LeeFest is a non-profit music festival that takes place each August in Bromley, South London. The festival began in founder Lee Denny’s garden when his parents went away on holiday in 2006. Despite the festival’s small scale in its first two years, LeeFest grew into a two day event with the capacity for 2,000 attendees. This was the first time I had attended this festival. Doors opened at 11am and the music started an hour later. I only opted to attend the first day down to the basis the line up suited me. Highams Hill Farm was where this 2 day festival took place. To get to the site I had to take the tram to New Addington then the 464 to where I needed to go. So I arrived around 11.10am and there was a queue of people getting their wristbands. These were mainly people who were camping over the 2 days. I then had a look round this small scaled site before chilling out in the Lava Lounge. The first artist I wanted to see was the impeccable Dan Shears. It was a pleasure having the opportunity to hang out with Dan before his slot at 1.30pm.
“Thank you for being here at the start of my set” Shears then said before London By Lamplight. There were actually quite a few lampshades strung up in the tent for some reason. Dan’s angelic vocals made this song sound ever so beautiful. This steady paced song put me in a trance as it was faultlessly delivered. “This next song is called The Devil’s Favourite Love Story. I’ve met the devil and I can assure that it is his favourite. In fact I lived with her for a little while” Shears said before The Devil’s Favourite Love Story. This laid back song was a mournful love ballad which was superbly delivered. I found song to be rather gentle/ mellowing. “There are a few more people joining the room. Don’t be shy do come in. I won’t bite during this set” Shears said before revealing he had the awkward task of playing the previous song in front of the person he wrote it about. It was then onto One Dry Eye In The House Of God. This was played at an up tempo pace and the high pitched lyrics gelled to the melody perfectly. “You don’t know this yet but We Buy Happiness have cancelled on the main stage. Which might sound awful and I’m sorry if I don’t sound sad about it” Dan then said. What he went onto say was the fact he had been asked to fill this bands slot on the main stage. “I may work my strip tease into the set” Shears then joked to the intimate audience. “I left my feather boa at home” he then said before getting stuck into My Dear Oscar. Now this song which will most likely feature on the 3rd EP was extremely beautiful. My Dear Oscar was a powerful song which was delivered to perfection. “Are you up for joining in” Dan then said before The City Of Dreadful Night. I rather liked this dark tale and you can easy picture it in my head. Its lyrics were superb. The chanting I found to be rather haunting. Unfortunately no one participated with joining in with that part. It was then onto the lead track from the forthcoming EP Against The Sea Of Troubled Souls. This song being In The Shadows Of Better Men. Before getting stuck into the song Shears plugged The Regal Room EP launch. This furious paced song was rather upbeat and its lyrics fitted perfectly to the melody. “Thank you for being here. I’ll hopefully see you on the main stage where I’m playing a last minute set covering for someone” Dan said before ending the sublime set with Lily. This song was about loving someone with every fibre of your being. Now Lily gave me goosebumps. I found it to be both gentle and mellowing.
London By Lamplight
The Devil’s Favourite Love Story
One Dry Eye In The House Of God
My Dear Oscar
The City Of Dreadful Night
In The Shadows Of Better Men
Charlotte Clark is the younger sister of Hannah Clark (AKA Foe). Now I knew of Charlotte and I have heard a couple of songs on the internet. So when I saw Charlotte was playing at LeeFest I knew that she was someone I wanted to see play. This 30 minute set took place at The Clockhouse and it was extremely intimate. I would say there were just about 50 people sitting on the floor watching something extremely special.
