On Sunday, it was brought to my attention by a friend that once a year, the kindly folk of Haigh Hall throw a free music festival for those in the area, presumably by way of compensation for them being in Wigan. I rolled up half smashed to find out what was going down with my homies.
Haigh Hall is a genuinely beautiful place, and I’ve come to the opinion that all music festivals should be held in the grounds of stately homes if simply for the reason that, surrounded by two or three square miles of semi-landscaped woodland, there was no problems with the toilet arrangements.
Nor did there seem to be much of a problem with drugs – that is, nobody seemed to be pushing them, and anybody who wanted them turned up ripped to the tits with pockets clean. That didn’t stop the security searching me three times; I pointed out that this was particularly galling since I was fairly certain the ambulance crew who’d waltzed in in front of me were packing drugs. To their credit, they didn’t cavity search me for being a dick.
What really surprised me was the quality of the music; I was expecting the drunken wailings of students who’d learned to pose with guitars, but although one of the bands appeared to be fronted by a mancunian Nathan Barley, all the acts I heard were enjoyable. Plasma Storm in particular were excellent, as for a sweet thirty minutes the grounds were transported into a mid-nineties rave, glowsticks and all.
And though the fact that, during a synthesiser solo, the keyboardist got up and walked away to slurp at his pint made me doubt some of the music’s live nature, I really can’t deny that the band created a moment and seized it. Especially since the singer ended the gig naked but for his skids, bouncing round the stage with similarly clothed girls from the audience. Living the Dream, as Ian might say, and I’ll add that it’s hilarious to see a pair of trousers fly skywards from a trance-raging crowd.
Strain brought the evening to a close, with their blend of thoroughly respectable traditional metal and likable Wigguner twixt-thrash banter (“Ey up, whose shoe is that? Eh, come on, give ‘er ‘er shoe back”). I’m unsure as to how much their name actually has to do with difficult poos, but I’ll endeavour to find out.
As the evening drew in and the wasted youths of Greater Manchester drifted away, a friend of a friend charitably gave me the most terrifying ride back to the pub I’ve had in my twenty four short years, and my experience of what is truly Wigan’s finest festival ended. I hope to be in a position to do the same next year; although admittedly it’d be nice to have to commute.