Obviously, my festival experience incorporates more than reviewing concerts. I am writing this in the air-conditioned comfort of the VIP lounge (a perk of my Press Pass, and one I should not get used to) but I’ve also been outside enjoying the sun, which in my case involves looking at it from the shade rather than indulging in full-blown sunbathing.
I’ve also tried some of the excellent food on offer (and will likely try some more later), had a quick look around the town and generally attempted, to borrow an often-used jazz phrase, to ‘get the vibe’.
This is my first time at Cheltenham, and I am enjoying it very much. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, families are enjoying picnics and ice-creams on any available grass, the weather is great (unlike last year from what I’ve heard) and of course good quality live music abounds.
I have also managed to make time in my schedule to see inspirational acts such as the Gary Burton Quartet, catch a bit of some friends playing on the free stage, and take part in the jam session – hearing Seb Rochford and playing with Pete Wareham were particular highlights. I hope to be back next year, regardless of weather conditions!
John Hirst is a drummer/percussionist currently studying at Birmingham Conservatoire. Outside of the Conservatoire he plays with a variety of ensembles, teaches, and creates music for his own projects.