“I’m going to play some songs. This is a brand new one and it’s called Don’t Make Me So Happy” Clark then said before getting diving into Don’t Make Me So Happy. The style of this song and the rest performed was Acoustic/ Folk. This steady paced song was delivered strongly. Don’t Make Me So Happy should feature on the next EP. “Everyone having a good festival so far” Charlotte said before a tune up which then led to another original and this being Morning Boy. This song was gentle and the lyrics were wonderful. It showed that Charlotte Clark was a talented songwriter. “Normally I write all my lyrics so most people can relate to them. But this was like an entire new personal song” Clark then mentioned to the audience before Like They Were Then. I found this number to be extremely beautiful and you could tell that Charlotte gave it her all. “Does anyone know the song No Diggity by Blackstreet? Well I’m going to do a cover and I’m probably going to get the words wrong” she then said before tackling this upbeat song. The lyrics to No Diggity were attached to the mic stand in front of her but Clark said through this song. The use of acoustic guitar worked wonders. “I’ve been like recording a new EP. If you wanna like be keep updated and everything you can follow me online” Charlotte said before singing the beautiful Take Off Your Jacket For Me. The song itself was a little slushy “My eyes are now the shape of love hearts, and I’m melting away from your lovely remarks” but this song had been written superbly. “The next one I’m going to play is an oldie and I haven’t played it for ages” Clark then said before If You Just Wait. This again was yet another fantastic song. “This is my last song. It’s called A Little Bit Longer” Charlotte then told the intimate audience. Personally A Little Bit Longer is one of my favourite Clark songs. This song was extremely beautiful and the vocals were impeccable.
Don’t Make Me So Happy
Like They Were Then
Take Off Your Jacket For Me
If You Just Wait
A Little Bit Longer
At 4.30pm it was then time for The Brownies. I knew nothing about this band prior to the festival and I attended this 30 minute set on a whim. This short but sweet set consisted of material from the Finger EP (Finger, Tropical Linda), debut album Ourknife Yourback (Cry Yourself To Sleep, Cougar) and new tracks Fox Force Five and Oh Yeah. This 4 piece band consisted of 3 girls and a guy on drums. The Brownies hailed from Norwich and the style of the tracks were sung were Pop/ Rock. A bit like Paramore really but these tracks you could have a good mosh to. The Brownies were a promising band and I definitely want to hear more from them in the future.
Cry Yourself To Sleep
Fox Force Five
“Thank you for braving the rain” Shears said before kicking off his set with London By Lamplight. I really enjoyed this beautiful steady paced song. Dan’s vocal range was incredible and he can hit high notes at ease. “This song is called The Devil’s Favourite Love Story. I’ve met the devil and I can assure that it is his favourite. In fact I lived with her for a little while. She was dirty” Shears said before The Devil’s Favourite Love Story. This mournful love ballad felt rather laid back and the vocals were impeccable. “This is called One Dry Eye In The House Of God because I do like a long title. The suns come out I was petrified it was going to piss down as soon as I started” Dan said before getting stuck into One Dry Eye In The House Of God. This song was rather pacey and the high pitched lyrics gelled to its melody perfectly. “By the way if you’ve just joined us someone cancelled and that’s why I’m here. If there’s a slot available I’ll fill it” Dan then said. There were actually quite a lot of people at the main stage compared to the Lava Lounge set earlier. My Dear Oscar does not feature on the current 2nd EP but will most likely feature on the 3rd and it was extremely beautiful. This tune was a powerful song which was superbly delivered. “How drunk are you?” Shears said before The City Of Dreadful Night which involved some audience participation. Now I really liked this song “It’s a waltz. So if you are drunk enough do please turn around. I can’t I’ll be playing” Dan then said. The City Of Dreadful Night had a darker tone compared to the prior songs that had just been sung. Its lyrics painted a perfect picture. It was then onto the lead track from the forthcoming EP Against The Sea Of Troubled Souls. This song being In The Shadows Of Better Men. Before getting stuck into the song Shears plugged The Regal Room EP launch. This furious paced song was rather upbeat and its lyrics were fantastic. “Thank you for joining me. Thank you for listening to my set. Obviously being a late addition to the line up you obviously taken in to account that the fact I might be vulnerable, lonely, fragile, available” Dan then said before revealing he was selling the 1st EP for 5 monies. “Shears as in the gardening tool because nothing says Rockstar like farming equipment” he the went onto say if anyone wanted to look him up on the net. What followed was the ever so beautiful Lily. This was a soft, gentle and hypnotic song which sent shivers up my spine.
