The Flamjangled Tea Party 2013 - Review

Posted by Billie Thomason on 26 March 2013 | 0 Comments

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The Home Grown Music mystery machine aptly arrived at The Flamjangled Tea Party just as the rain subsided on Friday evening. We took this as a sign of good weather for the weekend to come and so it was. The sun did have a scorching tendancy at times during the day. Fortunately all we needed was a splash in the swimming dam to keep our hypothalami in check.

The campsite, which was set in a lush green valley, was filled with colourful, amicable people of all ages. It was really great to see equal amounts of children, teenagers, adults and elderly folk all having a blast amidst the gigantic trees that surrounded the valley. The facilities where abundant, clean and a pleasure to use. Cozy, warm showers; many toilets; a wide variety of food(vegetarian and fleshy); treats; clothing and crafts were on offer. The impressive décor and festival structures where made with mostly recycled materials and ranged from a giant elephant tea pot to a giant plastic cascading showerhead and a magical doorway to another dimension. There were plenty of colourful archways, Bedouin tents, medieval tents and flags decorating the green hills. The attire of many of the campers provided plenty entertainment since many festivalgoers dressed to impress.

I joined a medieval romantic and his corset-wearing mistress for a shoe scuffle at the Market stage. The beats were held down strongly by the likes of: The Great Vernoni, Kimon, Lt Fizzer, Ma’original, Dusty and Moody Bloom. A latin dancing couple in full-on ballroom getup blew my mind with crazy footwork, swings and spins for the best part of 2 hours whilst I did my most retarded harlem shake under the ultra violet lights. I was in my element. At least until the music completely stopped...

The dark damp night gave rise to a beautiful blue day. After a refreshing dip in the dam to the dubalicious selections of Fletcher, whom carried on providing great music, sauced with his own special flavor, for the rest of the day. I enjoyed a delectable pizza at the Abundance Café, in the market. It was amusing to see a multitude of costumed party people and party ‘animals’ walking past.

The Little Hattery gifted festivalgoers with craft material and free hats uniquely decorated with glitter, colourful feathers, beads and the like. Stilt walkers, rhino’s, frogs, cows, jugglers, poi spinners, mushrooms, dragons, red Indians and doppelgangers could al be seen, adorned with rainbow feathers in the constant parade.

With a full stomach and a happy heart I nestled in the long grass of the tea party stage to have my ears massaged by the perfect intricacies of Mr. Derek Gripper’s immaculate, finger-style guitar playing prowess. Most of the time he was playing 2 bass lines and 2 lead lines on the same guitar without a loop pedal. His vocals were sincere and majestic. His microphone technique was remarkably astounding. He received a standing ovation before the resonance of the last note ended. Bravo! No surprise that he’ll be sharing the stage with the legendary John Williams next March.

Next was the best-dressed competition. About 50 participants in the most wacky outfits imaginable donned the stage to contest for glory… there were Dragons, Mushroom, People, cabaret girls, animals, optical illusion dudes, fairies, some lost hippies and countless, colourfully costumed freaks. There were even stilted ravers that got stuck to a fence. One of them took a hard bail from a dizzy height earlier on, but she made a full recovery and is still stilting on tas you read this. An incredibly impressive, hand-made, 12ft tall Vulture took the cake, with the love dragons in close second place.

Following his extravaganza was Caroline Blundell’s Band, Barn Dance. They are an extremely professional country outfit that taught the crowd a barn dance and a line dance to perform during their show. Seeing the whole crowd get into it was a marvelous spectacle. Machinery got the heads rolling and hair flying. Circus freaks held their fists up high. Trenton and Free Radical swung us into the island vibe with some super positive mellow reggae. Mad props on the groovy drum beats and juicy bass lines.

No band could really prepare anyone for the aural ecstasy that ensued. From the first note, Bateleur seemed to describe the smoke and lights that engulfed them with their highly intelligent melodies. They mastered time, traversed sound scapes, flattened the austerity of jazz and created a Faberge sculpture of pure, original music. Seriously, no bias… It was the first time I’d seen or heard these guys. I really battled to believe my eyes. So I closed them – this was a great idea, as it allowed me to see the sounds with my imagination, and oh what beautiful images those enchanted songs conjured…

I didn’t get to watch The Dollfins' show, as some more than mildly interesting fairies flew me off to the Living Room stage where we spent a large portion of the evening wiping our feet really good on the rhythm rug.

Sitting down at the Living Room stage was not easy… The music was so good that I often had to get up to dance just after sitting down to take a rest from the dancing. Respect to Dj Invizible, James Copeland, Eppelsauce, and Toby No Show for keeping the fire burning there. Things were heating up just as much in the Miniscule of sound, which is a tiny cramped indoor club complete with huge, black suit wearing bouncers, at an outdoor festival. The irony nearly killed me. Luckily a guy in a rhino suit pulled me out of there seconds before the claustrophobia become too much.

Another cock - a - doodle - doo and Sunday was underway. I hastily melted out of my tent and trickled down to the dam. The Tea Party stage was already pumping and despite its circus-like allure, I found myself in enough comfort to listen to the songs of and @Christian Tiger School from the water. I dripped dry to the eloquent and artful gypsy Jazz musings of Manouche. Django would be proud…

After them, my expectations were blown to smithereens by The Time Flies. What a talented outfit. I can’t conjure the right words to properly describe their freshness. Scantily clad in wrestling suits, they delivered a world class, high-energy rock/jazz/ska fusion performance, rich in dynamics and melodic flair.

They were a perfect introduction to Rumspringer, who warmed up the skankers kneecaps with a tight brass section. Their conga player had the fleet footed dancers swinging from mindvines with his groovy jungle beats.

7th Son turned the crowd onto their heads with an elegant set of soulful ska and reggae rock. Their Sublime tribute had many a rude boy and girl singing along with chests a heave ho.

 As the Tea Party Stage’s music ended, Ross Hillier, Jess the Hippie and Gonzo the Adventurer led the remaining crowd into a percussion frenzy with some gargantuan djembe, daburka and recorder based tunes – Organic style…

What a beautiful end to a magnificent live music festival… That’s what I thought as I stared at the dust cloud around the laughing barefoot dancers with the sun setting in the orange streaked background.

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