Brownstock sets a new benchmark…


Brownstock Festival 2012

Brownstock Festival 2012, held on the Brown family’s farm near South Woodham Ferrers in Essex, opened its gates for three days this weekend. Over 5000 musicians and festival goers descended on the farm for the 2012 event, the most ever seen at the festival.

The main stage was headlined by Labrinth on Saturday, with The Futureheads rounding things off nicely on Sunday evening. Labrinth performed a live set, swapping between his guitar and piano to impress his fans and literally bringing the house down with his song Earthquake. Then as well as playing their old favourites, The Futureheads wowed the crowd with an amazing vocal performance, performing a couple of songs completely acapella from their new album Rant. Supporting were Essex band The Milk who performed an extremely impressive and high energy set ahead of their album launch this weekend at the itunes festival at Roundhouse Camden. The boys, all local to South Woodham Ferrers are firm festival favourites and warmed the crowd up exceptionally well for the rest of the evening. Other support acts included the hotly tipped Extra Curricular as well as Liverpool lads Man Get Out.

Meanwhile in the Good Shed dance dome which was hosted by DJ Doorly and his record label Pigeon Hole This saw headline performances from  dubstep supremo Nero, BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Grandmaster Flash. The highlight for many festival goers however were two slightly different acts for a dance orientated arena with The Cuban Brothers (Miguel Mantovani, Archerio, Kengo San) capturing the entire audience with a hilarious, yet impressive display of break dancing and old school hits, broken up of course with Miguel’s trademark and legendary interaction with the crowd. Lastly, Dan Skinners legendary character, burger van owner and star of the BBC show, Shooting Stars, Angelos Epithemiou who, having never DJ’d before played a tracklist of his all time favourite hits including Russia’s national anthem and Status Quo whilst dancing and performing an energetic stand up routine.

But as always the festival had more surprises more to offer beyond the two main stages. The silent disco was back by popular demand. Then, a brand new Treehouse Stage. Built into two oak trees in the festival field this stage saw 50 bands local and upcoming musicians perform during the weekend from their tree top view.

The Piano Bar in the festival campsite was another quirky and unusual addition to the festival. A sitting room theme with board games and homemade cakes. The stage opened with a cabaret show on the Friday night with burlesque dance performances. Then during the weekend this tent was packed full of musicians and festival visitors alike. Open mic performances, the Brownstock Big Band where everyone in the tent sang, including a whole verse sung solely by the Brown Family who popped by to take part. The tent is managed by ex-KEGs pupil James whose company is always finding new ways to promote the piano as an instrument.

Those who are more into house music than piano made their way to the Stumble Inn, new for this year. Hosted by Gist and Be Part of It, The tent was headlined by DJ Duo No Artificial Colours who are the dominant force in the UK’s house music scene and Saytek with their distinctive vision of house and techno.

The festival was about more than music. All the food options were carefully chosen by the Brown Family, with their own homegrown Aberdeen Angus beef burgers selling out on Sunday morning and an emergency delivery having to be made. Stonebaked pizzas, exotic burgers (including elk) and Caribbean slush puppies are just a hint of what else was on offer.

The Park was home to Brownstock’s extreme sports entertainment. Dance performances from Chelmsford and south Woodham dance groups, Bam Bam Boogies and Gemstarz.  Meanwhile there were freerunning and parkour displays from Team Traceur. Both performances were followed by a workshop for those who wanted to try some moves. Then this was accompanied by BMX and skateboarding in the festivals’ 2 half pipe ramps.

Ten Bomb street art group wowed visitors with their quirky and cheeky tiki tiki themed art camp. The centre piece was a 20 foot high tiki man. This sat alongside 30 ft wall paintings and the doodle lounge.  Although their highlight was a surprise drumming performance from Florence and the Machine’s drummer who had crowds mesmerised on Saturday afternoon

The festival was also scattered with decoration and theming, all designed by Anna Brown, one of the Brown family daughters. Her centre piece, sitting in the middle of the arena was her handbuilt farmhouse with sitting room and kitchen for visitors to put their feet up.

The festival has received extremely positive feedback from visitors and artists. One visitor was Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding who popped in on the Saturday. She visited with her niece and had a great time listening Labrinth, Nero and Grandmaster Flash’s sets.

The dates for 2013 Brownstock Festival will be 30th and 31st Aug and 1st Sept. Tickets will be on sale next week.

Adam Brown Festival Director: “We are delighted with this year’s festival. It was out biggest turn out yet and we have had some great feedback from our visitors and our headline artists who put in some unforgettable performances.  And to have someone like Grandmaster Flash fly in from the US just for the festival really says it all.”


Zane Lowe: “Hey, your festival is awesome! Wicked crowd…”

Labrinth: “Thanx Brownstock really enjoyed that thanx x”