Ashton Court Festival

Bristol Travel Blog

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"Harboring Monsters". Bristols premier rock band

Once I'd sort the finances with the Old Man I now knew exactly how much dosh I had left to play with.  Had me a little worried, but one thing I wasn't worried about was the Ashton Court Music Festival. 
  This was an annual event and free to all comers.  Darryn and Tony had been talking it up for quite some time and I was pretty amped to get along being the HUGE music fan I am.

Ashton Court is a green space across the Avon from the city of Bristol.  I don't know too much about the history behind the fields, perhaps Old Man Ashton made huge amonts of cash back in the smuggling day or something and had gifted it to the city.  Whatever, I was just very happy that it was going to be transformed from quiet pastures to one gigantic party!

Bristol is well known for its aviation, particularly ballooning.

One toke over the line
  Ashton Court is the place they take off from (or land depending on wind direction of course).  The worst thing about the festival is that every man and his dog drive here and it takes a quarter of a day to get in and out.

Tony drove us there in his van.  I imagine he'd crashed at the garage the night before so we could get an early start.  The first thing that struck me when we passed in through a farm gate was that no-one wanted money for something that was so huge.  Darryn was a regular at Glastonbury so I knew there was a cost for that.  If something like this was happening in NZ then you'd be up for $100+.  I'm still blown away that this is a weekend of good quality music and entertainment for nix!

We wandered around a bit at first, just to get a feel of what was going down.
Funky "Tongue in Groove"
  There were about 4-5 stages, including a "house" tent.  The reason everything was free is due to the stages being sponsored by various Bristolian establishments.  The main stage for us was the "Bierkeller" stage.  Some great rock bands appear at the Bierkeller regularly and I still hear from Tony now telling me who he's caught there this month.

The weather was primo.  Couldn't have been better and everyone was in that really great mood where you just know it's gonna be a blast.

We had some handouts telling us who was to play, when and detailing the layout of the place etc.  I guess we spent most of the day layin' on the grass in front of the Bierkeller, but I also found a couple of other bands elsewhere that appealed to me.  Tony wasn't at all impressed with a couple of my choices so we split up for a while.
"Clarapandy" fail to blow the dude off their speakers
  It wasn't a problem at all though because Ashton Court is large enough that everyone has room to move and there's no need to jostle to get about the place.

One of my favourite things is people-watching and I had a great time here.  I took a few furtive snaps of those getting into the groove.  I laughed at those who got into the usual "festivities" and at those who behaved in the most bizarre ways. 
  The strangest of the day?  Check out the photo of the dude standing in front of the speaker stack.  The band playing at the time was a kick-arse young rock band "Clarapandy" whose base beats must have nearly stopped the dudes heart.  Talk about "till your ears bleed!"

When it came time to do another rotation we found plenty of travellers and street performers to entertain us.
Give the man some shoes and send him on his way!
  There were also those that were truely diabolical!  Anti-entertaining!!
  I heard the cacophony long before I laid eyes upon the collection of so-called musos that created it.  Perhaps it was the poor quality amplification.  Perhaps they had traveled all night (hadn't the "singer" lost his shoes?). 
  But whatever excuses I tried to make for them, they could only be described as the worst I had EVER heard!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
 
I was transfixed by the clamour.  I couldn't break away and indeed there were others gathered about them who were obviously suffering the same enchantment.  Thank God they had a lengthy break between their anti-tunes and we were able to make good our escape!

We returned the following day as well of course.
After a very hard night I guess
  It wasn't that we were hoping to catch another showing of those travellers but you don't wait all year for a free weekend festival and only swing by for half of it.

We entered the "House tent" early that morning.  The music was pumping, as it should, but the groggy looking inhabitants were in no mood for jumping.  I guessed they'd had a night of that.  Instead they lolled about on the grass in some sort of "come-down" state.
  The smell in the place was too musty for us and we broke back out into the sun.

More of the same the second day, and still I was stunned that all this could be laid on gratis!  That's Entertainment!!

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Harboring Monsters.  Bristols pr…
"Harboring Monsters". Bristols p…
One toke over the line
One toke over the line
Funky Tongue in Groove
Funky "Tongue in Groove"
Clarapandy fail to blow the dude…
"Clarapandy" fail to blow the dud…
Give the man some shoes and send h…
Give the man some shoes and send …
After a very hard night I guess
After a very hard night I guess
Whos hungry?
Who's hungry?
Lucky man I say
Lucky man I say
Have bongo, will travel.
Have bongo, will travel.
The Roadies are ready
The Roadies are ready
Crazy Trains
"Crazy Trains"
More travellers
More travellers
They came from all over
They came from all over
Stilt walkers
Stilt walkers
Bristol
photo by: petit_gooroo