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Various Artists - Big Session Festival, De Montfort Hall and Gardens, Leicester,18-20 June 2010 Rating: 4 out of 5 Guest contributor Alistair Fields aka Big Al with a short summary of this year's event.

Like many afficianados I was somewhat sceptical of the line up this year, having witnessed an extremely high standard of music in the first five years. This was also evident as the first Big Session to not be a total sell-out. As it was I, along with those others who came, were pleasantly suprised despite a slight country feel to the event including the odd four or five banjos !

Highlights of the tasty menu were Holy Bandits, namely the Oysterband and guests, playing the album of the same name, with guest Rowan Godel, a female vocalist, adding another dimension to the Oysters’ sound much as James O’Grady did previously with his uillean pipes.  (He was also resurrected back into the fold at this performance but sadly could only be seen and rarely heard). The Oysterband singer, John Jones, clearly enjoyed the female prescence so let’s hope she’ll be back as her vocals on my personal favourite, “Street of Dreams”, one of the “encores”, was the icing on the cake.

Elsewhere I was amazed by the standard and variety of music in the Orange Tree tent, where all the real ale drinkers were lurking. This included young local bands as well as Alan Prosser’s (Oyster guitarist and head swayer a la David Gray) side project, the Ranelagh Renegades.

Remaining highlights included Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls (Wonderstuff singer and violinist) with their acoustic set, Ray Cooper, better known as Chopper, Oyster cello and bass player, and Dreadzone whose lively reggae beats were impossible not to dance to.

Others worth a mention were Will Pound and Dan Walsh’s harmonica and banjo duelling, John Smith (a folkier Paolo Nutini), Ian King (jazz colliding with folk - much better than it sounds !) and Stornoway, who will soon be competing with Mumford and Sons for the new age of folk heavyweight title.

Music aside the heavens opened before the festival started then remained closed for the whole weekend. It was nice and cool in the music tent, the Big Top and main hall, there was great food and excellent lighting for all the stages. For those who missed it, don’t miss out on year seven.

Big Session Festival, De Montfort Hall and Gardens, Leicester,18-20 June 2010

Various Artists

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Reviewed by: Ian Mann

Live Review

4 out of 5

Big Session Festival, De Montfort Hall and Gardens, Leicester,18-20 June 2010
Photography: Photograph of Oysterband by Alistair Fields

Guest contributor Alistair Fields aka Big Al with a short summary of this year's event.

Like many afficianados I was somewhat sceptical of the line up this year, having witnessed an extremely high standard of music in the first five years. This was also evident as the first Big Session to not be a total sell-out. As it was I, along with those others who came, were pleasantly suprised despite a slight country feel to the event including the odd four or five banjos !

Highlights of the tasty menu were Holy Bandits, namely the Oysterband and guests, playing the album of the same name, with guest Rowan Godel, a female vocalist, adding another dimension to the Oysters’ sound much as James O’Grady did previously with his uillean pipes.  (He was also resurrected back into the fold at this performance but sadly could only be seen and rarely heard). The Oysterband singer, John Jones, clearly enjoyed the female prescence so let’s hope she’ll be back as her vocals on my personal favourite, “Street of Dreams”, one of the “encores”, was the icing on the cake.

Elsewhere I was amazed by the standard and variety of music in the Orange Tree tent, where all the real ale drinkers were lurking. This included young local bands as well as Alan Prosser’s (Oyster guitarist and head swayer a la David Gray) side project, the Ranelagh Renegades.

Remaining highlights included Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls (Wonderstuff singer and violinist) with their acoustic set, Ray Cooper, better known as Chopper, Oyster cello and bass player, and Dreadzone whose lively reggae beats were impossible not to dance to.

Others worth a mention were Will Pound and Dan Walsh’s harmonica and banjo duelling, John Smith (a folkier Paolo Nutini), Ian King (jazz colliding with folk - much better than it sounds !) and Stornoway, who will soon be competing with Mumford and Sons for the new age of folk heavyweight title.

Music aside the heavens opened before the festival started then remained closed for the whole weekend. It was nice and cool in the music tent, the Big Top and main hall, there was great food and excellent lighting for all the stages. For those who missed it, don’t miss out on year seven.


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