We started with just 25 friends, a swimming pool, a set of decks and a birthday BBQ . The next year we asked a few more friends and someone brought a guitar and a set of bongos. Then we had the bright idea of inviting some bands and building a stage. It collapsed. But it was good while it lasted, so we spent some time honing our carpentry skills, sourced some more up-and-coming acts and realised we had a festival on our hands.
Having grown by word-of-mouth, we’ve got a bit bigger since those days, but retained our home-grown ethos and commitment to championing new artists. Every year plenty of Mercury Awards nominees have previously played Standon Calling. You’re pretty much guaranteed to discover bands before most people have heard of them. Florence and the Machine, Friendly Fires, Mumford and Sons, Bastille, Metronomy, Anna Calvi and The Noisettes all played Standon before enjoying the profiles they do today. Similarly, we’ve had The Maccabees, Mr Hudson, Glasvegas, Delphic and Paloma Faith.
Throw in classics like De La Soul, Buena Vista Social Club, Super Furry Animals, Hawkwind, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force and Tony ‘Is this the way to Amarillo’ Christie, alongside leftfield acts such as Sunra Arkestra and Acid Mother’s Temple to mix it up and you get an idea of the sort of varied line-ups we put together. When the live music’s over we take full advantage of our 5am licence, as DJs and various other performers take over our now infamous nightclub in a cowshed. In 2011 we put on a rave in a horse box, while last year we unveiled a secret dance stage at midnight set in a tree featuring the likes of Shy FX, Toddla T and Julio Bashmore.
But Standon Calling is about much more than just the music and we’re keen to support interesting artists of all ilks, be they painters, sculptors, writers, actors, comedians or even chefs. A different theme takes over the event each year, reflected in the interactive theatre, art installations, set designs, and outrageous outfits our guests dream up. Last year, it was ‘Journey To The Ends Of The Earth‘, while the year before it was ‘Gods & Monsters’ with some of the best costumes we’ve seen yet.
We’re constantly reinventing the site and secret areas open up from midnight. The first-ever secret stage metamorphosised into a bar for a while built into a circle of horse chestnut trees, which our guests seemed particularly happy to prop up. Last year it became a DJ booth and this year? Who knows?
We’re pretty sure we’re the only UK festival to feature a swimming pool and our guests make enthusiastic use of that too. We know the people that come to Standon are special so we make an effort to make them feel appreciated. We also like to keep our fields clean and green. Aside from only working with caterers that care about their refuse, we also employ an on-site environmental army to recycle as much as possible and ensure that nothing stays on site that shouldn’t after the event.
Situated just 40 minutes away from London, 2013 promises to be our best and most innovative party yet. We’d love it if you can join us.