I’m not what you’d call a festival person, per say. But neither would I like to been classified under that bah-humbug stick-in-the-mud (pardon the pun) grumpy sod category. I like a good festival. The ilk of Sonar, for instance, what’s there not too like? Blissful sunshine, incredible city, stunning venues run well, cheap booze, great food, and a pain-stakingly put-together bill of inspiring new music. However, the UK run just seem to want to unilaterally punish me, seriously, they have it in for me. I’ve been to Glastonbury seven times, and every time it’s been apocalyptic. Not messy, slippy-sloppy, good-times carnage, just a health-destroying, in bed for a week after, horrid nightmare. In fact, Reading’s the only one that’s ever been anything but cruel and vindictive to me, hence my ongoing understanding of a great UK festival comprising 500 12-year-old’s kicking the living shit out of eachother in a wall-of-death style mosh-pit to Sick Of It All. So, really it’s the festival God’s beef, not mine.

Anyways, my festival season kicked-off last Friday in a surprising and lavish fashion. I got a last-minute invite sent to my email inbox for an event called ‘Xeno-Fest’, a showcase of the new acts by Xenomania, the production house-turned-all-round-impresarios behind the likes of Girls Aloud, amongst others. It was held in mainman Brian Higgins’ mansion house back-garden in Kent. Those of you who know and dig Xeno, and Higgins, as I do, will at this point be feeling an iota of the all-consuming elation I felt at being invited. BLAHHHAHHHHHH!- something along those lines... These guys are chorus sculptors of quite literally the highest possible order. Deities of refrain.

The event pretty much trouble-shot everything wrong with festivals. Like one of the Carlsberg ads: they don’t do festivals, but if they did…

Way too many people? Sorted, just invite about 40. Horrendously over-priced rat liver burgers? No fanks, what about free-for-all gastro-pub style BBQ? Yes please. Similarly priced piss-warm Carling? How about an endless stream of Moet and an eternal Pimms O’Clock? That’d do nicely. Shit-spurting WC fountains, nah, more like the kind of portaloos that with a welcome mat plonked outside you’d happily settle down in for a few months in between houses. Brain-burningly dreary bill-filling warm-up bands? Gimme a round of purest distilled chart-bound fist-pumping pop glory any day. And as for the bleakly bedraggled quagmire square of turf parked next to a concrete compound off the M25 somewhere, well, personally I’d rather a bit of:





And this.

It had not one,

but two moats (the second’s just behind the ladies on bales of hay there):

It was at points a bit like a cross-breed between a festival, a wedding reception and a middle-management power-point presentation…

Hungry sir?


This is literally the kind of thing my eyes were put in my skull to see. Tried stealing the ‘X’ and got told off…

Surpassed only, maybe, by this:

Oh yeah, and some bands played. My favourite were Mini Viva, who’re kind of like a two-piece gym-treadmill adrenalized Sugarbabes, riding that unmistakable trademark Xeno splurge of pretty much every twist and turn music has taken in the whole history of everything ever crammed into each and every note. Very soon you’re not going to be able to step out your front door without being mule-kicked by their sparkly high-top Nike blazers. Their debut single is called ‘Left My Heart In Tokyo’ and if it doesn’t go top five then I’ll staple my foreskin to the office copy of the N-Dubz album. The fact that they’re supporting the Saturdays on tour is pretty comedy, invoking thunder-stealing memories of Klaxons supporting Shitdisco, Fratellis with the Horrors on first, and so on. It’s a shame they don’t have the proper single version up on the Myspace yet, but worry not you’ll hear it soon. It’s gonna be bigger than air and, erm, love.

The only thing wrong with Xeno-fest per say, was that of the 40-odd people there, they were exclusively all evil music industry bods with tar for blood and rubies with burning flames in their centre for eyes. The kind of despicable idiots who’ll blog the entire proceedings, gloating at how much more fun it is than actually slumming it out at a real festival, surrounded by real people and ‘real’ bands. Scum, each and every one of them. Heehee. xx

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