The Big Chill – the final verdict

Posted on 17 August 2010
By Andy Johnson
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The Big Chill is a distinctly middle-class festival, attracting a wide variety of music fans, but after the second day the campsite starts to become District 9 meets Shoreditch.

We have never seen so many peeps camping with cafetieres before or tattoo’d hipsters debating the benefits of a two- versus three-minute brew.

What makes The Big Chill special is the overwhelming feeling of space. Set in the rolling hills surrounding Eastnor Castle in the Malvern Hills, there are never too many people in one place.

Music takes centre stage but the hippies are well catered for with a boutique, village atmosphere with an enchanted garden, thai massage tents and even a Guardian news stand.

Falafel stands and organic coffee stalls triumph over the standard festival fayre of greasy, overpriced burgers and chips.

You could pose for pictures with Banksy’s Winnie The Pooh death squad courtesy of Greenpeace and there was a massive Oxfam pop-up vintage store to top up your festie threads.

Being movie buffs, Purple Revolver was thrilled with the three cinema screens on offer, from the Derelict Drive-In with art installation and special mention for the Lost Cinema tent with its delectable cakes and afternoon tea film quiz.

The festival goers personify its name. It has the least menacing people and the closest we came to witnessing violence was watching BB Nikki Graham trying to convince photographers to shoot her outside the press tent.

Although observing the Hooray Henrys parade past laughing and throwing around open bags of skunk, you couldn’t help but imagine the terror that would await them if they pulled that trick at Creamfields.

Music fans have long held The Big Chill organisers in high regard for their eclectic choices – but this year seemed to be all about class acts and also keeping the kids happy with Future Garage and Dubstep.

Massive Attack had the crowd in rapture with a mammoth set, including Angel, Karmacoma, and spine tingling performance of the exquisite Unfinished Sympathy. Massive Attack bring down the ‘cheerful’ tempo and get political with digi-visuals by UVA (United Visual Artists), and a little help from their friend Martina Topley-Bird.

Kelis reigned supreme in the Revellers tent – dazzling and delighting her fans dressed as a neon Queen Cleopatra performning her classic RnB hits Get Along With You, Millionaire, Milkshake.

She tried to win over a few new fans with her latest dance offerings, which Acapella aside miss the mark and don’t showcase her powerful voice.

The excitement in the air for Tinie Tempah was palpable, but it became apparent that Tinie’s rapping powers are more of a studio creation than a raw, live skill.

The Frisky star didn’t seem to care that the majority of his audience were under 15 and threw a few too many ‘mofo’s’ up in the mix.

Will someone please expand the grime fraternity’s vocabulary and gift them an alternative to move the crowd apart from ‘make some noise.’

Paloma Faith and Lily Allen closed the weekend’s proceedings with some fireworks, but the Smile singer banned snappers from shooting her baby bump and lovely lady lumps from the press pit.

Enjoy the snapshots from photog Craig Sugden of The Big Chill nudie art installation directed by Spencer Tunick in the picture gallery.