The epitome of the intimate festival

Standon Calling is a tiny festival.

So small that you can walk to the main stage from your tent in 30 seconds, a ten minute rain-shower doesn’t mean the whole site is caked in mud and you can get a drink from the bar in under a minute. You can also have dip in Lord Standon's swimming pool – it's that tiny. Which is strange because throughout the weekend I can't help but think of similarities with the king of festivals, Glastonbury.

Set in what is essentially a very rich man's back garden, Standon Calling is the epitome of the intimate festival. Three small stages, all within about 100 yards of each other host music from bands the organisers pitch you'll be "hard pushed to find playing anywhere as intimate again". Names like Dans Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and The Cocknbullkuid mix with bands including The Brute Chorus, The Maccabees and Sunday night's headliners, The Super Furry Animals. It's essentially a party that has grown into a just a really big party and its size is half of the appeal.

The similarities with Glastonbury stem from both festivals' foundations. Both started out as tiny events in the grounds of a rich landowner, both put a great emphasis on recycling and charity and both like to encourage their attendees to push the boat out and be a bit different. Thus, this year at Standon an ancient Japanese theme took over the site. Free sake was liberally handed out on Saturday afternoon, hundreds of guest accepted their host's invitation to dress up Japanese style and we were treated to martial arts displays, football where the players wear microscopes (!) and the complete madness of Tokyo's, Melt Banana. As such, it all added up to a fantastic festival experience.

Highlights were spread liberally throughout the bill. The Brute Chorus have grown wonderfully from their previous incarnation as Low Sparks and deserve all the attention Lamacq and 6Music have chucked their way over the last few months whilst Dans Le Sac Vs. Scroobiuse Pip are even more effective and hilarious in a live environment. Old Street Musical Union hit the jackpot of what most punters described as a "clearing-up shower" which collided with their set inside the Shogun tent whilst Revere had to fight for attention when the sun came out again. However, even though the weather had decided to become suddenly glorious Revere's brand of epic-orchestral-rock meeting Mogwai and The Dears managed to keep the attentions of a sun-shy crowd who knew a good thing when they heard it.

Petebox, the human Beatbox was amazing and you need to see him pretty much before you do anything else. The Cocknbullkid was wonderful and will hopefully grow into everything she promises to grow into and if you ever fancy the best skank you've had for a very long time indeed check out Imperial Leisure – a band that makes you want to get drunk just so you can dance like a crazy.

Small, but perfectly formed, Standon Calling is a wonderful festival that will hopefully stay small and perfectly formed for many years to come.


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