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Review of Summer Sundae Weekender 2010 in Leicester
Sunset at Summer Sundae 2010
Thousands of people attended this year's Summer Sundae in Leicester

By Bridget Blair
BBC Leicester reporter

A small city boutique festival it may be, but Summer Sundae is a three day music-filled smiley-faced blur of serendipity.

Yes the heavens open on Friday and we get wet right from the start as Leicester band Kyte open on the main stage.

Epic tracks to get lost in under an umbrella.

Many head indoors to the main hall and marquees but as dusk arrives Teenage Fanclub attracts a passionate crowd.

We sing along to old favourites such as 'I Don't Want Control of You', by the band Kurt Cobain described as the best in the world.

Teenage Fanclub at Summer Sundae 2010

There's new track treats too all infused with lush harmonies; so it's disconcerting to hear mutterings of "Don't they look older?" among the crowd.

Of course they do... the band 's been together for 21 years. Teenage Fanclub may not do botox, but they do play beautifully.

Jason and the Scorchers are on later in the Musician tent and performing a scorching set.

Vocalist Jason Ringenberg may be wearing a shirt and Stetson so glitzy you need sunglasses, but it's Warner E. Hodges who shines on stage.

He twirls around creating deliciously dirty riffs with a manic gleam in his eye. Ooh, he certainly caught mine.

Saturday

Saturday doesn't dawn bright and clear... there's an absolute downpour and the normally immaculate lawns of De Montfort Hall become a muddy bog.

Stornoway at Summer Sundae 2010

The look du jour for festival wear seems to be very short shorts, streaky fake tanned bare legs and wellies of every colour and description.

Some should really have asked the age old question of "Does my bum look big in these?" before venturing out of their tents.

Saturday, for me belongs to Stornoway. What a band... what a set... basically most of their debut album Beachcombers Windowsill.

Sublime songs which defy you to pigeon hole the band; I'm mesmerised.

The Moulettes surprise on the main stage in the afternoon; a pirate folk band with big personality.

A bassoon, a cello, great harmonies and a rollicking performance with great gusto, the audience just can't help smiling at a band many have never heard of.

Harper Simon at Summer Sundae

Over on the Last FM Rising Stage, the seven members of A Genuine Freakshow perform tracks from their debut album.

The cello and violin add to to the powerful sounds inspired by Mew and Sigur Ros.

There's only time to hear four songs from the set as I then run over to the Musician tent to catch Harper Simon.

He's not a show-off showman; in fact he comes across as quite shy. His songs are stripped bare as he's playing solo, but what comes across is the sheer quality of his song writing.

'Wishes and Stars', his last song is a delight.

Sunday

Sunday is summery with sunshine, a cue to ditch the wellies and put on the shades, and sit in front of the main stage for most of the day.

Apart from a trip over to the comedy tent; not for the comedy funnily enough, but for the last rehearsal and first performance of the Summer Sundae choir.

Mumford & Sons at Summer Sundae 2010

All weekend I've been reconnecting with music from bands I've not heard for a while and hearing new exciting sounds, but this is something completely different.

On Friday we met up as a diverse, motley crew of about forty from all the over the country for the first time.

But under the brilliant and determined leadership of local choir mistress Hannnah Brine, after three rehearsals, we perform a medley of songs from Radiohead and Take That to Motown. And the audience love us.

What a wonderful part of the weekend, and I suspect next years's choir will be even bigger.

Junip are back on the main stage. The laid back voice of José González lulls some in front of us into a coma but everyone wakes up for Local Natives from Los Angeles.

Great harmonies and a slightly Neil Young-ish Californian feel-good folky sound.

Everyone may be feeling decidedly end of the weekend-ish by Sunday evening, but there's a real air of anticipation about the bands headlining the main stage and the indoor stage.

Festival-goers are divided into two camps; those who can't wait for Mumford & Sons and those who head indoors for the Futureheads.

I stay outside to hear a storming, passionate set from Mumford & Sons. Marcus, Winston, Ted and Ben perform with joy and an innate intelligence.

They give their all and so do the audience who sing along to most of their songs, and dance to 'Dustbowl'.

I can see why Mumford & Sons are the band of the moment, they come across as a genuinely likeable band of mates and Marcus shows other artists how to engage an audience with some genuinely good inter song banter.

An excellent end to a great weekend, and as I join others streaming out of De Montfort Hall into the darkness, I think what a life affirming experience Summer Sundae is and what an essential part of summer in Leicester City life it has become.




SEE ALSO
In pictures: Friday at Summer Sundae
16 Aug 10 |  BBC Introducing
In pictures: Saturday at Summer Sundae
16 Aug 10 |  BBC Introducing
In pictures: Sunday at Summer Sundae
17 Aug 10 |  BBC Introducing
Joining the Summer Sundae choir
17 Aug 10 |  BBC Introducing


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