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Review: Apple Cart Festival
ADAM Ant appeared on stage at Apple Cart Festival on jubilee Sunday looking like a pirate who could have plausibly commandeered a boat from the flotilla and sailed it to a sodden Victoria Park in Hackney.
Prince Charming’s problems over the years have been well-publicised, but the dandy highwayman roared through the hits and non-hits with plenty of aggressive swagger which warmed up a cold, damp evening.
It was nearly the end of the set before he acknowledge the enthusiastic audience with a gnarled ‘good evening’.
Bizarrely –as if you can describe anything at in the Dandy Highwayman’s set as bizarre – the only flat spot was during an attempted singalong of his biggest hit, Prince Charming. He quickly moved on with a rollicking cover of T-Rex’s Get it On.
So commanding was Ant’s performance that the headline set by folk heroes Noah and the Whale seemed anti-climatic.
Charlie Fink and the boys put on a decent show and sounded great, but it lacked the same teetering-on-the-brink energy.
Apple Cart’s appeal is hard to pin down. The music darted across a broad spectrum – other acts included ex-Supergrass man Gaz Coombes, Kid Creole and Billy Bragg – while a few hundred yards away are some big names in comedy, separated from a child-friendly magic tent, and a not-as-child friendly cabaret tent.
Other attractions included an art car boot fair, with whacky concepts such as shooting apples with a paintball gun.
The food was a myriad of organic and exotic.
This festival was blissfully all-over-the-show.
It is a shame, then, that the weather made walking around such an unattractive prospect, although credit must go to Apple Cart’s organisers who seemingly foresaw the torrents and moved the entertainment under cover.
The afternoon was best spent in the comedy tent. Orpington comic Josie Long riffed brilliantly on an internet list of things to do before you’re thirty, while Rich Hall’s set climaxed in a relentless, rib-aching polemic on Kraft cheese.
Sean Lock’s surrealism, whimsy and observations on subjects as broad as China and narrow as wheat intolerance were a delight.
Billy Bragg brought his topical cockney-punk protests, while magicians captivated tiny tots and drag artists danced to eighties cheese on different sections of the field.
The Apple Cart Festival overflowed with Golden Delicious entertainment and an orchard of variety. How’d ya like them apples? Let's just hope it returns for third harvest next year.