14 September 2015

My First Festival Experience (Butserfest 2015)

Butserfest is an annual alcohol and drug free music festival at Queen Elisabeth Country Park in Petersfield, UK. It’s organised by East Hampshire County Council, in partnership with Southampton Solent University, and this years’ festival included headliners Funeral For A Friend and Don Broco, as well as a variety of acts on the Introducing and the Alternative "Crossroads" stages. 


I was lucky enough to be part of the film and photo crew for the official magazine and promo film (which I'll link on social media when it comes out) and it was also my first festival, so it was a privilege to get all the access I did. The first act I saw was on the “Crossroads” stage, Manchester-based Lost Atlanta. Not being a Metal fan, I was always sceptical about the genre, that it was just a lot of screaming and not being to hear the lyrics. But standing in the photo pit while photographing the band I found myself actually enjoying the songs being played, sung along to the powerful choruses and rocked out to the guitars with the crowd. 





Speaking of the crowd, lead singer James Drake jumped down from the stage during their set and interacted with the crowd at the front of the stage, before climbing back up to sing the bands' final song, "ALIVE" and promoting their new EP of the same name. A young chap with a guitar by the name of Daniel Eagle took to the Introducing Stage and performed an exquisite acoustic set, sprinkled with some covers and some originals - drawing in a reasonable crowd wanting to hear something a little different and unique, as in one of his songs he was comparing himself to TV chef Jamie Oliver - something I'd never really seen written before but found quite brave and comical. 

Daniel Eagle during his Introducing Stage set
As well as all the bands and music, there were activities at the festival too, such as Zorbing, Butser Selfies (a chance to take a selfie in front of a board with Butserfest on it and with props which is so much fun!) and Last Man Standing - very similar to the Sweeper challenge on Total Wipeout. Sadly I didn't have time to experience many of the activities as I was out filming/photographing most of the time, but they all looked very enjoyable by the amount of people that were queuing up to take part. 



After seeing Eagle on the acoustic stage it was time to go backstage and photograph the interviews with the acts for the official magazine and another magazine New Roots, run by Solent students. During the interviews, I got to meet the members of various bands including Our Hollow Our Home, Lock & Key, Cardinal Bay and Don Broco and hear about their experiences of the festival and future plans.

Members of Forever In Depths and Don Broco being interviewed
While waiting for bands to come over for interviews, I managed to sneak into the Acoustic Stage (it was more of a wooden hut) and photograph some of the acts there. Don Broco played on the Acoustic Stage to a packed audience of competition winners and some who were lucky enough to be selected to join them, where they played acoustic versions of songs from their new album such as 'Automatic', 'Priorities' and 'Money Power Fame' and where I got to hear their music for the first time. Having heard the acoustic and main version, I personally prefer the acoustic version more but they have still gained a new fan.

Don Broco performing on the Acoustic Stage

Christina Rotondo who blew me away on the Acoustic Stage performing with Our Hollow Our Home
There was also a female acoustic artist on this stage, Christina Rotondo who performed with Our Hollow Our Home and she blew me away with her covers of Bring Me The Horizon's 'Drown' and A Day To Remember's 'If It Means A Lot To You', where the crowd were encouraged to join in on the 'la la la' parts of the song that came after the chorus, to which the crowd responded and sung along accordingly.

Acoustic performances and interviews over, it was time to head to the Main Stage for Don Broco, the headline and final act of the night. They played to a full crowd of fans, all screaming for them and singing along to every word of the songs in their set, which included the hits sung in the acoustic set, only this time with heavier guitars and a lot of jumping around. Also included in their set and audience interaction was the Wall Of Death, where both halves of the audience stood to one side and when the beat dropped in the song, they all ran into each other. Safe to say, security weren't particularly happy with them.

Don Broco performing as the headline act on the Main Stage
The overall atmosphere was amazing and the fact that it was alcohol and drug-free meant that families and children could attend without the worry of being intimidated and face-to-face with someone off their face on whatever drugs and alcohol they've consumed. As my first festival, I would recommend Butserfest to anyone who's into Rock/Alternative/Metal music, as it's a great way to see some great headliners as well as discover some new acts arriving on the scene. 

Want to go to Butserfest in 2016? Until the 22nd September 2015, you can get your ticket for just £10! Check out more info here. Also don't forget to 'Like' my Facebook page here and follow me on Bloglovin' here to keep up with all my posts in one place.

A K Jones
xx

DISCLAIMER: I own all of the copyright for the content of this post

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