Forgotten Fields – Review

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I ventured over to Eridge Park late Friday afternoon, the sun did a bit of snogging, nature sang and I found myself in perhaps one of the most tranquil and quaint British sceneries I have ever experienced. Set in the rolling hills of Kent, sparse trees stuck up like lost statues in seas of meadows and the setting sun on the Friday welcomed me as it lapsed through branches. I only found out hours prior that I had managed to get my mitts upon a holy media pass for the intimate festival, it was too late to organise a photographer to come along therefore I was taking this one on, on my own. Forgotten Fields had built a dazzling line-up that yelled with big names such as Super Furry Animals, Basement Jaxx and De La Soul, however it also supported the smaller acts – many of which I caught and many of which, melted my my little brain. Anyway, I had my battered Bic biro and a crumpled notepad to hand in order catch up with some festival goers, pen some short reviews and build a list of my favourite ales of the weekend. So, readers, this is why Forgotten Fields is the best small festival in the country. This is why, you just have to go.

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Here’s my Top 5 new acts that I caught, I had not heard of many of these before. They were new my to ears but warm, sultry breezes they whispered into my lugs – nothing abrasive or shocking but merely the best of sounds.

Plastic Mermaids – House Party, Friday 9pm

FFO: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ducktails, Arcade Fire

Icy psychedelia, ushered through sullen vocals, heartbreaking but exceptionally enticing at the same time. A fantastic presence caught from outside the tent is what drew me in and it was the best thing to happen to me all weekend. An apocalyptic sounding final track that goes by the name ‘Fire Hands’ was operatic and dramatic in every way however brought the curtain down on an astonishing set.

The Boy I Used to Be – Horizons, Saturday 2pm

FFO: Surfer Blood, Interpol, Built to Spill

Melodic 90s American alternative rock with a surly post-punk undercurrent. It was an interesting mix of genres, playing to a backing track that kept the sharp and biting groove, this allowed vocals in a similar vein to Paul Banks’ to shimmer through as the haunting gloom was shared with the best in the business.

Realms – Horizons, Saturday 1:30pm

FFO: Bat For Lashes, The Duke Spirit, Esben and the Witch

A far cry from the grunge two-piece syndrome, Realms offer an ethereal awakening to their sound, poetic and loud with an angelic voice cutting through. The female fronted duo have a lot to offer and are a certain to keep us hooked in Brighton. Kudos to them, they have done something exciting with a two-piece band, at last!

Time For T – Horizons, Friday 9pm

FFO: The Districts, Devendra Banhart, Kurt Vile

Melodic indie pop with a vein of soul and blues cutting through the middle. This gave it a grit and growl of the Midwest America – gravel, husk and a coughing of dust. Psychedelic tinges warmed the edges allowing this to be one of the best crossover genre sets, encapsulating three or four diverse sounds to pull together an overarching set. A real treasure.

The DuBarrys – Horizons, Sunday 1pm

FFO: The Maccabees, Animal Collective, The Twilight Sad

Ambient indie pop music, the quartet who hail from Brighton resonate with some of the best from the genre. The sounds serve as a perfect disposition within the tent’s milieu, it creates the platform for huge hooks within the choruses and it’s obvious to see where this four piece can head in the future. With 2015 already paving way for gigs scattered around Europe and huge critical acclaim from the likes of GQ and Clash, keep your eyes out for future shows.

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What Forgotten Fields also brought with it’s beautiful setting was plenty of locally sought ales and cider. Personally, my heart was stolen on the first night by the Hastings Session Pale Ale, however, we tried something a little different and thought it would be a great idea to feature a ‘Getting To Know You’ but this time, with the public to find out what the did or did not like about Forgotten Fields, and also, what drink they could recommend. Here’s our five lovely guests who had something interesting to say.

Kieran, 43, from London

Most excited to see: Basement Jaxx
Favourite feature of Forgotten Fields: A small, intimate festival
Favourite drink: Hastings’ Mosaic

Jack, 34, from Camberwell

Most excited to see: Dub Pistols
Favourite feature of Forgotten Fields: The long grass
Favourite drink: Frankins’ Mama Knows Best

Matt, 26, from Brighton

Most excited to see: Super Furry Animals
Favourite feature of Forgotten Fields: The smaller arena (however, not a fan of the crèche I wake up to in a morning)
Favourite drink: Goldstone’s Cascade

Lottie, 19, from London

Most excited to see: The Horrors
Favourite feature of Forgotten Fields: The bar
Favourite drink: Any! The cider’s pretty awesome.

Chloe, 30, from Cornwall

Most excited to see: Beans on Toast
Favourite feature of Forgotten Fields: The family friendly nature, I can bring my children and know they will be entertained as much as me.
Favourite drink: Goldstone’s Old Charmer

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So, that’s what we gathered from the public. It appears then, as I drag my pasty, sunburnt Northern body back down to Brighton, that the first Forgotten Fields was largely a great success. Asides from the few teething problems, mainly the issue that stage times were never really given to the public, there are no real complaints. There could have been more organisation surrounding toilets in camping areas, or even food stalls to feed the desperate and hungry when all goes quiet in the arena but these are just minor issues that you get at every festival. I’m sure the toastie tent were not complaining on Saturday morning when they had a queue of around 80 people due to the fact that nobody could venture past them for food due to forklifts on site. Thank you to Gandhi’s Flip-Flop for serving me some delicious food over the weekend that kept me motoring along. You were super.

That’s Forgotten Fields in a nutshell. If small, local festivals are your thing, then ensure you do not miss out next year. It is certainly cheap enough and if you get the weather like we did this year, you are sure as hell in for a great time.

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