Think about a music festival in a quaint village with a vast British countryside serving as a backdrop. That’s what Standon Calling is; a true boutique festival.
Alex Trenchard was just a normal bloke celebrating his birthday in 2001 at his family house in Standon. The year was 2001. Little did he know what was about to come next. Three years later, in 2004, it became a one-day music festival with a single-stage lineup to boast of. Since then, it has grown into a beautiful 3-day extravaganza, with headlining artists bigger than the magnitude of the festival.
Even after all these years, Standon Calling remains as small-scale as possible. The location is still the same, the festival runs without any sort of sponsorships and every year has a theme.
As mentioned earlier, the stage has been graced by some really big acts, sometimes bigger than the popularity of the festival itself. Past acts include Florence + The Machine, Basement Jaxx, Clean Bandit, Charlie XCX, Ella Eyre, Maximo Park and Public Enemy, Glasvegas and many more. This year’s lineup won’t disappoint you either. Jess Glynne, Suede and Kelis are the headliners this year.
Also, they have a brand new stage this year, called Octopia, and we’re pretty sure some good stuff is going to go down there too. Apart from that, they have a Cowshed stage. It’s exactly what you think it is; a cowshed is converted into a nightclub for just three nights. That’d be a hell of an experience.
As you can see from the lineup, there are plenty of activities on offer. From an accoustic open mic that might get you into the lineup if you’re good enough, to a puppet making workshop to even a film screening, Standon Calling has it all.
Did you notice how lively the lineup posters are? Well, that’s due to Standon Calling having a theme for the festival every year. This year’s theme is Legend Of The Lost Seas, and it makes perfect sense because the poster is filled with sailors, wrecked ships, lifebuoys and more.
Standon Calling’s themes have been the talk of the festival world ever since its inception. They had Japanese culture in 2008 (including an underwater disco), Space in 2009 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, Murder On The Stanton Express to mimic the Agatha Christie novel Murder On The Orient Express, and several more. In 2015, Standon Calling celebrated its 10th anniversary with the theme “A town of two faces”, urging attendees to wear cowboy dresses during the day and then switch to disco-themed clothes at night, to do justice to the theme.
The festival isn’t without its low points. In 2011, Trenchard was sent to jail for using his employer’s debit card to fund the festival. The value was about $355,000, and the fiasco resulted in festival losses during the years 2007-2009. However, they’ve clearly bounced back from that ordeal.
Like any other festival in the countryside, Stanton Calling has camping facilities, and you can stay either in tents or in your minivan. There’s a family camping area if your family’s in tow, and a boutique camping area that’s basically their version of luxury camping.
Who would’ve thought that a birthday barbecue would turn into something of this magnitude? Maybe Standon Calling could be the inspiration you need to convert your barbecue into a full-fledged music festival. All you need is a little farmland, and a dream.
(All pictures courtesy Standon Calling’s official website)