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site, which was very discreet, but did make it difficult to find the place.  But I produced my Hawkfest ticket,
got my orange wristband and started seeing familiar faces (hello Megan!) as soon as I was in, and being
directed to the camping field.  This was about 1.30pm on the Friday afternoon, and it looked like there were
already quite a few hundred people in attendance.  Waves to Uwe and Andrea were in order as I drove along
deciding where I ought to camp, finally deciding on a far corner of the camping field, close to a bathroom
block.  As luck would have it, Rob Dreamworker, had pulled in right behind me, and we set up our tents around
and facing into his £15 gazebo - what a lifesaver that thing would turn out to be...  Also with us were Alan and
Bill, who'd travelled from Falkirk and Perth (Western Australia, not Scotland) respectively.  Bill took the record
this time around for having come the greatest distance to be there (there's always some bastard who outdoes
Hawkfest 2007 - Part 1
It had been a long time coming, but we were finally
rewarded with a 3rd Hawkfest, which was scheduled for
the weekend of 15th-17th June 2007, at Castle
Donington, between Nottingham and Derby.  The site
may have been familiar to Hawkwind fans who'd seen
them there at the Off The Tracks festival in September
2006, but I had never been there before.  And not
knowing that area of the country at all well, it was only
the excellent directions on the band's official website, and
a bit of redirection from a blazered Castle Donington
official that enabled me to find the venue.  One had to
drive up an unmarked lane off a minor road to get onto the
Although it had been moderately hot and sunny when I
arrived, so that putting up the tent was warm work, the
weather turned pretty abruptly.  By mid-afternoon a
thunderstorm was going full throttle, with downpours of
rain as intense as any I've seen in the UK.  The wind
picked up the gazebo and tried to take it away - three of us
held onto it and yours truly got soaked to the skin within
seconds, bending down to hammer in some tent pegs to
keep it grounded.  So when Jollyhawker hove into view
and offered me a hot cup of coffee in his dry, capacious
family tent, I didn't hesitate to abandon my gazebo
colleagues for even a second.  Such were the joys of
Friday afternoon, which pretty much ensured that I saw
no bands, until GinGoblins got on the main stage at about 6pm.  And this was one of the themes of the weekend,
certainly on the Friday and Saturday: the weather was so bad that it kept us in and near our tents when we might
otherwise have been seeing the bands playing on stage and / or mingling with other fans around the festival site.

GinGoblins were an efficient hard rock machine, which again was thematic: many of the bands I saw (and heard
from a distance) had this vein of streamlined power riffing running through them - unlike the more ramshackle
fare of Hawkfests gone by...though when somebody asked me if I'd been anticipating some band or other about
halfway down the bill, this thought was encapsulated: "No.  I only came to see one band."  That and communing
with fellow hairy-arsed Hawkwind fans is all I am really there for, so seeing other bands wasn't generally a high
priority.  And the fans were in any case quite a sight this time around.  In conversation with friends who'd also
been at the first two Hawkfests, we agreed that this one had drawn out of the woodwork the skankiest-looking
people yet: I saw quite a few individuals who gave every appearance of having been ravaged by years of drug
use.  Mind you, I cut rather a sorry dash myself for entirely different reasons!
Going back to the music, apart from Spacehead, perhaps
the only act other than GinGoblins that I caught on the
Friday (if this was even the day they were playing) was
Grooveweird, who were excellent, in an early Ozrics /
Other Window sort of way.  This also enabled us to
locate the "Strangeness" stage, in the barn.  The main
stage was set up in the big top tent (the same one that
was used at the Northwest Hawkfest in 2003) which was
apparently the "Quark" stage.  No-one seemed to know
where the "Charm" stage was, assuming that it even
existed.  Th
e theming of the festival to commemorate the
30th anniversary of the QS&C album seems to have been
a late afterthought but given the complexity of the event,
some degree of improvisation is inevitable and nobody
minds this one bit.

It's hard to know to what extent the weather was
responsible, but the non-permanent  amenities around the
festival site seemed to be somewhat sparse, or perhaps
they were just dispersed.  There was a general shop,
selling essential foodstuffs, bin liners, batteries, etc..  A
couple more stalls were selling jewelry and psychedelic T-shirts: there was a tent doing body piercing and
tattoos, and the inevitable Vegan café was there.  A children's play area seemed to be more extensive than
those provided atprevious Hawkfests, and a curious erection just alongside the main stage seemed to be the
creation of the Hawkwind faerie dancers from York.  This consisted of what looked like an old army tent
crammed with floral props in day-glo colours under ultra-violet lights and arranged around some sort of plastic
water feature.  Considerable effort must have gone into putting it together but I'm not sure why!
So this was how Saturday passed, and I even managed to miss the Hawkwind Question-and-Answer session on
Saturday afternoon - doesn't say much for my cub reporter credentials.  But I gather that it was chaired by
Matthew Wright and followed the format of BBC1's Question Time, with questions having been submitted in
advance.  When these were exhausted, Mr.Wright threw it open to the floor, and the first question asked was
the one that had been on everyone's lips to that point: Where's Alan?  The answer to this was "He's gone
fishing."  When pressed with the follow-up question "When is he coming back?", the answer was "When he's
caught enough fish".  
[Since then, Alan Davey's website has been updated to say that he was Hawkwind's bass
player until June 10th 2007, so it seems he has indeed left the band.]

