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Entire park was mud pit by Saturday evening
THERE was mud, mud and more mud but the show still went on as Basingstoke Live rounded off the first-ever Basingstoke Festival.
Just an hour into last weekend’s event and the grass at Basingstoke’s War Memorial Park had been churned up by thousands of people attending the first of the two-day free music festival. By Saturday evening, the entire park had become a mud pit, and deep rivets and slippery patches meant it was impossible for families to take pushchairs on to the site.
Despite the rain and dire state of the site, thousands of people still turned up to watch local bands and musicians in the various tents, as well as the headline act, Fabio and Grooverider, on the main stage.
Basingstoke band Treasures entertained a crowd in the 100% Tent on Saturday afternoon with their alternative Indie rock music. Singer Nicholas Beeney, 20, from Oakridge, said: “It went really well and lots of people showed up. We were a bit nervous but the crowds got us motivated.
“I have performed at Basingstoke Live before by myself with an acoustic set, but this was our first time as a band. We’ve been together since November and this was the best gig we have ever played. It’s a brilliant event because it’s free and there’s a wide variety of music.”
Four-piece band Glow in the Dark upped the energy in the 100% Tent with their high-energy performance, strutting around on stage, jutting their heads to the music and roaring loudly at the audience in a rather scary manner. But the crowds lapped up the deafening sounds, jumping up and down to the heavy beats.
Things were more relaxed in the Creative Tent, as children enjoyed circus skills with Swamp Circus. They had a go at the trapeze, stilts, aerial dance, Diablos and even a tightrope.
Running the tent was Mr Be, whose grandfather Harold Jackson was a former mayor of Basingstoke. He said: “We’ve had about 1,000 children come in so far and they were all very good. We are also putting on an act and have gymnasts and the Basingstoke Wolverines.”
Supporters of five-piece band Stupid gathered by the main stage in the afternoon to listen to their set, with many wearing T-shirts saying ‘I Love Stupid.’ But the audience tripled in size as the sun began to go down and Haggis and MC Eksman took to the stage. The drum and bass rappers had hundreds of revellers jumping up and down, warming them up for the headline act. Afterwards, MC Eksman, from South London, told The Gazette : “The crowds were very lively and everyone was up for it. It was worth coming here for.”
By this point, many people were embracing the mud, purposefully covering themselves in it. Paul Midgley, from Drum Runners, who helped to co-ordinate the programme for the festival said: “It’s gone really well considering the sogginess. I think the mud has added a little extra because people have used it to paint themselves.”
The crowds went crazy when headline act Fabio and Grooverider took to the stage at 9pm. The Radio 1 presenters blasted out drum and bass into the late evening.