Music Matters: The 25th Annual FRIEND Festival – New Age Revivial ? They never stopped
Since the Battle of the Beanfield; the unrelenting harassment of the peace convoy under Heseltine’s sneering gaze; the end of Beetle Mania (that’s VW not John Lennon btw); Glastonbury pushing up prices to £16.50, (working class rip off) and putting in barriers along with the waning of the spirit of Stonehenge, as the Police, having infiltrated the anarchists to death and since turned their attention to Animal Rights; festivals have totally dropped off my happy list.
Once Joyous celebrations, free folk gatherings, it was all over. One after the other they had been poisoned by rampant profiteering and state infiltration of what seemed like forever.
New festivals have popped up over the decades, oh yes never ending dates on bill boards, with ever rising ticket prices, backed by junk food demons peddling animal abuse in a bun, endless beer tents and irrelevant stage acts where the performers have nothing to say of any value whatsoever, are role models for exploitation objectification and violence, and obviously the endless cascading “profits before people”
It is not just about “Music Matters”, I’d completely ignored the scene, though raised an eyebrow of interest when Morrissey’s refused to finally go back and decline playing Glastonbury in 2015, over ethics.
Morrissey had already had a run in with Glastonbury in 2011 where he was reported to have released the below press statement:
“In 2011, I played Glastonbury and attempted to sing the song Meat Is Murder. Behind me, a screen that usually shows the many evils of factory farming remained blank. I was told that Michael Eavis (owner of the festival site) had stopped the screening of the film because it wasn’t indicative of how his dairy farm operated. He didn’t quite understand that the poor souls in the actual film did not want to be there in the first place. Michael Eavis also went on to justify banning the film by saying it would <upset> younger people.Like most animal haters, Michael appears to be one of those people who love dead animals, yet hate live ones. How is this sane, or logical, or possible?”
Glastonbury 2015, brought in pointless and talentless rapper Kayne West to headline the festival to fill the gap and justify the ticket sale price. Kayne West also has in an interest in fashion, specifically, Astrakhan (the fur of an unborn lamb). Yes, a foetus. The sheep is slaughtered, and the unborn lamb is ripped from her womb, its coat still curly and unformed.
Liz Jones (Mail on Sunday) reviewing Kayne West 2012 Paris fashion collection, was reported as stating ‘No imagination, no morals’: a damning verdict on Kanye West’s ‘ghastly’ fur-filled Paris show. (Did you also know that lambswool is most commonly taken from the backs of just slaughtered lambs? What did you think they did: used a little pink comb?)
The “Cult” of Glastonbury really sums up the problem with our Festival Scene, overpriced ,outrageous and unapologetically unethical and I am sure a great driver for a growing population of ethical aware people who simply do not want to be associated personally with pre-packed, don’t give a damn, show me the money, shrink wrapped Corporate Satanism.
The Dalai Lama (Heavily criticized for disrespecting the morals of the Buddhist order yet claiming some sort of headship over it, and participating in supporting violence by eating meat), was also in attendance at the 2015 Glastonbury festival. Unlike most Buddhist monks, who don’t eat meat because they believe it’s wrong to murder and commodify the bodies of any sentient being, the Dalai Lama is not vegan , not even vegetarian, yet despite this still try’s to maintain a media image of being a “sage” of sorts but really is nothing more than “sage and onion” stuffing for other suffering. That some frazzled maniac at the Festival attempted to start a chant when His Holiness walked out on stage. “One Dalai Lama! There’s only one Dalai Lama! One Dalai Laaaaama!” No-one joined in, Say’s it all…..
It may be fine for “flexitarians” to turn a blind eye to the backdrop of the festival site at Glastonbury, to crowd the field, and raise choruses of “oh Jeremy Corbyn” when JC used the Festival as a PR event for the Labour Party. JC “for the many” turned a blind eye to Michael Eavis questionable morals affecting the lives and freedoms of the “many” hidden out of sight as he played for political support from the “crowd” with yet another great speech of his.
