Festival Reviews

Cloudspotting is closely regarded as something of a best-kept secret. We have had a few reviewers down the years, however…
Press / Website Reviews

AN electronic fusion master journeyed 6,000 miles across three time zones to be at a Ribble Valley music festival.

Ichi ­— who hails from the underground scene, in Japan’s Nagoya ­— performed at Cloudspotting in Gisburn Forest.

The monk-like artist, from the land of the rising sun, takes the notion of a one-man band to extreme limits, creating his own strange world of insane and irresistible beats.

And in the needle cushioned lanes of the In the Pines stage, Ichi’s diverse show produced one of the festival highlights.

Described as beautifully bonkers, the music was as diverse as the people were friendly and welcoming, while sunshine bathed the treetops of Gisburn Forest in a warm glow.

“Ichi blew everybody away with his performance,” said Cloudspotting co-founder Matt Evans.

“We had a feedback tree where people could leave messages about their festival experience.

“One read: ‘Cloudspotting allows me to be totally who I am. It is my highlight of the year. Thank you.’

“That’s lovely, and to hear that makes all the hard work worthwhile, the massive undertaking of assembling artists from all over the world and an open-minded audience who come to enjoy it makes you want to do it again.”

It was Cloudspotting’s ninth year and the early spirit of the first gathering in the beer garden of the Aspinall Arms, Mitton, has been nurtured by the love and dedication of Matt and his team.

Guests were encouraged to head off to little-known places to discover everything from a sword swinging robot with a love of trance music to yoga in the yurt.

And the border-busting music programme would not have looked out of place in a quiet corner of this weekend’s Glastonbury.

Burning Hell from Canada, Jeffrey Lewis and Les Bolts from America, Isaac Birituro and the Rail Abandon featuring Moussa Dembele (Ghana) turned up the heat even further.

Matt added: “One of the reasons we started Cloudspotting was to create a platform for artists who go a bit under the radar, and I think we’ve got the recipe right.

“I also want to thank our partners and supporters – it’s been a difficult year with a lack of funding support.

“However, individual donations and considerable help from the Grand, Clitheroe, the Forestry Commission and our loyal volunteers made it possible.”

John Anson (Lancashire Telegraph)

ns. After all their spent energy, the children were collected from the central fire pit where they were found happily toasting marshmallows and telling stories. The children may be harder to spot slightly more camouflaged having decorated themselves with the forest artefacts, but you could spot them from their wide grins a mile away.

With a choice of ales, fine live music and happy children what could be better now than a late afternoon theatrical performance from ‘Compost Mentis’ on the Village Green. Stranger than strange, hard to define and yet all based around a gardener’s exploits at trying to grow a few pot plants, the performance was extraordinarily wonderful. With a huge shrub which eventually comes alive and gobbles up the gardener, it is fair to say the audience were not expecting that! The performance was repeated for anyone who missed it – we enjoyed it so much that we went on both occasions.

As the sun set over the skyline of pines, the musical beats got everyone bopping in and around the forest stage. There was always a choice of music or activity but it was never the case, as with some larger festivals, that you felt like you were missing out. The intimacy and small festival atmosphere allowed for an exclusive and original experience. Dancing in the trees in the dark was a fantastic and memorable event. With a strict curfew of midnight for the last act this meant everyone could sleep peacefully exhausted in their tent under the stars.

Louise Whittaker (UK Festival Guides)

‘The walk back to camp was hazy, but I got chatting to a friendly festival steward who was clocking off for the night and I returned to camp with a contented smile and great memories of a unique festival experience.’

Nick Lakin (Lancaster Guardian)

‘Perfect for families, our eight-year-old son was soon off playing with minimal supervision and we felt comfortable enough with him doing so.

Nick Lakin (Lancaster Guardian)

“There are people saying that there are too many music festivals these days. However, why should there only be a few major regional events, with the accompanying big crowds, travel chaos and heavy commercialisation?
Why not have smaller events that we can all easily get to, which are more comfortable all round, can give more exposure to local bands and which still attract big names? The Cloudspotting Music and Arts Festival seems to fulfil this role admirably.”

John Bentley (Gig Junkies)

“Most festivals profess to be family friendly these days, so it can be difficult to figure out which ones actually are. Some stick a bouncy castle next to the bar so parents can drink in peace, others have brilliant arts and entertainment programmes for little revellers running alongside their musical line-up. Cloudspotting, refreshingly, is one of the latter.”

Antonia Charlesworth (Big Issue North)

Audience Reviews

“We had such a wonderful time at Cloudspotting. As festival virgins it surpassed my expectations. Such a lovely vibe and great folk. Introduced me to new and interesting music not on my radar. Spot on!”

“Fantastic festival. Magical experiences made memories for life. This festival has a heart! We all enjoyed it. Thanks x”

“Well done for your hard work – it is appreciated and makes happy memories.”

“Thank you so much for an amazing experience into festival atmosphere. Please do it again!!!”

“Absolutely wonderful festival. The perfect size with wonderful acts and activities especially for children. Please don’t make it too much bigger! It’s truly unique.”

“Please do it again. Fantastic location, fantastic music, fantastic activities, fantastic people and fantastic beer.”

“Loved the ambience. Great selection of music, excellent food stalls, good variety of drink…wonderful!”

“We’ve been to many motorbike rallies and music gigs over the years but this was our first festival. It was an absolute pleasure. The people, kids, volunteers, staff, musicians, made it a wonderful do.”

“The volunteers were incredible including making sure we could get off the field without caravan on the Monday. They went above and beyond and it was appreciated massively.”

“An awesome festival which is our main holiday! Keep it small and friendly, it’s what makes it special. Thanks for a perfect weekend!”

“Keep up the good work things will naturally evolve. Don’t let it grow too big. Perfect amount of people attended for a nice family vibe.”

“Cloudspotting is the highlight of our year, a chance to meet up with family and friends I a beautiful setting with a huge range of activities catering to all ages. We love it!”

“An amazing festival, thank you to the Cloudspotting team for organising such a special, magical event.”

“The most intimate festival we’ve ever attended!”

“Never been to a festival before, but was blown away by this, never danced so much. I love the size of the festival, you don’t feel that you’re missing anything. Thank you so much!”

“The kids had a fantastic time, there was something there for all ages. The arts activities were really well facilitated and worked for very young and also older children. We all had a fantastic time.”