Monday, July 6, 2009

The Riverside Festival

Birds eye view of Stamford Meadow and Festival
Click on any image to make larger

This was my first year telling at the Riverside Music Festival at Stamford Meadows near Peterborough.

The Riverside Stage

The Acoustic Stage

Unfortunately I was on my own at this one day event and didn't get a huge amount of time away from my telling tent and it was a real job getting through all the crowds. As you can see from the birds eye photo its not a huge site, but I think that they have about 8000 people on site at anyone time and over 25,000 over the course of the whole afternoon and the festival only runs from 1.00 pm to 11.00pm!

Just some of the 25,000 visitors!

As festivals go it was quite small in size, but they still managed to pack in 3 main stages and a smaller buskers stage. Also a children's area with crafts, puppetry, circus skills and me! There were plenty of traders, food stalls and a huge beer festival and there were plenty of very merry people chilling out - many lounging around my tent, one of whom had a go at telling a story or two!

The beer festival in full flow

One of the beer festival visitors in full flow in my tent!

That's about all I can say about the festival itself, but what surprised me more was the town of Stamford. It wasn't what I expected at all especially since I had to drive through the Lincolnshire fens to get there and expected more of the same flat landscape. If I'm honest I'm not a great fan of the Lincolnshire landscape not least the area that can be seen from the A17! But as I turned off that road and made my way toward Stamford, I began to see a few hills and the landscape began to change. So too the buildings; for they began to be built of what looked to be a beautiful yellowish stone in the bright sunlight and more and more it reminded me of the Cotswold's. Especially when I passed the entrance to Burghley House, which looked very posh. Certainly when you drive about the Cotswold you do get a feeling of grandeur although its a place I could never afford to live and whilst I like it to look at it I'm not sure I would like living there!

The grand facade of Burghley House

I then drove through a village called Uffington, which made me think of the village in the Vale of the White Horse, not that far from the Cotswold. Again it made me think that I'd lost my way and was somewhere much further down south, around parts of Orfordshire and Gloucestershire, just north of the Berkshire downs. Especially when I drove into Stamford itself. It's a beautiful place and as with many a Cotswold town its packed full of antique shops, cosy pubs and the like and has a very grand bridge crossing the river.

Stamford Meadow in quieter times!

The grand looking bridge

Some ancient almshouses just off the bridge

A real Georgian feel to Stamford

Part of the high street

Not all of Stamford was so grand, but still good to see

I suppose if you are local to the area you would be surprised by my surprise, but having driven through Lincolnshire many times and having never been that impressed I have to say that I would recommend leaving the A17. If you do you might be pleasantly surprised, especially if you drive towards Stamford; a little bit of the Cotswold, just west of the fens!

1 comment:

  1. I've spent most of my weekends here at Stamford for the last three years because of the other half and I must say it is a nice pretty stone town so much different from the area I live (London). I volunteered this year at the Riverside festival so I could give a little back to the town that gives me peace. There are lots of nice events happening around Stamford and the walks are great. Its just a nice town to be in :)