En El Campo is probably my favourite festival. It beat the shit out of Bestival last year anyway, that’s for sure. En El Campo is an event that my bud from uni Charlie Haire puts on every year in the grounds of his folk’s house in Horsham. It’s pretty much a mini festival which is great when you’re 26 and realise that you don’t actually really like traipsing around a huge field for about five days in fancy dress trying to avoid twats giving you free hugs (hugs are always free moron, and I’m not even a huggy kinda guy) and you’ve also realised that you don’t actually really like live music that much either and would much rather just sit down and hang out with your buddies over a beer rather than rush around a huge festival site losing everyone you’re with and spending most of your time trying to find them whilst simultaneously trying to see about 50 bands a day on account of the fact that one of them might be really good/the next big thing so you could say something like ‘oh well yeah, I was there at that crucial Reading festival 2007 performance that really broke them into the mainstream.’ Jesus Christ, if the 16 year old me could hear me now.
Anyways, En El Campo is a mini festival in that it lasts for about a day, is really, really small and only has a few bands/djs who mostly play covers and other people’s songs rather than their owns and it’s pretty much invite only, so everyone is on the guestlist for this one motherfucker. The set up is pretty simple – there’s a place to park your car, a place to set up your tent, some woods to check out, a main stage, a second stage, a couple of caravans/camper vans you can hang out in, a lake you can take a boat out on (and maybe have some wild sexual adventures in that I can’t really talk about here eh?) and a little island in the lake that you can sit on and smoke a cigarette on or something. There was a ball pool in a car this year too. It ruled.
The routine is pretty much always the same. You turn up sometime on the Saturday (or maybe Friday night if you’re Paul Reynolds), set up your tent, then start getting wasted. I didn’t get there until about 6:30 this year because of those stupid English Defence League rallies in London screwing everything up, but last year there were some fun events like Sock Wrestling going down. Mostly people just hang out with each other though as there are always loads of people you don’t see for ages there who turn up. Or maybe go and check out the woods or something.
Then when it starts getting dark some of the bands start playing. There’s always this dude who plays punk covers acoustically who rules. He plays under the name of Harkr and you can check out his tumblr here. He was great this year because he covered the Bouncing Souls (Lean on Sheena), Frank Turner (I knew Prufrock before he was famous), Alkaline Trio (Mercy Me) and Against Me! (Walking is Still Honest) which was a great way to kick off the night for me and my buddies.
After that I was pretty wasted so it gets a little bit more hazy, but I remember a great DJ Set from DJ Cooks-E who really knew how to work the crowd by hanging off the main stage DJ Booth, an even better early morning DJ set from King Shoey and a great performance from some jazz band who wore suits and sang Blues Brothers songs. I think they were called the Blues Bothers band fronted by Liam Scott. Dj Boxhead did a set too, as did Grand Vibes and Street and there was some more live music from Simon Lee and Rattlesnake.
I have no clue how any of that went down though. The rest of the night I was just hanging out with people, walking around, dancing, catching up with old friends (that I probably won’t remember), making new friends (that I probably won’t remember), drinking, smoking cigarettes and eventually passing out at around 9am next to the remnants of the huge bonfire. En El Campo at its finest. The cops came too at around 2am to try and shut it down but that always happens and they always get shot down and leave us partying. Suckers.
Thanks again to Charlie Haire and his girlfriend Steph for having everyone, as well as the efforts of his trusted team of helpers the housewife’s choice Barney Lock and the delectable Jack Beaumont, who you can follow on twitter here. He really needs some followers so help him out.
Maybe next year if Charlie lets me I’ll do a Sick Chirpse competition where you can win directions or something. Anyway, until then here are some pictures of En El Campo 2011:
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