After an almost wholly sunny Festival this year, I look back at some of my highlights and what is hopefully be developed for Love Supreme 2016.
1. The Jazz Lounge
New for 2015, the Jazz Lounge was a great addition to the festival, showing a really nice collection of live sessions and jazz footage. Some of the popular films were shown on multiple occasions, giving you another chance if you missed it the first time. There were also some plug sockets, a cafe and free Wifi, so it was overall a great place to come to chill out. The seating in the area was a little sparse, particularly for the makeshift cinema and with a rough material resembling the outside of a coconut on the floor, it was not the most comfortable place to be unless you got there early. Lets hope they have a few more seats next year.
2. The Schedule
An advantage to smaller festivals such as Love Supreme is that you don’t have to make as many compromises as you do at larger festivals. There is no taking 45 minutes to trek across 4 fields to be 1/2 mile away from the stage as is sometimes the case at Glastonbury and other larger-scale festivals, and you will often miss a lot of what you want to see through clashes in stage times. The well organised staggered set-times between the stages enabled you to see a lot more music for your money, and with a reasonably small festival site, you are never more than 5 minutes away from who you want to see next.
3. The Main Stage
Quite a pop/mainstream line-up on the main stage this year,but what they may have lacked in a traditional jazz sense they made up for with experience in abundance, with headliners Chaka Khan and Van Morrison certainly having a few years behind them. If you are the parents with younger children or have come along with a group of mates/work colleagues, odds are this is probably where you will frequent.
4. The Big Top
For me this was my favourite venue by a long way, not least of which because it was still audible from the campsite so you could still clearly hear the music whilst sitting in your camping chair, eating your picnic of bread, fruit and pimms whilst lazing the day away. The line-up was much more “jazz”, covering a wide spectrum from crooners to experimental jazz, all of which was performed very well to what looked like a slightly depleted audience from last year – and from the quality of the acts I can’t see why!
5. The Arena
Having spent a lot of my time in the Jazz Lounge and The Big Top, the Arena fell a little by the wayside for me this year. However the few acts that I saw there, who seemed to be geared towards a slightly younger audience, were fantastic.
6. The Bandstand
Located near the main food area (nice thinking guys!), the Bandstand was programmed by local venue Verdict Jazz and was showcasing a range of local jazz acts from youth ensembles to much more established south-based jazz groups. By cleverly placing this near to the food stalls yet still just within earshot of the main stage, the area had a steady audience throughout the weekend, giving some of the younger performers an attentive and receptive audience.
7. The Late Night Sessions
For those who like to keep the party going, the late night sessions in the Blue in Green Bar in the woods and the late night sessions in the Arena were considerately placed away from the main camping area, so as not to keep those who wanted to get to bed from doing so. The White Mink night was a very popular choice on the Saturday night, with Flash Mob Jazz getting the crowd (and even me) dancing along to their collection of swing tracks.
8. The Campsites
There was a main campsite which housed most of the overnighters, and separate campsites for the VIPs/Glampers, Campervenners and families, which people all seemed to be quite content in. The main campsite was a little far from the car park, and the wheelbarrows available to hire were and expensive option for a poor solution, not a touch on last years giant wheelbarrows which came with a pusher for you and your stuff so that you weren’t worn out by the time that you got there. Lets hope that they return for next year.
9. The Food & Drink
As with most festivals these days, the food selection was broad ranging from fish and chips and burger/hot dogs to more worldly dishes from Caribbean Jerk, Soul Food Company and a number of specialist vegetarian providers. The prices were a little steep for the food but the bar prices were about the standard for central Brighton, circa £5 per drink, but the £35 per bottle of Prosecco was a little out of my price range this time. Maybe next year!
10. The Atmosphere
Finally the atmosphere, as it has been every year, is a friendly and welcoming one. The average attendee is slightly older that the usual fesival-goer and perhaps a bit more cultivated with their musical tastes, but they are there for the same reason: to see the live music and to eat, drink and have a good time.
The festival, which just completed its third year, is still in its infancy but has been learning quickly how things should be done and is growing and changing each year. I look forward to seeing what form it will take next year. Tickets for Super Early Bird are on sale now for just £108.90 Weekend Camping and £97.90 Weekend Non-Camping (including all fees). Book online and start brushing up on your jazz repertoire.