Photos by Laura Patterson
Words by Jon Robinson

This was the second Headstock Festival and took place in Newstead and Annesley Country Park, in Nottinghamshire. After the success of last year’s festival, it has been extended to a full weekend this year. The festival is run as a social enterprise, with all the money generated going into funding the Country Park.

I went to Headstock on the Saturday. It really was one of the friendliest festivals I have ever been to and had a great line up, with a strong emphasis on local talent and lots of bigger acts as well. There was loads going on other than the music too, such as speed dating, hula hooping and craft workshops. There was also loads to keep little ones (of which there were many) entertained, in the Kidstock children’s area. It also had every possible weather in one day, from bright sunshine to torrential rain.

25 Past the Skank were the first band I caught on the main stage. They are a Nottingham band with a strong local following a drew a good crowd for their mid-afternoon slot, including a glamorous Can Can troupe, who later joined them on stage for the last couple of numbers. The band gave a lively performance in the strong afternoon sunshine, with their mix of dub, ska and jungle ,with three strong vocalists and an innovative DJ.

I wandered over to the BBC Introducing stage, which was set up like a Miners’ Welfare, in tribute to the village’s mining past. I really enjoyed the few songs I caught by Maniere des Bohemiens, a Nottingham band, whose lively gypsy jazz got the crowd dancing to their entertaining performance.

Treetop Flyers were next up on the main stage. They are a London-based folk band and their relaxed style fitted the chilled vibe of Headstock perfectly. They had a very seventies look but their sound was very current. The sky became ominously black though during their performance.

Back over in the “Miners’ Welfare”, up and coming Nottingham band The Money put on a storming show. This band really have got a style and sound all of their own and really bring the funk to indie rock. Their own material is great and I also really enjoyed their fantastic Red Hot Chilli Peppers cover.

From there it was back to the main stage for a pretty unique performance by Dananananaykroyd. By the time the band took to the stage, the heavens had opened and the rain was torrential. This did not stop Dananananaykroyd from giving an incredible and energetic performance. It was a shame that so few people braved the rain to watch – a total of 8 people (including 2 photographers) at one point. However, the band were not dispirited and gave it their all, with lots of great interaction with the gathered few. They invited the gathered audience into the pit to shelter and then went out onto the empty field to sing! The crowd grew as the rain subsided a bit, drawn out of the shelter of the beer tents by the sheer dynamism of the band. It really was an amazing performance and one of the most unusual and memorable I’ve ever seen!

It had finally stopped raining by the time the lovely and talented Nottingham singer-songwriter Nina Smith came onto the BBC Introducing stage. The audience loved the charming set by Nina and her band, which contained a good mix of her own original material and some great cover versions, including “Message in a Bottle” and “Crazy” for which she was joined by talented local beatboxer Motormouf. She finished the set off with “I won’t forget you” from her current EP. Nina has a fantastic voice and with her street-soul sound and clever lyrics, she looks sure to hit the bit time soon.

Legendary reggae band African Head Charge drowned the main stage crowd in rhythm, with their massive variety of interesting instruments, preaching one love. Their chilled reggae/dub/trance vibe was an ideal festival sound and a good crowd watched their performance.

Eighties post-punk act Echo and the Bunnymen were the night’s headliners. They are a popular act and did a good set, including some of their big hits. As expected I guess though, they seemed very serious, had very subdued lighting and were a bit lacking in terms of crowd interaction. They were a strong end though to a fantastic day’s entertainment.

Overall this year’s Headstock was a great success. Look forward to the next one!

Nina Smith


The Money

African Head Charge

Festival shots