Photos: Sarah Dorman

Apple Cart is the sister festival to Field Day, with the same organisers and in the same venue. However, this was very much a different type of festival, with much more emphasis on comedy and with a view to attracting a family audience.

First on stage were the Balearic Folk Orchestra on the main stage, a concept group of different vocalists playing 80’s dance covers. It was a good way to start the day off, with the similarity of the songs mixing up well with the uniqueness of the method of singing.

Continuing the folk tip in the folk tent was The Pictish Trail, just one man and his guitar for part of it, with occasional accompaniment from Rozi Plain and James Yorkston. Add in top banter, and this was a very enjoyable set, especially when seated in the sofas they had at the stage.

Back at the main stage, Steve Mason had to contend with the rain, but he managed admirably, playing a selection of songs from solo album Boys Outside and two from his previous solo incantation King Biscuit Time. ‘I Walk the Earth’ even managed to get the crowd dancing, an extraordinary thing considering the rain, and he certainly ended up as one of the musical highlights of the day.

Next up was The Magic Numbers, playing from all three albums and even songs from the forthcoming fourth. Whilst they are good singers and able musicians, they did lack a spark when playing songs which were not on their debut album, and they failed to connect with a good portion of the crowd, which was a shame.

Next was a stint at the overcrowded comedy tent, which was much too small in my opinion for the acts, and demand from the audience. For an excellent set from Jon Richardson, the crowd stood to fit everyone in. With excellent material including his experience of hotels, and having a general moan, he certainly entertained the crammed in crowd. Doc Brown, comedy rapper was also excellent, mixing rap and Cheryl Cole insults with aplomb. With an excellent call and response ending to his seemingly extended set, he managed to make an impression on the crowd.

After Kevin Eldon confused the many but delighted the few with his clever mix of music and ‘SATIRE’, a heavily moustached Marcus Brigstocke played a very aggressive set. With the political bile, at some points he did seem to chock some of parents watching him. At one stage, he went on a rant against Melanie Phillips which seemed personal rather than jocular. However, as a fan of his and of left wing comedy generally, this writer had a good time.

A solo acoustic Badly Drawn Boy was then on the main stage, playing some excellent tunes such as ‘You Were Right’, but also coming across as a little grumpy, though his faux arrogance and dry humour was also a treat in some places. Ending with a cover of ‘Thunder Road’, his fans certainly seemed impressed.

Next up on the main stage was Tim Minchin and band, playing a slightly smaller stage than the arena’s he is used to. With old songs like ‘Dark Side’ mixed up with the newer stuff like ‘CONT’ and even children friendly songs like ‘Cheese’, he was both funny and charming. The only disappointment was the lack of the 'Pope Song', but this was certainly a great performance.

And the headline act was Saint Etienne, with their wonderfully tuneful electro pop. Ending the evening dancing and grooving to hits like ‘He’s on the Phone’ and ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ was a wonderful way to end the festival. For a festival in its infancy, it was a more than respectable outing, with a friendly crowd and good organisation. Though next time, a bigger comedy tent would be a good thing!

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