Festival Q&A: Keston Cobbler’s Club

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Bethan Ecclestone (tuba, backing vocals) tells us why her job is the best in the world and why she needs two festivals for her ideal line-up. Keston Cobbler’s Club headline Friday night at Rochdale’s Feel Good Festival (19-20 Aug).

How would you describe your sound?
That’s always a tricky one. I’d say something like harmonic folk-pop – an upbeat acoustic vibe with lots of vocals and an orchestral edge (since we use quite a bit of brass).

Tell us what you’ve been up to since last summer?
We’ve started working on a new album (number three) which will make an appearance early 2017 – very excited to put some new tunes out. Since the last album, Wildfire, came out last summer we’ve had a brilliant time touring – we had a busy couple of months around the UK and Europe, then polished off the year with our dream support tour playing with the mighty Bellowhead! Definitely a career highlight – what an honour to be part of their final few shows. We also launched a new festival as part of the album release last year – Wildfire Adventure Camp – which everyone worked super hard to bring back for a second year this summer, so it’s been rather busy!

What can we expect from your set at Feel Good festival this year?
A mix of older songs and some more recent – lots from the Wildfire album. We love doing festival sets and often find the crowd (and us) are up for a bit of a dance, so we’ll probably keep it fairly upbeat and lively.

If you could curate your own festival what would the line-up look like?
Wow, what a question! Some combination of Fleetwood Mac, Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Rodriguez, Alabama Shakes, Songhoy Blues, Daniel Norgren, Tallest Man On Earth, PJ Harvey… I could go on for days! And I’d probably need to run a whole other festival to satisfy my heavy rock whim as I’m not sure Metallica would necessarily fit in with that lot.

Who else are you excited to see at Feel Good?
Really excited our chum Maz O’Connor is playing – she’s actually coming on tour with us in September this year. And I may or may not be crashing her set at Feelgood so that should be fun. Looking forward to catching some of Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar right before our set as well. It’s such a treat to be able to watch so many great bands and musicians at all the festivals we go to.

What’s your best festival memory?
Ah, this is easy. I met my boyfriend at Glastonbury. We actually knew each other before for a little while, then literally bumped into each other in the Field of Avalon last year, and proceeded to spend the whole weekend together, followed by quite a bit more time after that. What are the chances in a field of 175,000 other people? Glastonbury also falls on my birthday weekend, so all in all it’s a pretty special time.

What’s in your festival survival kit?
Well, the absolute basics are key obviously – you’d think a decent tent would go without saying but after the torrential rain turned my rubbish cheap one into a swimming pool two years ago I’m extra careful to come prepared with decent gear! Wellies of course are the one outfit staple over the years. And a supply of fruit and vitamins to try and keep healthy – a morning dose of berocca, Alka-Seltzer and rehydration sachets usually does it. And also a roll of gaffa tape, because gaffa fixes literally everything.

Apart from music, what should the ideal festival have?
Good food! I’m a massive foodie. I eat vegetarian or vegan when I can, which you’d think would be tricky on the road but the quality of food stalls is so high these days at festivals it’s actually a really great opportunity to try and seek out new dishes or things you wouldn’t cook at home. Likewise with beer – I’m a pint drinker at heart and it’s such a treat to sample local or home-brews right across the country at different festival bars. I reckon there’s not too many jobs where sampling regional ales as you go is allowed/encouraged.

Antonia Charlesworth

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