Festival Review: 110 Above Festival 2018

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Another year, another 110 Above Festival in the beautiful Gopsall Farm in Warwickshire and once again the festival absolutely smashed it out the park. 

We started proceedings off with Youth Club on The Commune Stage (Main Stage). The boys of Youth Club were pitch perfect and certainly got the party started and people dancing like there was no tomorrow. For us, this was a great start to the weekend. 

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Next up on the agenda was Jerry Williams on The Old Town Hall Stage. She embodied positive vibes and kept everyone in the festival spirit in the sublime sunshine. Whilst playing one of her fan’s favourites ‘Mother’ I noticed how much her quirky personality comes out on stage. There was an innocence about her and that just added that little something to her performance, she certainly is one to watch. 

The up and coming Keir grabbed the spotlight next on The Commune Stage. Straight from the off his brilliant blend of soul and showmanship were on display, performing the epic ‘Squeeze Me’ (which recently featured on Dwayne Johnson’s Skyscraper)  is where Keir comes into his own. His audience were grabbed by him and not being able to look away. Keir has natural stage presence and you can’t teach that and I am sure it will carry him far into the mainstream and beyond.

Flyte were next to take to The Commune Stage and managed flawlessly to keep the chilled out vibes going with a relaxed house party atmosphere. They pulled in the biggest crowd of the festival so far and seized the opportunity with both hands. Their non stop movement on stage gave the crowd the life force to help make the set the best one of the day. Flyte’s Beatles style of music were ideal for 110 Above and cannot wait for their forthcoming record. 

The headliners Fickle Friends finally took to main stage and as with Keir, the lead singer Natassja Shiner had ample stage presence and as all good headliners do, Fickle Friends ended the day with a bang. The band had people singing loud and proud whilst dancing without a care in the world. We even got treated to a festival exclusive in the form of the first ever live performance of ‘Love Sick’. The song went off without a hitch and afterwords Natassja took the time to speak about mental health, using her platform to spread a positive message of self confidence and talking to someone when you feel low. As someone who has and still suffers with severe depression, it struck a chord and I am glad that the set ended on a message of self belief. 

Kicking the second day off with flourish were Nottingham based Deco. Their rich pop got everyone in the mood for a day of heavy cider drinking and dancing till dawn. Playing some of their more famous songs such as ‘Wild One’ and latest release ‘Roam’ they gave themselves a great showing. From the opening set of the day to a late night set of covers at The Gopsall Inn stage, they stole the day. Deco most definitely earned set of the day for Saturday. Deco. Ones to watch. 

Rascalton had their opportunity to shine next on The Commune Stage. The Glasgow based band seemed a bit out of place at 110 Above, they had the smallest crowd of the weekend and were quite a lot heavier than 95% of the other bands performing. Despite having a small crowd they still put a good show, with their Arctic Monkeys style of music proving popular with the crowd. It’s a shame they had such a small crowd because at a slightly heavier festival than 110 Above I am sure they would of gone done a storm. 

We took proceedings down a notch next on The Old Town Hall Stage with Maisie Peters. Peters played to busy room full of people swaying and relaxing, which her Oh Wonder vibe suited to a tee. She also put on a impressive performance and I am sure she gained a few fans after the set. 

We quickly were pushed back into top gear by Judas on The Commune Stage next. Straight from the off lead singer John Clancy got every single method of crowd engagement in. From sing alongs to clapping along to getting everyone bouncing. This set was fabulous through out and it was so close being set of the day but Judas were just pipped to the post by Deco earlier on. Judas also took the time to announce that this is their last ever performance as Judas as they will soon be changing their name. For now though John Clancy put it best, they will always be “The MIGHTY JUDAS”.  

We mixed things up next with a surprise acoustic set from Only The Poets in The Meadow. The atmospheric stripped back show was a winner in the sunshine, playing fan favourites such as ‘Emotional’. The band only played three songs but it came at a desired time half way through the day and was a superb way to wind down. 

