Aughton’s Wasp In The Attic guitarist Matt Eland uncovers some diamonds at the annual Ormfest.
Glastonbury? Pah! Carling Weekend? Never. Wireless? What rot.
No, for me, thereÃ¢ÂÂs only one music festival I tick the days off for, Ormskirk Festival, held in the picturesque environs of Coronation Park. None of the acts here will ever ‘make it’; weÃ¢ÂÂre all waiting for breaks that will never come. But thatÃ¢ÂÂs what itÃ¢ÂÂs all about in my book.
So after the stage is up and (miraculously Ã¢ÂÂ this seems to happen every year) the sun is out, IÃ¢ÂÂm off to scab as much free beer as possible and settle down to watch the bands.
The running order is a bit skew-whiff due to so many acts pulling out, and so I donÃ¢ÂÂt manage to catch the name of the first one. Their average age is about 12, and although this is their first ever gig theyÃ¢ÂÂre still better on their respective instruments most of us were at their age.
Proud parents line up across the barrier to hear metal-tinged renditions of tunes by Nirvana and My Chemical Romance. ItÃ¢ÂÂs encouraging to know not only that theyÃ¢ÂÂre already learning to put their own stamp on the music, but that not all under-16 year gig goers in this town are there just for the booze.
Next up is another group of young guns, Eternal Rot. TheyÃ¢ÂÂre as metal as their name suggests, specialising in dark, sludgy grind. Unfortunately they never really deliver, and itÃ¢ÂÂs only when the drummer starts to slow down and pick his targets carefully that they do any damage. The pierced, long-haired chap head-banging at the front seems to enjoy it though.
Next is another act whose name I didnÃ¢ÂÂt catch Ã¢ÂÂ an acoustic duo who specialise in the LaÃ¢ÂÂs-esque ditties about their home town. One mention of Ormskirk train station had me swelling with civic pride. The singer had an interesting voice, and it was all perfectly pleasant, lazing in the mid-afternoon sun, but nothing ground breaking.
Jim Holmes and Andy Dunne were up next. JimÃ¢ÂÂs been beavering away on his own for years now, from Glasgow via Antwerp to the North West of England, and he comes into his own on the big stage, with the uber-talented Dunnester by his side. However, his bluesy rock epics donÃ¢ÂÂt get the chance to take off, and heÃ¢ÂÂs forced to retire early due to a broken string. HeÃ¢ÂÂll be back though, and it wonÃ¢ÂÂt be long before heÃ¢ÂÂs got a band with him.
Next is local hero Young Kof (pictured above left), although itÃ¢ÂÂs his birthday soon and he may be forced to drop the Ã¢ÂÂYoungÃ¢ÂÂ. Kof distinguishes himself from the hoards of wannabes out there by actually singing about real life. Something that many Ã¢ÂÂblingÃ¢ÂÂ obsessed jokers are unable to do. He surprises everyone who saw him here last year by using a DJ, and mixing in samples of Justin Timberlake songs with his own stuff. HeÃ¢ÂÂs doing well Ã¢ÂÂ heÃ¢ÂÂs even got a video on the telly and everything!
The final band are the Sellout Flaw (pictured above right). I am, for my sins, an unapologetic fan. They are amazing live. On this very blog, not so long ago, was an article about how the rock and roll has gone out of music. Well these guys live and breathe rock and roll. Their bassist is missing after downing a bottle of cheap Tesco vodka the previous night, and the band arenÃ¢ÂÂt sure whether heÃ¢ÂÂs at home being violently sick or in a casino in Southport. Singer JB takes over bass duties and guitarist Gaz has to teach him the chords in between songs, but somehow, they pull it off. New drummer Jim is fitting in nicely, and the metal solos and punk rhythms come thick and fast.
So, the smoke has cleared, the seagulls are circling the rubbish strewn park once more. We get the stage down before dark and pack it into the van. Coming up next is Skemfest, live from Skelmersdale Amphitheatre, some time in August. Until then weÃ¢ÂÂll wait in the shadows, planning and practising, until weÃ¢ÂÂre wheeled out for our next day in the sun.
And my beer haul total: 1x Bottle Corona, 1x Can Orangeboom, 3x Bottle Stella. Not too bad. One day I might even be able to buy someÃ¢ÂÅ