London By Lamplight
The Devil’s Favourite Love Story
One Dry Eye In The House Of God
My Dear Oscar
The City Of Dreadful Night
In The Shadows Of Better Men
Straight after Dan’s set I then darted off to the Lava Lounge. Norwich band Fever Fever were set to start at 5pm and Dan finished on the main stage at 5. This 3 piece consist of James Smith, Rosie Arnold and Ellie Jones. I would describe their brand of music to be Punk/ Rock and rather energetic. Things opened up with Butcher’s Shop which featured on the Bloodless EP. Some of the lyrics make you squirm especially the opening line “If it’s infected, I’ll chop it off, Hang it in the Butcher’s Shop”. “Hi, Good afternoon. We’re called Fever Fever” Arnold said before their smash hit single Monster. They literally powered through this ferocious song and every ounce of energy was put into it.
It was then straight onto Teeth. The song started with Rosie speaking the lyrics then the drums/ guitar kicked in. “It’s a good festival in it. It’s like a sort of fete but like a really f**ked up fete. It’s really cool” Arnold then said before the current single The Chair. This was one hell of a song which was both Punky and Grungy. The vocals were stellar and this song oozed bundles of energy. “For the newcomers. Nice to see ya. We’re called Fever Fever. We originate from Norwich” Rosie then said before Mouth House. They blitzed through this powerful song. Bloodless was next and this was the lead song from The Bloodless EP. This was a high octane song which was belted out. Plenty of energy was given off from this ferocious paced number. The vocals were spot on and there were some impressive guitar riffs. Pins ended what was an incredible 30 minute slot. Before getting stuck into the song Rosie said “Watch Foe or die”. Pins was another fantastic song which was extremely energetic. Fever Fever are a band who offer plenty of promise and they don’t even have an album to their name yet. I would most definitely see them play in the nearby future.
Once Fever Fever had finished it was then onto something special. This being a set by Hannah Clark (AKA Foe). I a=have seen Hannah play a couple of times and I know she has got what it takes to make waves in the music industry. The style of the music that they sing was grunge meets pop. This set began with Genie In A Coke Can. Even though this song features on Bad Dream Hotline it also appeared on the Hot New Trash EP. This song was belted out powerfully and I loved the songs middle 8. It was then onto Mother May I? straight after. This number was extremely upbeat and the lyrics were superb. The song itself was delivered with plenty of passion. “My name’s Foe, How’s it going? Are you having a nice festival” Clark said before Ode To Janey Lou. This was a steady paced grungy song which had extremely clever lyrics.
“This is the 1st festival we’ve ever played” Clark said just before A Handsome Called Death. At first the song was gentle as Hannah was playing her keyboard then the drums kicked in, then the song became rather powerful. It was then onto something extremely infectious and this being The Black Lodge. You are drawn in from the very moment Hannah starts singing this pacey upbeat infectious number. Its lyrics were superb and plenty of energy was flowing from it. The Black Lodge, is named after a fictional setting in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. It was then straight onto My Baby. Now this number was rather powerful and the lyrics were sublime. I look forward to hearing the mastered version of this amazing new track. It was then onto the B side to Deep Water Heartbreaker and this being The Fox. This was a fantastic song which was tinged with slight darkness. It was then onto the penultimate song of the set and this being Get Money. This song carried a message “Get Money, Die Young, Live Fast, Die Young, Get Money, Get Numb, Get Numb, Get Numb”. There was a beat to this track and it was literally belted out. Foe rounded off the fantastic set with Tyrant Song. Even though this song features on Bad Dream Hotline it also made an appearance on EP Hot New Trash. There was a ferocious pace to this song and the lyrics were luscious. The one line that stood out was “Are you ready for the next big thing?”. I honestly think Foe is the next big thing.
Genie In A Coke Can
Mother May I?
