Live Review: 110 Above Festival (August 2017)
We sent our photographer Hollie Wright to capture the full experience of 110 Above Festival earlier this month.
On Friday 4th August I headed out to the Leicestershire countryside to 110 Above Festival. I have been to this particular festival the past three years and expected to turn up to the usual teepee and small stage set-up. However, this year I turned up to the same location but all of the festival had completely changed. 110 Above is normally situated on a farm but this year the festival was literally on the farmyard! The main stage, named the Commune Stage, was a really nice sized stage that was located in an old cattle shed. Down a small hill lead you to another beautifully decorated barn named Old Town Hall, the stage was situated under a stunning blue glass window; which shone natural lighting down onto the stage. The third and final stage was called The Gopsal Inn, which was also an old barn, mainly consisted of acoustic sets. This barn was equipped with lots of hay and straw bales that people could sit around and soak up the acoustic chilled vibes… and maybe soak up some alcohol from the bar that was conveniently set up at the back of the barn. Not only were all of the stages set up in rustically stunning barns, but also all of the food stalls stuck with the farm theme and had the likes of coffee stalls, stoned baked pizzas, Greek food and burgers all setup inside old horse trailers. So. Bloody. Cool. The whole festival was well and truly beautiful.
As Get Inuit entered the main stage: Commune Stage there was a massive cheer. With their 5:40pm slot, a mixture of sunshine, booze and stage energy certainly got the crowd into a fantastic mood. Lead singer Jamie Glass welcomed everyone to his bands’ set but one individual took an immediate liking to Jamie, screaming: “Jamie give us a wave, I said, Jamie give us a wave” repeatedly to which Jamie laughed off and set about another tune. Get Inuit played recent releases; “All My Friends”, “Barbiturates” and “Teriyaki” which all went down an absolute storm… especially for Jamie’s new biggest fan. The old “Jamie give us a wave” started again the second the last word of the song was sung. In the end Jamie ended up giving the fan a wave and burst into another tune. As the rest of Get Inuit were tuning up for their final song, Jamie gave the fan a taste of his own medicine saying straight down the mic: “hey fan, ‘gis a wave”… but the fan wasn’t quite aware of what was going on… Jamie teased again: “yo fan, give us a wave!” to which the guy finally realized, jumping up and down, setting him off again. To conclude Get Inuit’s set they played Pro Procrastinator, which everybody seemed to recognize. I really couldn’t think of a better way, or set, to start off the festival for me.
HAUS were up next. I had heard lots of good things about this band and in was very excited to see them. They took to the main stage and the floor filled with smoke as the members took to their positions. Lead singer Ashley Mulimba is a fantastic front man; he covered just about every area of the stage, his energy bouncing off everyone and everything. HAUS played songs off of their debut EP “Say What You Say” with “Oblivion” being a personal favourite of mine… and most of the crowds’! During the song “Two Minds” Ashley jumped from the stage onto the barrier. I have no idea how he managed to stick the landing; it was very impressive, especially with mic still in hand!
At 8:10pm, it was time for Black Honey to take the main stage. As they entered the stage, one by one, there were screams and gasps of awe from the crowd. Izzy walked on last, wearing a metallic leather biker jacket with a baby pink crop top underneath; accompanied with silver glitter flares, looking ridiculously cool, as per. Black Honey played previously released songs such as “Hello Today”, “Madonna” and most recent release “Somebody Better” with b-side to that “Cadillac”. Black Honey truly did let us in for a treat as they performed “Cadillac” acoustically, which was absolutely beautiful. The crowd was so quiet, holding onto every lyric in the song. Half way through the set Izzy asked one of the security men that was stood in front of the barrier for his assistance in helping her over the photo pit to help her stand on the barrier. There were certainly a lot of people that had come to see Black Honey. “Corrine” was the last song on their set, it was extremely successful with the crowd. Izzy said down the mic “Mr security man, please may I have your assistance again” as she got closer to the crowd on the barrier again. A mosh pit opened up and Izzy decided it was her time to hop back onto the stage, jumping over the gap and all of the monitors. Black Honey are simply an incredible live band and I cannot get enough of them.
Keir was next up at 9:15, on the Old Town Hall stage. The sun was setting over Leicestershire and the temperature was beginning to drop, however, the heat did nothing but rise when Keir entered the stage. The old barn was packed with people. I had never listened to Keir before so I didn’t really know what to expect but I had heard a lot of very good things. How right were they. I was absolutely gob smacked. Keir’s stage present was incredible and his voice was mind blowing.
It was 10pm and everyone seemed to be in a glorious mood. Whether it was because of an amazing first day of live music, lovely weather or lots of beer. But it was Little Comets time to headline and close the first night of the festival; so no wonder everyone was so happy! Little Comets took to the stage and there was a massive roar from the crowd, it looked like everybody from the entire festival was there. Little Comets’ set was an hour long but they managed to include new and old classic songs. They all went down a treat. During “One Night In October” a gentlemen had got his toddler daughter on his shoulders dancing away, smiling and laughing her head off, it was such a lovely thing to witness. As it approached 11pm, the beginning of “Dancing Song” began to play and everybody started singing along as Rob thanked everybody and wished everyone a goodnight and to enjoy the rest of their weekend. As Little Comets vacated the stage, the lights went up and everybody began to walk towards the DJ tent, the night clearly hadn’t finished for most people but it certainly had for me. The first day at 110 Above Festival had been absolutely fabulous and I was already itching to get back.
