Butserfest 2016 – The first festival that I felt too old for (Queen Elizabeth Country Park, 10th September 2016)

“2016 brings the tenth Butserfest to Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Horndean. It is an event that has been cherished as an alcohol-free home for teenage fans of pop punk since 2007. That said, some bands might be a bit too profanity-laden to be ‘for all the family’. We asked writer Nick Pollard and photographer Natalie Lam to get toned up for the weekend and take a trek up and around Butser Hill.”  THEY DID INDEED. YOU CAN READ THE REVIEW HERE.

Having already covered Victorious Festival 2016 for ROCKSHOT, I couldn’t resist taking the offer to cover rock and pop-punk festival Butserfest (at Queen Elizabeth Country Park), which I shamefully didn’t know about. It is most infamous for not selling alcohol, and probably has a target demographic of about 12. I’m not meant to feel old at 26, but I did. More than anything, I wanted some more interviews, and was still trying to see as many bands as I could in one year, and break my record of 76 (and I managed it, with 105). Rockshot arranged me five interviews for this one, and I was very worried that the interviews would prevent me from actually watching (oh, and reviewing…) the performances.

In the early afternoon, amidst horrifying weather, I tracked down photographer Natalie Lam (CHECK OUT HER PHOTOGRAPHS HERE!), and her friend Olivia. They were great to hang about with for the day, and they seemed to tolerate me well enough! I spent a lot of time in the press tent (sheltered from the heavy rain), and it was a strange experience, as I spoke to band members, but dared not to actually ask which bands they were actually in. One could have been headliners Mallory Knox for all I knew, and coming to think about it, I still don’t know. I instead listened to another journalist there introducing the bands for his recording. Incredibly, this didn’t actually help much, as he managed to get a band mixed up with another. The frontwoman of Faultlines looked jokingly (I think…) offended. In the journalist’s defense, he mistook them for a very similar looking male four-piece with a female singer.

Christina Rotundo, formerly of Faultlines. Definitely Faultlines. (Photo by Natalie Lam)

Unfortunately, only two of the bands planned for me, actually bothered to turn up at the tent, as the others presumably were afraid of a bit of rain, or the interview slot was late enough in the day, by which point the press tent had quite literally fallen over. It’s a rock festival! What were you expecting? The two who braved the rain were Seething Akira and WSTR, the latter of whom are one of Natalie’s favourites. Natalie had already sent me some hypothetical questions to ask about them, and seemed chuffed to bits when meeting them backstage.

I’m very glad that she was there, because she was better informed on WSTR than I was. I even managed to mispronounce the name of their latest EP, on first attempt. Apparently the pronunciation of SKRWD isn’t “skewered”. Looking back, I regret not asking about the number of times that they have been forced to correct people. That’s what you get for neglecting vowels! READ THE WSTR INTERVIEW HERE.

Seething Akira were also great fun, helped along by the fact that my questions became gloriously irrelevant very quickly. Expect no less of an electronic, shouty rock band, who managed to start a conga during their performance. Reminiscent of my Steel Panther interview, the way they worked off of each other felt almost scripted, especially when reflecting upon the frontman stealing a bike from a child (hopefully fictitious), and the rest of the band reflected upon how he broke the boy’s nose. Unlike Steel Panther though, they had a love affair with the word ‘poo’, so at least tried to keep the naughty word count down, albeit with minimal success. READ THE SEETHING AKIRA INTERVIEW HERE.

It was also great to finally be able to see Creeper live, having met their frontman Will Gould, but knowing embarrassingly little about his band at the time (90% of our conversation was subsequently about how much we like Southsea…). They were great.

Besides my shoes being ruined due to my lack of welly boots, all things considered the day was great!


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