Ode To Janey Lou
A Handsome Stranger Called Death
The Black Lodge
Straight after it was a dash back to the Main Stage and this was to see the delightful Summer Camp. Summer Camp are Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley. After when Foe finished performing I had thought I would of missed the beginning of their set. When I reached the barrier that is when the set started (now that was good timing). Opening things up was Welcome To Condale which Elizabeth took the lead for. This was a slick song which sounded fantastic. Its lyrics painted the picture of the fictional town which is Condale. Sankey’s vocals were extremely sweet and they gelled to the light melody. Welcome To Condale was an infectious song which you just want to sing along to. “We’re called Summer Camp. We’re excited to be here” Elizabeth said before Jeremy revealed it was the first time that they had performed on the main stage at a festival and it was his first time in Croydon. It was then onto the upbeat Last American Virgin. Sankey joked by saying it was about Jeremy. There was a hip hop vibe to this wondrous number. Losing My Mind was the next number and both Sankey and Warmsley joint sang this. The lyric content of this song was superb and it is basically detailing the story of a couple who are fighting and having arguments. Jeremy took lead vocals for Round The Moon and Elizabeth provided the harmonies. Even though this doesn’t appear on Welcome To Condale it has killer lyrics which were very sleek. Down followed immediately after (this song was released as an exclusive 7” vinyl through Rise Records last year). Both Sankey and Warmsley both took to the vocals for this Power Pop song. This tune sounded luscious at the same time. “This one starts off emotional but then it kinda gets funky” Sankey said before they got stuck into Done Forever. This song was very synthy as Jeremy was playing the keyboard. Sankey took the lead for this strong number and her vocal range sent chills up my spine. It was then onto the brand new Summer Camp single. Always started off with Elizabeth dancing which made me smile. This song has grown on me immensely and I really liked the optimistic lyrics “We’ll always be together”. “I’m eating all of my hair. It’s probably a good thing, it needs a trim” Sankey said in regards to her hair blowing in the wind. “Has anybody had any good food? I’m starving. What’s good” Elizabeth then went onto say before another new track taken from the brand new EP Always. Life felt as if this song could easily featured on the track listing to Welcome To Condale. Sankey mainly sung this wonderful song. At first it started off rather synthy then the drums came in which gave it that oomph. “We have to drop a song from the set” Jeremy then said. “F*ck, What would you rather we dropped Ghost Train or Better Of Without You” Elizabeth said before everyone shouted Ghost Train “Wait are you shouting Ghost Train because you want to hear it or because you don’t want to here it” Warmsley then said. “We’re Better Off Without You Ghost Train” Sankey then said to the audience before Better Off Without You. At first you think that this sad song is about a relationship that has come to an end hence its title better off without you. But in fact this song was about denial. This tune was infectious and had was delivered strongly. Summer Camp then ended with I Want You. From the lyrics you could pick up on the fact this is about a girl who is infatuated with this guy. Nothing faulted Sankey’s vocal performance. Excellent song to end an amazing set.
