The Galtres Parkland Festival is a cross between a country fair and a rock/folk festival, spread across the huge grounds of Duncombe Park at Helmsley in the North York Moors National Park. Its spacious and ultra friendly, 10,000 people and never feels crowded, lots for young families but balanced just right for us older kids as it started as a beer festival and serves over 100 beers and ciders, including lots of head banging 6/7% brews.  All the drinks and food are from local producers – and so is the music, mainly.

The charity running Galtres uses part of its budget on biggish headliners and the rest on supporting local talent – and some of them are SO GOOD, if they lived in London they would be massive! Oh and its Britain’s first cash free festival – we all got special cards to use for everything. Took a while to get used to that, but I really miss mine now.


And so, what of the music? Here are my highlights…


Nick Harper – never been a fan but he was AMAZING! Very focussed, incredible vocal range, and did things with a guitar I have never seen before, including selecting and replacing a string WHILE STILL SINGING Shine On You Crazy Diamond – which he was present at the recording of, with his Dad.


He sang a song about his mother getting drunk at 13 and ringing the church bells, possibly from his new LP ‘Riven’, did an older classic Treasure Island which just happened to be the name of the beer I was drinking – how cosmic was that! - and ended with Blood Song, his guitar mimicking a fading heartbeat as he left the tent, then returned to encore with By My Rocket Comes Fire.



Frankie and the Heartstrings – fresh from the mud of Reading/Leeds, masses of energy, the androgynous ageless Frankie pulling shapes and tossing his fringe about to songs from new album The Days Run Away and older numbers like Hunger. They even find time to run their own record shop in Sunderland – check their hilariously rude website for details.


In fact lots of the headliners were from the North East too, including the equally energetic Maximo Park, Benjamin Francis Leftwich from York, and another York band the Littlemores. I had been sent their new ep Home Sweet Home to review, which really grew on me, and they were a delight in the flesh, ultra-charismatic singer who owned the stage, the catchiest songs, funny/sad Pulp –y lyrics, as said above if from trendy Ldn darlings they would be top of the charts.


Other local but world-class highlights were Honeytone Cody – Bill Nelson’s ‘kids’, playing music he would be proud of – hip-hop from hell, sorry Hull from the beautifully named endoflevelbaddie, big-time party music from the massed ranks of Hope and Social, stark Americana recalling Lambchop and the late lamented Broken Family Band from Horse Guards Parade, Slipknot meets early Queen in A Jokers Rage….and many more.


Some of the young kids were incredible…and no I don’t mean you Undertones! Ned the Kids Dylan looked about 6 with the confidence and skills of a 100 year old. Competition winners Minister Conspiracy – can you guess where they’re from? – were all pre-teens, and the singer was STUNG BY A WASP during Paradise City and carried on regardless. I bet Axel Rose wouldn’t have done that.


Amongst all the nice people I met a photographer called Simon Godfrey who has some great festival photos HERE – mine would have been as good if not better of course but my camera got soaked in the rain, and there were camels. Did you know they have 3 eyelids?


Next week for me it’s the Moseley Folk Festival, with well known folk acts Ocean Colour Scene and Efterklang…???!!! 9the rest of the guys are off to End of the Road)


Kevin Hand



Festival Website