Back in the town, the festival was based at the village hall, which worked well as a venue. Like the town, the hall had a slightly run-down, 1950's feel about it, but the organisation seemed generally good and the festival was very informal and friendly.
I enjoyed Abel Ganz and thought Thieves Kitchen were very interesting; they make life hard for themselves with continual changes and twists in their music, so sometimes it's hard to keep up with where each tune is headed, but I really like them.
Frost* put on an extraordinarily impressive show; they are a dynamic and powerful band and it suddenly felt like rural Gloucestershire had been invaded by some hot-shot rock stars. But Frost* don't take themselves too seriously; the top-notch musicianship and complicated music is leavened by a Pythonesque sense of humour, and the band seemed to have a great time.
I tried to find somewhere for a meal in the break before The Tangent, but ended up in a pub with a pint of John Smith's and a bag of pork scratchings, which seemed to fit the generally sepia-toned feel of the day.
Thankfully for the slightly progged-out, thinking-about-work-the-next-morning audience, The Tangent came on very promptly and, with Rob Aubrey in charge of mixing (as he was with Frost* and Thieves Kitchen) sounded very strong, despite the number of musicians competing for musical space. Again, there was plenty of spontaneous humour which the crowd enjoyed.
I didn't stay for the whole set but was impressed with what I heard.
I had a nice quick dash home to Bournemouth via the Old Severn Bridge - just a couple of hours on empty roads.
All in all, an excellent festival in an interesting, off-the-beaten-track location. It was good to see some old friends and to hear the diversity on the prog scene. Aside from a few young female Frosties, the audience was predominantly male and middle-aged which makes me wonder, as I always do, about how prog bands can reach a younger audience (difficult unless the band is coming from a heavy rock background such as Opeth, Oceansize, The Mars Volta.)There was also a worrying tendency for many of the middle-aged men in the audience to wear three-quarter-length trousers. I don't think that's a good idea at all.
Next gig: Sigur Ros in November.