Glastonbury may be taking a break this year, but that doesn’t mean the West Country is going to be entirely bereft of great looking festivals this summer. Instead August 17th-19th marks Strummer of Love, a one off event celebrating and commemorating the ten year anniversary of the death of Joe Strummer.
Raising money for the Strummerville charity, which seeks to help aspirant musicians and support music-based projects globally, the festival is a combination of music, crafts and a ‘meeting of minds’. Based further west than Glastonbury – nearest train station is Taunton – the festival is going to be nestled in the Arcadian Blackdown hills, just on the boarder between Somerset and Devon. Having grown up in this area, I can attest to how much it deserves its status as an area of outstanding natural beautyand, if the weather Gods bless it, is the perfect setting to enjoy a few pints of local cider in.
As befits the organisation and legacy of Strummer, the line-up is certainly not weak. Particularly enticing offerings include Alabama 3, Emmy the Great, The Pogues and Kitty, Daisy and Lewis. Many of the bands selected, including Alabama 3 and The Justice Tonight Band, have personal connections with Strummer, giving the festival a familial aspect.
A more literal familial link will also be the presence of Jazz Domino Holly, one of Strummer’s daughters who will be running a veritable palace of crafting, the Handmade Hangout. As the founder of the Shoreditch Sisters W.I., the classes run by Jazz and other cutting and sticking aficionados (all of which are free) should not be missed. Amongst other things, a giant daisy chain of quilted rosettes is being constructed and, since I left the Shoreditch Sisters before I had a chance to complete a part of a patchwork quilt with a vagina on it (do you want to ask more or not?), contributing to this may make up for the previous loss.
Additionally, anyone who espied Susie Bubble’s recent pictures from Port Elliot festival will perk up at the sound of flower garlands to wear in your hair and, for the Facebook generation, a photo booth to pull shapes in once you are successfully adorned.
The general problem with all festivals is that, no matter how good the line up and how much good drink you consume, at some point you are going to need to spend time in a tent. Perhaps as the result of being flooded out of a Devon campsite at a child, this is not an activity I enjoy. Believing I am not alone in this princessy particular, it is worth noting that Strummer of Love are advertising a variety of glamping options, including yurts and, oh heaven, duvets. Should one be missing the turrets and moat too much, a little help from the Mongolian yurt company could be rather welcome.
Finally, tickets are £175 for the weekend, however reduced price tickets are available for perennial students, senior citizens and jobseekers. Plus, all under 12s get in entirely for free.