Live Report: Neverworld Festival 2019
Last Thursday, a warm but bearable summer’s evening ,saw the start of this year’s Neverworld festival. An immersive festival with different realms (Mermaid, Lost Boys and Pirates); it’s alll about having fun. Fancy dress is encouraged.It’s a fairly small festival but that is part of its charm.
The festival started with humble beginnings when founder, Lee Denny, started a festival in his mum’s back garden in 2006. This was after having been told “absolutely no house parties” by his parents.
There was a great selection of bands on, especially at The Circus Stage, where it felt like organisers really had their fingers on the pulse of new music.
Blossom Caldarone was one of the opening acts at The Circus stage. This generation's Lily Allen, perhaps, and not least because she sings sweetly about unrequited love with a London twang. Her songs had a storytelling element to them and she covered ‘You've Got A Friend’ by Carole King.
Later that night, watching ‘Everyone You Know’ was like discovering a hidden gem. Rhs and Harvey are brothers from London whose music is stuff you can rave to but then can be really soulful too. Their music had people flocking to the tent, especially tracks ‘She Don't Dance’ and ‘Our Generation’. There was a child in the crowd, Noah, who was dancing so hard that their frontman had to stop and say, "he is the real MVP, we're just supporting him".
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Mystery Jets were headlining The Circus tent. Technical difficulties kept the crowd waiting but once Mystery Jets got started, they really got started! And didn't let sound issues stop them. "Fuck it, we're going to do it," they said before one track. The indie six piece played their new song about the NHS, ‘Hospital Radio’.
Lazy Day were on nice and early on the Friday, bringing their confident tones to the Main Stage. Incredibly powerful vocals were showcased by lead singer Tilly and their songs were honest, like ‘Mama’. The heat was slightly less bearable but everyone still enjoyed themselves. Back at The Circus, Swimming Girls played energetic songs contrasted with some quite haunting numbers. They are influenced by Lorde and David Lynch which might explain why they were singing of "existential" feelings.
CHILDCARE never fail to deliver an electrifying performance and, at this year's Neverworld, they definitely brought that tangible musical energy! Ed climbed all over the equipment and was lying down on the stage at one point! The man can’t keep still! They also played a new song in addition to the favourites ‘Sugarcane’ and ‘Film Club’ with lots of banter with the crowd.
In the intimate Hooks Rock, Jack Saunders (Radio 1)'s favourite Kid Kapichi were also the secret act, having only been announced a few days prior. They instantly impressed with their alt-rock stylings.
Over on the main stage, Tom Grennan blew everyone away with his show stopping husky voice. He started with the anthemic ‘Royal Highness’. We can think of worse ways to spend a Friday evening than listening to Tom’s undeniable talent. He finished the set with the epic ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’. The star has been away for a while but he has promised us that new music is on the way.
Neverworld champions rising new music and the indie acts on offer were great. It was almost exhausting - the vast variety of acts they had on offer. And we had to run to The Circus tent to see Ed the Dog do his self-deprecating thing before The Vaccines started. The Vaccines were something else and it was clear to see why they were the Friday night headliners with ‘Your Love Is My Favourite Band’ and ‘Dream Lover’.
Last year Clean Bandit and Bastille headlined and this year, dare I say it, Neverworld upped their game. The Vaccines kept fans happy with hit after hit. Their set just kept going. When you thought "but they've played all the good ones" they pulled out ‘Nightclub’. Justin mentioned a few times that they were having fun. And the smile on his face suggests he meant it. The man known for not smiling often was even laughing! 'Jump Off The Top' , their next single, was played and it’s a catchy one.
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On Saturday, at the main stage, Too Many T’s were the surprise stars of the day with their charismatic 90s hip-hop. Whilst, Finland’s ALMA brought the attitude with ‘When I Die’. She was feeling the good vibes it seems, and exclaimed, "Let's keep the party going on!"
Glasgow crew Lucia matched lead singer's feisty vocals to taut guitar and drums on their dramatic return to Neverworld. They performed a new song and told of how they ahd been working on a new EP in the studio They also performed their last release, which came out in February, ‘Blueheart’.
Prof Green was feeling "naughty" and performed ‘Remedy’, ‘Jungle’ and ‘Monster’-bringing a bit of grime to the festival. He was really entertaining and engaged with the audience (who just seemed to want him to take his top off).
Finally Craig David took to the stage, to deafening screams for his ‘TS5’ set. He opened with garage classic ‘Rewind’ and sang along to other classic tunes like Whitney's ‘It's Not Right (But It's Ok’). He also covered more recent hits like ‘My Mama Don't Like You’ and then he performed his own tracks ‘Heartline’ and ‘No Drama’. He finished with ‘7 Days’ and a remix of ‘Fill Me In’. All great tracks.
Neverworld’s motto is ‘Never Grow Old’ and it’s easy to lose yourself in all the fun and music. It is one of the best festivals out there-whether you are going as a family or as a single person. The acts performing were great and there really was something for everyone.
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Words: Narzra Ahmed
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