You know when you spend a lot of time prior to the festival, figuring out which band to see, what artists plays what stage and carefully crafting your very own ‘perfect’ running order?
Only to then get to the festival and throw everything overboard and you end up seeing an entire different line up than planned?
That is the story of this year’s Bushstock festival!
I went with my friend who has never been to Bushstock before, so I first gave her ‘the tour’ of the different venues and we eventually started our musical journey with the smooth tunes of ‘Olivia Dean’ at the Courtyard stage.
As Bushstock is known for putting on hand picked artists in gorgeous West London venues we shortly ventured down to St Stephen’s Church to listen to the sweet sounds of Eloise, who beautifully serenaded us with her guitar. Eloises mellow voice was a great start to the festival day, easing us into the festival mood.
The church is such a great venue, all artists that get to play this venue fit the vibe so well and it is always a special treat to see a gig in this venue.
There was one act on my list that I was determined to see no matter that, and that was MarthaGunn. I have seen them live on many occasions and they have always wowed me, so that it was a no-brainer to catch them at this years Bushstock as well.
I made my way back to the Courtyard stage, which is my favourite stage of the festival, as it gives you the ‘outdoor festival’ vibe. The stage is tucked away under a bridge, placed under a sea of colourful umbrellas and framed by an urban jungle of greenery.
Whilst walking down the path to the big stage I heard music play, nothing out of the ordinary at a festival, but according to the schedule, the next band on wasn’t supposed to start for another few minutes.
As the stage slowly appeared in front of me, I quickly spied a band on stage jamming away. Intrigued by the heavier sounds flowing from the stage through the crowd, the polar opposite to Eloise’s smooth vocals at the Church, I got closer to the stage and got sucked into the mysterious musical mind of Jacob Slater.
Line by line, riff by riff I fell in love with the music.
These are the moments that are more likely to happen at small festivals like Bushstock. Festivals that focus on supporting new talent, giving them a platform to showcase their music.
And in times like these, you forget that the stage is running behind on times or that your schedule is now screwed. You simply appreciate the chance that you have been given to discover a new act.
Next up at the Courtyard stage were MarthaGunn, the reason I made my way to this stage in the first place. As I already said, I like their music and have seen them before, so I was rather excited when they stepped on stage and kicked off their set with their new single ‘Love & Emotion’.
Straight away I was mesmerized by Abi’s powerful vocals that just capture you and draw you in right on the spot. There is so much passion and emotion behind the lyrics that she spreads across the Courtyard stage that the Bushstock festival goers can’t resist but have their eyes glued to the stage.
The five-piece from Brighton had the crowd swaying to their cleverly crafted alt rock songs that remind you of a warm summers day in the 70s. ‘If you know us, then you know that we like to sing together, and I would like you to be quiet for this next one of you could.’ Abi addressed the crowd.
A few seconds later the whole band is standing at the edge of the stage singing an acapella rendition of ‘Ohio’.
There is no denying that MarthaGunn turned heads with their flawless harmonies, proving to Bushtock, that indeed every single member of the band is blessed with a stunning voice.
Wrapping up their set, MarthaGunn played my absolute favourite song ‘Honest’, a timeless classic if you ask me, finishing their Bushstock festival set with the powerful ‘Heaven’.
Sadly, this was also the last set at the Courtyard stage for the day as technical problems meant the whole stage had to be shut down. As the rest of my schedule was now useless (I had planned to see Gang Of Youths and IDER later on that stage) it was time to rethink the rest of the day. After a quick consultation with my friend, we decided to go and see Tom Rosenthal at the St Stephen’s church.
She had heard great things about him, so I trusted her suggestion. St Stephen’s Church was filling up quickly ahead of Tom Rosenthal’s set and I was quite excited about what was about to happen.
The setup, keys, guitar and cello looked promising and I expected some more mellow tunes that would suit the church set up very well.
What I didn’t expect was Tom’s hilarious storytelling, that had the Bushstock congregation in stitches. It all peaked in a performance of the ‘Hummus song’, an ode to every millennials favourite snack. And with that song Tom had won me over.
I do love my hummus, but I also admire some humorous clever story lines paired with some beautiful melodies that you wouldn’t expect to work well together in the first place.
We did bounce around a few more venues, catching a few songs here and there and finished the night down at Bush Hall were Matt Corby was headlining.
The venue was at capacity, which only proved that the Sydney singer songwriter was quite in demand with the festival goers. Matt Corby drowned the Bush Hall in his anthemic songs that made you long for those long-lost summer nights.
This was a nice end to the long day and so we wondered off into the night, wishing that those warm summer nights would become real rather sooner than later.
See you next year Bushstock!
Keep your eyes peeled for my interview with MarthaGunn in the next days!