiest trek. The entrance is through a small gazebo manned by a couple of organisers and some security. One Word Of Warning: All people who work here are ridiculously polite. Hard to get used to for an Essex boy.
Security are abundant and friendly, and there are plenty of high-vis jackets to go around amongst staff. So you won’t be getting lost any time soon.
The Festival Area
As you walk in past the entrance gazebo the entire festival area is about the size of a football pitch. The immediately obvious are the beer tent (of course) which is the size of a penalty box and the Stage Marquee which is twice as big. On the right hand side you have a row of portaloos next to the beer tent – smart move.
On the left hand side you have a row of stalls and food providers. The stalls include face painting, CD sales, plus an interesting hat sales stall. The reason I say interesting is because you will be out of place if not wearing a hat. The food stalls include a higher-end burger stall, curry, doughnuts and vegetarian options – what more do you need?
In the large space in the middle of all this is an area with lots of chairs and tables. I suspect this will be filled throughout the weekend so bring your own chairs if you can. There are big bins next to the Stage Marquee so rubbish should be kept to a minimum.
The Evening’s Entertainment
Given the tough opening spot for the weekend were the sensational Billy Walton Band. They are an effortless outfit – without making them sound lazy. They got the crowd going with ease, an energetic performance with the band leaping from track to track keeping the crowd involved throughout. A great start to the evening and a fantastic opener.
I feel like a totally dick making warm up act references – because these guys are good. This was the first gig on a thirteen-date UK tour for them. You can find out more by clicking here.
Next up was Laurence Jones – he was the evening’s main attraction. What can you say about such an amazing talent as Laurence? He is young, energetic and thrives with a good crowd and in the company of his band. The threesome were excellent including Roger Inniss (bass) and Phil Wilson (drums).
Opening with a favourite from the last album Good Morning Blues, Laurence took us through a fantastic catalogue old and new. His interplay with Roger Inniss was spectacular, particularly during the encore. We’ve caught Roger a number of times before. Our most memorable being when he played alongside Kirk Fletcher on his UK tour back in 2014. Laurence Jones was undoubtedly the main attraction on this wet Thursday evening, you can’t miss him as he hits the festival scene hard this summer.
The night was topped off by a rocking performance from the Mike Sanchez band. His set was energetic, fun, and kept the spirits of the crowd going on what was going to remain a damp night throughout. Mike Sanchez carried the mood right until the close of play, and all in all there was a very respectable crowd in attendance by the time it was all wrapped up.
The crowd will no doubt go up and up over the next couple of days with the likes of King King, Gary Brooker, Stevie Nimmo, Mike Vernon and Sari Schorr still to come. With three days still to go – there is still plenty of time for you to catch some of the action. Get yourself down there in the next few days as you won’t want to miss out. Keep in touch on Twitter and Facebook to follow the action throughout the weekend as we report from the Stage Marquee. Scrap that we will probably report from the Beer Tent!