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Ben & Jerry's Sundae on the Common 2010 (Festival Review)

Monday, 26 July 2010 Written by Matt Hamm
Ben & Jerry's Sundae on the Common 2010 (Festival Review)

You wouldn’t naturally tie ice cream, music and social activism arm in arm in the everyday would you? Well the frozen good giant have now successfully completed their 3rd year at Clapham Common to the joy of rumbling bellies all over the South of London. Stereoboard.com were lucky enough to get our mits on some tickets to the weekend and we thoroughly enjoyed two days of sun, cows and chocolate fudge brownie…a lot of chocolate fudge brownie.

Situated in the same home as Augusts SW4 and the no longer alive Get Loaded in the Park, Ben & Jerry’s small village of stands, stalls and stage was home to a wide variety of music fan and family man. The happiness of both parties was order of the day with plenty of musical goodness for the checked shirt teenagers and an abundance of farm yard activity for the little-un’s to run amock upon. This actually included a live farm, with animals from the local Vauxhall City Farm wandering around in their enclosed corner as sticky kids and tipsy teens stroked, prodded and fed ice cream to every clucking one.

It’s actually difficult to comprehend the sheer amount of ice cream that must’ve been consumed over two days but the fact that it was free should shed some light on the length of the queues to grab some – us Brits’ love a freebie it’s got to be said. The Stereoboard.com team managed 10 cones each which now seems like an unwise idea for both the beach body and struggling jean waistlines...but at the time, it was difficult to resist!

Saturday’s musical festivities played home to an array of music, ranging from the excellent Scot indie-rockers Idlewild (who feel like they’ve been around for an age), to the poptastic Scouting For Girls; who headlined the day to the joy of most in the crowd. At the time we at Stereoboard were not kind about the trio, using our Twitter/Facebook platforms to berate the band and in retrospect, with our unbiased cap on they were actually...STILL SHIT. But joking aside, they did at least please the audience of a few thousand who danced like there was no tomorrow to ‘She’s So Lovely’, ‘James Bond Just For A Day’ and the surprise inclusion of the infamous Paul McCartney classic ‘Live and Let Die’.

The shining light of the weekend remained the fact that Sunday’s line up was really quite impressive, proudly boasting Goldheart Assembly, Frightened Rabbit, Billy Bragg AND the Doves. So you can imagine you’d agree with us that they didn’t disappoint! The ever improving Goldheart Assembly seemed perfectly suited for the day with their catchy, yet laid back tunes; both delighting and thrilling with ‘King of Rome’ and ‘Under the Waterway’. Similarly the excellent Frightened Rabbit were simply a joy, ensuring we swam until we couldn’t see land in the thrall of happy punters dancing in the sun in sun to ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ and the joyous ‘The Loneliness and the Scream’. Sir Billy of Bragg was his usual eccentric self, donning the stage in blue pants to support the Pants to Poverty campaign for charity. Hilarity and slight confusion aside, his set was fun and brought together ageing fans in the crowd who reminisced to Bragg’s greatest hits. One thing we would say, if we were so bold to give Bragg some advice...PLEASE cut the speaking between songs down a bit! As much as you’re a musical legend in this country, we were there to watch music and not a man lecture a field of bloated sunburnt festival goers.

So that just left the Doves. Who in a word were as always - fantastic. We’d even go a step further and say that they may just be the best band playing live in the UK right now...and whether you agree or not is besides the point as Clapham Common bounced, sang and beamed along with the Manchester trio. Their set contained quality track after quality track, spanning their history and delighting in massive amounts. ‘Pounding’ and ‘Kingdom of Rust’ rocked, as Jez’s vocals cut deep coaxing out the goose pimples with ease. But ‘There Goes The Fear’ remains one Stereoboard.com’s favourite tracks of all time; ensuring our voices were well and truly gone by the end of the evening. Though it wasn’t anything that more free ice cream couldn’t heal!

But this wasn’t a festival with a permanent marker line below the word “music”. It rather played second fiddle to charitable acts and activities, encouraging the younger of our generation to embrace the environment and get ‘nuts about fair-trade’. And with their usual climate neutral stance donating a portion of each ticket fee to charity, everyone attending could feel a little proud of themselves for being involved in this sweet and charming two days.

Words by Matt Hamm.

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