Somersault Festival promises a weekend of “stripped-back happiness” with “Summer sounds and outward bounds”. It definitely delivered. After a sold out début last year, touting big names such as Ben Howard, Jack Johnson and Nick Mulvey, this year provided even more excitement with Bombay Bicycle Club, Crystal Fighters, Laura Marling and Passenger all taking headline slots.
Changes from the opening year include a team up between Communion Music and BBC Introducing, supplying a list of newcomers teeming with talent. Minimalist rock two piece Honeyblood whipped up a Scottish storm before indie-pop songstress Lucy Rose proved a perfect ending to the first night. She showed off material from her sophomore album Work It Out and even Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman couldn’t resist seeing her set. Hotly tipped as future indie-rock sensations The Big Moon and Haus tore up the Communion Stage during the bright and sunny Saturday.
Music aside, Somersault is full of West Country heart. Relaxed and magical, it is set in a spot of secluded natural beauty with a tiny bit of reality thrown in thanks to the A361 as a back drop to the main stage. Cutting the festival straight down the middle is the River Bray, which meant a lot of festival goers took a delightful (but freezing) dip. The festival also offers a whole swath of outward bounds activities including surfing, mountain biking and horse riding.
If the outdoor adventure life isn’t for you, there’s the wonderfully talented Gorilla Circus trapeze act which was sensational to say the least. If you have a spare £40 lying about then Campfire Feasts provide a wide array of fresh food from celebrity chef Valentine Warner but if not then there is still a plethora of food at your disposal. After testing 17 food stalls, I can safely say that no stall disappoints at Somersault, whether you want paella, a hot dog or even just some fresh lemonade, they have it, and it is GOOD.
So once you have burned off the meals by mountain biking and surfing, it’s time to head to the main stage to catch the headliners and some of the finest talents that Somersault has to offer. Folk sister-trio The Staves eased their way into a chilled pre-headliner slot with their sweet overlapping harmonies, suitably followed by Laura Marling.
Rae Morris struck gold at Somersault with her delicate vocals raining over the crowd before rockabilly legend Imelda May added her joyful and crazed twang to the main stage. Everything was set up for the Saturday headline act; Bombay Bicycle Club. Bringing out their pals Lucy Rose and Rae Morris who have both lent vocals to the indie four-piece in the past, the boys absolutely smashed their set. The band finished by announcing that this would be their last show before hiding away in the studio to put together a new album.
The final day of main stage music set up an interesting mix of two headliners; Passenger, you know, (the guy with that song) and the all-dancing all-crazy Crystal Fighters. The singer/songwriter surprisingly drew everyone in with his brash honesty and peculiar charm and by the end it was impossible not to have a soft spot for him. Electronic-pop-indie-folk band (they have been described as everything at one point or another) Crystal Fighters made everyone forget about the rain for a couple of hours with their Basque love and big beach balls (which eventually got covered in mud).
Somersault is a fantastic, family-friendly festival in the heart of the West Country. Hopefully there are many more successful years to come.