Festival Review: Brownstock

The small festival that packs a punch

Not many people have heard of Brownstock Festival, held every year in Essex, but that might all be about to change.

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Crowds queuing to enter the weird and wonderful Brownstock world

This year’s edition saw a marked increase in both size and ambition.

Local favourites Stealing Signs' explosive exit

Local favourites Stealing Signs’ explosive exit

The sell-out crowd were treated to some great live music over the course of the weekend.

Saturday night headliner Professor Green bringing out out the hits

The Pigeon Detectives and The Fratellis duly delivered the anthemic crowd pleasers they were expected to and Professor Green did his job – seemingly dragging the line-up out of 2006 – with aplomb.

Sunday night headliners The Fratellis

Sunday night headliners The Fratellis

We tried our best to get in…

There was plenty about for DJ lovers too, Mark Ronson opened his set with a superb remix of Valerie and the set just got better from there.

Avant garde festival fashion

Benga’s equipment malfunction and subsequent cringe-inducing attempt at off the cuff entertainment aside there were some huge tunes from some impressively big names.

UFO DJ set anyone?

In addition to the music there were also comedians, burlesque acts and a pub quiz to keep hungover festival goers in high spirits.

The food had also stepped things up a notch and keen eaters could book an exclusive table at the Brownstock Restaurant for a roast dinner of beef reared on the very site. For those with less grandiose taste, or poorer planning, there was a wide selection from hog roast and exotic burgers to pizza and sushi.

The dampener on the weekend, sadly to report, is that it seems to be outgrowing itself.

The once exceptionally friendly atmosphere has taken something of a turn for the worse with thefts on the increase, drug deaths and a fatal traffic accident taking the shine off a beautiful weekend.

That’s not to mention the excessive quantity of 16 year olds that have suddenly discovered the festival.

Magical performances on the tree house stage

Magical performances on the tree house stage

These are grim, but not uncommon, facts of life at festivals as they grow larger.

On the whole a great weekend, just please Brownstock, don’t get too big too quickly and kill off the spirit that makes it such a special weekend.

Festival favourites of the past and present