Godiva Festival 2019

So I went back to Coventry, back to Godiva, only this time it wasn't free. I've been to Godiva a few times before (mostly because i'm cheap,) so this was a test - a trial for the future of this once chav infested show of wild bull terriers and shirtless.. men? So much has changed since my first Godiva in 2011, but unfortunately complaining about Godiva (especially the line-up) is one of ye olde English past times - and I fall victim to it as well. Like the weather, only with more fury and vengeance if you don't know who Feeder are - yes those people exist. 

In 2018, Godiva seriously excelled themselves. As an Editors fan, I have to say I never expected to see them for free so close to home. When you have Jake Bugg, Editors, and Blood Red Shoes over two days (I traditionally put Two Fingers up to Sunday,) you can't exactly complain - and this was free of course. With a measly £2 entry fee, there was UPROAR from the hoard of Coventry desperate housewives that go every year spending £30 on beer. Yeah, it used to be free but this seriously should not be a free music festival unless they can generate the money outweighing the cost - clearly in 2018 they were over budget. I'm tight, I buy anything with a yellow label, but £2 is laughable for what you're getting. 

Dodgy and Levellers played the main stage on Friday; both are regularly played on your common rock stations throughout the day, so this was an evening of nostalgia, quality music, and expensive alcohol. While on the alcohol issue, my first experiences of Godiva are usually the worst - bad security, and unintelligent staff. There was no bag checking, no metal detector... When I got to the beer tent and picked out the overpriced Maltsmiths IPA, Godiva's finest literally asked me: "How much is it?" - just, amazing. Anyway, Dodgy, from the left of the main stage, the sound was poor to say the least. Whatever was on in the Rhythm Tent next door was just too damn loud, so half way through their set I moved to the right, behind the filming unit where it was far better. Godiva seriously needs to address this issue which has plagued music quality here for years. With so much space it would be stupid not to plan the layout a little better. 

Levellers (from the right,) were brilliant. Everything I expected and more. The fans were predominantly Levellers fans anyway (unlike Feeder on Saturday,) which added to the atmosphere. "One Way" was just perfect with the trademark didgeridoo, as was "Liberty Song", "Beautiful Day", pretty much the entire set was a joy to behold. Knowing Levellers for years without diving too deep was a benefit as I left happier, wanting to play the didgeridoo of course. Truly a coup for Godiva, definitely worth the £2 - considering that we've all seen some of their Glastonbury 94' set.

Saturday was entertaining to say the least - Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, a band that has been completely off my radar for so many years were on the main stage when I turned up. I recognised a few songs back from the Mosh days, but on a whole this was a new experience for me, one of discovery and twee-like indie. 

Unfortunately for Eliza, the hoards at the main stage did not take to her music. It definitively has a place and a time of day, but 17:35 on a Saturday in Coventry on the main stage with all the families and people waiting to see The Twang probably wasn't it. Nonetheless, this was a relaxing set of beautiful jazz / soul. It's a stretch from her old Doolittle songs a la "Skinny Genes", back when she was Lily Alan mixed with Amy Winehouse - personally, these new songs sounded far better.

Reef was somewhat marred by the doom and gloom of the neighbouring Rhythm Tent. Nothing should be taken away from their hit filled set. The Glastonbury band, known obviously for "Place Your Hand", have a weird American feel, but it doesn't take away from the quality within them. As aforementioned, the Rhythm Tent again was ruined with problems, this time overcrowding. At most festivals this isn't an issue because once a tent becomes full and a steward / security has to apologetically say.. 'sorry, tents full'.. usually you say 'Aww shame, too bad, i'll enjoy it from out here.' No, not in Coventry. 13 - 17 year olds crashed the tent to see Jay1 (I literally had no idea who this was, but then again i'm 27 and listen to Lloyd Cole for fun.) obviously this was a H&S nightmare and Godiva rightly closed the stage. Yet again, an idiotic few ruined the fun for the sane many inside the tent.

The night ended with Feeder, another coup by Godiva. They're still going strong, albeit a little slower than the mid 00s. This was a set with perfect balance between their new songs and the old big hitters. A 16 song set opening with "Feeling a Moment" and ending with "Just a day" - and for fun, "Buck Rodgers" was right in the middle, professionalism at its finest. 

Despite the security insecurities on Friday, and the crowd issues on Saturda, Godiva 2019 was a stepping stone from free fun to admin fee. Hopefully, they improve as they do year on year. The layout desperately needs changing, and more music knowledge wouldn't go a miss for that ever troublesome Rhythm Tent. In all honesty if it improves and the line up gets better as it seemingly is, I wouldn't mind paying more. They should be careful not to stray away from their "free" festival system, but at the same time... dare I dream of a bigger, better, and affordable Godiva?


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Discovery: Godiva Festival 2019
Godiva Festival 2019
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