In-Tents Questioning: Hard Rock Calling – Gemma Cartwright

In-Tents Questioning

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hardrockcalling.jpgNot everyone went to Glastonbury this weekend. Some old souls descended on Hyde Park for the badly-named two day ‘Hard Rock Calling’ festival, otherwise known as ‘an Eric Clapton gig with an amazing supporting line-up’ and ‘a repeat of the Isle of Wight’. I was there on Saturday for some easy-listening guitar fun…
Kindly tell us your name, age and where you’re from. Now.
Gemma, 24, from London. Again.
Which festival have you recently attended?
Hard Rock Calling (Saturday only)
Have you attended this festival before? If yes, how does this year compare?
Nope, first time for me.
Which act gave the best performance, and why?
Well, Eric Clapton’s was the longest and most well-received, but I think Jason Mraz (above left) pitched his set perfectly. It was only about 35 mins long but he captured the mood of the day; loads of people on picnic mats enjoying the sun and listening to some reggae-infused lite rock. He even covered Bobby McFerrin’s ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’.

If you could have promoted one act on the bill to headline status, who would you choose? Why?
Jason Mraz again. He’s just released a new album so there was loads of new material that didn’t get an airing that I’d have loved to have seen live. John Mayer comes a close second, but Continuum came out ages ago and I’d seen him perform a similar set at the Royal Albert Hall a few months ago.
Did your opinion of any acts change radically as a result of their performance?
Not really, it was all pretty standard. Mraz was all upbeat and chirpy, Mayer was bluesy and a tiny bit indulgent, Sheryl Crow was on a bit of a political rant the entire way through but she did all the hits. And Clapton managed to win us over an hour into the set by finally doing the stuff people know him for. No ‘Tears In Heaven’ though.
Nicest surprise / biggest disappointment (music-related or otherwise)?
Sheryl Crow, John Mayer and Robert Randolph all came out for Clapton’s encore to sing / play along. That was worth suffering one too many 10 minute blues guitar solos for.
What was the best heckle you heard?
I actually didn’t hear a single one. Too many people in the audience were my parents age.
Any high-quality onstage banter you feel deserves highlighting?
John Mayer dedicated his set to the guy at the front in the Eric Clapton t-shirt with his arms folded. That was about as good as it got.
What was the funniest moment (music-related or otherwise)?
Sheryl Crow performed a weird new song called ‘Gasoline Will Be Free’. Al Gore would be proud.
Weirdest moment (if different)?
John Mayer’s blues cover of Duffy’s Mercy. Odd, but it worked.
Any moments of sheer terror you’d like to share?
At one point the queue for the toilets was about 200 people in length. Nice when you’re desperate.
Anything you wish you’d brought with you?
A hat. It was a bit sunny, like.
Anything you wish you’d left behind?
My pink Mraz ‘Geek’ t-shirt. I saw a really fit man wearing the same one and looking much better than me.
Please mark the following elements out of 10, with any comments:
General facilities: 6/10. Toilets were clean, but there were just not enough of them.
Crowd / audience: 6/10 again. Too many middle-aged wives who’d obviously been dragged along by their Clapton-obsessed husbands. The woman in front of us was wearing six inch heeled sandals. Ok then.
Food and drink value for money: 7/10 Not bad really, but there wasn’t much choice if you don’t fancy pizza or burgers.
Finally – anything else you’d like to mention?
The ‘programme’ was the Eric Clapton tour booklet with a little piece of paper that listed who else was playing. Some ‘festival’, eh?! Also, apparently the Charlatans were on in another tent. Most people didn’t even know the other tent existed, and it seemed a waste to hide them away elsewhere.

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