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Review: B Natural festival, Bildeston, Sept 9 – 11!

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Review: B Natural festival, Bildeston, Sept 9 – 11!

Most teenagers spent their summer at music festivals. They were at Reading, V and Latitude, whilst I was at an archaeological dig in Norfolk. (Well, you get muddy either way.) But last weekend I took the opportunity to be around young people instead of beardy historians, and went to a festival …In the sleepy Suffolk village of Bildeston. I’m so hardcore. You’d think B Natural would be a rather unspectacular affair – but it wasn’t. It was a cosy, fun event, crammed with eccentric country charm.

The festival got underway on Friday with the first Indie Night, starring Reading and Leeds newcomers This Boy Wonders alongside another up-and-coming Suffolk band, Underline The Sky. I normally start my weekend with MasterChef and Maths homework, so this was a nice change to pie (in all its forms). I caught up with pop-rock four-piece Underline The Sky before they played.

“As you can see, we’re well rock n’ roll,” said drummer James, as he and Dan knocked on their van window to wake lead singer Bronwyn up. Luckily she didn’t mind being disturbed for the good of IP1’s readers. The band’s been together for three years, and their personal highlights include performing at V Festival 2009 and becoming the overall runner-up in Live and Unsigned 2010. Despite being chilled when I chatted to them, they had an extremely energetic stage presence, and an equally enthusiastic fan base.

B Natural’s Musical Walkway was a charming way to spend a Saturday afternoon, with fifteen gardens hosting mini-concerts to wander around. Bildeston was dotted with musicians and refreshments, which has got to be one of the best combinations of all time. There were singer-songwriters, flawless flautists, and proficient pianists – everything from folk to funk. I totally didn’t go into the Disney garden and sing along to The Lion King with a small horde of children. Many of the musicians were young people, including Essex boys Paradise War, who are notable for both their soulful music and sense of balance.

The second Indie Night was just as fantastic as the first, featuring the Radiohead-esque IntoTheNorthSea and the rather haunting These Ghosts. (No pun intended). But Joe Thompson, who kicked off the night, can’t go without a mention – his beatboxing is something to behold. Everyone watched his performance with amazed expressions, exchanging OMGs with each other.

Hauling myself out of bed on a Sunday morning is normally a trial of epic proportions, but the reward of a musical get-together with brunch under the clock tower was worth the effort. (Whoever made those chocolate brownies is a culinary god.) There was a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, and young pop-rock band Forever Ago got the village to chill out and loosen up. They were great, and I’m not just saying that because they’re cute teenage boys. Really. I didn’t even notice. I endured the adolescent agony of actually talking to boys to interview them. They formed when frontman Sam Kingston started writing (really catchy) songs four years ago. B Natural was their first and last gig of the summer, so it looks like we had them all to ourselves. Jealous?

Bildeston’s first-ever music festival was a quirky, cheerful weekend, a family event with something for everyone. With any luck it’ll become a regular event – so if you missed it, come along next year!

Words and Photography: Daisy Jones

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