Sitting on the dock of the bay watching bands

James Atkin band
James Atkin band

They weren’t kidding when they billed it as the north west’s second smallest festival.

Dock of the Bay in Glasson Dock was an extremely intimate affair when it kicked off on Shabby Meadow, next to the village hall, on Saturday, April 4. Chas Ambler’s Melodrome Stage was the focal point for proceedings, with a food stall, bar, and two small “chill out” tents making up the rest of the space.

Kids, as kids do, played in “the rubble” at the bottom of the field, and groups turned up with uncertainty at first about what exactly was going on. It all started to smooth out however, as people got settled, had a few pints, and enjoyed the sunshine which stayed out for pretty much the whole day.

The music too was pretty much a constant stream, broken up occasionally by the rantings and musings of Lionel Spume, AKA Radio 4 presenter and one half of Your Dad, Ian Marchant. Compere came in the form of Solfest stalwart Wizardmarra.

It was a relaxed, interesting and eclectic day, packing in at least 12 acts. Highlights music wise in the daytime were Drum Machine, Greenheart, Carmen and the Devil, Mobius Loop and Emma and the Professor. The event moved into the hall in the evening, signalling a set from the best known act of the festival, former EMF frontman James Atkin.

He played as a three piece, with his wife Rachael on the Korg MS20 synth and drummer Aid Todd, performing new material that went down really well with the audience.

It was great to see him get stuck into his former band’s hits Unbelievable and I Believe too, and being now based in Clapham, North Yorkshire, hopefully we’ll be seeing more of James Atkin in the Lancaster area.

It was a hard act to beat, but Lancaster’s Get Carter rocked the stage followed by Keighley’s Captain Hotknives, a firm favourite with the audience. The Dohnut collective and Baksheesh finished off in style what was a thoroughly enjoyable early summer festival.