Cosmic Slop #73: LIMF 2016 – what we learned about crowds, dogs and toilets at this year’s event
Following this year’s festivities, Shaun Ponsonby ponders on the lessons he learned at LIMF 2016.
Originally posted on Getintothis
As you are no doubt aware; it was Liverpool International Music Festival last weekend. If you don’t know what LIMF is, I’d quite like to know how the fuck you found this article, because this site has been hugely LIMF-heavy for over a week now.
We were all there in full force, running around Sefton Park with crates of Fosters (I do except freebies for namedropping) so we didn’t have to pay unreasonably hiked prices from vendors. Once again, we enjoyed the festivities and love the fact that this city can be home to an event. On top of all the amazing scouse whippersnappers on display, the likes of Kwabs and Lianne LaHavas were simply wonderful on the main stage.
But, as people like Justin Bieber often tell us when they win meaningless awards; life is a journey and that, yeah?
So, in the spirit of that (and at the behest of our editor), here are the Top 5 thingies that Cosmic Slop learnt at LIMF 2016.
5. Portable toilets actually can be well kept
I noticed this last year, but doubly so this year. At any large event with a lot of those awful human things congregated in a single place, portable toilets will be used pretty liberally by those in attendance. Sadly, when alcohol plays its role, it often means the portable toilets are battered in brown and yellow, to the point where merely approaching the portable toilet brings on an impending sense of dread as you wonder what kind of state they have been left in.
But not at LIMF! They are constantly being cleaned and air freshened all day, meaning that when you enter the portable toilet, you feel like an actual human being and not a pig, or a goat, or some other kind of animal which is not a homo sapien.
Also, I’d like to Not-So-Accidental Partridge and make it clear that Portaloo is a brand name, not the actual product, which is why I went to the long winded route of writing “portable toilet” every time rather than Portaloo.
4. Even if you end up going alone, you’ll bump into all your friends (providing you have them)
I may not have friends, or know many people willing to be seen in public with me, but when stationed at the main stage, I saw an absurd amount of people whose pictures I recognised from other people’s Facebook pages. I did try to wave at them, of course, but then I remembered that they didn’t know or care who I was.
But this led me to believe that one of the great things that happens at LIMF is that the Liverpool music community really comes together. If I had friends, I am pretty sure that just standing there in the field would lead to bumping into dozens of them, and that would add to the overall glad tidings of the weekend.
Incidentally, if you would like to be my friends, then don’t bother getting in contact because the feeling isn’t mutual.
3. Certain acts = dickish audiences
This couldn’t really be ignored for Saturday’s festivities. It is in no way reflective of LIMF or acts themselves, but some of the acts on the bill seemed to attract a fair share of utter wankers.
This is probably reflective of the younger crowd who were attracted to Saturday’s bill, headlined by drum n bass duo Sigma (who, incidentally, had to stop their set to deal with the said wankers). It was beginning to look like a T In The Park training ground. I guess we were all there one day in the past – young whippersnapper at your first festival. What do you do? You get wasted and act like an all-round nuisance.
There is probably nothing LIMF themselves can do to combat this, short of booking Kenny Rogers. For the non-dicks amongst us, sizing up the bill is probably a good indicator. A band like Oasis generally had a high proportion of dicks in the audience, partially because as a commercial behemoth, the crowd was full of people who don’t regularly go to gigs and didn’t know how to behave themselves. Also, cos you’d have to be a bit of a dick to be a big Oasis fan (that’s right – I said it).
So, if it seems like the acts would attract dicks, maybe stay further back.
2. The Commissions set LIMF apart
This has become the aspect of LIMF that I am most interested in. From Steve Levine‘s Assembly Point Sessions, to the Record Producers with Lamont Dozier and this year’s From Eric’s To Evol, the nerd in me is always fascinated by what the commisions will bring us each year. Although, in regards to From Eric’s To Evol, there is something extremely un-punk about celebrating the 40th anniversary of punk.
Sadly, I only managed to catch one this year; Gilles Peterson‘s From The Soul. It was less ambitious than some I have seen in the past, but at the same time it didn’t feel bloated. It actually ended up just being a good night; Incognito jammed with Omar and Carleen Anderson, the afterparty was cool, Ady Suleiman gardually won over an initially indifferent crowd.
Furthermore, it highlighted British soul, which is often unfairly overlooked. It definitely put the spotlight on some of the great soul talent that have come out and will continue to come out of the UK. I came away with a greater respect, at least. Thanks Gilles.
1. Dogs don’t belong at LIMF
Liverpool – let’s talk. It’s rant time.
I am cynophobic, which means I have an irrational fear of dogs and babies, or dogs and rabies (I forget exactly, it is probably the latter). But, dogs and I actually have a healthy relationship. Namely, that they stay away from me and I don’t scare them away by making some kind of horrendous noise that would likely scar them for life. It’s their owners who piss me off, and LIMF always reminds me of why that is; dog lovers feel the need to take their bitch everywhere.
I can say in no uncertain terms that anyone who actively decides to take a dog to a music festival that is expecting 30-50,000 punters to attend is a moron. Anyone who thinks it is a good idea to then take the dog up to the front of the stage is an imbecile. And anyone who then proceeds to play fetch with their dog at the front of the stage is the scourge of our times.
Significantly, I didn’t see anyone with a cat at LIMF. I didn’t see anyone with a budgie or a goldfish bowl. Do you know why no-one had any of these animals? Because most people understand that it would be an inappropriate place to take a hamster.
But, not the dog lovers. No, they see the word “park” and take that as an opportunity to play fetch in front of Ady Suleiman. Here I was thinking that the entertainment at LIMF was designed for human beings, but no – it turns out that most of these artists have a huge audience amongst the canine community.
I don’t just say this as a cynophobe, as much as that probably is the reason it drives me extra crazy. Dog owners are always advised to keep their dogs indoors on bonfire night, primarily because the noise levels are dangerous for them. If fireworks a billion feet up in the air are too dangerous for them, I’m pretty sure that standing it in front of 25,000 watts of sound all day is pretty fucking dangerous too.
And this is before you consider that there are 40,000 people standing around it, possibly dancing, bouncing and moshing who could easily stand on it, or trip on it, or get drunk and ride it around the park. The body heat from being on the floor and surrounded by that many people in close approximation isn’t exactly going to be comfortable for it.
And, of course, for people like me who are scared of (or allergic to) dogs, it means we can’t settle down and enjoy the day. We’re constantly on edge, and scour our surroundings every 30 seconds to make sure there’s no wanker letting their dog off the lead so it can dance to the DJ it doesn’t know is on stage.
It happens at Africa Oye too, but not quite as widespread – probably because LIMF is a more mainstream event. If you must take your dog to a festival like this, don’t be a prick. Stay at the back and keep it on its lead.
Better yet, grow a brain cell and leave your dog at home. Take five seconds to look at the Festival Rules section on the LIMF website, and you will see listed amongst the prohibited items; “Animals (except for assistance dogs)”. I’d say that was pretty clear cut.
And, there we go. All the important shit, except for the obligatory “Liverpool has so much great talent, blah blah blah“. Which is true, but who the hell would come to me for that kind of useless analysis?