June 8, 2012 Laura Caldwell 0 Comments
The sun is shining, the beers are flowing and Pigstock 2012 is finally here! It’s the official start of the summer and a chance to catch some of Northern Ireland’s finest bands whilst getting drunk in a field, then crashing out in a cramped, freezing tent.
So PastieBap headed out to Killinchy on Friday 1st June with a few friends, a few tents and a lot of alcohol, and arrived relatively safely (a minor sick stop had to be made as a few of us were nursing hangovers) at around 3.50pm. Campsite opened at 4pm, so we had to wait a little while before the gates were opened and then once we got parked up and gathered our things, we had another 10 minute wait until they finally released us into the campsite itself. We were amongst the first there so secured a primo spot all to ourselves and built a little cul-de-sac of tents.
The atmosphere was electric as we slapped on the sun cream and started drinking and the campsite quickly filled up with tents and the sound of soundcheck. The main arena opened about 7pm and we went for a dander to see were we’d be spending the next 38 hours or so. The main arena consisted of three stages: The Gem Saloon, The Engine Room and the Main Stage; five vans selling food: pizza, thai food, crepes, burgers and an ice cream van, and a stall selling tie-dye goods and face painting. There was also a bar, tons of portaloos, a bmx ramp, an empty board for art and a stand selling limited edition tshirts and posters (only 25 of each design). On the Friday night, bands started at 7.50pm and Jamie Nelsh, Colly Strings, More Than Conquerors, Jogging and Fighting With Wire all played on the main stage. The real party however, was in the campsite where everyone seemed to congregate and many campers stayed awake all night.
We were a bit disappointed that there was no midnight cinema in the campsite this year, as personally this has always been somewhat of a highlight for me and usually unites all the campers in a sense of nostalgia (they usually play cult classics such as The Goonies) and helps to reduce the amount of mischief created around the campsite. Also it has to be noted that there was no pig at Pigstock this year which was a massive, massive disappointment as the delicious suckling pig is definitely something that everyone looks forward to. There were a few angry campers after we discovered this and they need to get this sorted for next year’s festival!
The next morning everyone got up quite early and got breakfast at the Cornish pasty van which was cheap (£2 for a sausage roll and a drink) and absolutely delicious. Soon after the drinking began again and the main arena opened at 12pm, with the first band starting at 1pm in the Gem Saloon. The first band we made it to see was Gacy’s Threads in The Engine Room. Now, I don’t claim to know a lot about metal, but I do know a good band when I see one, and Gacy’s Threads were excellent.
For being one of the first bands playing on the Saturday, they had a great turn out and really gave it their all. I for one was thoroughly impressed. Other bands playing in The Engine Room throughout the day were Annapurna, Fragments (who also sounded good), Hornets, Gascan Ruckus, The Rupture Dogs and Lafaro. The Gem Saloon had a relatively poor turnout all day, with a few exceptions and Chris Campbell, Team Horse, Ryan Vall, Tieranniesaur, Kowalski, Rarely Seen Above Ground and Not Squares all played on this stage. On the main stage was In Elegance, Eatenbybears, Farriers, Run Away Go, Silhouette, In Case of Fire, Pocket Billiards, Squarehead, Mmoths and Mojo Fury.
Highlights of the day included Silhouette and Pocket Billiards, both of which played to good crowds. Pocket Billiards especially, they really stole the show and had everyone on their feet dancing whereas most of the other crowds just sat and watched the bands perform on the main stage. Another highlight was the Ramprage ramp which featured BMX, skateboard and in-line skate tricks all day along with a DJ and competitions and prizes.
The weather on the Saturday was changeable to say the least with sun one minute and wind and rain the next, but for the most part the weather was dry and relatively warm, if a little cloudy. There was also local artist group Firsty! on hand to brighten up the afternoon and they painted murals live all day long. As the weather changed the crowds dwindled and the campsite livened up, with the usual drunken antics that we all expect to see at a festival.
By this stage the portaloos were a no-go area and they really were some of the worst I’ve ever seen(or smelt) – the less said about that though, the better.
By the time Mojo Fury came around, they had a relatively good crowd (probably the largest of the day), but compared to previous years the place was empty. The crowd really went for it though as the rain lashed down and the darkness set in and as the party raged on in the camp site it was a good end to the weekend.
To summarise, Pigstock ’12 was a festival worth going to, the weather was pretty good considering, the bands gave it stacks and the atmosphere was good considering there weren’t as many people as usual. Money’s tight I guess, and people aren’t splashing out on festivals, especially local ones. Tips for next year: bring back the pig and the midnight cinema for sure!