A Strange Start

With the gates only recently opened and the sun shining, the first act of The Mighty Boosh Festival played to a crowd not so much disinterested as rather relaxed; happily camped around the barrier sunbathing, chatting and sending pictures of themselves and friends to the big screen.

2005 Mercury Music Prize nominees, Polar Bear, the only jazz outfit of the day, strolled on to complete the chilled out atmosphere. Playing with the quiet enthusiasm of passionate musicians, the saxophones swung from frenetic and screeching to mellow and soothing, accompanied by the an imaginative quirky percussion; at one point an balloon was slowly deflated to produce a high pitched whine down the microphone.

Double bassist Tom Herbert engrossed with his playing, barely stared up from the strings as the music developed thick, more sinister undertones, resonating across as Hop Farm like tidal wave of foreboding, before ceasing and returning to more laid-back tones.

The only band of the day who truly seemed to care about their music above showmanship and keeping the festival-goers happy, Polar Bear seemed a little unsure of what to say or how to treat the audience. But for a purely instrumental band at what was essentially a rock festival they went down incredibly well; their electric yet gentle ambience the perfect start to a more hectic, guitar-heavy day.