festivals

Just a little Taste.

It must be the time of year. Summer months always mean festivals, and these events tend to go hand in hand with food and drink.

So for the second time in two weeks, the kit-bag got packed for a foodie festival, this time capturing images for Chang Beer at Taste of London in Regent's Park.

The brief was thankfully simple - on stand shots of people enjoying the great taste of Chang (apols Duffman), lots of shots around the park of festival goers getting a little tipsy but also making sure I captured some of the meat-tastic bbq action at the aptly named 'Fire Pit' where much beef was burnt (Top tip - never season a steak with pepper before cooking - only use salt otherwise you burn it!)

Apart from the awful light on the day - our English summer sun had yet to materialise - it was great fun and I came away with a keg-sized amount of shots for Chang and a stomach full of world-class food to my name. I also smelt like a barbeque.

Anyway, here's my selection of the shots from the day. Hats off to Daisy, Malvina and Serena at The Smalls and thanks to Kenny at Chang.

Tech Corner:

All the usuals - Zeiss Batis 25mm for a couple of wide shots, a few bits of Zeiss 35mm and then that Batis 85mm for the rest.

Shaken & stirred at Rock The Farm.

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When you think of cocktail events, a potato farm in Herefordshire is probably not the first place that springs to mind.

However, Chase Distillery is not your usual farm. Begun by William Chase - the man behind Tyrrell's crisps - the distillery had it's first harvest of potato vodka in 2008 and hasn't looked back since, to the point that it even has its own festival on site called Rock The Farm.

Featuring specialist talks, live acts, glamping, a touch of yoga and most importantly 'The Chase Cup' - a global cocktail competition featuring young competitors from Australia to Spain to Chicago competing in front of a live audience and judges. Like X Factor with gin.

My role on the day (to paraphrase Spinal Tap) was to document the sights, sounds and smells of Rock The Farm from every drop of vodka going into the splendid cocktails to the last bangers emanating from the DJ's late in the night.

Of course, the main event was the Chase Cup itself, and after a whittling down from 13 contestants, an exciting 'mystery box' round (think Ready Steady Cook with booze) fought between the 3 semi-finalists, the eventual winner was found: George Cook from Heston Blumenthal's 'Dinner by Heston' in Melbourne.

The 13 Chase Cup contestants.

The 13 Chase Cup contestants.

Awards given, it was time for the evening entertainment and acts onstage ran the eclectic gamut from singer-songwriter Nathan Ball, through the horn-tastic Bring your Own Brass moving through to wall to wall Ibiza bangers (and themed dancers) of Superfoxx plus the inflatable banana grooves of Son of Kong.

Superfoxx.

Superfoxx.

Tuesday morning and an early visit back to site to capture the hangovers (it was a drinks industry festival hence 'a bit messy') and the on-site yoga session, which considering everything was pretty well attended.

And that was that, and an interesting lesson learnt - cocktails, banging tunes and festival vibes aren't just for your metropolitan types - all can be had on farms in Herefordshire if you look hard enough.

Anyway, here’s some more pics of the day bunched into delicate shot sized chunks. Cheers!

Setting up and Workshops.

The Chase Cup.

Music and more.

The morning after.



Tech Corner:

The full kit pretty much - from the Zeiss Batis 25mm for the wide shots, to the Sony Zeiss 55mm for the Chase Cup close-ups to the Batis 85mm for pretty much everything else.

A typically British beer garden - Pub in the Park 2018.

All told, last weekend was pretty 'Best of British'.

Now, that's in danger of becoming a dirty word at the moment (stop that, Ed.) but with the sun shining down on a slightly bonkers Royal Wedding - complete with top draw US pastor and Wembley looking resplendent for the FA Cup Final it was all very pleasant on Saturday. 

For me, this just set the stage for Sunday. If you've not been living under a rock for the last few years you'll have heard of Tom Kerridge, a top-drawer UK chef who whilst not dishing out the dinners has a sideline in BBC TV shows and cooking books. When he's not doing all that guff, he runs several eating holes around Berkshire way including the Michelin stared gaff, 'The Hand and Flowers'

Phew. 

But there's more! Every year, he throws a mini-festival in Marlow called 'Pub in the Park' which is loosely described as 'a mix of gourmet food, cracking music and lush vibes'. Well, camera and  AAA Press Pass in hand, we drove the 10 min journey to Marlow to check if it ticked those boxes.

First thing to note is that PITP is split into afternoon and evening sessions (so they can clean up and restock the food tents, and presumably some people can have a tea and a ciggy).

The afternoon session is really laid back. Full of kids, but for those worried, not in an annoying way. There were tonnes of stalls with yer actual artisan fare from fudge to gin which Mrs. W wasn't short on sampling. 

Photography wise, work was brisk - it being a captive market for people, it suited my particular street style down to a tee and I got loads of shots of people enjoying those very real 'lush vibes'.

The proper food available is pretty much fantastic. It's all grouped around staff and chefs from particular local-ish top drawer restaurants including The Hand and Flowers. One dish in particular - a pulled pork affair in a taco - had us umming and arrive for ages. Nom nom indeed.

Tom Kerridge himself did an excellent and amusing talk, during which I managed to get in close for some action shots. Some bacon got stuck to a grill at one point, so I hope I didn't put him off. If that's the case Tom, my apologies. 

The big man himself.

So, what else is there? Well, there's the music. During the afternoon slot, there were various acts pitched into the burning sunshine. Among others were Exeter based duo Sound of the Sirens whose folky stompers and banter got everyone going, plus 80's ledge Roland Gift who reeled out the hits for the 'older' members of the crowd, although the youngsters seemed to be enjoying it too.

AFTERNOON SESSION SHOTS.

After a brief but enjoyable half time pint in The Chequers, we headed back onto site for the evening session. Less kids about, but we noticed a more 'poshed up' vibe for the evening. 

Naturally, the evening session seems to be a bit more about the music, but perhaps as we'd done the stalls we naturally found ourselves around the main stage area. Unlike the afternoon shoot, the evening 'pit' area was a lot more crowded with VIP's, so I couldn't get as close as I'd like (and I didn't want to upend anyone's tea!) but none the less I got loads of shots of the two headliners. 

Suddenly she sees.

We've seen KT Tunstall before and she's a really enjoyable live act - even more so when she's using the guitar as percussion and looping it without a full band to be seen (and yes, she was doing that before Ed Sheeran...). She did a pitch-perfect 30 mins and left the crowd plenty of time to get to the IPA tent before the main act. 

Jumping for 'Joy'. That's a song based gag. Right there.

Now, I'm not actually much of a Will Young fan. He doesn't appear much in any musical Venn diagram I might have, however I was pleasantly surprised. Firstly, he's got far more hits than I remember and secondly, he's a real proper bouncing up and down full-on performer with a great voice. Plus, he had a fantastic band, some of which I recognised from the The Voice house band. 

An hour whizzed by and the crowd lapped it up. Along with the lovely food and drink, music, talks etc they'd been doing that all day. 

So, did Pub in the Park live up to expectations? Oh yes. Sure, it's easy to be snarky about the general vibe and perhaps middle-class nature of it all if you're a bit cool for school, but ignore that and what remains is a lovely small-scale celebration of national food, drink and cooking with added tunes in a beautiful setting. 

And that my friends, is a real reason to be proud to be British.

EVENING SESSION SHOTS.

Tech Corner:
Travelled light, but mostly the Batis 85mm and the Sony 55. 


Many thanks to Stevie-Jayne Mather and the rest of the SwitchedOn PR team for press pass assistance.