Somerset Calling: Strummer of Love

Last weekend I went to my first proper festival and now I think I get it. OK, we didn’t camp, but we did get arse-deep in mud, bounced around to some amazing bands, got acquainted with the festival portaloo experience (the only chance to sit down in 12 hours) and discovered the joys of a tech-free weekend*.

This being the one-off Strummer Of Love festival, commemorating ten years since the death of Joe Strummer (AKA my music hero), there were Clash references throughout. One in ten people sported a loveworn Strummer or Clash tee, the campsite was dotted with tribute flags and banners and there was even a Joe Strummer school next to Mick Jones’ Rock n Roll Public Library. Plus a crafting tent hosted by Jazz Domino Holly, a reggae tent run by my mates from the Rootikal crew and a Glasto-style campfire to mimic the one that Strummer used to lead his legendary sing-songs around.

My personal highlight was the grand finale of Sunday night. David Rodigan and Channel One Sound System on the Rootikal stage bookended the Justice Tonight band on the main stage where Mick Jones, Pete Wylie and The Farm (with Keith Allen and Richard Hard-Fi on guest vocals) thrashed out a passion-filled medley of Clash tunes. What could be a better way to spend a summer Sunday night than pogoing in mud to White Man In Hammersmith Palais and Stay Free (dedicated to Pussy Riot) belted twenty feet away by Mick Jones & co? Utter bliss…

*OK, I may have sent a tweet or two