Cotton Clouds Festival returned to Saddleworth Cricket Club this weekend for its third year, with headline sets from The Wailers, Peter Hook & The Light, along with music from Reverend and the Makers and Tim Burgess, the weekend was always going to go down well.
I began Friday evening with Saytr Play who were playing Tim Peaks Diner, when I arrived there was already an eager crowd waiting for their set to begin, many who had seen them before and others who didn’t know they were in for a treat. The band never fail to get a crowd moving and this was no exception, frontman Fred Farell took over the entire stage with his never-ending source of energy, interacting with the room and making the small tent feel ten times bigger.
Next I saw Ash on the main stage, the power-pop trio played some of their best-known hits including Girl On Mars and Shining Light, as the audience sang along almost forgetting it was pouring rain, suitably warming up the large crowd for Friday headliners Peter Hook & The Light.
Of course, you can’t miss a performance from one of Manchesters most recognised musicians so I had to stick around to see Peter Hook alongside his band The Light. They played the best of his back-catalogue from Joy Division and New Order effortlessly flooding the field with some of Manchesters best anthem tracks.
On Saturday the weather was much brighter and the crowd were ready for a great day of music in the sun.
The first band I caught was La Mode in The Spinning Room, the Manchester-based group have a classic rock and roll sound, fronted by Millie Sproston who’s uniquely fierce vocal completes the riff-fuelled sound. Saturday saw many sets from smaller bands, Dirty Laces, Hey Bulldog, The C33’s and Liines to name a few.
The atmosphere on this day felt much more laid-back, I’m not sure if it was just the lack of rain but the crowd were there for the full day, and were spending time relaxing in the sun in-between their favourite bands. There was a good selection of food and drinks while activities were going on for kids and performers wandered the fields.
Oh My God! It’s The Church mixed things up on the main stage with a comedic church service, changing lyrics to iconic songs and getting the crowd moving, it was entertaining but felt somewhat out of place at a family festival with an abundance of swear-words and sexual references, it just didn’t fit… Then The House & Garage Orchestra lightened the atmosphere with upbeat tracks while the audience danced along, getting everyone ready for the last few bands of the night.
Reverend And The Makers were one of the bands I was most excited to see over the weekend and one of the first bigger bands to take to the stage on Saturday. I was far from disappointed by their set, in fact it was even better than expected. The band have a powerful presence on stage, radiating their music across the field with rumbling basslines and infectious riffs, fronted by the ever-charismatic Jon “The Reverend” McClure. Songs like fan-favourite Heavyweight Champion Of The World and Shine A Light provoked a sing-along from the crowd who were bouncing for the whole set.
Just as Reverend And The Makers finished, Tim Burgess began his set headlining his own stage, Tim Peaks Diner. The tent was packed as everyone rushed over to see The Charlatans frontman perform a mixture of solo material and band favourites.
The Wailers closed the weekend on a high, the group played all their best hits from their days with reggae pioneer Bob Marley including I Shot The Sheriff, Get Up Stand Up, Three Little Birds and many more classics as everyone gathered at the main stage to end the weekend singing along and dancing with one of reggae’s most well-known bands.