Ska Fest 2015 – Review and highlights
It started the way any ska festival should, a chill family vibe in the sun with beers and hot chips ordered from the backyard caravan in the courtyard of the Kings Arms.
Words by Jesse Booth | Photos by Darkroom
Budweiser buckets were full and cold, surrounded by all the colorful characters that donned the picnic tables. Unmissable was the movement among the people, everyone bopping to the ska DJ’s, or to their own groove, but not a dead face in the house.
But the action truly started with the live bands. Stages were set up on opposite ends of the Kings Arms and once the bands started they did not stop. By the time one band was finished on one end, you were hearing a warm welcome from behind you, introducing the next line up of eclectic ska sounds. So don’t worry if you were at the back of the room for one band, because you would sure be at the front for the next.
Each band that night offered their own avenue of Ska. From those more in the soul or reggae roots or the bands more swayed by the punk or British influences, the line-up was cleverly diverse. Whilst one band could be heard quoting jazz standards and Wes Montgomery solos, you would turn around to next in the line up doing a cover of The Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop – And don’t you think for a second that this audience forgot about the mosh pit here either!
There is a flavor for everyone and a glance around the room could prove just that.
To walk into the Kings Arms that night was to walk into a melting pot of people. Here you could find suits, mods, mohawks and docs, victory rolls, trilbies, hair wraps and fur coats – all plugging into the energy and community of Ska. And a notable point to make here too is that the audience were incredibly respectful of the music. There wasn’t a wall of smartphones creating Snapchat stories, and trying to get hits on their Twitter account, they were living in the moment, which in this day and age is a hard crowd to source.
And the ENERGY! Bands were bopping and dancing and the crowd not only fed off it but gave it back 150%. You had the twisters, the on-the-spot runners, the swayers and the jivers. If you didn’t bring your running shoes that night, your feet would be feeling it in the morning. The sweat, the heat, and the infectious energy was intoxicating. The Kings Arms just came alive.
So if you missed the Ska fest this year, you make sure to pencil it in for 2016, because it is not a night to miss out on.