Monday, 6 September 2021

Some Words On: Bad Pond Festival 2021

Yesterday, I went to Bad Pond Festival in Brighton 2021. It was something I bought a ticket for when the first line up was announcement, and that line up largely remained intact (the final poster is above). I went because I saw Conjurer and Svalbard on the original poster and, liking both of those bands, I was interested in going, but I wanted to listen to the others on the line up. I then spent about a week with the first announced line up by the end of it, had purchased a ticket and booked a hotel. When the above line up was finalised, it meant a couple of the bands I was looking forward to seeing had to drop off, which of course was a shame, but I was delighted that Phoxjaw had been added (I was going to book a ticket to their headline run which sadly got scrapped due to the world being on fire). It was a shame that Bitch Falcon and Late Night Venture both couldn't play - I suspect things like this will become more common until the world opens up properly again. 

The festival was at the Concorde 2 in Brighton - a venue I have a lot of love for on the few times I have visited. I was intrigued how the second stage would work in terms of numbers coming in to see the festival (the second stage was in the bar of the venue, which is a decent size bar for a venue of C2's size, but obviously not as big as the main room). Yesterday as well was a massive (and I do mean massive) motorbike festival on the same road as the festival. I'm not really a motorbike guy, but it was incredible to see that many bikes. There was a food van outside, which I didn't avail myself of because I wasn't sure if you were allowed to leave the venue to come and go as you please - when I left, I saw people leaving the venue just to get fresh air and/or smoke, so that answered that question (and I felt a bit silly not eating and therefore being hungry as the day wore on, no matter though!)

Originally the day was scheduled to run from 1-10pm, which is a long old day in a gig venue if you are there from the off, which I figured I would be. The stage times got announced the day before and it was actually an even longer day, with the first band (Lambrini Girls) being on at 12.30, and the headliner Delta Sleep starting at 10.30pm and finishing an hour later. I had planned to get there as early as possible and stay until the end, but my arrival was slightly delayed due to some shenanigans at the hotel (checked in and given a room that hadn't been cleaned). I also left early because by 10pm, I was done. It probably wasn't the smartest of moves to spend the day prior on a long walk around that London, but that is what happened, and by the end of Conjurer's set, I was ready to leave. Sorry Delta Sleep! 

Anyway, I arrived during Sugar Horse's set, so now seems an appropriate time to talk about the bands. 

Sugar Horse - Enjoyed what I heard of them. I only think I heard two songs in full, which is a shame. 

A-Tota-So - First of two bands on the second stage that I would see. The bar did get a bit cramped as their set started. I liked what I heard. They were the first of the instrumental bands that played that day, which I mention because I don't think I've ever gone out of my way to listen to many instrumental bands in my time, A-Tota-So are an example of why I should. 

False Advertising - Some technical problems were present during the set, but it thankfully didn't ruin it. I very much enjoyed their set. 

FES - The final band on the second stage, and much like False Advertising before them, I very much enjoyed their set. During this set, someone with a very small baby stood next to me, which was unexpected. Equally as unexpected was the person on the other side of me playing peakaboo with the baby. From what I could gather, the baby seemed to be enjoying it! 

Intechnicolour - Intechnicolour were one of the bands that I knew when I first saw the original line up (due to being on, and then having their album reviewed on the Riot Act podcast). Not to sound too much like a broken record, but this was another set that I really enjoyed. 

Projector - Projector had an excellent set. I really liked what I heard from them. Their own material sounded great, and they covered a song by Pixies - I mean what is not to like?! 

Vasa - Vasa were the second of three instrumental bands I saw at this festival, and much like A-Tota-So, they proved to me why I should listen to more instrumental music. I thought they were great. 

Phoxjaw - I'm not sure what happened at the beginning of their set, but it seemed to be delayed due to some sound issues. Anyway, when they got started, they were ace. 

Alpha Male Tea Party - The final of the instrumental bands that I saw, and they were probably my favourite of the three. They were superb. 

Svalbard - The penultimate band of the day for me and one of the best for sure - their set was superb. I am very much looking forward to their headline run in November now - their latest album When I Die, Will I Get Better? was one of my favourite albums from last year, so it was great seeing some of it live. 

Conjurer - I knew Conjurer were good live, having seen them play the 4th stage at Download Festival in 2019, but this seemed so much better (once the initial technical issues were overcome). The new song they opened with sounded immense, so I am looking forward to hearing a new album/EP when it comes. 

As I said earlier in the post, I was very much ready to leave after Conjurer. I was in a fair bit of pain and was tired. I feared if I sat down at that point (as I had done in between all the sets after Intechnicolour) that there was a strong chance I might fall to sleep - which is probably a good time to call it quits really. It was really was a top quality day though, and well worth all the effort required to go. I would 100% go to another of these events if one happens (if I like the line up, of course), though I would definitely not go on a hefty walk the day before next time! Some of the photos I took I collated into one post on Instagram here

In writing this, I've just seen that the 2022 edition of the festival is set for Sunday 1st May 2022, and is on sale now. I'll keep an eye to see who gets announced for it. I find it hard to imagine the 2021 line up will be topped, but I am of course happy to be wrong!