Big Chill 2004…

…is unfortunately over. That’s where I was this weekend, making my annual pilgrimage to my favourite summer festival. Cracking tunes, cracking company, and cracking weather.

We had a logistical nightmare getting to the festival (don’t ask) which but a dampener on the beginning but we soon got back into swing of things. Highlights for me, apart from the obvious pleasures of listening to Bent, Bonobo, and Lemon Jelly on a balmy summers evening, were Sia Furler (best known as a Zero 7 vocalist), seeing popdamage perform the KLF’s “Chill Out” live, and a DJ Yoda set in which he mashed up tunes to create an alternative soundtrack to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (lots of fun).
Another memorable moment was wandering into a grove of trees in the site only to stumble on a Samba band playing Brazilian rhythms by the candelight. A glitter ball twirled in one tree catching the light of the full moon, while a small child lay in the branches of a second. The manic band leader and the two dancers whirling like dervishes made me think I’d wandered into a vodoun ceremony. Very cool, and exactly the sort of memorable experience I’ve come to expect from the Big Chill.
My only gripe was that the festival in now much larger, and for the first time you can start to see the impacts of such a large number of people: more queueing and more litter, despite the “Leave No Trace” policy. My first Big Chill was four years ago when they’d just expanded to 5000 people. This year it was 20,000, with all signs pointing to a larger festival next year. They’ve got their work cut out keeping the friendly, intimate laid back feel of the festival that I’ve come to expect and enjoy. Let’s hope they do it as the ‘Chill has become a cherished part of my summer.