Preparing for a festival we don’t normally have to worry about being prepared for snow and ice, but amazingly this was potentially on the cards for Landed Festival this year. It was with some trepidation we set off up the A470, but we needn’t have worried, the festival was always going to eclipse anything Mother Nature had to throw at us.
Arriving on Friday evening it was clear from the off that this was going to be a laid back friendly event. The gate crew were warm and welcoming and as we drove into the site lots of familiar faces reminded us what a tight knit and welcoming community the festival family is.
Once we had plotted up for the weekend it was time for a quick sprint around the site to get bearings and establish what was on the menu for tonight. Only on site an hour and we had our first ‘clash’. Was it to be Kilnaboy on the Main Stage or Cosmo in the Verbal Melodies tent. Fortunately, with a site this size, it was not too difficult to flit between the both.
Kilnaboy have been slowly but surely slogging away at it for over a decade now. With each year they get tighter and – once the perennial support band – now claim decent slots on the bill of any half decent festival. Their usual rawkus set of punk fuelled celtic rebel music had the well wrapped up crowd losing layers and warming up the tent. Being so familiar with a band you sometimes assume everyone knows them, but it was clear from the response that even those that had not come across them before were loving it.
Meanwhile, the other side of the field, was Cosmo, the rebel without applause. Cosmo is something of an enigma. A one man tsunami of politics, fun and music, he never fails to get any crowd partying. What he does fail to do though, consistently, is get crowds together in the first place. As he kicked off as the first artist on in the Vocal Melodies tent he was playing to an audience of three. And two of them were behind the mixing desk.
But nobody can accuse Cosmo of not trying. In fact he is very trying. He is also committed – or at least he should be. And whilst he may have had the job of kick starting an empty stage, casual passersby stuck their head in to see what all the fuss was about and many of them stayed. By the time he came to his finale of ‘Strike Occupy Resist’ and ‘Oi Mush’, he had the tent not only jumping but singing along and punching the air.
Then it was time for a bit of a mooch about. First stop, was the roaring communal fire. This was much needed as it was now cold enough to freeze the walls off a brass monastery. As this was just about the only source of heat on site there was quite a crowd around the flames. It was all very civilised though, no one fell in the fire or threw tins of beans in to amusingly explode over everyone. There was a great deal of nonsense being discussed though and it was not long before Cosmo was being swamped for autographs by adoring fans.
Time for refuelling and a trip back to the fridge (AKA The tent) to get more fermented apple juice was sidetracked by spending an hour trying to get warm in the Kilnavan. Kilnaboy are much in demand and were only staying the one night – they were due to head off on Saturday to play the Horsedrawn Beltane Festival. There was much joviality and speculation about whether or not the new Kilnavan would actually get them to the Horsedrawn. Little did they know what tomorrow would hold for them.
After digging through the ice that had formed on the tent and dumping the trusty camera (no matter how good the anti-shake stabilisation of a lens, nothing can overcome the wobble of a drunken photographer), we rearmed and headed back to the Verbal tent to catch several bands whose names are totally beyond us. One of them was something to do with murder (if anyone actually knows who played in this tent, please get in touch, we are interested in finding out more about some of those bands).
There was a snug up tempo vibe in this tent all weekend, all be it a little bit too much of the Balkan gypsy vibe on occasion.
Eventually everything wound down at about 3am (ish) and we decided to head back to the fire for a warm and stay there till the sun came up – thus avoiding being in a sleeping bag at sub-zero temperatures.