Saturday, 16 July 2016

Stone Free Festival 2016: Festival Review - Part 2

Photo Credit: Noizze

Sunday proved for a very different day. The excitement of the festival wearing out for a calm appreciation. A large part of this was contributed by the introduction of compulsory seating throughout the main arena. This felt like a strange choice but ultimately it takes the festival a lot closer to the classical elements that is intrinsic to some of the bands playing. However it felt like such a strange changeover from the first day. Again I want to apologise to all bands that I missed.

Now, I cannot emphasise this enough the choice to seat everyone was apt but at the same time restricting. This really did affect the viewership of the bands and made it into something a bit more observed and a lot less experienced. That said Steve Hackett one of the rock legends of his time gave a good shot at picking everyone up and getting them going for it. The sounds really carried and filled the room with decent music but the restricted nature meant it was easier to pick up on some of the problems. Louder isn't always better and I feel that perhaps Steve Hackett also found that he couldn't get an energy of us just as we couldn't get of him as much – I predict anyway. This well respected musician was greeted warmly and it was a great watch.


Photo Credit: Sandra Sorenson

Now Marillion seem to fare a bit better with the barrier imposed upon them. Their music does well to fill a room and has a sense of epic that seems oddly fitting for it. They gave it a powerful try and it was impressive. I was previously unfamiliar with Marillion, being a name that crops up but I couldn't name any songs. This wasn't a bad introduction, they were comfortable in the space and on the stage and their music really summed up the very nature of festival at that point.


Photo Credit: Sandra Sorenson
Now Rick Wakeman appear like the whole point of Sunday's proceedings. His orchestra set up and fill the stage. This would be the touch of classical that meant people were sitting down and it should be appreciated on this level. This is a very different aesthetic to the rock music that has dominated the festival and I will stay it was awkward at times to force other bands into this set up. Switching from bands like Apocalyptica and Alice Cooper to this, especially, felt like a huge U-turn. Rick Wakeman showcases a landmark for him in 'The Myths & Legends of King Arthur' and would be the tie in to the film Excalibur that was screened earlier. Now, rather than some of the soft rock music that was featured by some of the other bands present this sort of classical/soundtrack/rock blend is far more my style. It suits to have them sat and dominate the stage with music that is so epic that it sweeps everyone in the crowd up in the sheer emotion of it all. The music is powerful and effective and it serves the build up to some extent but perhaps isn't quite worth the entire U-turn.


Photo Credit: Sandra Sorenson

Sunday felt a lot more like music appreciation that music enjoyment. This definitely has it's merits at times but other times can come off a bit awkward. None-the-less this was a very enjoyable festival an indoor festival with a lot to get out of it. This had the scale to really make an impact as well as some of the pros of indoor venues and missing some of the flaws of camping festivals – would really anyone say anything positive about the toilet facilities at them? For me, I'd feel that this is only a festival that will get better and perhaps the decisions this time were a bit on the bold side and perhaps that isn't a bad thing really, it can be wonderful to catch someone off guard with something they never knew they'd like. We shall see in future years.

Fuel Rock Club

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