Butserfest 2016 Review

Picture the stereotypically British scene…

Rain clouds possessed the Petersfield skies, as hundreds of drenched, young rockers queue for the UK’s largest drug and alcohol free festival – Butserfest. With running hairspray and eyeliner trickling into the iconic ‘Alice Cooper’ look, spirits refused to be dampened, and trust me, there is nothing more hard-core British than seeing a crowd of music lovers sitting in a damp, muddy field whilst drinking tea.

Celebrating it’s tenth year of scaring sheep, Butserfest seemed to be heaving in comparison to previous year, and until a month ago, I too was a Butserfest-virgin. The Butserhill field seemed as busy as ever, with an uncharacteristic non-stop buzz of excitement as it namedropped the likes of Mallory Knox, Young Guns and Creeper, all of which you would never expect to see here of all places, but let's face it,And it's safe to say, that the whole event did impress. 

The host on the main stage was absolutely incredible. I’m annoyed that I can’t find his name anywhere, and that my awful memory can’t recall it, but he was certainly one of the best. He was sharp, funny and came across as a clear lover of this music, which is quite refreshing to witness, and ensured that the crowd was cheering and conversations were flowing throughout the day. Honestly, I never thought I would see something to this level at an alcohol free festival, but seeing as the event managed to crush all of my predecided assumptions, I'm no longer surprised! 

The placement of the stages were well thought through, ensuring that the stage you were at was never drowned out by another, and even after a slight technical hiccup (well, more like a technical burp) with the introducing stage cutting out, the issue was resolved rather quickly, and moved to the acoustic stage. As a new-found fan of High Down, I was incredibly pleased that their set was not then cancelled, and they certainly took the stage by storm.

I don’t think there was a single bad performance, from what I saw, on the day. Young Guns were as great as I remembered, even though their set mainly included new songs that not too many of us knew yet. Although their acoustic set was cancelled due to Gus being unwell, their performance didn’t falter, and now the festival has even offered the resolution to that issue by allowing any acoustic tickets holders to attend one of the acoustic sets next year!

Roam, The Gospel Youth, Griever, As It Is and Our Hollow Our Home have also gained my appreciation, and I can tell they will all become new favourites of mine, provided their albums hold up to their incredible live performances. The stage time plans also ensured minimal sets clashing, and to see all of this, plus many more, for just £20 is beyond amazing. As a whole though, the pride that Butserfest has for British and new musicians is unbelievable, and is one of the key reasons I will be attending next year.

These lack of clashings were also beneficial as a way to ensure that people didn’t get bored whilst waiting around between sets, which is a common festival issue. Although I would have liked more to be going on within the grounds, such as more food stalls, stands and activities, I understand that the size and volume of this festival is still quite small, but hopefully in the coming years, that will change.

I have now lost all the notes I had originally written about the festival, but I feel that these are the main points covered. Even though I went alone, the time I had there was incredible. Yes, the atmosphere did occasionally fade, but the talent that took to every stage did quickly turn it all back around, and ensured everyone had an amazing time. I genuinely went to this event sceptical, but now, my mind has been completely changed, and I can’t wait to see the line-up that next year brings!

Here’s to hoping that the weather is a bit more considerate next time though, and, if it isn’t, be sure to quickly take a photo of your map and line-up times sheet, as mine dissolved in the rain quicker than my hopes and dreams did at university!

Thanks for reading all,



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