Toploader, Athlete and chef Gennaro Contaldo talk Jimmy’s Farm Sausage and Beer Festival
- Credit: Archant
Heading to Jimmy’s Farm Sausage and Beer Festival this weekend? Entertainment writer Wayne Savage sees what’s on offer and talks to music acts Toploader and Athlete plus chef Gennaro Contaldo.
It’s another mouth-watering line-up that’s sure to suit all tastes. I’m still recovering from last year’s trip to the two-day festival.
Combining the best of music and food, the event - finalists in the 2014 UK Festival Awards for best small festival and best family festival - hosts a main stage, acoustic stage, cookhouse chef demo stage, chipolatas kids’ area, shindig and loads more.
Running 11am-11pm tomorrow and Sunday, there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy,
CBeebies stars Justin Fletcher and Mr Bloom will open the main stage. The kids’ area is packed with activites for all ages including entertainment from The Flying Seagulls, a craft camp, inflatable field, storytelling, Peppa Pig, animal petting, fishing, den-building and more.
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The grown-ups can enjoy music from Toploader, Athlete, Chaz and Dave and The Shires and brush up on their culinary know-how courtesy of Gennaro Contaldo, Marcus Bean, DJ BBQ, Dan Doherty and Richard Burr’s cooking demonstrations in the cookhouse tent.
Festival extras include sausage making workshops and Red Rose Chain’s Theatre in the Forest production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
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Visit www.jimmysfarm.com for more details. In the meantime, here’s what bands Toploader and Athlete and chef Contaldo had to say about their festival visit.
SATURDAY HEADLINERS TOPLOADER
Q: You supported some amazing acts starting out; how did that experience help prepare you for success?
A: When you’re a young band starting out there’s no better way of learning your trade than by supporting the artists who have been doing it for years. We were lucky enough to support the likes of Bon Jovi, Paul Weller, Robbie Williams and Noel Gallagher early on and they all had an effect on us in their own different ways.
Q: Years on how much notice do you take of critics?
A: Not anywhere as much as we used to, you have to accept it’s the nature of the game that not everyone is gonna like what you do.
Q: Do you think record companies and labels give bands the time and freedom these days to experiment and grow?
A: Absolutely not, it’s very different from how the industry used to be where acts were given time to develop. After we were signed we were sent off touring up and down the country playing to a guy and his dog, but we learnt how to perform and improve our songwriting. It’s a shame but it seems to be much more about the quick fix now.
Q: You’re no stranger to Suffolk, having headlined LeeStock in 2013; what is it you like so much about the county?
A: There are a few parts of the country where live music really flourishes and Suffolk is definitely one of them. People there seem to get a real kick out of watching bands and letting themselves go.
Q: How much are you looking forward to the festival and what can fans expect?
A: We’ve been looking forward to this festival all year, it’s a real highlight. We’ll be playing all the favs plus some new material so, hopefully, we’ll keep everyone happy, buzzing and in the mood. You can’t beat a night-time show at a festival.
Q: Will you be partaking of the food and beverages during the weekend?
A: Sausages and beer?... Of course.
Q: What’s next for Toploader?
A: We are currently writing new material for a new album which we’ll be recording later this year which, all being well, should be released early next year. Exciting.
SUNDAY HEADLINERS ATHLETE
Q: You guys have been friends a long time; what was it like in the early days of jamming and practising in the basement of The Bear in Deptford High Street?
A: It seems a long time ago now but it was loads of fun. We locked ourselves away in there for months creating the Athlete sound. Having been in other bands previously we knew we wanted to come up with something new and unique and I think we did but it took a while. When we finally recorded our first demos and started passing them on to a few people we were shocked at how quickly word started spreading and in no time at all we had A&R people and managers getting in touch wanting to meet us. So we made them all come to our dingy rehearsal room in a damp basement in Deptford. That was fun.
Q: Were you confident success was inevitable or were there days you almost called it a day?
A: I don’t really remember wanting to call it a day but at the same time we knew how hard it was for a band to actually make a career for themselves. We were enjoying ourselves too much at the time to really think about it not working I guess.
Q: First album Vehicles and Animals got a great response. So did Tourist in terms of sales, were you disappointed when some critics felt it didn’t match the unique style of the first?.
A: For us, Tourist was a natural progression on from Vehicles and Animals. We definitely didn’t want to make the same record twice. At the time, some of the reviews were a little disappointing but we had so much airplay on radio and TV that it didn’t really matter in the end.
Q: I read you were frustrated by singles just missing out on top 40 places due to inconsistent support by music TV and radio stations; do you feel there are enough outlets to push your music these days? There’s no Top of the Pops for example.
A: I’d love to see more live music on TV. There are so few shows left. Later With Jools is probably the last proper music show. However, radio is still going strong and the whole Apple music thing is going to be interesting. In many ways there are more opportunities now with streaming online but I guess they’re not as focussed. Back in the day everyone watched Top of the Pops so if you got on there you were almost guaranteed to get in the charts.
Q: How much are you looking forward to the festival and what can fans expect?
A: It’s our only show this year so we’re working hard to make sure it’s a good one. The set will be packed with singles and singalong moments.
Q: What’s next for Athlete?
A: Well the band is very much a part-time thing for us these days. We still like playing the odd festival and haven’t ruled out the possibility of recording together again but I can’t see it happening any time soon. We are all so busy with work and life outside of the band that it’s difficult to fit it all in.
Q: Do you feel pressure preparing food in front of an audience?
A: I have been doing it for years now, so I am used to it. But there is that moment just before going on stage that I do feel a little nervous and excited.
Q: Has anything ever gone wrong during demonstrations?
A: I was doing a live TV show once and was whisking egg whites - to prove how stiff they were I turned the bowl upside down over my head and the egg whites (not stiff enough obviously) dripped all over me.
Q: What will you be preparing during the weekend?
A: A pasta and risotto dish using Jimmy’s delicious sausages and bacon.
Q: The UK has become a nation of foodies - experimenting with different cuisines, preparing fresh meals, growing our own ingredients – has that been your experience and why do you think that is?
A: Definitely, England has come a long way with food – certainly since my early days in the UK in the 1970s. We travel more, we are a multi-racial country and of course we do have lots of great cookery shows on the TV and online.
Q: Last year the food tents were packed both days; perhaps more so than the music stages. It must be great to see food bringing people together?
A: Food certainly brings people together and it’s wonderful to see this. After all, we all have to eat, so why not make it pleasurable for everyone.
Q: Could chefs be the new rock stars?
A: I wouldn’t go that far, but we certainly attract the crowds.