Well, that was two years ago, and Budstock continues to have its thousand-plus passionate followers on sites like Facebook and MySpace. It’s still proud of its free and easy way of doing things, with its office “a tent in a field” and of course its free admission.
But things are changing. This year's Budstock, the 14th, will have portaloos, on-site fire extinguishers, a security team to deal with any rowdies and an outside venue licence to meet new health and safety rules, all of which organizer Joe Holroyd found “a bit of a palaver.”
Budstock Music Festival has been running for 20 years, though from time to time the effort of maintaining an annual event has simply proved too much. But on 1 August 2009 from 12.00 noon till midnight at Limekiln car park it will feature 20 of the best bands around playing on two stages for 12 solid hours...and it will still be completely free!
Above, right: Cassette Generation plays at Budstock
In 1997, Teignmouth indie rockers Muse played at the festival, and they are now one of the biggest bands in the country.
Many of the bands and singers on show last year are from Devon, including Rebecca Worthley, Nick Saunders, Daddy Ho!, Cassette Generation and Ian Briggs - one of the world's greatest living blues harp players. Others featured were Dead Frequency, Stalking Tyler, Thousand Natural Shocks, Audible Porno, Count to Fire, and The Akibas.
Confirmed acts for the 2009 festival so far are The Akibas, Clowns, Casitas, Terrible Strangers, Ellie Williams, Scaramoose, Rebecca Worthley, Buddy Valentine, Letters to Leaders, The Thujones, Kolo, Ono Palendromes, NukChorris, The Quails, Jill Draper, Audible And Carpetface aka the Gooseneck Steppers and Melosa.
Financial help for Budstock has come from Budleigh Salterton Lions http://www.budleighlions.org/, local solicitors Vine Orchards http://www.vineorchards.co.uk/ and the Panasonic Store in Exeter http://www.pana-stores.co.uk/ Budleigh Town Councillor Roger Bowen, chairman of the town’s Festival of Music and the Arts has also proved to be a powerful supporter.
A background in the music industry has been a key element in Joe Holroyd’s successful running of the festival. A performing musician himself, as well as a songwriter and sound engineer, he manages Exeter-based Valvetastic Studio. But the strongest motivation for Joe Holroyd to keep Budstock alive has been to honour the memory of its founder, his brother Toby, tragically killed in a road accident in 1995.
Doubtless it’s personal involvement like that, along with the local connections and the special intimate setting which have helped to ensure the loyalty of Budstock’s followers. And the music of course…
I’m looking forward to my first visit, an experience of Budleigh like no other.
Photo credits: http://www.myspace.com/budstock and http://www.budstockfestival.co.uk/ where further information about Budstock can be found.