For others who have a better moral compass, we seek a Festival with out the dark shadow of greed.
Why so much on Glastonbury in the post ? Well, the founder of F.R.I.E.N.D Festival Mark Eaton used to work Glastonbury Festival, distancing himself from it in the 80’s when those fences started going up and the ticket prices started going up too.. Glastonbury was once everything that was right with festivals, now it is everything that is wrong.
Glastonbury is out, as well as “priced out”, the site of an Animal Prison camp can never be a “happy home” no matter how loud the bands play or how fast the beer flows.
F.R.I.E.N.D. is in, the bands are still loud , the beer flows and the animals, all actually rescued form farm slavery, are free form abuse and commodification to live out their lives in peace, no one gets hurt , turn up the Bass Mark for the 25th annual F.R.I.E.N.D. Festival.
Let’s do this yeah !
One last thought for the Animal Prison Camps of Glastonbury, was some video footage sent over to FISHINABOX by one of the mind blowing bands that played F.R.I.E.N.D festival, a must see band called MOBIUS LOOP .
The band stopped by a dairy farm, just a regular farm, on the way back from the festival to film the below footage and add this comment to their story feed:
“This is how dairy is made in the UK. Babies separated from mothers so that a mother’s milk can be sold for profit. Even on organic dairy farms babies are separated 24-48 hours after birth. Complex mammals like cows have strong instincts to protect and nurse their young. All mother cows and their young end up in the slaughter house after forced pregnancies and births that always result in separation. #dairyisscary There is no need to fund this treatment of sentient beings when we can support our local British Hemp farmers and make nutritious hemp milk. A mother’s milk is made for her baby. We sing AHIMSA to all beings and their babies.”
Music Matters so let’s Get to F.R.I.E.N.D.. who’s on the playlist for 2019 ? With the exception of The Balsall Heathens, who were a late addition, to the playlist, the below is the full Festival playlist , check it out and see who’s who..
We rolled up through the main gate, greeted old faces not seen for years, and worked our way up across the fields. A sense of nostalgia reminiscent off the old peace Convoy free festivals of the 80’s, painted vehicles, a mish-mash of tents flags, and people wandering between.
The story of F.R.I.E.N.D. farm goes back to the mid 80’s,. originally the festival as a memorial day for Gari Allen, a great friend of Mark Eaton’s. One of Gari’s friends, Aileen (who attended the 25th Annual Festival), made a memorial stone to remember Gari’s life and achievement for the animals, and this was laid at F.R.I.E.N.D. Farm animal Sanctuary.
As Marks commitments took over in running F.R.I.E.N.D. he decided to enlarge the event to grow into a music festival, to bring joy peace and the party to the farm. Originally the dates coincided with The equinox but Mark moved the festival into July to avoid clashes with Stonehenge and also to get into better weather.
Mark didn’t make F.R.I.E.N.D Festival exclusively a Vegan festival, non-vegans are not restricted from attending in any way and bands would come from all cultures and backgrounds not always from the Vegan community.
So many of the musicians would comment about the rescue work going on at F.R.I.E.N.D whilst they were there, and Mark noticed they would ask to come back year after year due to amazing atmosphere at the festival .
There was also a natural progression in their thinking and lifestyle towards animal agriculture as they became more ethically engaged with the world around them.
Mark is clear though with all participants and attendees, to avoid any confusion about what people can bring with them regardless of their personal ethics, “This is vegan festival, please fully respect these principles by not bringing any meat, eggs or dairy onsite.”
As Mark says “you actually don’t really need any activism or workshops at a music festival, we have the rescue animals here on site, people can connect directly with the animals, make there own conclusions and make the right choices.”
Mark had invited people to paint signs for recycling, showers, paint up the toilet blocks, and a general all out color fest of activity and creative expression, artwork sporadically started to grow around the site.
As we parked almost on top of it at first, we got the a job to help directing people to the showers, a portable water shower and palette station at the back of the field. Showers were easy to use quick and clean. Toilet blocks where all biodegradable, using sawdust, wood chip and paper no plastic boxes or chemical poisoning that is so familiar at commercial festivals. The whole festival the toilet blocks were clean accessible and well maintained.
