There’s a lot to like about Standon Calling. The sweeping fields surrounding the boutique festival add a picturesque quality as you arrive deep within the centre of Hertfordshire. Well-directed and easily accessible, campers immediately feel at ease as they approach the site and unpack, with the festival itself only a stones throw away with access to showers and fully functioning toilets that are secure and routinely checked.
Priding itself on its family friendly attitude, Standon offers an experience that caters for all ages. Perhaps also being one of the most dog-friendly festivals in the UK, it was pleasing to see a number of four-legged canines parading around the fields. Though maybe limiting certain areas would have been advisable as festival goers run the risk of accidentally treading on a few paws whilst shuffling through the crowds.
Utilising quality over quantity, the site manages to fit a lot within its size and makes for an easy commute walking from Main Stage to all other stages. With its array of stalls and strict cashless policy, participants are issued wristbands that act as the sole method of payment and can be topped up regularly. Meaning crowds can get glittered beards, sparkly jackets and colourful wigs all at the swift tap of the wrist.
The cuisine on display, though quite pricey was a mouth-watering spectacle of fine dining. Foodies could gorge on a variety of meals on offer such as Oh My Dog hotdogs, Spit & Roast’s buttermilk fried chicken, Club Mexicana and LeBun’s award winning diner. Vegetarian and vegans were kept happy as The Mac Factory and Vegan Tacos were just some of the amazing stalls to choose from.
Musically, the site hosted an eclectic display of artists spanning across a variety of genres. Friday sought out the exuberant Tin Pigeons on the Main Stage with their youthful tones and buoyant attitude whilst local talent Waste shook up the Laundry Meadows stage pulling in a sizeable crowd and kicking things off with some heavy riffs.
Singer-songwriter Alex Francis treated audiences to both a full stage and intimate set at the BBC Introducing stage whilst poet, rapper and all-round innovator Kate Tempest preached a fearsome show as she performed from her Mercury nominated album Let Them Eat Chaos.
Punk duo Slaves also tore up the stage with their riotous attitude and abrasive tunes as crowds frantically head-banged their way through the anarchic set. Ravers could also rejoice over at Cinderella’s Motel Stage as British actor and DJ Idris Elba set the room alight with a series of house and disco tunes.
Timings could have perhaps been better organised over the weekend, as all rock bands seemed to appear earlier throughout the day. Though it didn’t stop politically charged Idles and Cabbage from drawing an impressive crowd over at the Laundry Stage.
Whilst the heavens occasionally opened, crowds sought refuge at the BBC Introducing tent and were appeased to the radiant sounds of Tom Grennan, one the UK’s most in demand artists, as he warmed audiences with an intimate acoustic set.
Whilst the rain continued, bands such as Clean Bandit, Haggis Horns and The Cuban Brothers brightened up the festival with their vibrant melodic sets and singer KT Tunstall swooned audiences with her effortless charm and poignant lyricism.
For those looking for a little more edge may not find it here in Hertfordshire but for anyone looking for family filled fun then Standon Calling is certainly the one to beat.
2018 early bird tickets available shortly.
Words by Jack Lloyd // @jack_rambler