FAULT Magazine and LXN attend STANDON CALLING 2015




As we arrived at Standon Calling – virgins of the Hertfordshire festival experience – we were filled with the usual pre-festival apprehension: Is the camping area going to be so dense that we can feel the breath of our neighbouring campers on our cheeks as we sleep? Are the toilets going to make us feel like ripping off and violently discarding our clothes a la Andy Dufresne, emerging nauseated from the sewage pipe in The Shawshank Redemption? And most importantly – have we packed enough wet wipes?

We needn’t have worried, for what actually awaited us was a sun ‘n’ rum soaked weekend of hazy euphoria.


After a short taxi ride from Ware – one of two local transport links to the festival – we arrived in the fields amongst a mass of colourful handmade flags guiding us towards the distant hum of music, where the party was already in full swing. The queue to collect our passes was none existent and we were swiftly ushered with a smile towards the camping area, which was quiet and surprisingly spacious. Our first introduction to the weekend’s Wild West ‘Town of Two Faces’ theme surfaced when one reveller flung us a makeshift peg hammer in the form of a well worn cowboy boot. When someone looking like Jessie from Toy Story 2 meets the exorcist and offered to help us pitch or tent, it soon became clear that this festival was not going to be anything like what we’ve been to before.


Having missed the first night, we arrived early on the Saturday and found ourselves drifting along past a stream of lethargic bodies and tuning into murmurs of the electric Eddy Temple Morris set we’d missed the night before. Our bitterness quickly diminished as we entered the hand built shanty town, ‘Duplicity’. Complete with a Clock tower-cum-DJ stage, a Jail serving frozen cocktails, wooden wagons, wanted posters and a Sheriff’s office, it was like stepping onto the wrap party of a Clint Eastwood film. The detail was incredible.


Saturday went by in a daze. Whilst Standon is still a relatively small festival, we were eager to take it all in and found ourselves flitting between the various stages, catching glimpses of incredible sets from burgeoning acts such as Black Honey, Crows and Amber Run. The latter in particular gave a powerful performance on the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ BBC Introducing stage. By this point it was obvious that not only are the team behind Standon Calling handy at a fine bit of woodwork – they’ve also got the knack of booking artists destined to be future headliners down to an art form.

Our personal highlight of Saturday – and dare we admit, probably the weekend – were Slaves. After a chilled day meandering around and getting far too caught up in the intensity of watching those brave enough to have a go at the circus trapeze in full view of the waiting crowds, Slaves were exactly the thrashy, sweaty punk injection that we needed to get us pumped up for the night. We were lucky enough to wrangle ourselves a prime spot at the side of the stage, and watched with awe as the entire crowd began to feed off their frenetic energy. Their set marked a flip of the switch; the town of two faces was turning. Night time had begun, families and children began to flee as the dusty Wild West shanty town we once knew was invaded by cyborgs and bionic cowboys, casting a decidedly unthreatening veil of glitter over our world.


A UK festival exclusive appearance from Dandy Warhols was an unexpected treat. We’d been looking forward to seeing them play and bouncing around to their anthemic ‘Bohemian Like You’ for weeks, but we’re ashamed to say that we’d underestimated what professional and slick live performers they were. If you haven’t seen them live, make sure you do. In fact, go now – go on. You can read this later.

As is the general rule at festivals, we pin-pointed our new BBFs in the crowd and spent the rest of the night contorting our bodies into something resembling dancing to Bondax and Maribou State, as Saturday turned into Sunday and the dawn chorus started to feel like a judgmental choir, soundtracking our bleary eyed and exhausted stumble back to camp.