Ah Standon Calling what can I say, 3 days in a field, good food with no a crappy chip vans insight and lots of people in pirate fancy dress. Was it wonderfully odd, or oddly wonderful? I can’t decide nor do I care, I loved it.

For the uneducated, Standon Calling is located in Standon, a cute corner of Hertfordshire countryside, set in the valley of the River Rib. (nearish London Stanstead airport) The festival is steeped in musical history. Florence and the Machine, Friendly Fires, Mumford and Sons, Bastille, Clean Bandit, Slaves and London Grammar have previously graced the stage on their way to global fame.

It’s a pretty small family and dog friendly festival with just under 10,000 people, but it felt big enough and the right size to not feel too busy. This year the bill included: Suede, Hives, Everything Everything, Jesse Glynne and Kelis, who also had some fancy food on the go.

Foodies were happy with an array of good quality choices, From Le Buns (featuring Kelis) to my favourite: Cheeky Italian’s Beef Gravy and Cheesy Fries. For those who wanted a bit of a slap up meal, Ceru offered seating, shade and a gorgeous looking contemporary mezze menu. I’ll be off to their restaurant in London soon to try them out proper.

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Those with a thirst for anything alcoholic would also be happy. A real ale tent, a Tanker of Meantime beers and Old Mount Cider tent, plus lots cocktail and bloody mary bars. The pirate outfits ranged from hmmm to a bit mad, to outright bonkers. Walking past 6 giant fish fingers and a captain did make me wonder what was in my beer for a moment.

Standon Calling always felt much bigger than the sum of its parts. I spoke to a few regulars, they all spoke of it as if it was a yearly homage, several had travelled back from their new homes in America especially. The several hundred people singing along to Rockaoke at 3pm in the afternoon was a particular highlight, as was watching the mini rave when the sun was beginning to set, as I sat eating my Cheeky chips.

Standon Calling Review
  • Venue
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Music
  • Atmosphere
  • Stuff to do

Summary

Standon Calling is now very much on my yearly festival radar and it reminded me that bigger doesn’t always mean better.

4.7