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As we approached the open fields of Standon and walked up to the gate, there was a distinct feeling of openness. Not only in the physical surroundings, but in the attitude of the people working there too. It did help that we'd been schooled in the history of Ware by the friendly cab driver en route from the station. The man who claimed "he didn't know that much about the town" went on to provide us with random facts for the entire twenty-minute journey.

Arriving a little late, the tent struggle ensued and it wasn't long before we were ready to get stuck in. There was one more thing on the preparation list - put money on our wristbands. That's right, no cash.

Standon Calling has a no cash policy, you simply top up your wristband with credit. It's all very futuristic and convenient. The problem is, you don't really take much notice of what you're spending. It reduces queues but increase spending - although that's probably something you can monitor yourself. Budgeting has never been my strong point.

Standon Calling

Standon Calling

Standon Calling

Time for some music. First up, it's Ella Eyre. I've never claimed to be a massive fan, but this girl's got talent. Her voice belted off the main stage with ease and her confidence rang even louder. The main stage is great, set up on a slight hill, your view is clear from all directions. I had very much been looking forward to the Friday night headline slot by Little Dragon, all to hear 'Ritual Union' live of course. Unfortunately it wasn't the mind-blowing set I'd hoped for. Each song blurred into the next, it was still thoroughly enjoyable, it just lacked a little dynamic. Yukimi Nagano did still manage to completely rule the stage with her unique moves. Amongst a sea of strobes her silver space jacket captured the lighting perfectly. Finishing off with some trance-like instrumentals, it might not have been the party I was hoping for, but it certainly got the party started.

Standon Calling

Standon Calling

Never fear - the terms party and Standon Calling do in fact belong in the same sentence. When I interviewed founder Alex Trenchard earlier in the year, he warned me that things always got a little crazy in the twilight hours. He couldn't explain exactly why that was, but the atmosphere definitely changed after dark. The Cowshed was the major culprit in this as it stayed open until nearly 5am each night. It became the club point when the rest of the festival was ready to relax (the smart ones).

Saturday began with a headache and the urge to explore. Shake it off, right? Thanks Tay. Being the 10th Anniversary, the Standon Calling guys really went all out on the theme this year. The focal point of the festival was an actual country western town, the 'Town of Two Faces'. Saturday was also the day to dress in theme (which I didn't do, which makes me a bit of an idiot). Does a hat count? People went all out for this and it was amazing. There were women with moustaches, men with skirts and everything in between.

Standon Calling

Standon Calling

As you weave between the vintage shops, sparkle spots and hat stores, sun beaming down on your back, first cider in hand, you forget that this little slice of paradise is less than an hour from London. It felt like an inclusive festival with something for everyone. Even the dogs, and what good looking dogs there were scattered throughout the site, awaiting Sunday's dog competition.

Standon Calling

This inclusiveness was highlighted in the 'Town of Two Faces'. I experienced a really nice moment that reminded me why it's nice to be at a festival with kids. Standon Calling is a very family friendly town, a place that people show a loyalty to; the locals pencil it in their annual calendar. There was a huge crowd with people cheering - 'a secret set?' I thought to myself. What appeared beyond the sea of heads was a young girl of probably only eight years singing karaoke. She had a great voice and was up there with her Dad. The energy of the crowd was so encouraging, both for the little girl and everyone else too. It was a feeling of a shared collectiveness that doesn't come around all that often.

Geez, that got emotional fast. Back to the music. All weekend I was hanging out for Sunday's line-up, but Saturday had a few great things happening too. It kicked off with Brighton's bluesy rock outfit Black Honey. When they took to the stage, lead singer Izzy Bee was immediately in the zone. Staring intently through a veil of bleached blonde hair, she successfully evoked the haunting emotions that exist in each song, including the Lana Del Ray-esque 'Sleep Forever'.

Next up it was The Antlers, who I assumed would make me feel 100% fresh again. I'm not sure everyone was totally into it, it was slow, progressive and incredibly chilled out. If you were raring to go, then The Antlers probably weren't the ideal thing for you. Spread out on the grassy hill, sun beaming, this set felt like the calm before the storm. Having done a Q&A with frontman Peter Silberman in the lead up to the festival, he mentioned he'd been doing a lot of yoga but I didn't think that would shine through in their performance. The atmospheric rock became even more zen as he strolled around the stage in what seemed like a meditative state. It was one lovely afternoon set.

Later on that night, Roots Manuva played to a packed out tent and there wasn't a still body in sight. Everyone was totally up for it. But it was The Dandy Warhols who I was most looking forward to. Now - I don't usually stand centre front at a concert anymore, that was best sort out by the 19-year-old me. At Standon Calling though, that front row spot was easily acquired, it was busy but totally doable.

Up close and personal, I was surprised how each and every band member still pulled off the '90s vibes; not straying too far from what they looked like in Dig! (one of the better music documentaries I've encountered). Courtney Taylor-Taylor was very enthusiastic, "This is the most beautiful place I've ever been in my life." I mean, it's a beautiful place but Taylor was next-level-loving-it. They had everyone jumping with their pop hits, 'Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth', 'We Used To Be Friends' and 'Bohemian Like You'. It's the kind of set where you forget just how many songs you actually know, it was a lot of fun. With Zia McCabe doing her thing on keys, the tambourine also made a big appearance. The standout though was 'I Love You' which played out into a long extended jam. The strobe lights jumped around with the repetitive fuzz and Taylor finished by saying, "Fuck, that was tripping balls."

Standon Calling

By this point I'd had a lovely time overall, I'd even been for a quick dip in the Standon Calling pool. I just wasn't sure if I'd definitely be coming back next year. Then, Sunday happened.

Kicking the day off with some reggae it was Kiko Bun, who genuinely had the majority of the crowd up dancing in the sunshine. I spent it watching the trapeze artists to the right of the main stage, contemplating what might happen if I actually tried. Too scared to even attempt, we went off to see Landshapes at the Bella Union stage. Their eclectic punk energy, the harmonies, it was excellent. It finished off with a track called 'Stay' and the lead singer decided to lead the audience in some pretty hilarious dance moves.

The Cuban Brothers I'd seen before, but this time their borderline humour had the crowd in fits of laughter. It was an amazing vibe. Put it this way, his two fellow brothers were called 'Double Penetration' and the latest addition, a gorgeous young dancer, was called 'One Erection'. The main message from that set was #allowit (hashtag allow it). After that it was a highlight set by Clarence Clarity who presented their psychedelic pop in a cult like manner. They pulled off weird with ease. Lonelady does some seriously good electronic funk, but I got the same vibe watching them as I did with the excellent Syd Kemp. The Big Top tent was a little too big. There was an audience and the bands were great, but that empty feeling tended to dampen the atmosphere a little. At least if felt laid-back for the artists, giving them room to play and perform even better.

Standon Calling

Standon Calling

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Sunday night on the main stage was a spectacle of bright colours, great costumes and pure talent. Basement Jaxx proved exactly why they were headlining the festival. From dancers, to guerrilla outfits, to rainbows and clouds. Geishas girls, fluro outifts, bongos, a whole entire choir - it was its own galaxy of goodness. The best bit? I totally forgot that Basement Jaxx sing 'Where's Your Head At?'. It's possibly one of the best rookie mistakes I've ever made. When that song comes on and you're not expecting it, it makes for a wonderful finale. Or a wonderful song to dance your way over to see Gilles Peterson & Patrick Forge Present Dingwalls on Sunday (at the Cowshed). They saved the best until last - Gilles Peterson's set was Sunday night perfection and possibly the highlight of the entire festival.

See you in 2016, Standon.