The sun shines through the morning clouds as it greets the festival goers arriving at the Recreation Ground in the heart of the charming city of Bath. Enriched with history and culture, the city is celebrating its 70th anniversary of its internationally renowned music festival with a line-up that has effortlessly enticed thousands to join in the celebrations.
8000 music lovers of all ages have travelled from as far as California to be here on this surprisingly sunny bank holiday weekend. Whilst the news reports forecasts of cloudy skies, rain and thunder storms throughout the rest of the area, The Rec boasts an idealic setting and perfect place to host the festival’s grand finale weekend. Umbrellas and wellies lie redundant on the grass whilst guests decorate the grounds with colourful picnic blankets, sun hats and smiling faces as they relax in the sun in anticipation for the weekend’s festivities.
Whilst it isn’t the first time Bath Festival has hosted a stellar line up, this year they really have gone all out, with a wide variety of talented artists throughout the weekend.
On Saturday it’s the girls who are leading the way, with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Alison Moyet and Paloma Faith setting standards high on the main stage.
But it’s not all about the headliners, Bath Festival has so much more to offer and organisers have clearly gone out of their way to ensure there is plenty to do during the entire weekend. With talent shows, craft stalls, face painting, local charities, entertainers and three different stages accommodating local bands, singers and battle of the bands competitions; there really is something for everyone.
Stalls and carts offer an impressive array of diverse cuisine from all over the world. From cheerful African bbq food to spicy oriental noodles and tasty homemade burgers; all locally produced and served in environmentally friendly biodegradable packaging.
Late afternoon we decide to escape the sun’s rays by taking shelter in the Poet’s corner. A delightful little tent where writers and poets relax in comfy arm chairs whilst sharing their literary talent with those who gather there.
Children’s author of ‘Captain Pug’ Laura James and local Poet Rebecca Tantony will both be visiting the tent during the course of the weekend.
On Saturday afternoon however, Sophie Ellis Bextor and her mother (former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis) join fans in the Poet’s Corner as they share tales of the stories they enjoyed whilst growing up. It’s a relaxed and intimate setting, giving fans the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the festival’s most well-known performers.
Its later in the evening when Sophie Ellis Bextor really comes into her own though. As sweet and friendly on stage as she was in the Poet’s Corner, Sophie bursts onto the main stage in a flash of colour as she delights the crowd with original hits such as ‘Wild Forever’, ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Love is a Camera’ followed by cool disco covers of ‘Take Me Home’, ‘Lady (Hear Me Tonight)’ and ‘Sing it Back’; all beautifully complimented by the BRIT Award Nominee’s unique vocals and fun, energetic performance.
Sophie brings the opening set to a close with some late 90’s nostalgia with ‘Murder on the dance floor’, and it’s not long before she has the whole crowd joining in with her signature dance moves. Sophie is a joy to watch and it’s clearly evident that she enjoyed the performance just as much as the audience did.
Next, it’s back to the 80’s with an empowering set from three times BRIT award winner and Grammy-nominee, Alison Moyet. As the sun sets on the Recreation Ground, Alison puts on a first-class performance with hits such as “All Cried Out”, “Love Resurrection” and “This House”.
Saturday night ends on a high with a breath-taking performance from British singer/songwriter Paloma Faith, dressed in a glamorous golden ball gown accentuated by quirky lens-less glasses and eccentric yellow hair.
Paloma sparkles in front of an impressive crystal laden back drop as she captivates the crowd with hits from her much-celebrated gold album, “The Architect”. With songs such as, “Changing”, “Cry Baby” and “Guilty”, it’s easy to see how Paloma’s first three albums went Double Platinum in the UK, making her one of only two British female artists to have achieved this during the last decade.
Despite her flamboyant appearance, Paloma is extremely down to earth and talks to the crowd as if they are old friends. Paloma shares stories of her family, past experiences and the hardships she has encountered which have made her the person she is today. She is clearly a compassionate individual, telling the crowd that “if everybody just made the conscious effort to do something nice every day for ever more, then maybe the good will outweigh the evil. It might not be in this generation, it might be something that happens in generations to come”.
Paloma tells the audience that “kindness is the coolest thing going” and is a true advocate of all the charitable attributes and values that have formed such an integral part of Bath Festival’s culture during the last 70 years.
We leave the festival grounds even more excited as we prepare for Sunday’s extraordinary line-up, headlined by none other than Led Zeppelin’s legendary frontman, Mr Robert Plant.
Day 2 to follow, please like our Facebook page to get updates…
Written By: Samantha Swindlehurst
Event Photography By: Neil Swindlehurst