A labour of love

What is your opinion on the ‘Festival Debate’? Do you agree, with what is rapidly becoming the common consensus, that the UK festival market is over-saturated? The theory goes that the surge in festival popularity has created a glut of new additions to the already strained calendar – many of which cannot survive in the ever more competitive world. A trail of thought borne out by the mass cancellations seen throughout the summer. The dot-com bubble burst in 2000 – is 2011 the year that the festival bubble went pop?

Regardless of where you stand on such an issue, it seems that there is only one logical plan of action: to make hay while the sun shines. It’s summer time and it seems likely that there are never going to be this many parties again. A reason to be depressed? No: a reason to celebrate. And so we find ourselves at Summer Sundae.

Now in its eleventh year, the Leicester-based weekender has something approaching veteran status when compared to the lives of many of the new kids on the block. However, while it grows in years, it remains humble in its ambitions – capping tickets to just 7,000.

The line-up is also tailored to such an approach – Beyonce doesn’t grace the boards here at Summer Sundae, and Matt Bellamy stays away – however the genius that is Jon Hopkins and King Creosote are present, fresh and beaming from their recent Mercury nomination.

The musical meeting of Jon Hopkins and King Creosote is, by all definitions, a labour of love. Seven years in the making, their collaborative LP, Diamond Mine, is an unrushed, blissful expression of making music for the joy it brings. There are no fast money tricks present on this record: no corny marketing ploys, no weary pairing of mish mashed producers – it all boils down to two artists making – and playing - a record because that’s simply what they want to do. And the reaction they get is visceral. They capture the small crowd, most of who are probably not aware of the daunting credentials both men hold.

The whole dynamic is also an interesting parallel to a wider situation. Because, whatever does happen to our festival summer – one thing is for sure: there will always be musicians like Jon Hopkins and Kid Creosote making music and there will always be people who are willing to pay to see them. Likewise the festival market will survive – however, it’ll be those events that are put on for love, not money, that will endure.

Words by Sam Ballard

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