[FESTIVAL REVIEW] Blissfields 2016

Blissfields 2016
Where: 
Hampshire
When: 1st-2nd July
Who: Dizzee Rascal, Everything Everything, Shy FX, Swim Deep, Honne
Price: £120 (including camping)

On the 1st and 2nd of July was a quaint little festival based in Hampshire called Blissfields. Blissfields is a short, small and sweet weekend of music, which has been running since 2001. Notable previous performers at Blissfields include Mumford & Sons, Tricky, Bastille and Laura Marling, although this year’s event promised to be its biggest ever, with headline slots from Everything Everything and Dizzee Rascal. Also appearing across the weekend were Shy FX, Roni Size, Dub Pistols, Honne, Frances, and Swim Deep.

Blissfields markets itself as a tightly-knit, family-run affair that prides itself on its community feel and welcoming atmosphere. And this is evidently apparent as soon as you arrive, nay before you even arrive. The shuttle bus driver deserves a pay rise at the very least for being one of the nicest drivers I’ve ever had, welcoming, full of life, asking you how you were etc. First impressions are seriously underrated. This continued once arrived at the festival, with children running around freely chasing bubbles, and parents at ease, enjoying the weekend away just as much. The camping area had more adults than ‘kids’ or ‘teens’, which isn’t necessarily expected at most festivals, and all walks of life were pitched ready to enjoy the weekend.

2016StageDizzee

As a small and less renowned event, festivals such as Blissfields need something to bring in the crowds, and in this occasion, the design and feel are key. Every element of Blissfields is executed with the visuals in mind. One of the first things you see once arriving at Blissfields is its huge house installation, this is followed by a stage made out of an open-top bus. Further exploration leads you to the ‘Hidden Hedge’, a late-night area brimming with electric light shows, stages made out of the carcass of a Boeing 747, and the award-winning Area 51 stage.

Blissfields really is a tidy little festival, the people who go are some of the nicest you can ask for, and the visual execution of it really does need some recognition. As you might expect from a festival of this size, the production values do fall short of the mark a tad, with Swim Deep’s main stage set particularly suffering, despite that, the light shows don’t follow suite, and are one of the more impressive elements of the festival. Staff, while friendly and approachable, could be a bit more useful, some didn’t know where a stage was, and none of them knew where a cash machine was. However, let me assure that Blissfields positives certainly outweigh the meagre negatives, and if you’re looking for a cute few nights away, then 2017’s event you can book now for only £75.

The Good
– The people
– The setting
– The look and feel
– The execution
– The late-night area
– Price
– Lights

The Bad
– Staff could be more helpful
– Stage production
– Sound

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