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Jeremy Pearce - 12 Sep 2019


"As we were leaving a young couple stopped to talk to us They said that they had had such a good time that they wanted to keep it a secret and didnt want to tell anyone about it ." "A master class in music event programming "

Each year the UK festival scene seams to get bigger but not better. I thought it had well and truly saturated the last few years as the industry gets more and more honed into extracting the last drop of disposable wealth from its target audiences like mechanically recovered chicken nuggets and after ten years of truly  incompetent corrupt  government  and Austerity its baffled me how its kept on expanding. Could there be room for another four day specialist music festival? Could there be one created with a genuine community like heart to it like the Big Chill had?

I had given up hope until  I headed up the M11 from my hilltop retreat in the Chighood armed with a press pass plus one to check out what Mr Peterson had created and hes done it . He's taken that  almost schoolboy like magnetic enthusiasm knowledge  and energy that he's always had and then  gone and taken all the people that he's connected with since the pirate radio days and gone and built something that as far as I'm concerned is pretty much as close as it is possible to creating an event that is never going to run out of energy.  All the world is here, but what makes this different from any other event its like nothings been put together like this before.  Music's like building blocks as far as im concerned and this is a place where people like Emma Jean Thackray can find her tribe and to use one of Gilles favourite descriptions Its a place designed to "Join The Dots."

Earlier this year I attended another first time music event held in East London in February that created the same kind of energy pot. It was called Walthamstow Jazz Festival and it booked Thurston Moore on the bill.  I love Love Supreme and have gone quite a few years and just loose my self in the tents .This year I didn't write it up. This year I didn't visit the main stage at all, just stayed in those tents and the new late night live music stage I seriously got my future jazz jollies away from the acts that attracted the mainstream ticket sales cos that's where my heads at and that's why I write and try to document this and that's how I roll .

The last time I had visited the Secret Garden site was the year the monsoon like rain fall hit it and I was reminiscing on my journey up about the experience .That year the battery went on my phone and I couldn't find any of my friends either and very nearly left on the Saturday morning but stayed.  I remember the face on the man running the sale less ice cream food stand as the sheet rain fell .I remember taking my tent down and when removing the base it left a pristine green postage stamp  in a sea of three inch deep clay like mud, like removing masking tape after painting.  It defiantly left a lasting memory with me.  On the way up to the festival I met with one of my old mates who lent me her tent at Stansted Service Station.  She was going to join me on the Saturday morning after finishing work on Friday night.

This festivals named after the double vinyl gate fold Gilles released on Brownswood. I bought a copy up at the Total Refreshment centre on the second day of the show case.  This is the natural progression from the two days in Lex's now gentrification shut club space in Stokey.  I said hello to Lex as I passed him when barrowing my stuff in through the gate. Lex was sporting a very deep sun tan and a big grin.

So I could run through endless set reviews but Im not going to, Ive left pictures though and a film footage of a band that blew me away but I don't know the name of.  I caught as much as I could but it was impossible to catch it all.  I caught Moses Boyd possibly the greatest drummer of his generation. I marveled at Maishia. The band I blew out Chick Corea for at Love Supreme because I couldn't leave their set. I watched the evolution of Blue Lab Beats.  I watched the power house of creativity that's Shabaka.  Ive lost count of how many times I have seen him play live from solo impro, to watching the MK One Sons of Kemet up on a small stage at Walthamstow Garden Party a long time ago.  I saw the power house drum and bass sets on the Saturday.  I watched big bands and and Afro Psych outfits and everything in between and as I sit here on the laptop almost a month after I still haven't taken it all in.  All I know is that it blew my mind.

What kind of crowd did We Out Here attract ?

It attracted a cool one.  I guess early twenties up in the united colours of future jazz and beyond.  Polite  and conscious of their environment, the security was as it should be .To keep everyone safe and to help and not to intimidate and not to confiscate and  resell contraband   We could take food and drink in that's another feel good factor and their was a genuine sense of civilised community.  The speaker systems were supplied by Deleny and the sound was good. They supplied these cream almost ceramic looking cased speakers  that I hadn't seen before that pumped out an almost unbelievable distortion free sound for their size.  For a first time event or even compared with a long time established one,  It ran like a dream.  As we were leaving  a young couple started to talk with us, they told us that they had had such a good time that they didn't want to tell anyone about it and that it should be kept a secret like a sacred place for a special kind of people.  It was just a shame that it ended but I guess everything has to at some point.  That's how new beginnings are enabled to happen .

Campfire x .





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