Graffitti Bill Boards popped up around the site and mind bending amazing artwork began to form fast on them.
Another massive plus at F.R.I.E.N.D festival was the food and rotating Menu’s. There is only Vegan food at the festival as anything else would be a sickening insult right to the animals that live there, rescued from factory farming and safe from commodification and violence in their forever home..
so the food…..
Damn….. AMAZEBALLS !!
“Vish” and Chips / Vegan Burgers, spicy / plain “V”Cheese you name it all the options / Asian Tofu Noodles / Curries / black beans / bean dishes all rotating so you had the sense of a festival menu.
There was also a range of desserts with a tea and cake tent which seemed to be open day and night which worked massively for everybody !!!! The Tea tent also run a Merchandise stall for T- Shirts, Hoodies, hell i’m sitting in one of the t-shirts now writing up this article, and all manner of absolutely stunning jewelry.
There was also some fund raising clothes rails with a range of amazing vintage clothing and a donations box, everyone appeared to put in decent donations for clothes they took a shine too, the money of course goes straight to the animals so the good feeling in supporting positive steps for the animals clearly had kicked into the crowd en mass.
“Moth3r” perform in the Marquee tent.. beats… rhymes… sublime….
A look at some of the bands playing the Marquee Tent – The Marching Skaletons / Niall from Ten Bags / Public Speech
The Marquee tent housed the “Razorback Inn” where the beer taps ran day and night.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, renditions of “Pick a bail of Cotton” performed earlier that evening by one of the bands called the Faux Pas, who ran a set of hypnotically catchy numbers earlier that evening, started to form and raise in volume again in the late night crowd, ….”Jump down turnaround, pick a bale of cotton, gotta jump down, turnaround, pick a bale a day etc….”
relaxing at the bar with the slowly quietening crowd , guitars came out again and the tunes started again and lingered way into the early hours and over into the dawn mists and the magic of dew forming in the early light. The rising sun finally bought the revelries to a close and we drifted off to a few hours slumber before the stage opened again for the next days set.
The Marching Skaletons , “ska” as in Two tone rock steady rhythms, These guys popped up all over the festival on the 2nd day, pressing beats and hypnotic rhythms as ska versions of Spiderman, Krartwerk’s The Model and and endless string of classics rolling out.
Niall heads up the folk punk group the Ten Bags, One of the fantastic things about F.R.I.E.N.D is the impromptu nature of how some of the acts fit together, Niall jumped into a gap in the running list to give us some spoken world poetry, gritty life insights such as “banned from the tesco” and “the mosley observation” a welcome set of renditions
Public Speech had the night spot, though every band has there own style the mix of rock and running rap lyrics between melodic flavours reminded me of the heavy rock band “Senser” who used to dominate main stage in the late 80’s and early 90’s , loud high energy, delivered.
The Ten Bags – Folk punk troubadours from the middle of England banged out a fantastic set of own tracks interspersed with some great covers, CRASS, Exploited and the Pogues a real Anarcho-Celtic-Punk fest as they rampaged through folk tradition!
more from The Ten Bags here:
MOBIUS LOOP,. These guys are on another level that we all need to evolve to, i’m actually just going to post their mission mantra to describe their stage set –
“We are married by our love of philosophical songwriting; channeling each lyric, melody, rhythm & harmony & weaving them into the tapestry of our union which is sanctified by the co-creation of our journey.”
If you achieve anything this year in the line of Creative pursuit, you MUST get to see this band live.
More from Mobius Loop here: https://www.mobiusloop.co.uk/
From monk punk to panto punk; from retro funk to garage junk; from pirate-sing-along to jazz metal; from a cult classic to a classic cultists here’s Chalice. a Christian band out to save your souls through rock n roll. Choppy chops and thrashing beats of Raymond Chinzano, smooth, meandering bass lines of Thomas “T Bone” Wheeler and the mathy licks in among syncopated, cutting guitar stabs from Benedict Quetzal. Then there’s Cede Von Taylor leading the line from the front with raspy, accusatory and confrontational vocals. They also do exorcisms !!
