Deer Shed Festival 8

An awesome family festival that I’d recommend to anyone. Loads to do, great music, great atmosphere and great company.

This is the third year in a row that we’ve been to the Deer Shed Festival and we’ll be going again next year.  Amy nudged us all in the direction of this “family friendly” festival back in 2015 and it’s now a permanent fixture on the calendar.


DS6 & DS7 were superb and this probably topped them both.  The line-up isn’t packed with household names, but it’s fair to say that for me the music is a bonus as there is so much else to do there.  The website notes this as a family friendly festival and it most certainly is.  There’s so much to do and explore that every year we reflect on how much we missed.  The organisers do a fantastic job of making sure there is something for everyone and it would be fair to say that the kids activities are for the big kids too!

This year our kids did the following activities; fashioned a bow and arrow in the wilderwild, created “arty stuff” (screen print & designed bunny kids), did a forensic investigation, slack lining in the sports field, fairground rides, made paper airplanes and a paper dodecahedron…

You literally could spend all day in the sports field, science tent and wilderwild, but then there’s music across 4 main stages on top of that.

Deer Shed 8

Present at this one: Clare & I with Lana & Erin, Set & Amy with James & Ewan and Andrew with Mayu and Shumei.  The kids are aged from 4 to 9, but there’s something for everyone of any age.


Food: the food is always great.  There’s a broad range of foods available from a variety of cultures.  I had Mac n Cheese, Red Thai Curry & an awesome steak & ale pie & mash.

Beer: probably the one frustrating thing about DSF is that you aren’t allowed to take any alcohol into the arena.  I know that’s standard at most festivals, but I’ve been spoiled at Glastonbury.  Nevertheless, that’s a minor complaint and the beer on offer is great.  Unfortunately I didn’t get as far as the Obelisk bar which had around 30 ales available.  I stuck with the main bar and enjoyed a few pints of the excellent Mary Jane and the specially brewed Wilderwild.


Music: as always we created and shared a spotify playlist in advance.  I hadn’t heard of many of the bands in advance and so have now picked up a number of new favourite bands / artists.  I was looking forward to Teenage Fanclub anyway, but most of the others were pretty new to me and in fact many of the ones I did know were just because of previous DSFs.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to see anyone on either the In The Dock or the Obelisk stages, but that’s the perils of having a family!


Happyness turned out to be the first band I caught on Friday.  I was familiar with a couple of tunes from the playlist and the played to a crowd that was beginning to build as the day wore on.


Honeyblood were the main support on the main stage.  They’ve got some great tunes and have a good stage presence.  They can certainly make some noise!

I then caught a bit of Jesca Hoop on the Lodge Stage before the main headliners.


Teenage Fanclub were awesome,  I saw them back in November and they were equally good tonight.  It was a career spanning set with a focus on their latest album, Here (4 out of the 16 tracks were from this one).  The tracks from my favourite two TF albums were my highlights (Grand Prix & Songs From Northern Britain), but it was all good.  Shame there was no encore, but it was still a treat.

Teenage Fanclub Setlist Deer Shed Festival 2017 2017



Two all female groups kicked off the music on Saturday.  The Big Moon were in fine voice and She Drew The Gun started the poetry theme that spanned to the headline slot.  I enjoyed both and will certainly be following The Big Moon in the future.

Sandwiched in the middle, Ste & I managed to catch the second half of the Roddy Woomble set on the Lodge Stage.  It was enjoyable, although I was hoping for a sneaky Idlewild track.  He may have played one and we just missed it.  I plan to check out some of his solo stuff after seeing this.


King Creosote was next (after a fast spin on the Ferris Wheel), followed by Ibibio Sound Machine.  ISM aren’t my thing, but they certainly got the crowd dancing.

We all then went to see John Smith on the Lodge Stage.  He was great.  I hadn’t heard of him before the line-up was announced and I can see myself getting an album before long.  I might have got one that night in the march tent had events not conspired against me.  I had Erin on my shoulders for the last 3 or 4 songs and she was enjoying the sweet sounds.  She was obviously enjoying it so much that she drifted off.  We were all amused as she continued to stay asleep as the set ended and we left the tent.  The heavens then opened…

…as we headed to our base in front of the main stage.  With Erin asleep and clearly struggling, Clare and I decided (as did Andrew and his kids) that we wouldn’t brave Kate Tempest.  Not our thing anyway, but the weather took a turn for the biblical.  We were all saturated by the time we got back to the tent.



The festival has a shortened Sunday and consequently you get a feeling that the weekend has gone very quickly.  You can stay over on Sunday night for an extra £50, but we’ve only done that the once.  We only caught two bands on the final day as we emerged ourselves in the Wilderwild and the sports field.

