I seem doomed to not really be around in Hull when the Freedom Festival takes place. Last year I was in Manchester for most of it and only saw Florence + the Machine and this year I ended up meeting up with my brother and sister-in-law to give them the blanket for the new baby and didn’t get around to going and seeing everything.
I cannot believe I missed McFly who have suddenly become ridiculously fit, meaning that I no longer feel shame for actually liking them (seriously, what happened to the lead singer – I don’t know them well enough to know their names, but HELL-o!). And I missed The Saturdays again. And Aleesha Dixon and a whole host of people I probably should know, but don’t because I don’t listen to the radio anymore.
(And did I mention all this is free?)
I only ended up getting into town for the final act which was Foals. I’m sorry if you know them and can’t believe I don’t but I really have never heard of them. I know, I suck at life. Were they good? Meh. It’s difficult watching a band you have absolutely no idea about and don’t recognise any of the songs. I know that I had a good time watching them but I don’t remember any of the songs even a little bit. Not a good omen. But everyone else seemed to like them, so I’m going with the notion that the majority of people who do get to listen to the radio while they’re in work and in their cars, like Foals, so therefore, they must be good.
Foals - no really, it is, it's just an appalling photo
What I really wanted to see was the French street theatre company, Plasticiens Volants, who use giant inflatable puppets to tell a story, high above the heads of those watching below.
They were due to start at 10pm and I had no real idea what to expect, by about 10.15pm I was starting to whinge. I was woefully underdressed for the occasion and starting to feel the cold. “When’s it going to staaaaaaaart?!” I moaned at my companions. At that moment I turned round and nearly fell over as I saw a giant inflatable head come floating into Queens Gardens, shortly followed by two fishies. They came in and amongst us, the puppeteers are attached to the inflatables with strings and run in and out of the crowd, making the puppets swoop down on unsuspecting victims. It was actually a little bit scary.
Then a big giant eel appeared and chased the fishies about. The fishies retreated to what can only be described as giant inflatable weeds while the eel bobbed about on the outside. Then, from the other side of the park appeared a beautiful lady with cat’s heads for breasts (yes, really) and she battled with the eel, forcing him among the reeds where he died.
I’m not brilliant at interpretive street theatre. I quite like words to go with what I’m seeing and I’m still not entirely sure what the hell was going on. I appears that eel = bad and cat-breast lady = good. And I’m pretty sure the fishes were on the side of cat-breast lady. I’m not entirely sure where the giant head came into things though. I’ve had a look on their website and I still can’t figure out what story we were being told – but I did see cat-breast lady in Babilonia which unfortunately doesn’t have an English translation. I think we maybe just got a select few of the characters they use, rather than the full shazam – for some reason on their list of performances they haven’t included the Freedom Festival, which is a shame.
Anyway. It was exciting. And different. And only mildly scary.
(And did I mention it was free?)
And to round it all off there were fireworks which always goes down well. Who doesn’t like ooh-ing and aah-ing and clapping their hands and jumping up and down like some kind of moron?
Next year, I’m clearing the diary.
(It’s free you know.)