Summer is music festival season but I’ve not had one lined up for years. So when I heard there was one happening in my home county of West Sussex, I thought it was worth a weekend trip across the Atlantic. Especially because this one was very close to home: It was in my parents’ back garden.
My baby brother, Dylan, is about to turn 21. My parents love throwing a party and got to work planning this one for his birthday at the start of the year. I’d been keeping up with the plans over Facebook, but when I arrived home and saw the stage and kegs of beer, I knew this was going to be a good night.
Pip, Heather, John and I joined around 150 of Dyl’s friends and family for the music, burgers and beers. The afternoon music, including a one-man band and some singer-songwriters, crescendoed into rock bands and eventually a DJ. My brother and dad even got up there with their bands.
For the real festival experience, we were served burgers and chips (ahhh proper British chips) from a van and drank pints of a Sussex ale called Best and a Cornish beer called Doom Bar, which was fruity and delicious.
There was also a bevy of pirates collecting charity money and organzing some pretty painful-looking tug-of-war competitions. This one was ‘fat bastards vs. old gits’. (I wasn’t sure which side was which.) Whoever lost had to walk the plank under the watchful eyes of the pirates from Sparrows UK.
The music was brilliant. They’d created an impressive act list made up of my brother’s ridiculously talented friends, with other up-and-coming local bands topping the bill. My favourite was definitely the Stray Dogs – the singer’s voice was amazing. Unfortunately they’re about to break up and a few of the members are going to start working on synth-based tunes, but I look forward to seeing what they come up with.
There was also a Killers cover band (brilliantly named the Fillers) who got the crowd moving, and the night concluded with a set from the Propellers, a group of very tall kids from Tunbridge Wells who came with some long-legged, red-lipped groupies.
My family can throw a good party – but I’d never been to one like this before. The weather was perfect, all my brothers’ friends were on brilliant form, and the music was cracking. They’ve got a few years until my 30th, so hopefully that gives them enough time to start planning another…
And happy birthday, Dyl!