This left everyone wondering what the line-up was going to be when Hawkwind would hit the main stage at
10pm that option was to avoid seeing any other bands before then so as to heighten the sensory
overload, but there were some good acts to catch in the interim.  Tits of Death got a great turnout in the
Strangeness stage, no doubt on account of their name, and they didn't disappoint.  They are a drummerless
ensemble of five women who play in short skirts, fishnet tights and teased-out hair, covering a good-time set list
which opened with 'Cherry Bomb'.  Going from left to right across the stage, we had keyboards, bass, vocals,
guitar and another bass.  While advance notices had characterised their recorded output as "weak girly punk",
they were refreshingly irreverent live and slotted neatly into the Bangles / Go-Go's / Runaways tradition.  My
main problem with them was deciding which bass player I fancied more.

Also appearing in the barn was Dumpy's SpaceNutz, which is him on guitar effects and drum machine
basically.  This was my first time seeing Dumpy live, and I got to talk to him briefly beforehand - terrific bloke.  
His music was amazing considering it was all coming from one man.  Is Dumpy God?  I don't know, but he is
the Hawkfest Santa Claus and no mistake.  I suppose the main drawback of doing this kind of thing is the
somewhat unfocused quality that you get from concentrating on atmospherics rather than song-based material.  
Maybe a band can get away with it more easily than a solo artist (greater visual distraction) but it is impossible
to imagine anyone else at the festival who could have pulled it off, except maybe Dave Brock himself.  Well
done Dumpy!
Speaking of Dumpy I suppose we should be grateful that
the nameless miscreant who committed the above crime
emitted nothing worse than puke on the Friday...I should
have made him porridge for breakfast.  By Sunday it had
turned into a sort of Hawkfest corn circle (right).
It took a bit of juggling to get to see both of the above
acts and Tribe Of Cro, who were on the Quark stage at
7pm on the Saturday night.  But we managed it, and were
rewarded with another excellent spacey / indie set which
achieved the feat of being perhaps the most distinctive,
genreless music that was on all weekend.  Unlike many of
the other bands who weave a dense skein of sound, Tribe
Of Cro crafted a core of space (as in "room") within their
music, which lets it breathe: the impression is of latency
rather than emptiness.  I only wish their guitar player had
done another walkabout guitar solo, though it may not
have been the same as at Seaton in July 2002: instead of

sunlit grassy fields, the festival site had largely
By Friday evening the camping field looked to be pretty crammed, and this must have been the best-attended
Hawkfest yet.  It was also certainly the best-organised to date, with an absolute army of helpers going round
and doing things that had been let slip on prior occasions.  For example, Hawklord Of Shields marshalled the
medical volunteers and was striding purposefully around the place early on Friday afternoon (before it rained!)
pinning up notices explaining how to get medical assistance if needed.  The Law family spent all weekend
running a print shop, stewarding, taking photographs for the official site, and doing a thousand other things:
Sideards seemed to spend all his time filming for posterity.  Everywhere you looked, someone was taking care
of something and the whole thing held together brilliantly despite the deluge.  Another unforeseen consequence
of the latter was that neither I nor any of the people I was with went offsite at all for the entire duration of the
festival: wearied by trudging through the mud I often returned to the tent to find others encamped around the
gazebo had had the same idea and had returned independently of one another.  But there were always the
permanent facilities of the onsite hotel to which one could resort: a bar and cafe were open at all times, and
miracle of miracles, you could get meat dishes there!  (And blessed indeed were the hot showers, btw...)
churned into calf-deep mud by Saturday evening, and standing water in two corners of the field had threatened
the viability of the generator powering the main stage sound and lights.  In fact the first two bands due to appear
on Saturday on the Quark stage suffered cancellation because of this and it was only the timely intervention of a
tractor pumping the standing water out of the field, and the deployment of tons of straw by the Hawkfest
volunteers, that allowed any music to go ahead at all.
End of Part 1 - continue on to Hawkfest 2007, Part 2