Welcome To Condale
Last American Virgin
Losing My Mind
Round The Moon
Better Off Without You
I Want You
“How is everybody? Sorry we’re faffing around” Charles said before they got straight into the opening song and this being If We’re Still Alive. This tune was infectious and it oozed plenty of energy. If We’re Still Alive was a song which was packed with a punch plus it was extremely up tempo. It was then straight into Yeah So track Our Most Brilliant Friends which was mainly sung by Charles (w/ Rebecca harmonising). Our Most Brilliant Friends was a fast flowing number and it was delivered powerfully. “How is everyone? Yeah. Where’s Lee. You’re Lee, is there lots of Lee’s. You’re a Lee. You’re the Lee. Thanks for having us. We’re Slow Club” Rebecca then said before the laid back/ chilled out Never Look Back. This number had a slow pace which picked up nearer the end. The parts Taylor sang were belted out. It was then onto my favourite song from the new album Paradise. This being Beginners which Rebecca Taylor sang the majority of. Taylor took to the electric guitar and I found this number to be rather up-tempo/ infectious at the same time. “We’re going to do another one. Yeah!” Taylor said before Horses Jumping. Charles sang the majority of this song with Rebecca harmonising towards the end. This was a gentle song and quiet at the same time. It was straight into Where I’m Waking. The verses were shared between Charles and Rebecca. This song was extremely infectious and oozed plenty of energy. My favourite part had to be the middle 8. It was then onto a new song and this being Everything Is New. Charles took the lead for this song with Rebecca harmonising. This song was delivered at a steady pace and had some brilliant lyrics. It was then onto The Dog. Again it was mainly sung by Charles with Rebecca adding the harmonies. The song was very up tempo plus it was delivered with plenty of gusto. What followed was another new track and this being Not Mine To Love which was a beautiful ballad. Rebecca took the lead for this song. This hypnotic song had lyrics that perfectly fitted to the mellowing melody. I actually picked up on a soulful vibe. “You remember when you were a kid and you ask for things and your mum says if you stop asking I might say yeah. That’s made me think about that. I will, I understand your enthusiasm but I’m such a like lazy b*tch that I would rather just not until I feel like it. I promise I will but I’m such an awkward cow that I want to wait” Rebecca then said in regards to one fan who was shouting in hope that she would wave to him. It was then onto the penultimate song which was Two Cousins. I found Two this tune to be rather upbeat and it’s chorus was rather infectious. It captivated me from the very start. Ending the set was Giving Up On Love. This song was highly infectious and up tempo with lyrics you just want to sing along to. Bundles of energy oozed from this tune.
If We’re Still Alive
Our Most Brilliant Friends
Never Look Back
Were I’m Waking
Everything Is New
Not Mine To Love
Giving Up On Love
Ending my LeeFest was Parisian trio We Were Evergreen. Once I had reached the Lava Lounge they had just started their set with Penguins & Moonboots. This song was quirky and it was extremely uplifting as well. I loved the pacey verses and the lyrics gelled to the upbeat melody to a T. “LeeFest, What’s up?” Liot said before Leeway. The vocals were perfect and this was a jolly song. It makes me anticipate the brand new EP which is released in October. It was then onto the next tune of the of the evening and this being Eggs. The harmonising was spot on and the lyrics were sublime. Its lyrics are slightly regretful “It’s such a waste and I can’t make up for this”. It was then onto a brand new song which will most likely feature on the new EP then it was onto Second Hand. This song was released as a vinyl backing Baby Blue. Second Hand was extremely gentle and entrancing as well. Also Michael showed off his trumpet skills towards the end. It was then straight onto the penultimate song and this being the latest single Baby Blue. “How was Slow Club? They’re great. We supported them” Liot then said before launching into their Baby Blue song. This tune was about being an unknown gigging band doing the rounds of terrible venues in front of tiny crowds. “Once again we’re called We Were Evergreen. Thank you so much for staying till the end” Michael said before they ended with Vintage Car. This song had been released as a free downloadable song. At first Serfrass did some beat boxing and was aided by a loop pedal. Nearing the end there was some furious drum playing. The thing I like the most about Vintage Car is the fact you can picture it in your head.
Penguins & Moonboots
OVERALL: This was the first time I had attended LeeFest and it wont be the last. The festival site was quaint and it was organised in the sense it was possible to see every single act. I liked the fact that the stages were very close together which meant I could easily get from here to there in a matter of seconds.
I saw everyone I intended to watch play and the two artists I was extremely impressed by were Charlotte Clark and The Brownies. Both acts I would like to see again in the future.
Even though I enjoyed this festival there is one thing I would change. This is to make the buses more frequent. Two were in operation one to Bromley and the other to East Croydon. Having a bus to a certain destination on a 2 hour rotation is not really on. My wonderful experience ended at 10.20pm after seeing the fantastic We Were Evergreen. I was slightly dismayed that the bus would come at 11.30pm and it was also very cold outside. This then led me to walk up Saltbox Hill I the pitch black which probably wasn’t the best idea.