Festivals · Gigs · Music

Hop Farm Festival – Part One

Hop Farm line-up Bob Dylan Patti Smith

I bought tickets for the Hop Farm Festival 2013 the other day. They’re early bird tickets, which means buying blind, as no acts have been announced for this year’s festival yet, but they’re also £25 cheaper than last year…I guess I will shortly be finding out exactly how many acts I can’t stand will be performing in that field in Kent in the first weekend of July.

I’m surprised the festival is happening at all, because I thought I’d jinxed it by attending last year; Hop Farm 2012 was my loss of festival virginity and toward the end of the year, it was announced that the promoter’s firm was in administration. Vince Power promotes Hop Farm and Bencassim (in Spain) and between the uncertainties of the British summer and the certainty of high youth unemployment in Spain, had taken a kicking financially over the two events. So I was surprised to see tickets on sale for 2013. Good luck to him.

I never meant to go to a festival. I didn’t think it’s a good way to experience music and millions of years of evolution haven’t fitted me to lie in a puddle under wet canvas practising Tantric paranoia or wander amongst walking bags of Tennent’s lager for days on end. So the obvious candidates were out.

My partner, however, has always wanted to go to a festival, specifically Glastonbury (not gonna happen). So there was some pressure on me to re-think.

Working in London at the start of the year, I met a fine new friend, who made it known that if we were ever to want to go to the Hop Farm festival (which he had attended the previous year – Prince headlined,) he lived twenty minutes away, would happily put us up, drive us to and from the festival each day, pick us up from the airport, take us back to the airport…you see where this is going…

Couldn’t really say no to an offer like that.

So we got tickets; almost all acts had been announced by this time and there were enough people I quite liked, or like an awful lot, to make it worthwhile going for the whole three days. The clincher was that it was Bob Dylan’s only UK show for 2012.

So; Thursday 28 June we were on the plane to Gatwick and were picked up and whisked off to our base in Tonbridge.

Tonbridge has no mean streets and is unlike Gorgie in many respects…see the picture of Tonbridge school below. The band Keane went here (figures) and the script of Lindsay Anderson’s film If…was written by two former boarders, though if you’ve seen the film, you’d have to doubt if the school shouts about that in its publicity material.

Tonbridge School near Hop Farm

We had a nice curry with mine host and prepared for the first day of the festival.

To be continued.

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