I have finally found the time to get my thoughts and views on this year's amazing festival down. Hurrah!
I arrived at a beautifully sunny Cheltenham racecourse with nothing blue skies as far as the eye could see, a promising beginning. The sound of music and happy people drifted across the rolling Cotswold hills, this was going to be good.
My main aim for this day was to soak up the atmosphere and see Sam Lee, anything else would be a bonus. After grabbing a much need ice cold I settle in front of the main stage and waited for the music to begin. First up was a songstress from Scotland, Rachel Sermanni whose jazzy, laid nack style reminded me irresistibly of Katie Melua, only with more edge.
It must have been a daunting prospect opening on the Main Stage on the first afternoon, particularly as a solo artist bur Rachel's sassy, smooth and sometimes soaring vocals are attracting an interested audience.
The majority of Rachel's song's were from drawn from personal experiences with the notable exception of a folk tinged song set to the words of Robbie Burns.
This was a perfect set for a chilled out opening day, people relaxing in the sun to beautiful music.
The second band on stage was a 4 piece from Wales called Paper Aeroplanes, consisting of Double Bass, Guitar, Drums and Keyboard. I loved this band who played the kind of breezy summer pop that was just right for today. The majority of the songs came from their new and soon to be released album 'Little Letters'. Well worth checking out, download the title track , Fable and Take it Easy.
Right it was now definitely time for toast and toast under the shade of the trees and there was the Tea Bus waiting for me
And now ta dag..the moment I'd been waiting for the amazing Sam Lee and boy what a fabulous mesmerising set it was, oh how I love this man!
I have long been a fan of his work but I have to admit seeing him live was all I could have hoped for and more. He has the the such a unique and magical voice and the kind of stage presence that means you just cannot take your eyes off him.So I didn't , not for a moment.
This was , however, Sam Lee and friends and Sam has surrounded him self with a talented group of musicians who play a range of instruments from cornet, jews harp, bohdran, violin, cello and an incredible 13 stringed instrument called a koto from Japan.
The set this afternoon was an eclectic selection of traditional songs mostly gathered from the Traveller and Romany Gypsy community and Sam has a fascinating tale to tell about each song and the person it came from. We had songs from Morlock Maggie, Sheila Stewart a traveller from Perthshire, Marion Hayes all of the songs passed down through family and friends.
There was the added treat of two songs from The mercury nominated Ground Of It's Own 'Farewell My Darling' and the storming 'Ballad of George Collins'.
I left that day happy and slightly sun burnt and full of anticipation for Saturday.