Written by: Pete Robson
Sitting on hay bales, In an unspoilt part of Hampshires finest countryside, beneath the summer sun, with a pint of real ale, is a dam fine way to spend the summer solstice. Add a little acoustic roots music to the mix and I’m left wondering if life gets any better. We are at Dam Fine Affair, a small (500 people capacity) festival just outside the New Forest in Damerham village.
The festival got underway on Saturday night with just two acts, Music Unbuttoned’s very own slide blues guitarist Pete Robson. Followed by folk/punk band The Jack Ratts who got everyone to their feet dancing.
Sunday got into full swing with music starting at 12 noon. Compère for the day Si Genaro would also be the opening act, performing a laid-back set on guitar, harmonica and even whistling. As compère for the day I ask for Si’s opinion on the festival. "Small and perfectly formed like a fair maiden's breast. Everyone is so happy, I hadn't been here five minutes and found myself in a conversation with some happy campers. I would definitely recommend it and the variety of music is pretty outstanding".
Second act of the day Chris Woodford performed a tranquil set on a 12 string guitar. Although billed as a solo artist he was accompanied by Chris Payne on keyboard and Compère Si returned to the stage contributing vocals and harmonica.
Mischa & His Merry Men
Third up Mischa & His Merry Men, described as blues, Folk, funk, and reggae they performed an upbeat set as a three piece. Mischa was keen to tell me he usually tours with a drummer and violinist not just bass player and keyboardist as we saw today. Despite this, the three piece sounded tight and well rehearsed.
Singer songwriter Pete Christie played finger style on an old acoustic guitar that bared the war wounds of extensive gigging. If only that guitar could talk, but instead Pete makes it sing whilst delivering story like lyrics.
Dustbowl Children came to the festival with a clear plan, to get the party started. Their opening song ‘Downtown’ pulled no punches, the rest of their set followed suit including a supercharged version of Superstition by Stevie Wonder.
Fearne usually a 4 piece performed a laidback and precise set as a duo. Alex Bedrijczuk on acoustic guitar and vocals, accompanied by Nick Bryson on double bass played many original songs and some covers including ‘Man Of Constant Sorrow’.
Expectations were high long before Eyes For Gertrude stepped on stage. dressed like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer they filled the stage with equipment and the marquee with an audience. Great musicianship and very enjoyable to hear Hannah Dean use her voice as an instrument.
Alex Roberts was responsible for organising all the bands and musicians who played over the weekend. He did a sterling job. As a tribute to his hard work Alex is this months featured artist. So you can see for yourself what an exceptional musician he is. Click picture to see feature.
Noah's House Band these guys make an instant impression, styled like a 1930s comic book, they turn mumbles, honks and barks into creative unique music. It was a performance no one was expecting and no one will forget.
Do we really need to tell you about the Stone Donkey Pilots? We have featured them once before and they were so good we featured them again. Check out their previous features. Click picture to see feature.
Grizzly & The Grasshoppers
Grizzly & The Grasshoppers stomped it, a great big loud grizzly set. They took a 10 minute break to allow everyone to step out and enjoy the awesome firework display, then it was back in for 3 more songs. Their encore was performed unplugged to respect the local residents.