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Ben and Jerry’s


Sundae on the Common


July 25 & 26, 2009




A review by Jafar Iqbal for EXTRA! EXTRA!


Clapham Common was greeted with a barrage of ice cream as those good old folk from Ben & Jerry’s came to town. Armed with endless tubs of ice cream and bringing a ton of famous friends along for the ride, the company held its fifth annual “Sundae on the Common” festival. Billed as a family event, the weekend consisted of some entertaining and amusing attractions, as well as an eclectic blend of musical acts.

A pleasingly hot and sunny Saturday was headlined by a fantastic performance from the Super Furry Animals. With not much talking between songs, front-man Gruff Rhys relied on home-made signs to draw a reaction from the crowd, who responded raucously. The Animals had great support too, with inspired sets from Teenage Fanclub, I Am Kloot and Telegraphs. Orange Unsigned Act winner Tommy Reilly had a very warm reception from his fans and was clearly enjoying himself. As popular and great as the Super Furry Animals were, however, the sleeper successes on the day were definitely Marina and the Diamonds and King Creosote. An energetic stage presence added a new dimension to some excellent Marina tracks, the crowd right there with them. Similarly, King Creosote entertained the crowd with a great set-list, with ‘La Dee Dah’ a memorable highlight.

Though hampered by grey clouds and eventual rain, Sunday was an equally successful day. Legendary eighties synth-pop band The Human League headlined, belting out classics like “Don’t You Want Me, Baby?” and “Together in Electric Dreams” as the rain came down. Though not billed as the headline act, The Futureheads also proved wildly popular with the fans. Starting off with, and I quote, “strange songs”, the band finished off an impressive set with their trademark anthems. Just like the day before, however, Sunday also had its sleeper successes. Rising Glaswegian band Camera Obscura were sensational, as were indie-pop quartet The Answering Machines and (deservedly) hotly-tipped band Red Light Company. A strong performance from Brute Chorus (who’s Frontman Nick Foots has a uncanny resemblance to Freddie Mercury) made up the rest of what was a brilliant weekend of music.



Human League


As well as the music, the festival has a lot of other activities on offer. A special petting zoo was set up for children, with alpacas and cows amongst other animals. A Carousel, Helter Skelter and Coconut Shy were also on hand, not to mention bizarre games such as toe-wrestling and fights with foam bananas. Like every year, charity was a focal point of the weekend, with numerous organisations pitching in with their own wacky activities to get people thinking. With almost everything within the festival free of charge, donations were necessary and a good job was done of encouraging this.

As a festival, Sundae On The Common had nothing that could be faulted. The event catered for all ages. While it could be argued that the attractions were very family-orientated and geared towards very young children, the music more than made up for it by, for the most part, appealing to a young audience. There was a tongue-in-cheek atmosphere to the whole event, which added to the enjoyment, and ultimately made the whole festival a huge success. And the free ice cream wasn’t bad either!







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