Review + Photography by Rob Hadley

Looking for your first festival experience? Give Camper Calling a try. Set in the extensive grounds of Ragley Hall near Alcester in Warwickshire this festival really does tick the box marked fun.

Back for its fourth year on one of the hottest bank holiday weekends, you get plenty for your money with three days of good music, good food, and a genuinely nice welcoming atmosphere for everyone.

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The main stage covers pretty much all genres of music from good up and coming bands to the more established bands and artists. Pop, Rock, Indie, Folk, R&B and even a brass band.

Mums and dads could have a go at yoga, belly dancing and even tai chi up by Ragely Hall itself. Plenty of food and drink on offer at various places throughout the festival site meant no or little queuing which was very welcome.

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Music wise, Friday we have Age of Glass and their bass driven electronic dance-pop getting people of all ages dancing before The Hackney Colliery Band showed why they are held in such high regard. A set of fun, showmanship and clever working of tunes done their way. On the Freshly Squeezed stage (a very large marquee) we saw Rosie Tee treating a good size crowd to her blend of atmospheric jazz, pop which was very well received.

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Sugarthief were really on their game with a set of fun energetic and fresh pop/indie/rock songs in a very hot marquee including a crowd favourite…’Don’t Let Me Down’. This band let nobody down. Band of the day for me.

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Saturday saw the main stage have something for everyone starting with Mr Motivator and ending with The Fratellis. Beans on Toast… British folk singer Jay McAllister was his usual (but in a child appropriate way) clever self with songs of politics, drugs and love. A good number of the crowd were singing along in the sunshine.

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Back to the Freshly Squeezed stage for some excellent sets from Flares, Violet, The Good Water and CityLightz.

Flares are an indie rock band with a bit of grunge about them that went down a treat with a very decent crowd. This band have not been around long but don’t let that put you off seeing them. Great melodies and catchy choruses had people singing along in no time. Buy a ticket. Go and see them you will be glad you did.

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Birmingham band Violet take to a haze filled stage and eased into their synth driven opener. Big sounds pedal immersed guitars and intricate drums with pounding bass lines.

A honed amalgamation of Shoegaze, Britpop and grunge make for a captivating set from one of the best bands at the festival.

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The Good Water are a real treat for those of us that enjoy our music as psychedelic soaked rhythm and blues that feels gritty around the edges. A band that gets better each time I see them play, tight as two coats of paint but hypnotically smooth. Wonderful.

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CityLightz are a band with lovely melodies, hooks and a way of telling stories through their songs. Compared to all sorts of bands from The Artic Monkeys to The Streets this band is a main stage band all day long. Their set was high energy and filled with songs that the crowd were soon singing along with. The great shame for me was CityLightz were on at the same time as Ash hit the main stage and more people did not get to see this impressive band.

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Back to the main stage for The Feeling followed by The Fratellis with all the crowd pleasing songs these bands have in their respective lockers. Both well respected and good solid bands ended Saturday on a high.

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Sunday brought more of the same mix. Well known bands with the up and coming bands and artists mainly playing the Freshly Squeezed stage.

I found Camper Calling more of a family festival with music rather than a music festival for the family. Lots of child friendly activities from the standard face painting and craft type classes on offer to tree climbing with all the safety kit and proper supervision need. Kayaking and paddle boarding on the lake were very popular too. A very well run festival that people of all ages can enjoy.

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See the full photoset from Camper Calling 2019 here.

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