As you may have noticed (particularly if you’re in the area), there’s a party happening in Brighton’s Preston Park the first weekend of September (3rd and 4th) and everyone’s invited. The second ever Together The People festival will be taking place and I – along with all my family – will be there with bells on.
1) Last year was ACE.
The inaugural Together The People could have been many things. I, for one, had no real idea what to expect when I bought tickets for my (at the time 5 year old) daughter and myself. The bill was impressive, it was new and it was close to home (if you’re in Brighton and Hove, it’s a fairly short bus ride from anywhere), so I figured it was worth a go.
In the event, it was FANTASTIC.
Like one of those “wouldn’t it be great if…” conversations coming to life, Preston Park was transferred into a living, breathing, authentic music festival with an atmosphere all of its’ own. It felt like all the best aspects of living in Brighton, and all the most positive elements of a modern music and cultural festival had been combined. All the fundamental building blocks for a fun weekend out were provided for all ages – fantastic music and spoken word across different stages, good QUALITY food and drink, excellent shows and activities for children, presence from local partners such as Duke of Yorks, Resident Records and B&H Albion… And of course, many of the performances themselves will stay long in the memory.
After that, taking the whole family this year was a no-brainer. Not least because…
2) It’s ACTUALLY family oriented. But you don’t need a family to love it.
The way the festival is set up is that you can turn up for the music, with bars, food (and loos) nearby, and just relax, oblivious to all but the good time you’re having. But equally you can turn up with family in tow and find there’s plenty to do, room to roam and ways to keep everyone occupied. Last year I had the unusual experience of seeing full families wandering around, with smiles on the parents’ faces as big as those on the faces of their children. There are special shows for the little ones too, this year in the form of Lazytown and Aliens Love Underpants (last year Horrbile Histories was a genuine festival highlight for any grown ups lucky to be nearby). The festival is relatively small but roomy (5000 capacity) so isn’t daunting, there is a re-entry policy for parents who want to wander back after dropping kids at home, but the curfew for the whole event is 10pm – giving time to get everyone travelling home safely. This is particularly significant because…
3) Have you SEEN this year’s bill?!?
Wow. They’ve pulled out all the stops this year. On Saturday you get BRIAN WILSON performing ‘Pet Sounds’ in its entirety as well as other classic hits. If you haven’t seen him before, then it’s difficult to prepare you for how astonishing and note perfect his band are, or for the sheer joy and emotional clout they bring. Sunday is headlined by indie statesmen SUEDE, currently riding the wave of a much acclaimed new album (this year’s brilliant ‘Night Thoughts’) amidst some of the best live reviews of their already extraordinary career.
Then there’s the stomping feelgood soul of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, the progressive post-Supergrass sounds of Gaz Coombes, Peter Hook & The Light performing classic after seminal classic from the catalogue of his former bands Joy Division and New Order, jazzy summer vibes from Hiatus Kaiyote and psychedelic garage from The Horrors – plus many many other sounds from the various acts performing over the weekend. Add it all up and you have a compelling weekend of music in store.
If you’re the kind of parent who frequents the festival circuit, or who watches coverage of festivals longingly via TV whilst looking after the kids, then this is the weekend for you. Likewise if you’re any kind of music fan, looking for a laid back way to enjoy live music, look no further.