The Mighty Boosh Festival review

3 stars (out of 5)

1

Boosh pic 1So where did that idea come from? I guess it makes sense to use the site for both weekend days if it’s booked for the Neil Young gig on the Sunday anyway, so why not do something completely different? This was certainly something different. The Boosh pick a whole bunch of their favourite bands to build up to the finale of the festival-headlining Boosh band and run this side by side with a comedy stage.

The line-up in the comedy area, The Velvet Onion, was a superb sample of the current British comedy scene featuring established stars Frankie Boyle and Ross Noble alongside less famous but very, very funny Paul Sinha and Mark Watson. The quality of the acts I managed to see was exceptional but, unfortunately, the stage and comedy area was too cramped for the quality of the line-up, which meant that a lot of fans weren’t able to see some of the more popular acts.

On to the main stage, Monkey Hell. Eclectic doesn’t really do justice to the line-up here. The bands playing were: Polar Bear, Robots In Disguise, White Denim, The Kills, Gary Numan, The Charlatans, Har Mar Superstar and the Boosh with DJ sets from Midfield General, Robots In Disguise, Jarvis Cocker and Peaches.

Numan - Mighty Boosh festival Even at 1 o’clock as the site was still fairly quiet, Polar Bear looked like a bad choice as they played to complete indifference for 35 minutes. Robots In Disguise fared slightly better with a partisan crowd and bags of onstage enthusiasm, despite a very dodgy version of The Kinks “You Really Got Me” early in the set. White Denim were the first band to generate some real festival atmosphere as they started their set in brilliant sunshine playing their Texan version of classic British 70’s rock with references to The Who and Led Zeppelin.

Next up, The Kills. Alison and Jamie worked really hard to build up a buzz, playing in almost gale-force winds at times but still managing to take things up another notch. After a lively and entertaining DJ set from Robots In Disguise the biggest welcome of the day so far went to Gary Numan. He didn’t disappoint, working the crowd right from the start of a greatest hits set, pushing the excitement up a few more notches as the whole band threw some classic rock shapes while providing a solid backing for the main man.

Jarvis Cocker played an eclectic DJ set, kicking off with Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” while fighting with system glitches but generally creating a good buzz. The gig obviously wasn’t too well paid because Jarvis couldn’t afford a babysitter, but the kids seemed to have a great time on stage with him. The Charlatans played a great festival set with enough hits to keep all of the crowd interested, including crowd-pleasers “One To Another” and “The Only One I Know”. It’s hard to believe they’ve been around for 18 years. Har Mar Superstar is next up, doing what he does and you like it or you don’t – I went to check out the brilliant Frankie Boyle in The Velvet Onion.

Boosh pic 2Peaches did the DJ set that you expect and after 45 minutes it was time for the Boosh. The show was well put together, the musicians (including Julian Barratt) were good, some of the backdrops were incredible and we got appearances from characters from the series including Bob Fossil and Lester Corncrake. The whole thing was performed very well but I’m not convinced that it was a festival–headlining performance.

So, to the verdict. On the plus side, the atmosphere was great, the crowd was really friendly, you didn’t have to queue for a week for a beer and some of the comedy was top quality. On the minus side, the weather wasn’t great (the wind had a horrible effect on the sound at times), the line-up was variable and the comedy area could have been bigger. On balance, a good day out with the Boosh.