Personality, humour, and talent are what Willowman Festival in Yorkshire has become famous for over the last nine years and it was in abundance today across all stages.
Booking artists such as The Wailers, Echo and the Bunnymen and Peter Hook & the Light – along with this year New Model Army, Eat Static, and N-Trance – the Willowman Festival has grown over the years and, with only one site move, has now settled at Hullside Rural Activities Park at Knayton.
The old school mix of punk, ska and hip-hop is typical of previous line-ups which cater to an audience who appreciate the mix of familiar long-established acts and festival newbies who pepper the underbill and even play the main stage – and it was no different this year.
Whilst most festivals tend to stick to one genre to avoid alienating fans, Willowman does quite the opposite and the acts this year were as diverse as ever which, in my opinion, can only be a good thing.
Throughout the day there were a number of fantastic moments as we were treated to the indie-pop synth of Opera Comics on the main stage, all-out enthusiasm from two-piece all-girl outfit Rews who were my stand out act of the day with their high-energy alternative rock, The Radio Set playing New Order-esque guitar lines in the pouring rain which didn’t seem to dampen their spirits, Bessie & The Zinc Buckets playing upbeat rockabilly music with a few bizarre covers – including tracks by Britney Spears and Abba – that they pulled off with ease, upbeat hip hop/rap/ska/reggae outfit The Dub Pistols playing a high-tempo set to really get the crowd going, young indie band Corella showing how much talent there is in Manchester at the moment, My Baby playing deep slide blues guitar with stunning female airy vocals over some heavy dance beats, and finishing with New Model Army with their signature Northern Soul meets punk sound.
It may have rained, in fact, it may have poured, but spirits were high all day in what was a fantastic showcase of incredible talent.