FROM dub-step to public displays of nudity this year’s Big Chill was an eclectic summer affair.
The festival, which ended yesterday, saw music and arts from all over the globe muddled together in Eastnor Castle’s Deer Park, near Ledbury.
Tens of thousands of people attended, taking advantage of the summer weather, the relaxing atmosphere and the vast array of acts on offer.
Yesterday New York artist Spencer Tunick convinced about 700 festival-goers to strip naked for his first ever festival installation.
Participants bared all before painting themselves, head to foot, in vibrant coloured body paint and posing for one of Tunick’s contemporary art photographs.
Queen of pop Lily Allen was due to headline on the Deer Park Stage last night, while Jamaican dance hall star Gregory Isaacs and BBC Radio One DJ Gilles Peterson also played live.
On Saturday Sri Lankan singer M.I.A’s headline set was cut short because of a much bigger than anticipated stage invasion after she invited fans on stage.
A spokesman for M.I.A. thanked fans for the “fantastic” reception but apologised for cutting the set short.
Earlier in the day beatboxer Shlomo impressed inside the Words in Motion tent, showcasing some serious vocal skills and American songs-tress Kelis continued her transformation from R&B to dance star with a glittering performance in the Revellers Tent.
The singer played new material as well as past hits, including the chart-topping track Milkshake which she mixed together with a crowd-pleasing version of Madonna’s Holiday.
On Friday British singer Martina Topley Bird kick-started proceedings on the main stage, then later joined up with headliners Massive Attack.
The duo, oft-credited with inventing the trip-hop genre, was a festival highlight for thousands of fans, young and old.
Sam Taylor, aged 19, had travelled from Birmingham.
He said: “I’ve had a good time, it’s been fun. I’ve discovered some new bands and DJs which is what I love about this festival; not really knowing what you’re going to get and going with it.”
The Big Chill brand is now owned by Festival Republic, the group contracted to run Glastonbury and in charge of the Reading and Leeds festivals.
Despite a few changes, including the layout of the arena, campsite and car parks, the Big Chill has retained its overriding relaxed atmosphere and green ethos.
Katrina Larkin, who founded the event about 15 years ago, is still involved and this year laid on another impressive Arts Trail, which included a giant rubber duck on one of Eastnor’s lakes, life drawing workshops and Bompas and Parr’s Ziggurat of Flavour. The imposing Ziggurat – a black and white pyramid situated in the Chill’s Enchanted Garden area, was a unique experiment by ‘food architects’ Bompas and Parr.
The imaginative pair worked with scientists to invent a way of vapourising fruit provided by Fairtrade farmers, enabling people who pass through the Ziggurat structure to breathe in their five-a-day.
While the jury is still out on whether there are health benefits, the aim of the installation was to get people thinking about where their food comes from and encourage more people to eat Fairtrade produce.
As well as live music and art, there was a vast array of food and clothing stalls to entertain festival-goers, plus a lakeside tea tent serving up herbal teas and home-made cakes, a cinema tent, a 3D disco, cabaret shows and numerous bars.