Review: Stainsby Festival weathers the elements

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Thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour - all that was missing was a plague of frogs!

The weather gods may have been playing tricks on the crowds at the second day of Stainsby Festival yesterday, but inside the marquees there was plenty of sunshine.

Stainsby Festival

Stainsby Festival

On the Hat Block stage last night, Chesterfield’s rising stars The Natterjacks played up a storm with a large, supportive crowd hopping and bopping along to the feelgood, summery vibe of the guitar/banjo duo. The previous night Natterjacks members Freddie Bingham and Mark Evans had got the festival off to a rousing start when they played on the main stage and got the crowd dancing from the get-go.

A great festival season opener for The Natterjacks who play at Sheffield’s Tramlines next weekend and Y Not, near Matlock, at the beginning of August.

Tribal rhythms and African dancing from Sokoshumba brought a lively and colourful start to the main stage concert last night, delayed by half an hour when the power supply was switched off for safety as lightning bolts flashed overhead. Anna Mudeka and Glynnis Masuku proved that music is an international language as they brought the sounds and stories from Zimbabwe and South Africa to north Derbyshire.

Didgeridoo ace Silka Rose held the audience spellbound with his exquisite craftmanship, twisting between trance-like tunes and upbeat pumping sounds that defied the audience not to get up and dance. At one with nature, he shared a story of ripping off his clothes, running through a forest and jumping into a stream.

Given the weather earlier in the day, it was ironic that the headline act was Praying for the Rain. This lively band showered us with feelgood tunes and songs, the lovely timbre of guitarist Domenic DeCicco’s voice ringing out across the festival field, backed by a first-rate band of musicians including his brother Vince. Songs about drinking in the mountains of Italy and X-Factor were lapped up by the dancing crowd which milled around at the front of the stage.

Lightning bolts streaked the sky as we waited for the free shuttle bus to take us home, an excellent service which underlines the festival’s green ethos, relieves the worry of getting the car off a muddy field and allows you to partake of the festival’s fine ales.

The festival continues today with Robin Williamson headlining this afternoon’s concert, Tomorrow’s Ancestor topping off the evening show and the return of the Lost Padres to the Hat Block stage.

And if you have any spare cash at the end of it, make sure it goes into the Dream of Fields appeal which has been launched to raise £50,000 to buy the festival site and safeguard its future. Two sizeable donations to the cause were made yesterday - can they be matched today?

GAY BOLTON