Archive | June 2015

soundCHECK 305 – June 25th 2015

As BBC Three’s thought-provoking series Festivals, Sex and Suspicious Parents has aptly demonstrated, most music festivals tend to be stocked by a good proportion of cretinous simpletons: gaggles of aggressively hedonistic idiots, giddy with the warped ideology that dressing like the boy that forgot his PE kit, wearing sunglasses in the dark and generally being as offensively unhinged as possible are festive pre-requisites.

Some festivals are becoming less about music and more an opportunity to purge society – if only for a few days – of its worst humans. And normal festival-going people, for whom forgetting to pack glitter does not represent a crisis, just have to grit their teeth and tolerate it – a test of character so challenging that resisting the temptation to fashion a throttling device from tent pegs and guy ropes before rampaging through the fields on a hate-fuelled killing spree should be allowed to be listed as a personal strength on job applications.

Still, not all festivals are like that. It can’t be a coincidence that the rise in small, boutique events correlates more or less perfectly with the rise of festival imbeciles. It’s the industry’s natural rebellion. A mission to reclaim the coolness of festival-going from those who have turned it into a hybrid of any university Freshers’ Week and the #ladsontour, socially degenerative carnage of a holiday in Magaluf.

Enter North Devon’s freshest helping of refined festival fun: Croyde View Festival. The emphasis is on local music, local food and local booze. Best of all the festival site offers a genuinely stunning backdrop, overlooking Croyde Bay.

Some of North Devon’s most talented performers are on the line-up, including Small Town Jones, The Tuesday Syndicate and Roughnecks. Cornwall’s fantastic Auction For The Promise Club add extra muscle to the bill.

It takes place on Saturday 8th August and has been arranged by Croyde View Camping and local promoters Three Sticks Productions (, in partnership with surfing brand Saltrock.

“Croyde View Festival aims to offer a festival experience that is different from the usual commercial ventures whilst also offering great value for money,” explains Three Sticks co-founder Stephen Hillier. “The festival will bring a great mix of solo artists and bands as well as local beer, food and glamping options, all presented within a family friendly atmosphere.”

He’s not wrong on the value for money thing. Non-camping tickets cost just £13.15, including booking fee. For under-15s it’s just a couple of quid, with all profits donated to The Knowle Community Group. If you want to camp – and why wouldn’t you, given the views? – you can stump up £20.91 for a one-night camping ticket or £31.26 for two nights.

Tickets can be bought online or at the Barnstaple, Braunton and Woolacombe Saltrock stores. The Thatch is also selling tickets. For the full line-up, extra information or to bag tickets visit

CONTACT: Please talk to anyone but me, unless you have local music news: jharper[at] | @testforpulse

soundCHECK 303 – June 11th 2015

If I hear one more person say “Sun’s out, guns out”, I’m going to buy an actual gun, cover it in tiny speakers and force the perpetrator to listen – at gun point – to Shania Twain’s entire back catalogue. Or I could just shoot them.

Who do these cretins think they are, Snoop Dogg? I can tolerate the fact that your massive insecurities masquerade as machismo and have convinced you that whey protein is Messianic. And I’m unbothered by the ridiculously unoriginal and uninspiring tattoos that you have daubed across your arms. But – in the name of whatever you stand for – do yourself and all within earshot a favour and bite your tongue next time you are tempted to recite a pathetic, hackneyed, homoerotic little rhyme when exposing your upper arms.


Yes, it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer. And as you probably know by now, us North Devoners have a moral responsibility to take regular pilgrimage to The Thatch during the sunshine season. That’s how things work round these parts.

The Thatch is like most other pubs, except all of your friends talk about it constantly during the summer. Oh and it has cool people in the beer garden who talk really loudly. They are cool because they did a surf in the sea. And that’s what makes you get girlfriends. Pretty cool.

Assuming you are among the 1% of the North Devon population less keen on The Thatch at summertime, you should relax any no visitation policy next week. On Thursday (18th June) there’s a band called TripToTori playing there. And TripToTori are a band worth watching.

TripToTori are a five-piece who split their existence between Barnstaple and Bude and split their sound between post-rock and alt-indie. At their best they render beautiful guitar melodies and brooding rhythms into soundscapes as expansive as the views from Croyde Bay after your friends have left you on the beach for the evening buried waste deep in sand.

I strongly recommend putting into your internet and listening to a song called Lowlands. It’s stunning. The Croyde gig is free and the band will be showcasing new songs from their forthcoming EP Winter Remains, a meteorological mandate I’d happily endorse if it meant I’d never have to hear some sweaty bro with a stupid cap using the miracle of human language to say:
“Sun’s out, guns out.”

CONTACT: Please talk to anyone but me, unless you have local music news: jharper[at]