Review: Leopallooza 2018

PUBLISHED: 12:35 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:57 02 August 2018

Leopallooza. Photo credit: Matthew Hawkey

Leopallooza. Photo credit: Matthew Hawkey

Matthew Hawkey

Well the rain might have returned, but so did the incredibly talented and diverse line-up, pub-priced food and drink and unbeatable house-party-in-a-field vibe. Suffice to say, it was a festival worth getting soggy for.

The bands and artists this year were as varied as they were brilliant. Headliners included the atmospheric and entrancing Public Service Broadcasting and Kelis of my-milkshake-brings-all-the-boys-to-the-yard fame who merged her classic tune with Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit to the audiences utter surprise and delight. But my star of the headliners has to be St. Paul and The Broken Bones, a staggeringly good six-piece soul band from Alabama led by vocal powerhouse Paul Janeway. What a voice!

Other musical highlights included Old Dirty Brasstards, a 10-piece brass and drum group who played an eclectic mix of pop, R&B, rock and funk covers with their instruments alone. More catchy covers were seen at The Lounge Kitten’s set where they covered a mix of songs with their signature three part harmony. As someone whose music tastes is lamely stuck in the 90s/early 00s I love being forced to discover new music at festivals. Enter: Hello Operator who won me over big time with their proper British rock vibes, catchy chorus’ and arresting stage presence.

Leopallooza. Photo credit: Matthew HawkeyLeopallooza. Photo credit: Matthew Hawkey

This year also saw a new comedy area – The Funny Side – and in it festival goers were treated to a whole host of big names. On Friday we caught the brilliant Shappi Khorsandi who had many a hilarious anecdote about her time on ‘I’m a Celebrity’. She was followed up with a slick and side-splitting gig from Russell Kane whose audience spilled out of the tent and then some. On Saturday Kernow King played to a raucous and jubilant home crowd and Sunday saw an epic line-up including the truly weird and wonderful Paul Foot, Simon Brodkin (who I discovered is much funnier as himself than alter ego Lee Nelson) and finished with a bang with west county boy and comedy legend Josh Widdicombe.

We spent most of the weekend either dancing or laughing, but there was also plenty of time for eating and drinking too. The bars were run by Sharp’s Brewery and I enjoyed both the Atlantic Pale Ale and the Cornish Pilsner in equal measure. When it came to dinner time I was in veggie heaven – there were aubergine stuffed burritos, fried mushroom burgers and freshly cooked pad Thai. Meat eating friends tucked into Argentinian brisket, fish and chips and stone baked pizzas. When we weren’t chowing down or watching acts, we hung out in the karaoke tent and pretended (unconvincingly and untunefully) we were on stage. The silent disco tent was also lashings of fun thanks to the two channels and DJs.

Leopallooza. Photo credit: Matthew HawkeyLeopallooza. Photo credit: Matthew Hawkey

All in all I had yet another stonker of a weekend at Lepallooza and while I appreciate the artists, comedians and excellent food trucks, I think it’s the organisers themselves that deserve the biggest cheers. They have whittled this grassroots festival out of a simple idea and have remained dedicated to keeping it accessible and authentic. From the super affordable food and drink to the free-to-use silent disco and karaoke, there is no money grabbing here - it’s a small festival with a big heart.

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