Live Review: Winchestival 2019

Having been incredibly impressed by Winchestival 2018 we just had to return for this year’s instalment. Winchestival is a family friendly festival of music, comedy, fun and food which takes place at Winchester’s North Wall’s Park. Now in its third year, the event saw The Magic Numbers headline alongside a whole host of upcoming bands including Cassia, Larkins, Only The Poets and many more. The weather wasn’t exactly brilliant to start the day off but as the day progressed it became warm and sunny, perfect festival weather. Once again, I ended up seeing more bands than I can fit into a less than a thousand word blog post so the following outlines the highlights from my day at Winchestival 2019.

Kicking off the day, late addition to the lineup Me and The Moon took to the stage in the Sofar Sounds acoustic tent. Performing as a duo on the day they played a set full of their folk-tinged, indie-pop. A charming, laid-back start to the day. There was a bit of sound bleed coming over from the BBC Introducing stage, but if you were stood on the far side of the tent then it wasn’t so distracting. I didn’t manage to catch Me and The Moon’s full set because I was aiming at catching Dutch Criminal Record over on the main stage but they were running late due to technical difficulties. However, I did manage to catch about two songs of their set before heading over to the BBC Introducing Tent for Mystic Peach.

This was rather good timing because the heavens emptied just as I got into the tent. Not that Mystic Peach need a downpour to fill a tent anyway… Despite being on the heavier side for a “family friendly festival” the band still wowed with their garage-tinged, intense live performance. They clearly did something right because upon leaving the BBC Introducing tent I heard a child asking their mother “why is he (Curt, Mystic Peach frontman) shouting?” which was rather amusing.

Submariner brought the sun out and from that point onwards, it stayed out. The bands ambient, indie-pop perfectly complimented the now summery weather. For some reason there was an overlap between bands despite Submariner finishing on time, but BASH! were running early so I missed their first track. I’d been looking forward to seeing Southampton based pop quintet BASH! again for a few months since seeing them live for the first time and they failed to disappoint. The band put on a high-energy performance including singles ‘Indecisive’ and ‘Wild’.

It’s been a busy summer for Isle of Wight’s Lauran Hibberd already with both Isle of Wight and Glastonbury Festival slots. Warming up for both the aforementioned slots, Lauran’s attitude filled, lighthearted set full of pop bangers wasn’t one to be missed. Between tracks was filled with amusing anecdotes regarding the spelling of her name and avoiding the meanings behind tracks which weren’t too suitable for a family audience.

I saw Only The Poets on the Quay West stage at Winchestival last year and for one reason or another, they just didn’t grab me. Fast forward to last Winter and I couldn’t work out how they’d managed to sell out Scala, London based upon that one performance. However, I was proved wrong this year when Only The Poets played the main stage putting on a high-energy set, this time to a far bigger crowd and grabbing everyone’s attention. One woman in the crowd told me how they reminded her of The 1975!

The last band of the day for me and after having their debut album on repeat for a few weeks, I was looking forward to seeing the Cassia live for the first time. The bands melodic, indie-pop music was the perfect soundtrack to the now setting sun. Playing a mixture of tracks taken from their debut ‘Replica’ and a cover thrown in for good measure, Cassia certainly didn’t fail to impress.

Winchestival is a brilliant, small-scale family friendly festival which offers the best in new, upcoming music from locally and beyond. Despite the weather starting off rather poorly, it didn’t mar the event or the atmosphere overall. The range of food on offer is perfect and although I didn’t get the chance to check out any of the comedy going on, the tents were absolutely packed. I would say that I’m very looking forward to next year’s Winchestival, however, since the success of this year’s event the organisers have already announced an autumn, indoor version in a few months time!

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