Hop Farm Festival 2009

Jon Davies | Thursday, 09 July 2009

Hop Farm Festival 2009

Hop Farm Festival is the brainchild of Vince Power – the man who, among other things, created and established Mean Fiddler into the festival running behemoth they are today. While many other small festivals fall by the wayside you'd be fairly confident in betting that Hop Farm - Powers project started last year – could develop into a success. Well it appears Hop Farm hasn't quite been the success it could have been.

You can't help feel that after last year's successful one-day event, the organisers made a slight error in increasing the festival to two days. Firstly, upon arriving on Saturday morning you can't help notice a distinct lack of people. While this has obvious benefits, no bar and toilet queues, the opening day of the festival did lack a bit of atmosphere. However the sun was shining and the line up promised to improve any early doubts.

Saturday saw some amazing performances throughout the festivals, newly expanded, three stages. Florence & The Machine continued their quest to become everybody's favourite new discovery this summer, Echo & The Bunnymen gave the crowd a jaw dropping reminder of why they're so revered and Ash ran through the hits while new song 'Return Of The White Rabbit' showed their still relevant after all.

The day did suffer from a lack of an obvious headliner, though; the prospect of watching the Pigeon Detectives followed by The Fratellis was enough to induce a hangover 12 hours early. Rather than risk this, the smart members of the crowd fled to the dance tent to see Etienne De Crecy's insane live show. Playing from a huge white luminous lighting cube, seriously check YouTube, De Crecy's twisted electro was the perfect remedy to stale landfill indie.

Sundays line up seemed far more deserved of a festival crowds attention, a thought that was backed by the sudden increase in people. Highlights came from Ladyhawke, who persevered through her set despite sound troubles, and Mystery Jets who may just be the best band to sit around and listen to in the sun. Try hearing 'Young Love' and not smiling, it won't happen. Super Furry Animals seem to occupy a similar space to Ash; festival crowds will always welcome their presence and back catalogue. Shame the same cant is said about their predecessors The Twang, possibly the only band that doesn't seem more enjoyable after drinking.

The festival then churned up a final dilemma; the timeless rock of Paul Weller or a frantic set from 2 Many DJ's. Opting for the latter proved to be a great end to the festival. Will their remix of Gossip's 'Standing In The Way Of Control' ever get old?

While Hop Farm does have some great attractions, the distinct lack of VIP zone has to get a honourable mention, it's all a bit too safe. Hop Farm certainly showcases some great bands, but it would never be the highlight of your summer like Glastonbury or Reading. However, while the sun is shining there are far worse places to spend a weekend.