I have never been to a camping festival. I’ve never been camping, at least alone anyways. I booked the tickets in 2021 to catch up on all my favourite bands after a horrendous 2020. Call of the Wild, it certainly was!
I had always wanted to go to a camping music festival, even though a lot of people would look at me and think, nah, she’s a comfy bed and plumbing kind a girl. I truly am, but I thought why not, let’s rough it out! Download seemed far too big for little old me to go alone, Call of the Wild seemed a perfect taste into what a glamping rock weekend is all about.
As always, I do like to stand out and my tent was no different. I wanted something that I could find amongst the little pond of tents. I found the perfect spot next to fellow hard rock hell friends and after wrestling my tent together with help from a guy called Simon (who says I remind him of Joan Jett in my styling) and decorating my tent with fairy lights, I was good to go.
Stumbled into the loveable rouge that is Kevin, with his adorable goatee, I found my way to the VIP tent. I also stumbled into one of the most dedicated rock families, The Horabins. Ian travels up and down the country giving support to the future of rock as well as supporting our favourites. Ian and Ashleigh certainly know how to have a good time, I had some hilarious moments with them over the course of the weekend (the gorgeous Lydia arrived later on). That’s what I love most about small events. Not that I have been to massive ones, but everyone looks after each other. I was wasted Thursday and most of Friday, sobering up Saturday so I could spend time with my Scandinavian bands after missing out on them for 3 years.
Even though I was very drunk… hey VIP treatment with free beer… be silly not to?! I remember seeing such moments of great friendship, time to catch up, live, dance and jive. Jon Hardcastle, Raz White and his amazing team, put together a festival of love, rock and roll. Everyone felt safe, food was great, drinks weren’t over priced, the bands played on time and the way the band times were laid out, nobody missed out. It worked so well and having a dedicated space for bands to be interviewed was greatly appreciated by my journalist friends.
Another great highlight was the Sisters of Spin, Caz and Tina had a great warm up set on Thursday for the VIP’s and then every night after the last band played, they had a post gig party in the Dead Skull Coffee tent. Many great tunes were played, some questionable dancing was made but memories to last a lifetime were priceless. Thursday and Friday night were great! I remember getting past the point of drunk (I know my levels) and while dancing just poured my drink into Rob Devine’s cup while dancing to Drowning Pool (at least I think it was). Saturday night I had no voice left at all (later found out due to burns in my throat), so I didn’t stay around for long but on my way back to my hovel, a blast of someone’s trumpet echoed through the night air. Even on the last night when everyone was feeling the effects of the awesome weekend and the dread of packing up in the morning, these girls gave us the goods, just like they did every night. Always a perfect end to end the perfect day.
Like Mama Always Said, Pack Warm
The field became a little village and thank the lord for the toilet and shower blocks being close by. I have a terrible habit of needing a pee in the middle of the night for no reason and I didn’t fancy clambering far to do it. Not going to lie, I found the little glamping pods very cute, next year I might grab myself one. I made a few rookie mistakes by camping and one being the most important when it comes to comfort. I didn’t take an air mattress. When organising what I was taking with me, I had to be careful with how much I was taking and what I was able to carry myself on and off four trains to get to Lincoln Showground. Being only five foot has it’s challenges too when packing yourself like an upright donkey. It’s all about the counter balance. I had a nice thick sleeping bag and a sleeping mat but an air mattress would have been nice. Not that I didn’t sleep because I certainly did. Mistake number two, I need fleecy pjs! Mother did say for me to take some but at the same time, I had no more room to pack anything and fleecy stuff take up plenty of space. I’m so happy that I took my own pillow, I do not need to take more than two pairs of shorts or three t-shirts and having a warm jacket for the night is a must. Another thing… my eyes streamed like there was no tomorrow! Every morning my make up would be fine and then by lunch time, Alice Cooper’s make up had nothing on me!
