With the poor weather, Olympics and the economic downturn, music festivals struggled to attract their usual crowd in 2012. According to a survey from YouGov, festival attendance figures were down throughout 2012 and are expected to drop for the summer of 2013, with many of us being forced to tighten those proverbial purse strings. But whilst financial concerns were cited as one of the reasons for many shying away from the summer festival, many of those surveyed also gave overcrowding and too much queuing as their reasons for non-attendance.

With this in mind, when it comes to festivals it appears that what people really want is affordable ticket prices and uncongested sites, combined with fantastic food, great music and a beautiful (eco-friendly) atmosphere.

One such festival that offers all those things (and much more) is the stunning Standon Calling – this year set to be held on the weekend of Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th August 2013.

Situated in the idyllic and spacious grounds of a 16th century manor house, the Standon Lordship, yet conveniently located just 40 minutes outside of London, Standon Calling is a must-do festival. Having started out as a birthday barbecue for founder Alex Trenchard and 25 friends in 2001, Standon has blossomed into a weekend of unrivalled fun and shenanigans, with a keen emphasis on championing new artists. But what Standon has gained in size over the years, it hasn’t lost in its intimacy, providing a real homely feel, which is often lost at some of the larger festivals.

Knowing that there is nothing worse than having your style cramped, the organisers of Standon have taken care to ensure that there is ample camping space, and when you compare the daily capacity of 2-5000 with that of Reading Festival (90,000) or Glastonbury (200,000), there is no fear of overcrowding or crazily long queues, meaning you can enjoy all that Standon has to offer without any hassle and stress – just the way a festival should be.

The Line-up
If you were thinking that being a smaller festival Standon might not have the musical prowess of some of the others – think again. When it comes to the line-up Standon packs a punch, securing not only the some of the biggest names in music entertainment, but also showcasing the talents of new and emerging artists. So if you’re into discovering new music, this is definitely the festival for you as you’re pretty much guaranteed to discover bands before most people have even heard of them. Florence and the Machine, Friendly Fires, Mumford and Sons, Bastille, Metronomy, Anna Calvi and The Noisettes all played Standon before enjoying the profiles they do today.

Among the voluminous musical delights Standon has in store this year are American hip-hop trio, De La Soul, who will be headlining on the main stage. Recently featured in the Rolling Stones magazine both in April and in May, with their infectious beats, eclectic sampling and quirky lyrics, De La Soul are sure to have the fields of Standon calling out for more.

Festival Founder, Alex Trenchard said: “We are delighted to have De La Soul headline Standon Calling. It’s an act I’ve wanted to bring to Standon for a while. De La Soul is the first in a series of exciting announcements and the calibre of entertainment we have planned for 2013 is incredibly high. We can’t think of an equivalent three-day festival out there that offers such a competitively priced weekend ticket.”

Other headlines include German electronic music duo, Digitalsm, The D.O.T. featuring Mike Skinner, and English alternative rock group, Band of Skulls, to name but a few. Two acts that I’m particularly keen to see are East London’s The Skints, whose mix of MC’ing, reggae beats and rock guitar never fails to deliver, and the Craig Charles’ Funk & Soul Show which, if you’re a frequenter of the radio show, you’ll know is bound to have you on your feet.  For the full line up to date, see the end of this article.

If you think on the stage is where you should be, sign up for Standon’s Unsigned competition, in partnership with The Gig Review, which is offering one lucky unsigned act to win a slot at this year’s festival. Unsigned artists within Herts & Essex area can submit their details online at: http://www.thegigreview.co.uk/festival-fresh/. But hurry, there is just a 4-week entry window running from May 27th to June 24th.

Themes and Fancy Dress
With its summer party vibes, Standon Calling is much more than simply a music festival. Striving to achieve a fun-filled, intimate and creative atmosphere, Standon blurs the lines between house party, festival, crowd, crew, artist and entertainer to great effect, and is brimming with something for everyone. Fancy a swim? No problem, cool off in or lounge around the much-loved Standon swimming pool. Feeling theatrical? Then the interactive theatre and art installations should bring out your inner thespian. Need to entertain the kids? Standon has it covered with a kids area and kids’ activities such as face painting, badge making, storytelling, yoga classes, drama workshops, and even reggae nursery rhymes – plus kids under 13 gain entry for free with a ticket-holding adult. Oh yes, and of course for those dog-lovers among you, there is the annual Standon Calling dog show!

Each year a different theme takes over Standon Calling, and this is reflected throughout the festival. As part of that theme, festival goers are encouraged to embrace their creative side and dream up outrageous outfits and crazy costumes in tune with the theme. The theme for 2013 has been announced as ‘Running Away From The Circus’ (interpret as you will) and for the first time ever, the festival will house an on-site circus with its very own “Standon Calling Big Top”. If you’re feeling brave you can become part of the circus and perform at Standon Calling– fire juggling, rope walking, you name it. Of course, there will be a little matter of training involved, but for an add-on ticket priced at £50 you can join Standon People’s Circus and gain entry to the festival site two days early (Wednesday 31st July) for professional circus skill training and a special Thursday night crew dinner ahead of performances to the public.

Eco credentials
At Standon Calling, they’re in the business of keeping their fields clean and green. Aside from only working with caterers that care about their refuse (all the packaging and containers from their caterers is made from special biodegradable material), they also employ an on-site environmental army to recycle as much as possible and ensure that nothing stays on site that shouldn’t after the event. Standon is also run 100% on biodiesel, with composting loos and full waste recycling.  They even take their water from the borehole on site so there are no associated transportation costs. And speaking of transportation, if you’re looking to travel sustainably to Standon this year, why not consider sharing a car? It’s cheaper, greener and means you might make more friends before you even get to the festival. Try one of Standons Car Share Scheme options: Liftshare or Goshare.

At £99 for an adult weekend ticket (with children under 13 going free), Standon provides amazing value for money. So if you’re looking for some summer entertainment, a weekend away for the family, or a celebratory retreat after those tedious exams, why not join in the fun at the what the Guardian have dubbed as “One of the UK’s best small festivals”.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.standon-calling.com


Latest musical additions are Simian Mobile Disco, Nina Kraviz, Benin City, Roy Davis Jnr, Tuesday Born, Two Inch Punch, Mele, Sophie, Debian Blak, Shox, Pusherman, Gilles Peterson, DJ Format, Greg Wilson, Ross Allen, Natty Bo, Count Sizzle, Count Skylarkin, Leo Beckford, and Cleen Boys.

Headliners Digitalism, De La Soul, and Band of Skulls, are joined by Bastille, AlunaGeorge, King Charles, The Correspondents, The Joy Formidable, The D.O.T., Toy, DJ Yoda & The Transiberian Marching Band, The Skints, Public Service Broadcasting, Shields, Lazarus & The Plane Crash, Rotten Hill Gang, London Afrobeat Collective, A Band of Buriers, Trenton & Free Radical, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Revere, Belakiss, Bibelots, New Groove Formation, Stills, Dutch Uncles, Josephine, Craig Charles’ Funk & Soul Show, Treetop Flyers, Autoheart, Sound System feat. Smoove & Turrell, Carnival of Souls, SilverMoths, Silver Darter, Maddox, and Annie Dale….plus more tbc


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