Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Freedom Festival '09

My fair city comes in for more than its fair share of stick. Whenever anyone talks about it, it is usually in connection with something horrendous. Some of the proudest achievements have been:
- obese capital of England
- highest teenage pregnancy rate
- worst schools
- highest numbers of unemployed people
I could continue but I won't because it' s too depressing.

Oh wait.
I thought of another one.

When Crap Towns was published, Hull was voted Number 1. And that was by its own residents.


What no-one ever hears are the good things about Hull and if you live here it gets intensely annoying and boring constantly hearing that the city you call home is rubbish.

I mean, come on. We have:
- A football club in the Premier League
- 2 rugby league clubs in the Superleague
- The World's only Submarium (I'll leave you to look that one up later)
- beautiful parks and green spaces
- our very own train services connecting us to London in 2 hours
And loads more I can't even think of anymore. In short, Hull is ace.

And to demonstrate this aceness this weekend saw the 2nd annual Freedom Festival take place.
Bit of background for you - William Wilberforce, who was instrumental in the abolition of slavery in Britain was an MP for Hull (yet another reason why we are ace). Hull has also been the launch site for the annual Clipper Race for the past couple of years. The Clipper Race is a big bunch of yachts from round the world that are sailed by non-professional sailors in a race (basically, there's probably more to it than that).

The Clipper Race was starting on Sunday 13th and the celebrations included a display by the Red Arrows. The Freedom Festival ran over 2 days and featured performances by:
- Pixie Lott
- Peter Andre
- The Saturdays
- Basshunter
- Aleesha Dixon
- Patrick Wolf
- Florence + the Machine
To name but a few.

Oh and did I mention that the entire event was FREE?

I got increasingly giddy as I read about the plans for the weekend. It was going to be amazing, just what Hull needed etc etc. So imagine my complete and utter dismay when I realised that I wasn't going to be here because I already had tickets to see Coldplay in Manchester.

Truth be told I still can't believe my bad luck and whenever someone tells me about it I kind of want to cry and stamp my feet at the unfairness of it all.

I was determined not to be completely left out and when we came back from Manchester on Sunday I allowed time for a nap and food before dragging the boyfriend into town to see the one band I really wanted to see - Florence + the Machine.

I managed to time it perfectly and we walked into Queens Gardens just as the soundcheck was finishing. We were stood quite far back - I think we'd both had our fill of crowd activity for one weekend (plus we're both pretty tall people and we'd only piss people off by standing in front of them!).

Listening to Florence Welch as the sky gradually turned to black was an amazing experience. Her voice is so difficult to describe - she has an incredible power that allows her to belt out songs and yet at the same time an ethereal fragility when her voice soars to the top notes. She reminded me an lot of Alison Goldfrapp's voice - I remember being totally blown away when I went to see Goldfrapp at uni.

They played a pretty long set for a free gig, they were on for a good half an hour or more. I was a little lost at times because I don't have the album, Lungs. She also performed her version of Candi Staton's You've Got The Love that she sang at T4's Party on the Beach. That went down a storm.

When she finished, the festival was officially over and the boyfriend and I made our way back home. I don't know that he's a massive fan but I'm pleased I stuck to my guns and dragged him there. After all, I can't complain one minute that I'm not doing enough with my life and then turn down a free gig can I?

So there ended my musical weekend, whcih spanned from American rap to English rock to quirky, fairy-dancing, gut-wrenching howling (in a good way though ok?!).

And there ended the weekend that proved that Hull isn't so crap after all.

(If you wanted to find out more about the Freedom Festival you could look here, or here, or HERE)


Nicola said...

Wow, I didn't realise Hull was so hated by its residents! My aunt used to live there, it took them a looong time to sell her hosue when she moved back to Scotland.

The festival sounds fun though! Free events like that are best.

Anonymous said...

I live in Birmingham and I totally know what you're talking about!

On another note, you have convinced me to look up Florence and the Machine on Spotify so consider your good deed done for the day :-)

The Curious Cat said...

Yeah, Hull does get a mega bad press but good on you for fighting its corner!! The festival sounds like it was fun - jealous you got to see Florence and the Machine! :) xxx

miss*H said...

A free festival..thats amazing! I wish we had things like that where I live.