More about Chalice here: https://www.facebook.com/chaliceband/
The Dirty Fairies
More from the Dirty Fairies here: https://www.facebook.com/thedirtyfairies.co.uk/
Rites of HADDA – Anarcho, pagan, gothic, psychedelic Witchpunk band from London. Born from a weekly jam session in a London squat and have released 3 eps; Samhain Ritual #1 (Live At The Gunners), From The Blow and the recent 7 track Witchpunk. Headed up by the enigmatic and hypnotically entrancing “Wilderness Wasp Howl” who presents on stage in a spinning swaying colourfest vibrating “forest” of organza, there really is nothing quite like this.
More from Rites of HADDA here: https://ritesofhadda.bandcamp.com/
Johnny Kowalski and the Sexy Wierdos – “The Go To festival band for the moment” (BBC introducing Hereford and Worcester) After several years wowing audiences across the UK and EU music scene, playing rapturous festival sets at Boomtown, Nozstock, Y Not, and Tramlines, and then recording their second album with highly respected producer Gavin Monaghan (The Destroyers, The Editors, Robert Plant), the Sexy Weirdos are now gaining international acclaim for their third album “European English ” (available on Bandcamp, Spotify and I Tunes).
more From the Sexy Wierdos here: https://sexyweirdos.bandcamp.com/
The list of bands was endless, we couldn’t cover them all, but that is where our invitation stands to YOU. Get down to F.R.I.E.N.D and get a taste of a whole new level of “Festival”.
Check out links to the other bands performing here:
A little bit about the Rescue and the Animals.
Friend Farm Animal Sanctuary is located on a beautiful 10 acre site in rural Kent. The rescue was established in 1994 and have given sanctuary to upward of 2000 animals in the following 25 years.
F.R.I.E.N.D currently have approximately 200 non human animal residents including pigs, goats, sheep, cows, hens, ducks, geese, turkeys and more.
At F.R.I.E.N.D. the animals are the number 1 priority. The Rescue is a large 10 acre site and the music is contained centrally away from the animals who are free-roaming as much as possible.
They are able to keep a very comfortable distance throughout the weekend and remain in very peaceful areas of the sanctuary with little impact on their day to day business. The volunteers see FRIEND as the animals’ home first and foremost, and a space for the musical festival second and we manage the event with their well-being prioritised at all times.
F.R.I.E.N.D. Farm relies solely on donations from members of the public. Want to help out ? Here’s the link to support F.R.I.E.N.D: https://friendfarmanimalsanctuary.org/donate
Financial donations are spent on food, bedding, essential equipment and veterinary bills. We are a no kill sanctuary, we re-home a small amount of companion animals but most of the animals that live here stay with us until the day they die.
Unlike the bin and trash city big commercial festivals , recycling was key at F.R.I.E.N.D, recycle stations were everywhere, tea cups were returned to the wash stations, by the end of the festival there was only one , yes ONE black sack of non recyclable waste from the entire festival, such a massive contrast from the post Glastonbury scenes you see of what looks like a landfill site of debris left on the festival fields…
Not only is F.R.I.E.N.D. a relaxed safe family friendly event, the whole festival management and the crowd takes on a level of responsibility about the environment that I haven’t even seen in the greenest of gatherings around town.
These are people who care about how they party, and that is why this festival gets my best festival UK vote for 2019. These are the kind of festivals we want for the future, Eco friendly , ethical , great music, great atmosphere , family age and well managed through out.
Get to F.R.I.E.N.D for 2020 , to hell with the big sell out corporation , steel fenced, plastic chemical toilet, landfill site big money festivals that masquerade as a good time in “Brexit Britain’s” consumer selfie society.
Make exploitation history and have a great time doing it.
Photographers: Rachel ARA / Sharon Lee Tucker / Andie Kumafaro / Dan Pope