Winter Castlefest

This post was written about a fortnight after the event from notes taken on the day. There will be a gaps where I didn’t write bits down at the time so the music section’s not as in depth as usual. Oh and there are no photos because I am still not used to the new phone and my camera is still bordering on terminal. Yay!

This was my first winter Castlefest, if one doesn’t count that trial event of a few years back in a club, that is. Since that one, the dates have been the weekend before Christmas and, naturally, I would expect to be in England by then. However, this semester university had different ideas and semester only ended on the 23rd! Not overly impressed with that! Anyway, it did mean that I could go to one of the Castlefest days so hey, always a bright side!

The festival takes place on part of the summer festival grounds and it’s actually a decent size. I suppose it’s been growing a little, from what I’ve heard anyway, but I don’t know if it will get any bigger. Frankly, I found it about comfortable. Not too big, not too many people but big enough to be interesting and busy enough to have a good atmosphere. There were a fair number of traders and I managed to buy a few last minute Christmas presents there so that was a delightful bonus. Other than that, there were two stages, one outside and one in a large tent.

That has to be my one complaint about the festival, actually. It was cold (well, it is winter!) but there was not really anywhere to go to warm up and once you’ve got chilled it’s hard to defrost without some actual warmth. There were some braziers but we didn’t get anywhere close to them and there was the tent but that wasn’t exactly cosy. I’m pretty sure that Aimee got completely chilled through and it made her a bit miserable, understandably. She said afterwards that the only time she got warm was during The Dolmen’s set. The seating was also outside so we can do the logic there. That said, they are limited by the grounds (there’s no existing inside spaces as at The Midwinter Fair) and it is in the early stages so I would expect these bits to be ironed out in coming years.

We arrived a tad late due to the awesomeness that is the Dutch train system (actually, it’s so much better than the UK I feel bad moaning about it!)  so we missed the start of Sowulo’s set although Heleen reassured us that we only missed the first song or so. I still really love Sowulo (facebook) and, indeed, think they are getting stronger which is exactly the way it should be. I couldn’t buy their new CD this time but will do in the near future. I shan’t imagine it will be too long until I next see them.
Aimee’s view: “I really liked them actually!”

As for Shireen (facebook), again we really enjoyed their set. Okay, Heleen and I may well know our way around the bands that we like by now! That said, we felt the sound tech was a bit dodgy at times – I don’t recall how or in what way now but I wrote it down at the time so we must have felt it! Their music reminds me of a lot of the more gothic rock I grew up listening to, and therefore makes me feel quite nostalgic – really love it. Looking forward to their releasing a full CD. Oh, and special mention has to go to Annicke’s dress which was quite simply amazing…I have no photos, sadly, but take my word for it!
Aimee’s view: “Yes.” (I think this was in response to Heleen and my talking and we could get no more out of her. It’s generally positive though!)

I didn’t get to see Asynje’s (facebook) set in its entirety as this was about the time Aimee got her coldest and it was making her quite miserable. Oh, and they were on the outside stage. I do so hope I will get to see them again soon though as I was excited about this set and thoroughly enjoyed what I heard. They were great with the audience, getting them to sing in Danish (well, people get points for trying, right?). And there was such a lot of dancing too… although that may well have been less about the music and more about the need to warm up! I also must mention that Heleen very kindly bought me Asynje’s new CD as a belated birthday present and it is quite wonderful. My  mother and I had it playing in the car on the way to the cottage and she loved it too. I notice it’s still in her car and has been played a fair bit when she’s been out on her own too! So no Aimee’s view on this one but they have my mother’s seal of approval.

We also caught The Dolmen (facebook) who were great fun as always. Heleen quite enjoyed them this time which was nice because they’re not normally to her taste. Aimee really enjoyed them although, admittedly, that may be because the bouncing warmed her up a fair bit! We all had to laugh though because all of us commented about the fact it’s impossible to know when one of their songs has finished! So many mini reprises!

I believe it was after The Dolmen that we saw Rastaban (facebook) but I completely forgot to write anything down at the time so let us just say that, as always, they were amazing. I’ll give them an extra long write up next time! Oh, and they were Aimee’s favourite from her first Castlefest back in 2014 (I think) and she confirmed that they lived up to her memories!

And after that, I’m thoroughly looking forward to the (hopefully much warmer) Summer Castlefest with bated breath!


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