The Fling Festival 2018
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The Fling Festival 2018 Hylands Park 30/06/2018

On the Friday night I was supposed to be going to the Essex Soulk Collective’s do in Southend but I had so much on I couldn’t make it. I thought to myself a night in would be good, got the Fling the next day. No will power so about 10.30 I popped along to the Bottle Bureau (The old Hot House) for a brand new soul night put on by Darrel Butcher. Well impressed had a great night with across the board soul. I haven’t heard Delirium by Frances Mcghee played out since the 70’s but heard it here. We had music going from Funk to Northern going via Jazz Funk, Two Step and Crossover, a good night, recommended.

I do love the Fling Festival, I know lots of people moan about it but when you can go with your mates drinking beer and cider in the middle of a field all day, listening and dancing to great bands and DJ’s, I am not going to knock it. This was the tenth Fling and has been at Hylands for the last few years. A lot of people moan about this and want it back at Central Park, they seem to be getting more like the people who want Chelmsford to go back to the backward sleepy town it used to be, rather than the vibrant city it is becoming. Next they will be talking about Grippers and the Corn Exchange.

Anyway the Fling always starts at midday for us, a pint or 2 with a big fry up in one of the many pubs by the bus station, the Plough this time. A ride on the festival bus supplied by the council (£6 return) got us to the park in absolutely scorching sunshine. First stop was the Funktion tent for some proper old school Funk from those fine fellows at Rubbers Soul, that’s a lie actually first stop was the bar for some damson flavoured cider. The bars were all good, very easy to get a drink and at a very reasonable £4 a pint of whatever you wanted, lots of different real ales and a good selection of ciders. I think through the day I tried all of them. Anyway as usual the Rubber Soul guys Dave and Ian were excellent.

After this we went to another Chelmsford legends tent, Dave Wheelhouse or Shakey as he is also known was putting on acoustic sets, we watched a very talented young lady called Harry, just a guitar, singing her own songs with a couple of covers. It’s amazing how many young women who look as though they should be out clubbing who are doing this now. Long may it continue. I was pleased for Shakey having his own tent, he deserves it with all the hard work he puts in promoting the music scene in Chelmsford. It all gets a bit fuzzy from here, I can remember it but not the order it happened.

This is one of my favorite images

We found a great tent which was in the middle of the festival, all it had was DJ’s but they played some great dance tracks 70’s and 80’s disco, a bit of Dad dancing, sweating and good clean fun. The best beer of the day was had here as well, Colchester Brewery’s Fireguard, very nice. I don’t even know what this one was called, it had a tree where the tent was on the map. I met my mate Ian over there and he recommended Crème De Chevre, this would be our first outing to the Main Stage. What a great band they were, they did covers but each one had their own twist to it. A fantastic version of Black Hole Sun. A rock band with a uke, what’s not to like. After this we watched another Fling Festival favourite, the Lemoncurd Kids. They had been promoted to the main stage. A good band who play original stuff in a powerpoppy kind of way. It must have been hot though as the band were not wearing their trademark cardigans but matching very natty Hawaiian Shirts.

As I said after this I lost all time and direction. We went to the cabaret tent and saw knife throwers, pole dancers, magic and hula hoop shenanigans. It was ok but pretty much the same as last year. Same with the comedy tent, admittedly we didn’t see the top comics but all it seemed to be was heckling. I don’t think I will bother with these next year. Back to the main stage to see Datbrass, as it says on the tin, a brass band. Accompanied by a couple of rappers, great fun and exactly what you would expect. A bit funky and I am sure I have seen them before.

This is one of my favorite images

Next, what I thought was the top act of the day, Junior Jump and the Bottom Line, as I have bored everybody before, I love this band. A good time was had by all with covers of King Curtis, the Four Tops and all things soulful. They really get your feet tapping and apart from Dr Feelgood they are the band that I have seen the most. Top dad dancing as we ripped the floor (grass) up. They are such a good fun band, they never disappoint and leave you a smile on your face. It’s really good news that they are playing a lot more gigs now. The lead singers alter-ego, Pieface are playing the Bassment on the 20th of July, well worth a look. A Humble Pie, Faces and Small Faces Tribute.

After a bit more dancing in the dance tents, some silent disco, it was the main event of the day. The Buzzcocks. We plotted up down the front where it was pretty raucous in a middle aged kind of way. The band rattled through all of the songs that made them what they were. A great punk band who wrote good fun pop songs. I enjoyed it immensely but it was a shame that the other band I wanted to see was on at the same time, The New Town Kings. All ended happily as well as it’s such a well-run festival. Straight onto the bus, no waiting and straight into the heart of the City. Discretion being the better part of valour, I swerved the Bassment and tucked into Pie and Chips at the posh sit down restaurant that is the West-End Chip Shop.

Summing up I know people will be moaning that it is too commercial now but if that is the way forward then I am all for it. Good clean loo’s, the bars have been sorted, easy to get a beer and a bigger range than most pubs have. They should have had a dance floor in the Funktion Tent, they had one last year. I think next year I will be going for the face paint and fairy wings look. Remember, “it’s coming home,”

Duncan, July 2018