It was the second day of 110 Above Festival and it was 3.15pm, time for Anteros. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t quite as glorious as the day before and it was drizzling as Anteros entered the stage. It wasn’t enough to put anybody off standing and watching the main stage though. The rain certainly didn’t dampen anybody’s spirits. Lead singer, Laura Hayden, is a fantastic front woman as she strutted her sass back and forth across the stage in her black PVC trousers and metallic gold biker jacket. After they had performed their latest single “Drunk” Laura then asked the crowd if it had stopped raining, and thank goodness it had and Leicestershire was graced with sunshine again. To conclude their set, Laura asked if anyone fancied breakfast, hinting that she was going to finish their set with their brilliantly catchy song “Breakfast” which an impressive amount of the audience knew.
Day two was in full swing as more and more people began to show up. There was such a lovely atmosphere at this festival, because it was so intimate and such a chilled vibe it made the festival experience even more enjoyable. KYKO took to the Commune Stage at 4:35pm.
At 6:10 I made my way back to the Commune Stage to see and hear High Tyde sound checking prior to their set only to be interrupted by an official to announce down the microphone that unfortunately Clean Cut Kid were unable to play their set due to one of their members being really ill therefore High Tyde got their set pushed back to 8:10pm; which would have been Clean Cut Kid’s slot. Knowing this, I headed back down to the Old Town Hall stage in order to catch Seafret. With two men, one acoustic guitar and one microphone, Seafret filled the old barn with beautiful sounds. They played new single “Blank You Out” and the crowd sang along with them, making a beautiful acoustic echo throughout the barn building we were in. To end the second night of 110 Above Festival, a strongly anticipated crowd waited for Sundara Karma to enter the stage. Sundara have such a strong and memorable stage presence, lead singer (and guitar) Oscar Lulu had a long green velvet jacket on with long white flares underneath, he looked incredible. Sundara played songs including “Flame”, “A Young Understanding”, “Love Blood”, “She Said”, etc. off of their debut album “Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect”.
Before I knew it, it was already Sunday, the last day of the festival. Day 3 and the sun was still shining in Leicestershire… that’s right, a festival that managed to have three beautiful days of weather in the UK (well that is excusing the little down pour on the Saturday but I really couldn’t grumble…). I planned to shoot The Night Café at 4:35pm but unfortunately they were unable to play therefore Ten Tonnes played instead. The 19-year-old singer/song writer took to the stage by himself and an electric guitar. I was absolutely blown away at how powerful his voice was as he played “Lucy”, “Silver Heat” and single “Born To Lose” to name a few. As I had listened to the songs prior to seeing Ten Tonnes live, I didn’t know what to expect listening to the songs without the rest of the band but he certainly delivered an incredible and humble set. I was very impressed indeed.
6:30pm came and the Commune Stage was looking very jazzy indeed. INHEAVEN were next on and they had attached red roses all around the microphones, speakers and monitors. The stage looked aesthetically beautiful. When INHEAVEN entered the stage, it looked even more magnificent. The whole stage was filled with glitter, colour and a whole lot of excitement energy. As they have a debut album coming out very soon, INHEAVEN have released songs such as “Treats”, “Baby’s Alright” and “Regeneration” they went don’t an absolute treat (excuse the pun).
6:55pm and it was time for Will Joseph Cook and his band to take to the Old Town Hall stage. I have been physically unable to stop listening to Will Joseph Cook’s debut album “Sweet Dreamer” and hearing it live was just incredible. As I shot the first three songs of the set, it was quite hard being able to hear Will as the people on the barrier were singing so loudly! I’m not complaining though because it was so lovely seeing people enjoy the set as much as me.
Eliza and The Bear were the second to last artist to play 110 Above festival and their happy summery tunes were certainly in full swing as the sun was going down and the festival was winding to an end. This didn’t mean to say that the energy at the festival was any less enthusiastic. Eliza and the Bear played lots of songs off of their self-titled debut album, which were huge crowd pleasers. They also played their new single “Higher” which definitely has a lot more pop vibes to it, in relation to their previous songs, and I absolutely loved it. Randomly, there was a giant inflatable Flamingo bobbing around the crowd, which ended up on stage, and making its debut set to the people of 110. It was pretty epic. To finish off their set they finished with an absolute classic of theirs “Friends” which everybody knew and sang and danced to.
Finally, to end a fantastic weekend, Coasts were the last band to play the Commune Stage. Lead singer Chris Caines is a brilliant front man and certainly knew how to work an audience. His energy on stage was truly contagious. There was a huge following there specifically for Coasts as there was a barrier full of people that knew every single word. The crowd wasn’t as much rowdy but it was transfixed on the stage.
Overall, 110 Above Festival was a complete and utter delight. The whole festival was incredibly well run and planned. The relaxing vibes made for a perfect family environment as well as a perfect intimate festival for regular festivalgoers. To think that the whole festival was on a farm is quite mind-blowing and that a cow shed could be converted into a main stage is really quite incredible, in my opinion. The sound and the lighting, to me, was spot on for every single artist. Saying this, there wasn’t one artist that I didn’t enjoy. My main highlights from the weekend would have to be Get Inuit, Black Honey, Little Comets and Keir. The lineup for this festival was absolutely brilliant and I am really excited to see what 110 Above festival has install for us next year... I just hope they manage to book the beautiful weather that we were blessed with this year too!
Photography and Review by Hollie Wright