Due to Electric Gardens not being on this year, I was left with a gap in my Kent festival calendar. Rather than go to the new fangled, over the top Zoo8 where there was only one band I wanted to see, I plumped for the more local Lounge on the Farm, which had two. This proved to be wise, as JoFo cancelled due to a lack of money from the now bankrupt organisers.
Sensibly, rather than ride to Merton Farm just outside of Canterbury, I got the train from Maidstone. This was mainly because I was round Katy's the night before. As JoFo weren't on til 6pm we left after lunch, with me clad in just a t-shirt on top despite the grey clouds, which seemed to darken as we drew nearer the city. After a walk through town we caught the bus to the remote farm where I hoped I could purchase a ticket on the gate. This worry, combined with the two girls behind us on the bus "woop woop"ing at any chance didn't put me in the best of moods.
However, once through the gate and while waiting for Katy and Sian to get their rather pretty wristbands, I noticed Junior and Kelly from JoFo getting out of their van, which brightened my mood. Walking round to the festival site we passed Indie Mae of Burning Leaves, another band I wanted to see but couldn't as they clashed with JoFo. By this time the sun had come out and I'd even rolled up my sleeves to get some colour on my shoulders.
Having a nice explore of the site Katy pointed out that we were walking along behind Aleks Campesinos. I didn't approach her as the only time I've really spoken to her was when I was drunk (for medicinal purposes) at ULU. That and the fact that my subconscious thinks she's a grand sorceress meant I was a tad shy. Continuing to wander we passed Neil and Harriet Campesinos round by the food, and while heading to sit down on the grass near the smaller stage I nearly tripped over Ellen who was peacefully reading.
After a while of sitting, chilling and eating Haribo we decided to head to the Sheep Dip stage to see JoFo before we got sunburnt. Passing the backstage area Alexis did an extremely funny double take upon noticing my JoFo t-shirt. The stage emptied as the previous band finished and the three of us got to the barrier, and shortly afterwards we were joined by Matt, then most of Los Camp standing behind us (bloody stalkers).
JoFo opened with a b-side none of us recognised, then launched into a blistering two-punch of Henning's Favourite and next single Salt, Pepa Spinderella which got the surprisingly large sized crowd going. After that Alexis muttered that they'd better play something slower at which I shouted for "DJs Get Doubts" which was apparently too slow. So they played Eyes Wide Terrified instead, which was an ample replacement. It was a real shame that they only played half an hour as it was one of the best sets I've seen this year.
With an hour to kill before Los Camp we went in search of some food, and I had one of the nicest things I've ever put in my mouth in the Free Range burger that cost me £4. Back at the stage it started to rain so we went back inside the tent, catching the end of Onlookers' set who were really good (despite stealing the riff from La Grange by ZZ Top) and consequently we ended up on the barrier again.
It was quite sweet seeing the group warmup behind the stage, as it included Alexei and Kelly from Johnny Foreigner as well, who stood backstage (along with Junior) to watch the band’s set. The crowd were, from my limited vantage point, really enjoying the set and it showed – Gareth’s brief speech about how he got smacked in the face at T in the Park ended with him commenting that Lounge was much more fun (I don’t know whether he does this at every festival, but singing Sweet Dreams Sweet Cheeks from the middle of the crowd would suggest otherwise). His spoken word piece at the end of This Is How You Spell… was changed so that the “final, fatal livejournal entry” was “turn on the real drums, turn up the real charm” – the final words from Salt Pepper Spinderella, which is Johnny Foreigner’s next single (out September 1st – go buy it). After that song he proceeded to big up the band “did anyone see Johnny Foreigner earlier? Well I’m guessing you did” as he pointed at me wearing my Johnny Foreigner t-shirt.
I will admit that International Tweexcore Underground which followed did disappoint me slightly, which was the only sour note of the weekend. Usually Gareth replaces the whatever in “I’ve never cared about whatever…” with the name of the local football manager. Either he didn’t know who Mark Stimson was, or who the nearest club were, but sadly we didn’t get an onstage reference to Gillingham FC. However the rest of the set was great fun, every song from Hold On Now, Youngster barring Drop It Doe Eyes and And We Exhale… got an airing. You! Me! Dancing! got everybody in the tent dancing (which seems rather obvious now in writing) and Sweet Dreams saw Gareth in the crowd before him and Aleks stood on the monitors to finish.
Katy, Matt and Sian disappeared off to the Cow Shed almost immediately afterwards, as they wanted to catch Mystery Jets. I had no such desire so hung around afterwards, and had a nice chat with Gareth, who (when I mentioned Olli) asked how he was and wished to be remembered to him. After that I moved to Aleks, and in the course of events my dream came up, at which I confessed that it was me. Thankfully she wasn’t that scared and we had a nice chat about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Night Watch books. She mentioned that Ellen was a bigger Buffy fan and after getting the obligatory “hot redhead musician” picture I moved on to Ellen, whereupon we had a good 20 minute chat about Buffy, Serenity, Angel, Firefly, Nathan Fillion and Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Done with the squeeing, I wandered off to the Cow Shed via the burger stall and sat at the back, listening to Mystery Jets get their set cut short again (if it happens at Reading then I’m obviously a jinx and should be banned from seeing them again – much like Rob with his fire alarms) and blogging.