Blackthorn Festival is a pretty small festival, held at Whitebottom Farm in Stockport. But don’t let the size of the festival fool you, over the weekend the three-stage event showcased some of the best local talent from the neighbouring city Manchester as well as bringing headliners The Pigeon Detectives and Scouting For Girls along with local food, drink and a strong sense of community.
The festival began on Friday evening, The 42’s Live Stage opened the weekend with indie rock band The Modern Business. This was my favourite stage on Friday hosting a strong listing of emerging bands. Delights were next up and filled the festival tent with summery sounds. Their music creates a joyful atmosphere with warm tones, easy-to-sing along vocal and catchy lyrics, especially in their latest release Sometimes, Lately, which I found myself singing along to. The stage continued with sets from The Goa Express, Hey Bulldog and closed the night with a set from Déjà Vega, while the Main Stage brought a party atmosphere with DJ’s.
Saturday was the first full day of the festival, the sun was shining and more people had arrived. This day saw all three festival stages open, the Main Stage and 42’s Love Stage as well as the Paddock Stage, I was particularly excited to see The Elephant Trees at The Paddock Stage, the band combine indie riffs with infectious electronic beats, songs like 4100, released earlier this year, flooded the tent with energy while frontwoman Martha didn’t stop moving.
Saytr Play were another band I was eager to watch, knowing how well they get a crowd moving I couldn’t miss their performance. Saytr Play have music perfect for dancing, perfect for a summer festival. Beginning with Don’t Go East, the audience were bouncing from the very start. Frontman, Fred has an inexhaustible source of energy and radiated excitement through the crowd during fan favourites Mothers Love, Bang Average and other soon-to-be-released tracks, he ran from one side of the stage to the other, crowd surfed and came foreward into the audience- an unforgettable set and definitely a band to look out for in the future.
The day continued, I saw a rock fuelled from rock fuelled Sounds Like A Storm before the day was closed by The Pigeon Detectives.
By Sunday most attendees had partied all weekend but were still excited for the final day of music, myself included. One of my favourite bands from Sunday were Freeda who played at The Paddock Stage, the band filled the room with powerful beats and animated riffs, fronted by a captivating vocal from Sean Rowles. The audience were singing along to tracks Plead and the bands latest release Replay while dancing long to the contagious beats.
Closing the festival were Scouting For Girls, a band I followed when I was younger, and I couldn’t hide my excitement for their set. They opened with Heartbeat, the instantly recognisable, heavy piano chords provoking a reaction from the audience who cheered with enthusiasm as Roy Stride started to sing. With probably more energy than any other artist I had seen for the whole festival, the group didn’t stop moving on stage- they let the music take over and so did the audience, who immersed themselves in the gig, echoing back the lyrics and dancing along. The band have recently re-signed to Sony and have an upcoming album, they played songs from this upcoming release including Trouble With Boys, before continuing with fan-favourites Famous and I Wish I Was James Bond, the sun began to set and the irresistibly electrifying riffs carried on until the band closed with She’s So Lovely– the perfect sing-along song- with effortlessly catchy lyrics backed by lively riffs, piano chords and a rippling rhythm section.
I didn’t expect Blackthorn Festival to be as exciting as it was, I thought there would be some good music and good drinks on a little farm in Stockport but my expectations were surpassed and I discovered some great new music as well as seeing some of my favourite bands, new and old! I will definitely return next year!