soundCHECK 331 – January 21st 2016

I once did running instead of walking during a fire drill.

Sometimes I use the same knife for the jam and the butter.

And when I’m strolling outside and see someone I know, I often try to pretend I haven’t seen them – even though I really have.

Basically I know what it feels like when you don’t play by the rules. But even I wouldn’t rewrite the script to the extent that the British weather has. During the first half of this so called winter, it was warm enough to walk to the shops in a kimono in the south, while the north was transformed into the filmset for a low-budget production of Waterworld, with nuisance rivers mischievously bursting into city centres. The January sales in York, Leeds and Manchester were that good.

The days where we artificially manipulate the weather through geoengineering can’t come soon enough. I mean obviously British people will have nothing to talk about and Mother Nature will rebel with some horrible, apocalyptic hurricane-lightning-storm that wipes out civilisation, but at least you won’t have to worry about the your kitchen looking like the interior of a capsized yacht.

For now, at least, the winter is finally as it should be round these parts: jaw-lockingly cold. The good news is you won’t have to faff about with your hot water bottle and Horlix for much longer, because – lo! – the first signs of summer have arrived: press releases about music festivals. And there’s one in particular you want to know about. You do, alright? So button it.

What the London-based organisers don’t realise is that hosting a festival in North Somerset called Samphire is going to usher a rhotic drawl from the locals sharper than any pirate cutlass. Regardless, Samphire is the latest addition to the West Country’s programme of summer festivals and takes place 8th – 10th July. And it is already record-breaking, becoming the fastest ever successfully funded festival on crowdfunding platform, er, Crowdfunder.

You can expect over 30 live acts from a bingo card of genres: folk, funk, house, techno, ska, reggae, afrobeat, pop, indie, jazz and disco as well as art, drama and comedy. To keep you suitably satiated there will be local ales, West Country ciders and honest grub. There’s a big eco-friendly bent to Samphire too: compost khazis, solar powered stages, wind turbines and a no-plastic-on-site policy.

Best of all is the location. Porlock Hill lies at the edge of Exmoor National Park and towers over the Atlantic. The views are great. And no danger of flooding. Find out more at

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

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