From the very start, Shindig Weekender was one of the friendliest, most welcoming festivals I’ve been to in a very long time. From the moment of our arrival, the stewards, staff and security alike were helpful, organised and well informed.
We kicked off the weekend’s shenanigans with local talent The Heavy: British funk and soul at its finest, effortlessly bringing the vibes to a crowd of shiny, sparkly people.
Mooching on, we found ourselves at the Totally Tropical Tea Party where AAA Badboy was smashing out bass-heavy jungle beats to a lively crowd, with spirits so high that not even the lightning storm could dampen them.
Saturday’s scorching morning heat was matched only by the line-up, with sets from The Correspondents, Slipmatt, The Freestylers, Laid Blak, Dutty Moonshine Big Band and so many more. It was impossible to see them all, despite the site being small and the tents being close.
As the sun started to set, we tore ourselves away from the tightrope walkers in the circus tent to catch Roast Beatz and Kurnal MC, who were fully hyping the crowd ready for the forefathers of hip hop. The global icons that between them brought us so many of hip hop’s classics, including Rappers Delight and White Lines: The Sugarhill Gang, Melle Mel and the Scorpio’s Furious 5.
We left the packed-out marquee sweating, aching and fully satisfied that my childhood heroes are definitely still something like a phenomenon.
After a quick detour to catch festival favourites My Bad Sister, whose energy and stage presence never fail to entertain, we made our way over to The Digg Inn for the last band of the night: Dub Pistols. Unsurprisingly, they blew up the party in a blaze of glorious tequila-soaked ska.
Sunday dress-up day didn’t disappoint, with crazy characters floating about everywhere, from hillbillies to pineapples, though the ‘Vibe Tribe’ theme seemed a little lost, even in the Sunday Parade. Not that it mattered, as the little procession of laughing kids couldn’t help but make you smile and want to join in.
After a heavy session of foosball and spacehopper-racing with the kids, we took a well-earned break in the cool and slightly calmer clearing in the woods, sprawling in hammocks, listening to the lyrical deliveries on the intimate spoken word stage.
But, before long we were getting back up and at it with the help of Bristol band Cut Capers, who got us on our feet with their blend of swing, ska and hip hop. Then it was over to see legend Tod Terry, who served up a smorgasbord of house music brilliance. We cut Fabio and Groovrider’s celebration of 25 years short, to head across to the Stardust tent for yet another legend, in the form of Greg Wilson, one of the first ever UK DJs, and the first ever to mix live on TV.
We arrived to an explosive set: the fat, funky bassline underneath the soulful disco had the tent going off. The atmosphere and euphoric vibes instantly enveloped us, effortlessly rejuvenating our worn out bodies and taking the whole crowd on a joyous electro journey. It was the perfect finale to a fun-filled festival.
Hats off to the Ghettofunk crew for delivering a fantastic family festival. I for one will be back for more next year, and look forward to its organic growth. I’m hoping for slightly more in the way of art installations and interactive activities, but not in size or commerciality, as what this festival lacked in aesthetics it more than made up for in atmosphere.
Read more festival reviews: Dot to Festival 2017