Day One : Saturday 3rd September
Last weekend was the first weekend in September and that can only mean one thing here in Gibraltar- the Gibraltar Music Festival! After last year’s highlights of Duran Duran and the Kings of Leon, not to mention Madness, Little Mix and many more, expectations were rather high as to who would be gracing the stages beneath the Rock this year.
This year, we took advantage of buying the reduced price early bird tickets without knowing what the line-up would be. I have to admit that when I heard who was due to play I wasn’t over excited, but we’d already got our tickets so it would be silly not to go and give it a try.
After a relatively short time queueing in the hot early afternoon sun, we were in!
Before setting up camp with our picnic blanket and deckchairs, we decided to take a wander around the festival site and see some of the other attractions that were on offer apart from the main stages. First stop was the Gibtelecom stage (the second stage) which had local band Jet Stream performing their own material to a small but appreciative crowd.
Next stop was the Seaside Stage, which this year had a very welcome roof to keep the sun off. Each year when we arrive at this stage it never fails to amuse me that for the rest of the year, I come and watch my son train and play football matches on this pitch!
Anyway, back to Saturday and another local group, Soul Mates were on stage and just bringing their set to a close with some rock and roll numbers. They were real crowd pleasers with lots of dancing in the audience (perhaps due to it’s proximity to the cocktail bar).
Talking of which….Mojito anyone? Well, it would be rude not to don’t you think? 😉
Finally we made our way to the back of the boathouse, where a small but perfectly formed stage was set up for acoustic artists to perform. It was shielded from the louder music elsewhere on the site by the boathouse building which meant that you could clearly hear what was being played.
We arrived mid-way through Layla Bugeja’s set, another local musician who plays both covers and her own material. I heard her play recently at a concert and I was blown away by how good she is. Supported by her father on guitar, her performance here was excellent. I would recommend anyone to seek her out if you should find her performing again.
Along with the musical venues, there was also a comedy stage and circus stage at the festival. We found that there was so much going on that we didn’t even visit these parts of the event.
The time had come to mark our territory in front of the Main Stage. Armed with deckchairs, a picnic blanket, hats, ear defenders and iPads for Little Postcards with little interest in the music, we found some school friends and pitched up camp near them.
As I mentioned at the start, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to any act on the Saturday, I just wanted to soak up the atmosphere. With little ones to consider, it’s not that easy to wander around the festival site, so Mr Postcard and I took it in turns to have a look around. He went to see Paul Young, and I went to see Toploader while the other looked after the ‘creche’. The system worked well and meant we could see more than just the one stage.
We watched The Vamps from afar. They were a big hit, especially with the younger members in the audience. Then came All Saints.
Please excuse the quality of these photos – taken from afar on a phone! I really enjoyed All Saints. I wasn’t a huge fan the first time around, but their songs were very familiar and they clearly enjoyed their performance, as did the crowd.
Next, time for more food…
There was a lot more on offer than just burgers and chips, the more adventurous went for noodles and sushi, while fussy younger eaters enjoyed contraband ham sandwiches smuggled in by an unnamed person…
As evening fell, it was time for Travis. I admit I wasn’t that excited to see them, but they played a brilliant set and really stole the show for me.
Mr Postcard got right down to the front of the crowd and took this fab photo as Fran Healey took a ride on someone’s shoulders.
They were really brilliant and went down a storm.
Next up was Ne-Yo. By this point, the long day in the sunshine had taken it’s toll. We had one sleeper and another one not far off, so two songs in, we decided to beat the rush and head home.
Day 2 : Sunday 4th September
After the excitement of the day before I have to admit, I was a little ‘jaded’ and as the two littlest Postcards weren’t particularly interested in returning on the second day I sat out most of it at home with them. Mr Postcard took our eldest during the afternoon and they enjoyed a relaxed wander round without us. Zara Larsson was Eldest’s favourite act of the day.
In the evening I returned with Eldest in time to see most of Jess Glynne’s performance. She belted out lots of hits we know from the radio.
During Jess Glynne’s set we dashed quickly across to the Gibtelecom Stage just in time to witness an air guitarist’s favourite hit, The Final Countdown, by Europe. It was great fun and the crowd was bouncing along to the music.
After Europe were finished, it was Bryan Ferry’s turn. We went to see him perform a couple of songs, but it’s more my Dad’s cup of tea than mine. Credit to him though, he can still sing and had the attention of a large crowd. His band was excellent too.
The highlight of the whole weekend for me though, and the one band I had really been looking forward to was Stereophonics. They didn’t disappoint.
They played a great set with loads of their old hits, they were slick and the patter between tracks was funny. I even managed to get near to the front and see Mr Kelly Jones relatively close up… swoon.
The band were brilliant, the songs were rousing, the crowd all sang along. The perfect end to the weekend’s musical extravaganza for me.
So there you have it, that was my experience of the Gibraltar Music Festival 2016. I only scratched the surface really, having young children with us on the first day rather restricts your movement and there is a whole lot more you can experience than we did like the comedy and circus stages, plus later on there was a dance stage and dub-club with dance music into the wee small hours.
Despite my earlier reservations about how the weekend would pan out, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t eclipse last year’s festival (you can read about it here: Rock stars & heart throbs GMF 2015 ), but then Duran Duran would be hard to beat in my book but it certainly didn’t disappoint. I wonder who next year’s festival will bring?