Hidden away amongst the rolling hills, trickling streams and beautiful woodlands of North Devon lies Somersault Festival, a festival that enjoyed only its’ second birthday this summer after springing forth from the imagination of the organisers of Wilderness and The Secret Garden Party Festivals. The Somersault vibe is uniquely west coast; laid back with focus placed equally on music, outward bound coastal and countryside activities, spirituality and wellbeing, with the odd communal feast thrown in for good measure!
With our tent thrown into the back of the car the Festival Fashion team headed down to Somersault on the Thursday of the festival. As you regular festival-goers out there will know the first challenge of any festival is actually carrying all your things through the mass of people, past security and into the campsite without falling in the mud, dropping everything or wanting to throw a wellie boot at the que! Having said all that, getting into the campsite at Somersault was a breeze, the car park is an easy walk to the gate, there was not much of a que and the camping area is right after you walk through the entrance. The only thing to bear in mind is that the security on the gate is pretty strict, Somersault has a ‘no glass’ policy, this is not a problem as drinks from glass bottles can be decanted into plastic ones before arrival, however I did see one very disgruntled camper who had had her glass mirror removed from her by security and who was now despairing at having to try and apply her face glitter without it. There is no music on Thursday so this is a good opportunity to buy a programme, have a wander and really explore the festival site.
Friday arrived and brought with it the beginning of a weekend of live music …….. and lots and lots of rain. Somersault may be a relative baby in age but it has already seen the likes of Jack Johnson grace its’ stage in its first year, proving it is no baby when it comes to attracting top acts and this year was no different. Headlining Somersault 2015’s packed line-up of folk, indie, alt-rock performers were Laura Marling, Bombay Bicycle Club and Crystal Fighters. Kicking things off on the main stage on Friday was Nathan Ball whose introverted alt-folk sound managed to maintain a good crowd despite the pouring rain. Late in the afternoon saw sets from Bear’s Den and The Staves, both of whom are highly regarded and currently on the rise and it was easy to see why. Headlining Friday night was Laura Marling, she performed a mixture of old and new material elegantly intertwining the two into unique compilations. The sun came out on Saturday and brought out some of the musical highlights of the weekend, the best of the bunch was a stellar performance from an emotional Bombay Bicycle Club who were performing their “last show for a very long time”. They delighted the audience to treats from their back catalogue, built special moments with Lucy Rose and Rae Morris into their set and thrilled with an onslaught of pyrotechnics and confetti. Topping the bill on Sunday night were Passenger and Crystal Fighters, Michael David Rosenberg managed to fill the main stage using nothing but himself and an acoustic guitar, alternating between songs and funny stories about his busking days and early gigs. The highlight of the whole weekend for me was Crystal Fighters, their high energy, enthusiastic set was punctuated with poignant emotional moments that seemed to bring real meaning to the electro-folk music that seemed to connect them to the crowd dancing along in the rain.
The fairground, family atmosphere of Somersault will not appeal to every festival-goer; it wouldn’t be much fun hearing a crying child at 8am if you drank your body weight the night before and have the hangover from hell! But with a huge amount going on the festival caters brilliantly to music lovers and adventure seekers alike and if you dive in and make the most of both you will not be disappointed.