An occasion that has filled our hearts with friendship, fun and beautiful beats for over a decade. A party in a field that’s grown from humble beginnings. A family-run celebration that has never weakened its ethos. This is an ode to Fieldview.
We’re rather spoilt in Bristol, but 10 years ago in my hometown of lil old Chippenham, if you weren’t able to blag a ticket to Glasto or WOMAD, then your closest summer highlight would be the annual folk festival. Luckily, in 2007 a delightful bunch of human beings decided to host a rather large party in a field on the outskirts. With just shy of 400 friends, a slip n slide, army tent and a handful of finely selected local musicians, it was nowhere near the Fieldview festival we now know, but it marked the start of a huge journey for the Cameron brothers and their friends.
Even as the festivals industry grew to include hundreds of grass roots and boutique music events the South West, Wiltshire’s Fieldview Festival held a special place in many hearts for over a decade, until it closed its final curtain this summer.
this festival is not for pretentious music snobs but is a place where you can be truly comfortable in your own skin and let loose without any fear of being judged.
Fieldview announced an indefinite hiatus after this year’s event, and while we are sad to see them go, we can take some consolation in the fact that they made sure to see things out with a bang – and £30,000 in the bank for local and national charities over the years – and we’re so glad we were there to witness it.
In previous years, Thursday evenings have been pretty quiet, but their ‘Rockeoke’ became an unmissable tradition. Usually taking place in the smaller stage (the only one open ahead of the main event), it’s basically the organisers and their mates performing some of their favourite guilty pleasures and sing-a-long bangers. Sounds a bit cheesy – and it is – but it’s the best type of cheese. The type that that welcomes you in and straight away lets you know that this festival is not for pretentious music snobs, but a place where you can be truly comfortable in your own skin and let loose without any fear of being judged.
Spreading love, joy and raucous behaviour, this hilarious act suits FVF madness down to a T
This year, the organisers decided to kick off the festival over at the main stage but wisely kept good ol’ Rockeoke! They also invited Oh My God! It’s The Church to preach the sexy words of Jesus through Reverend Michael Alabama Jackson, his naughty Sisters and Morgan the Organ. Spreading love, joy and raucous behaviour, this hilarious act suits FVF madness down to a T.
Another completely unique element of Fieldview is the teamed wristband system. According to this year’s theme ‘The Natural World’, each attendee’s wristband assigns them to one of four teams ( e.g. Junglist Massive or Avian Crew). These are given out at random at the gate, so you can compete with your friends in a series of games and interactive activities. Some of this year’s games included Drum’n’Bass Pass the Parcel, a six-legged Super Sack Relay and, my personal favourite, Fieldview Speed Dating – it’s all bloody genius and a great opportunity to meet new people.
Eager to dive straight into the fun, we had a relatively tame night on Thursday, so we could be sure to wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed on the Friday when everything properly kicked off.
The full site opened on Friday and we spent the morning and early afternoon frolicking around the festival, getting involved with games and catching up with old friends before heading over to catch the brilliant Harvey Causon at the main stage.
The BIMM Bristol student has made huge waves since releasing his self-produced Introspect EP at the end of 2016 and his distinctive voice and lyricism combined with influences from jazz, indie, hip hop and rhythmic electronica have already earned him attention from big names including Loyle Carner. By this time, however, the heatwave sun was so intense that although the crowd were clearly enjoying Harvey’s performance, it was bizarre to see almost everyone sat down or huddled in the shade.
Everyone got a new lease of life when the sun went down, just in time for Jenna and the Gs to take the stage. Veteran bass music vocalist Jenna G and her incredible backing band delivered some serious funk and soul vibes, before Bristol house party enthusiasts Dial-a-Rave closed the main stage with a pile of bangers spanning across many-a-genre.
Their smart sound combines jazz, afro-beat and all-round psychedelia wrapped in an indie blanket
One of our highlights on Saturday was another Bristol-based act, this time it was 6-piece psych-pop group Cousin Kula. Their smart sound combines jazz, afro-beat and all round psychedelia wrapped in an indie blanket. The guys’ performance was intrinsic and, although once again the intense sunshine induced an almost static crowd, there was no doubt that everyone was transfixed with their sound. Their sound recalls the likes of Glass Animals and The Foals, while at the same time sounding completely unique.
Other highlights on Saturday included True Strays, the Bristol-born delta rock ’n’ roll revivalists are a proper Fieldview tradition and always bring a foot-stompin, late-night hoedown and all-round good time. We were also really impressed by one-woman electronic production machine and die-hard Ableton enthusiast Rachel K Collier. Joined by a live percussionist, Rachel’s modern, unique sound was a great addition to the festival and I am keen to check her out in a more intimate venue surrounding.
Headlining Saturday night were longtime friends of Fieldview, The Mouse Outfit. The live band and production team have been major players on the UK hip hop scene for the last decade, but their current touring lineup lacks some old favourites including Sparks and Dr Syntax, whose distinctive vocals have become synonymous with the Mouse Outfit sound, and so for us, the performance did seem to lack a little energy. That being said, they cracked out classics like Sit Back, Got Me Thinkin and Who Gwan Test, which got the entire audience hyped and helped them pick up energy throughout.
We went on to boogie the night away, and when morning hit and it was time to leave, there was a sense of mournefulness across the quickly-vacating field. There’s no denying the extremely hardworking and generous organisers deserve a break but we really hope they’ll be back again soon. Thank you Fieldview, we love you x
Photo credit: Paul James