The Magic Gang were next to show off their talents on the main stage and with it the first mosh pit of the weekend, even if it was a tame one. The band played a set to get everyone in the festival spirits with plenty of dancing and up beat anthems. ‘All This Way’ proved a particular favourite with everyone and every time we looked round everyone had a smile on their face and isn’t that what festivals are all about? 

Saturday headliners Circa Waves took centre stage on The Commune Stage next and WOW. This set was immense fun. Mosh pit after mosh pit after mosh pit followed by loud sing a longs and then more mosh pits! No one in this crowd was stood still from people moshing in the centre to people getting their groove on around the edges. Circa Waves always manage to put on a good show and this was no exception, with classic ‘T-Shirt Weather’ the perfect way to end a t-shirt weather day. 

It's the last day of the festival and Spinn are up first. The young prospects from Liverpool opened up the main stage and had most people bouncing along, incredibly impressive for the band. Lead singer Jonny gave the crowd life with his infectious dance moves on stage and their Foster The People music style won over the crowd quickly. These boys are certainly ones to watch. 

The girls from Hey Charlie graced us with their presence next on The Commune Stage. Girl power was in full force here and they brought the alternative world to 110 Above. The girls had a Rogue Traders vibe and they fulfilled it to perfection. The crowd was rocking as were we. 

We trotted over to The Gopsall Inn stage to catch funky beats of Adannay and this one was a true diamond in the rough. Adannay has such amazing control over voice that she captures the room as soon as she opens her mouth. The Inn was packed and that does not surprise me at all as she was marvellous. 

Anteros followed on the same stage, and squeezed in an afternoon set before having to speed off to play Bestival on the same day. Despite the need to speed off straight after, it did not stop them putting on one hell of a show. Anteros’ set was one word, flawless! 110% from the moment go, with the build up from the start to getting children from the crowd up on stage to dance with the band. Anteros was made to headline this festival! So maybe next year we will see them higher up on the bill! 

Eliza and The Bear took to The Commune Stage next and boy did they roar. As soon as they stepped on stage the crowd were right up for it and they brought out loads of flamingos out to play, as is custom with an Eliza and The Bear show. It’s fair to say Sunday’s party started now with guitarist Martin putting on a giant inflatable flamingo that was chucked up to him whilst playing. The band also performed two covers, the first one was quite a surprise in the form of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Nirvana and we loved it. Nothing better than belting out a classic. The second was Earth, Wind and Fire’s ‘September’, which is more like the usual style we get from Eliza and The Bear. Again this song went down brilliantly and had people dancing like they were in a 1970’s disco. For pure fun, enjoyment and standing out as different, Eliza and The Bear get set of the day for Sunday.

The boys in Marsicans are on their hat trick this year when it comes to 110 Above Festival, and their performance showed that. With the band’s energy being matched by the crowd watching them, these lads are clearly the ‘band for the people’ when it comes to this festival, with the audience in a constant sing-along when it came to their set. 

Back to The Gopsall Inn stage next for some more acoustic action with Bryde. This was an emotional set, full of passion. There was silence throughout each song as the crowd sat back and enjoyed the show. I truly felt connected to her lyrics to the point where I couldn’t take my eyes off Bryde. The vocal range of Bryde is incredible. She can reach the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, it was breathtaking and I can’t wait to see where she goes next. 

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Here we are. The final set of an amazing weekend of upcoming artists and the big dogs of music and it was up to Peace to end the weekend right and they hit the nail on the head. It was a set of massive electric guitars and Blur style of music. The crowd were giving their last gasps and giving Peace all they had, including the giant flamingo from earlier. Well done Peace for showing everyone how to end a fantastic weekend.

As sad as it is that 110 Above Festival is now over, we can safely say it was one of the best festival experiences. It maybe a tiny site, but it makes up for it with the huge heart it has. From the crowd to the team that runs the whole event, from start to finish the festival is a fantastic experience for music lovers. 

110 Above 2019? It is a definite yes from us! See you next year! 

Words by Alfie Drake and Photography by Ant Adams