If you have similar opinions about live music as I do, I’d guess that you find the current state of the UK festival scene pretty repulsive (?).
No longer the leading example to the world, as it most certainly was for 20 years from the late 1980s, it’s a fair comment to suggest that the UK festival circuit is now saturated with overpriced, badly managed, events which put glamping first, commerce second and music third.
If you’re looking for a place to take a selfie in your new designer sunglasses then a festival is the place for you.
If you’re looking for a place to check out new bands, listen to their music and meet people who have an interest and a passion for music, then perhaps a festival is not the place for you.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, and to paraphrase Mr Cohen, there are cracks in the darkness and there are places where light gets in.
Music lovers will always find great places to hear great music.
Of those great places Northallerton’s Fleece Inn is right up with the very best. Led by husband and wife team Nev and Michelle Craggs the Fleece has become one of THE places to play in the North East, particularly for unsigned, up and coming, bands.
To build on its increasing following, last year saw the Fleece create the ‘Fleecetonbury’ festival, a 2 day event showcasing the very best unsigned bands in the UK. Headlined by the Sherlocks and the Spitfires, the event proved so successful with bands and fans alike that the Fleece decided to bring it back again this year; only this time bigger and better.
Adding one more day to it’s duration, Fleecetonbury 2017 plans to be an even stronger event than the benchmark left by last years festival. Music (super) enthusiasts Nev and Michelle, alongside team mate Geoff Thompson, have curated a festival made up of 38 of the best unsigned bands in the country including headliners Dead Sea Skulls, Billy Bibby & the wry smiles, and Tom Hingley.
Just as important to the music is the experience each Fleecetonbury attendee feels with the event, a point that Nev was clear to make when NE Volume caught up with him; ‘ What I can promise is that we’ll make sure that no bands overlap. It can be heart breaking if you go to a show and your two favourite bands play at the same time, so we’ll make sure that if someone buys a ticket for 38 bands, they’ll have the opportunity to see all 38 bands.’
In an attempt to build on some of the successes from last year, Fleecetonbury 2017 will also offer a stage specifically for acoustic music, with Nev keen to use the 90’s rave culture as inspiration ‘After a big night out on the Saturday, the rave scence used to have loads of chill out areas on the Sunday where people could still listen to music but it would be a bit more relaxed. We’ll be setting up an acoustic stage on the Sunday for the same reasons and hopefully people can enjoy the bands and listen to good music’.
Keen to promote every band, not just the headliners, the Fleece team are happy to provide an opportunity and a platform for new and unsigned bands. It’s an opportunity that is well received by the bands and music fans alike. At last years festival NE Volume observed that every band playing each day hung around for the full day, chatting with festival goers and supporting all of the other bands on the bill.
Fleecetonbury is one of those rare festivals that makes music lovers, rather than glampers or t-shirt sellers, happy. See you there.