Neighbourhood Weekender 21 Review – Guest Writer Amy Parkin

Well, I guess I should start this the week before #NBHDWKND21 when we made a very last-minute decision to throw caution to the wind and get tickets for a festival the next weekend. It felt like pre-Covid times, deciding to do something on a whim, how exciting!

I’ve never been to Neighbourhood Weekender before and I was overjoyed to learn we didn’t have to camp, it’s not that kind of festival. So, we had to find a very overpriced last-minute hotel too… 25-minute walk away from Victoria Park.

We decided to do Saturday and Sunday, Gerry Cinnamon headlined the Friday night though and we were told that he was amazing! So early Saturday morning we did doggy drop off’s and headed for Warrington via Greggs for breakfast, obviously!

We were immediately met by other festival goers dressed in their best outfits when we got to the hotel, it had a real feel-good vibe.

On the walk to the entrance, Busker Joe was on his drums, we were surrounded by people and the excitement was starting to build with everyone laughing and happy to be doing something “normal” again. Once we proved we were double vaccinated/immune or lateral flow tested I had my bag checked and then we were allowed in and my god, it felt incredible!

First up for us were The Mysterines in The Big Top. They were actually one of the last bands I saw pre-Covid, supporting The Lathums in Leeds. The female fronted Liverpool band are a must see if you haven’t already.

The rest of Saturday was spent at The Main Stage via the bar, numerous times… giddy at being at a festival, making friends with strangers, singing at the top of our voices (sadly over them many videos I took, that nobody ever wants to see) dancing, losing each other while making more new pals…!

First up was The Coral, great to hear their classic festival tunes that everyone knows. Then we had Jake Bugg, first time seeing him, and he was absolutely class, I’d forgotten how good he was and loved his set.

Then we had Shed Seven, who I’ve not seen but Dan has seen a tonne of times. They played a mix of their classic hits as well as songs from their 2017 album Instant Pleasures.

My absolute highlight of Saturday was Sam Fender. Sam is one of my most listened to artists at the moment, Hypersonic Missiles is one of my favourite albums ever and I’ve been wanting to see him for ages. I personally think he should have headlined Saturday; he deserves it. He was SO good, even stopped his set for someone in the crowd to get medical attention, he’s such a canny lad and I can’t wait to see him again.

We did also watch a bit of James but left halfway through… I wasn’t feeling them, controversial, I know.

As we were out in a pair, I always assume the sensible role and stopped drinking about 7pm to make sure we could navigate the walk back which we did while dodging piles of other people’s sick and making more friends along the way, aren’t gig friends the best?

Needless to say, Sunday was a more subdued day! After an hour in the breakfast buffet and a little nap (while checking pending transactions from the day before) we were back on our way to the park, and the sun came out to play.

First up were The Reytons on The Main Stage who had their photographer and sound engineer stand in due to two of the band testing positive for coronavirus. They had 24 hours to rehearse, and they did a brilliant job!!! They have such a loyal following and it’s great to see how they’ve grown.

My Sunday afternoon was made when I got to see Red Rum Club play The Big Top, man, that tent was busy, and they were awesome. They’re so slick and smart and they just belong on stage, lead singer Francis reminds me of Alex Turner. We caught up with some of the band later that night and they were so lovely. I got to hear more about ‘would you rather be lonely’ and also complimented the trumpet playing. Yes, I am that cool!!!!!! I’ve been listening to Vibrate all week, it’s one of my new favourites.

Sadly, I didn’t see as many people as I’d hoped on Sunday, mainly due to eating my delayed hangover away and making sure I got ice lollies from everywhere that sold them but also the stage hopping that was needed.

One of the biggest new bands of the day The Lathums packed out The Big Top and did a brilliant, energetic set. They absolutely nailed it!

We got to see the end of The Clause on the Viola Beach Stage, they had one of, if not the biggest crowds on that stage. It was good to see they had loads of people watching them that had seen them before.

Miles Kane is always good to see, I enjoy the anger in his performances for some reason. He was joined on stage by Ian Broudie from The Lightening Seeds. They performed Don’t Forget Who You Are, which they wrote together.

We ended the night in The Big Top with Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott. HUGE fans, we danced and sang for the full hour and a quarter. Anywhere they’re on, I’ll watch them over anyone else. They have so many massive songs which are just instantly recognisable.

We left on a massive high, a little bit emotional about being able to listen to so much live music again after such a long time and being surrounded by happy people.

I’d 100% recommend NBHDWKND to anyone, it’s a decent size, not too massive, easy to navigate around and had a good mix of music. As well as your usual bars and food places, there’s the Neighbourhood Inn, A library that hosts a silent disco, merch stands, a corner shop that has DJ’s on and a couple of fairground rides of being sick after a belly full of beer is your thing.

Final note to say it was so nice to meet some of the Twitter new music crew there too. The last 18 months have been made more bearable because of all of the weird, wonderful and quirky online mates we have made and it’s great to see some of your lovely faces.

Thank you for reading

Peace N Love

Amy

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