Phoenix Festival – 25/07/95 – Long Marston Airfield, Stratford-upon-Avon

Phoenix Festival pass Jul 1995Phoenix (run by Vince Power’s Mean Fiddler organization) tried to muscle in on Glastonbury’s territory, and failed dismally. For starters, it was held on the runway of an airfield, and it may as well have been a supermarket carpark – it was never going to compete with the idyllic surrounds of Worthy Farm. Second, it was straight to bed after the last act had finished (11pm). No raves, no sing-song round the campfire, in fact, no fucking campfires at all! Can you believe it? Hardly a festival, is it. Worse than Reading even. Anyway, this is all anecdotal evidence, I only went for the day (gratis, courtesy of my friend Shamanic Tribes On Acid, who was playing in the dance tent). Just setting the scene, you understand.

Anyway, the atmosphere at this ‘festival’ was pants. Loads of long faces, people just didn’t look like they were having a good time. I braved Ice-T, who was essentially a series of hip-hop clichés (he actually said ‘let me hear all the laydeez in the house say hoooo’, with not a trace of irony). I sat through EMF – 2 good songs, and one of them is pretty much a rip off of the first one. The Cardiacs were one band I actually wanted to see, but they were in an odd tent in the middle of the day and although I enjoyed them, I was reliably informed by my accomplice, a long-time fan, that they were a pale imitation of their former selves. Shamanic Tribes On Acid, was, well, as you might expect an act with that sort of name to sound. He was on in the middle of the afternoon too, which doesn’t help. Eat Static were the headline act in the dance tent, and were thoroughly excellent. Everything else was pants. Special mention must go to the Hare Krishna space-rock band I stumbled across in some odd little out of the way tent. Basically, the ‘Hare Hare Rama Rama…’ chant set to some fairly credible space rock, played by saffron-robed Hares. To my disappointment, they remained in their positions on the stage throughout their entire set (which, I think, was just one long ‘song’) rather than conga-ing off down the high street. That would have been much better. Phoenix was though, in a word, shite. Glad I didn’t pay, and doubly glad I only had to spend one day there.

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