Teleman were one of my most anticipated new (to me) bands.  They didn’t disappoint.  There’s something joyous about finding a new band that you take to.  It’s an almost certainty that I’ll have bought Brilliant Sanity within the next few months.


The Sunday night headliner was another band that I’ve never really “got”, but you could tell that most of the crowd certainly did.  The Divine Comedy ended proceedings and left us all adding the early bird DS9 ticket sale date to our diaries.

Weather: the weather was variable.  The Friday was pretty awesome, Saturday was pretty patchy and then insane rain.  Sunday was pretty good with the odd showers.  If you come prepared with wellies, then it really doesn’t matter.

Thank you to everyone involved in making this a great festival.  See you next year!


Haley Bonar @ The Cluny

Decent gig from the main act. Horror show from the support.

How we chose it: random pick. No obvious gig choices in April, so we gave Spotify a spin for all the reasonably priced choices thrown up by Songkick.

Venue & crowd: The Cluny is always good if not a little loud at times. Volume was good tonight & the crowd was plentiful and very respectful.

Food & beer: decent local brew (Stronghold, Wylam Breweries) with a standard range of Cluny burgers.

Attended by: Chris, Ste & Andrew

Support act: Michael Nau – Not feeling this bloke. Sounded like a bad Josh Rouse with poor tuneless, samey, drab songs. The drummer looked like Napoleon Dynamite. That was the best part.

Main act: Haley Bonar. Good stuff. Played a good set. Not really that familiar with her stuff, but guessing most came from her last few albums. Covered Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric as part of the encore. All in all pretty impressed.

Merch: non purchased.

@cwblueroom tweet

Laura Marling @ The Arc

No support act for this one.  Just Laura Marling and an acoustic guitar in a fantastic sounding, but boiling hot, venue.  I suspect she regretted the massive woollen top she was wearing.

All contributors were present for this one.  We lived it up with a KFC prior to the gig.  I was left flat having not been offered to have my burger towered (Ste was offered and partook in this amazing addition).  We had a swift beer at The Arc – Hop House 13, I think.

Tickets were bought well in advance as we’re all fans.  However, despite Laura Marling being 6 albums into her career, this was the first time any of us had seen her.

Laura started 8.30pm on the dot and played until about 9.45pm.  The set was really good with 4 from Semper Femina & a good spread from the rest of her back catalogue (1 from Short Movie + 1 from the Director’s Cut of that album, 5 from Once I Was An Eagle, 1 from A Creature I Don’t Know, 4 from I Speak Because I Can, 2 others & nothing from Alas I Cannot Swim).  The audience was ridiculously polite (barring one or two exceptions).  I’d personally have liked to have seen her enjoying herself more (1 or 2 smiles cracked), but her voice was sensational and the songs spoke for themselves.  She ended on Rambling Man, making it clear in advance that there was to be no encore…

No merch was purchased, mainly because the mark-up was eye-watering.  £30 to £35 for the new album on vinyl depending upon which version you wanted to buy.  Ste had got the limited edition double vinyl for £20 just a few days earlier from a local independent record shop.  Surely it should be cheaper when you cut out the middle man?!

You can listen to Semper Femina on Spotify here


The Sherlocks @ 02 Academy 2

The Sherlocks are possibly on the brink of something big.  They signed a record contract at the start of the year and are due to release their first album in August.

They were supported by Vida who seemed like a poor Oasis meets The Stone Roses.  Not for me.

The highlights of The Sherlocks set were the singles; Live For The Moment, Will You Be There?, Last Night, Heart of Gold & the latest one Was It Really Worth It?

No merch purch.

Food at the Coop was great as it always is.


Two Door Cinema Club @ O2 Academy

Fantastic gig.  Better than I expected.  Much better.  Great sound.  Great atmosphere.  Great songs.

The main support act was Sundara Karma with the first support act being Anteros. Anteros proved tidy & Sundara Karma were excellent, although neither benefited from the sound quality that TDCC had.

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Cattle & Cane @ The Empire

A nice end of year Christmas gig.  Food at La Pharmacie was ok, but the service was poor.  Andrew got a lovely bit of rope amongst his pulled pork.  The waitress seemed unconcerned.

Cattle & Cane were good as we watched from an odd box stage left.

Support act: Cape Cub (decent)

Cattle & Cane. Final gig of 2016 with added rope burger & prawn linguine!

Teenage Fanclub @ Whitley Bay Playhouse

First gig in Whitley Bay since Oasis in 1995 at the ice rink!

The three of us were present at this gig and partook in some Hinnies beforehand.

Support act: Spinning Coin (not great)

Teenage Fanclub were great.  A career spanning set.  The venue was slightly bizarre in that no photos were allowed.  This was enforced by the staff who were really into applying this crazy rule.
Some bad and forbidden photos from Teenage Fanclub @ the Playhouse