What have we learnt?

So, after this year’s Big Chill, what have we learnt?
The Big Chill’s first year after being taken over by The Festival Republic may be the last time the festival is ‘Big Chill like’ however, having Lily Allen as a headliner already looks like a move away from the usual chill-age provided at this festival. Lily Allen showed her lack of respect for the Big Chill ethos by acting like the trumped up little diva by banning interviews and photographs. Didn’t Lily retire several months back? And if so then why is she still darkening the music scene with her moaning pop songs and the silly little girl voice so annoying that you’d rather hear finger nails being scraped down a chalk board for a moment of relief?
Thanks to Lily we have a plethora of grown up women singing like precocious nine year olds who manage to fit in some time in recording studios in between sucking their thumbs and wanting fish fingers and ravioli for dinner. ELLIE!! MARINA!! KATE!! PALOMA!! Her off of Little Boots…the Mickey Mouse electro ginger lass whose mum was in The Bill therefore infinitely cooler than her daughters music….all of these stains on the British music scene can be attributed to Miss Allen….yeah thanks.
Thom Yorke split opinion, his set was either amazing or inappropriate for such a large stage and he should have played a tent. The magic of his Glastonbury set was due to the gorgeous Park Stage surroundings and the fact he was joined by the other resident Radiohead genius Johnny Greenwood but peppering his set with Radiohead classics old AND new can’t be anything but brilliant.
Massive Attack, another Friday night highlight apparently put the dampeners on an otherwise chilled night by forcing their politics in people face, the real action on Friday was at the Revellers Stage where Austrian chill out duo Kruder & Dorfmeister debuted new material which showed that they can make dance floor friendly material when they want to and when they do, it’s the finest quality dance floor material you can find.
Saturday’s highlights included We Have Band whose funky post punk pop was perfect for a late evening of chilling, Kelis, after a decade of occasional brilliance has morphed into a Donna Summer like trance queen but it was M.I.A who had the biggest crowd, the reasons for which are baffling. Despite knowing that it’s achingly hip to say that she is a genius, she is not, maybe the concept of M.I.A is worthy of having the genius tag attached to but her tuneless post riot grrrl shouting over cool hip hop beats is about as vastly unoriginal.

The fusion of hip bop beats and Asian influences is as modern as Asian Dub Foundation, early Fun-Da-Mental or hip hop act ThaKaliphz, all of them plying their trade since the early 90s, it was fresh and slightly dangerous then…..the only danger during her set was created by the gharish luminous pinks and greens of her backdrop, the visuals being much more interesting than what was going musically, maybe the stage invasion which ended her set early was really people trying to get her off it… and it was during Paper Planes too…her good one.
Our very own Clash stage had some of the finest acts of the weekend, We Have Band’s funky indie pop is becoming even more irresistable as each day goes by, Bass Clef ensured an afternoon of wobbly baselines, legendary New York act Liars played a rare UK set and by all accounts The Mystery Jets sealed the deal as one of the countries finest current acts.
The Mr Scruff tea-tent was a revelation. The times of acts on the stages didn’t seem to be in tandem with one another so if you did want to check out bands rather than look at ducks or feed your kid, you’d find yourself trying to find something to listen to and that’s why the Tea tent was essential as it was guaranteed to have something great going on. Catering for all your disco needs AND with mugs of hot tea, the tent was going off constantly, at one point during some god forsaken hour one morning they created a slow dance vibe playing 'How Deep Is Your Love by Manchester’s finest, The Bee Gees. That is genius... not M.I.A.
The Big Chill is a totally unique festival, like Glastonbury or The Glade it can’t be compared to anything else. The Leeds and Reading festival is much more regimented music wise as there is so much of it to seek out without many other distractions while the V festival is one step away from saying Robbie Williams third album is better than Pet Sounds. The vibe at The Big Chill however is a cross between Shangri La and Croissant Neuf areas of Glastonbury where thrillseekers go to have a good time whatever and wherever you are doing it and while they continue to adhere to that manifesto, there will always be a place for this great festival.
Words by Chris Todd

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