I loved that the bands mingled in with the crowd and it was so nice to catch up with my boys from Scandinavia, Reckless Love, Crashdïet, Shiraz Lane and finally I got to meet American hard rocking sleaze boys Kickin Valentina! The guys have followed me on socials for ages and I was flattered that DK and Jimmy remembered my DJ name! I was happy to amuse Pepe (Reckless Love) with the phrase “shitfaced”, he never heard of that! And for Gabriel (Crashdïet) to run up and give my phone a head butt was lovely too! One of the sweetest things was seeing Joel (Shiraz Lane) helping a young aspiring photographer grab some cool shots!
My Band Highlights
The whole weekend was amazing! Even though I had seen the line up for the weekend plenty of times, I didn’t grasp how many bands I actually knew personally who were playing. That’s what made it more fun! Camping with your mates is fun and then camping with band mates is hilarious! It was great to catch up with the lads from Twister, The City Kids, Massive Wagons, Velvet Queens, Midnite City and Coralsnake. My favourite surprise of the weekend was the loveable Californian rockers The Mercury Riots had a surprise set in the Dead Skull Coffee tent (or the third stage). The guys gave it everything they had, jumping around all over the place, Claire following them around with her phone like a mad woman. They always put a smile on my face! Kickin’ Valentina were amazing tour making a stop off in Lincoln on their European tour (even though they had a bit of a ball ache at Manchester Airport), the guys loved the crowd and we loved them. Bringing the American sleazy dream to our sleepy pastures was exactly what we wanted. It was the first time I had seen them perform and only in the last couple of years have they sneaked onto my radar. I’m never gong to miss them again! Saturday night was just getting started!
I haven’t seen Shiraz Lane since HRH Sleaze in 2018 (before I was working for HRH). They were on earlier in the afternoon, the sky was grey when they started but the gorgeous sunshine came out towards the end, bringing more smiles to everyone’s faces. I adored their set, especially hearing “Broken into Pieces” was wonderful. They have matured in both sound and Hannes’ vocal capacity. Not that Hannes ever missed a note, but his voice had a new layer to it, a more grown up and controlled tone to it. Joel as always won best award for backcombed hair, Mikki was as reserved as always and Jani has the longest locks with the biggest smile. I could barely see poor Ana on the drums but he played fast and loud like he always has.
Reckless Love as always, put on an amazing show and it was nice to see them perform their new album Turborider. I have to admit, this album is my favourite of theirs but it still holds well at a gig. A lot of people who were at Raging Speedhorn, when getting well into the joyous Miami Vice vibe of Reckless Love. Olli was beautiful as ever and now he’s a dad, just makes him more loveable. Pepe’s colour co-ordination between his guitar and suit was spot on! Even though they were the headliners on Saturday night, Crashdïet was the band of the night!
I couldn’t contain my excitement! I hadn’t seen these boys since HRH Sleaze 2019 (along with Reckless Love) and obviously they had just brought out their new album “Automaton”, with a smashing music video for the track “Together Whatever”. As soon as the guitar started itching, the drums started rumbling and the bass started bouncing, it was time to party! They are the Kings of Sleaze in my eyes, bringing as much grit and grime to the stage but polishing it off with pristine performances. Gabriel knows just how to please the crowd jumping on and off stage, running up and down in front of the crowd and even scaling the scaffold. They had been on tour across Europe with Shiraz Lane so finishing off with “Generation Wild” and Hannes hitting the sky high note, was just beautiful! My face ached from smiling, my throat was dry from singing (at least trying to with no voice), my legs were numb from jumping around, but it was all worth it. A truly epic night of exceptional music, the whole weekend was.
The Community is Amazing
I say I went to the festival on my own, but I never really was alone. As soon as I arrived in Lincoln, I was in the company of friends. Andy Sawyer from HRH lived local and gave me a ride to the showground, Simon from HRH events helped me with my tent, loads of HRH members and attendees were there, and we all looked out for each other. There was plenty of smiles, plenty of laughs, no tears from what I saw, loads of beverages and food consumed and it was a bloody good time. Jon, Raz and the team at Call of the Wild put together the friendliest rock festival in the country. People of all ages, dogs and children were all welcome in tents, vans and teepees. Everything went according to plan and the guys should be immensely proud at what they have created. I was so happy to have attended such an event. Can’t wait for more good times to be had!