1:22pm Thursday 5th July 2012
By Nikki Jarvis
Trying to capture the attention of 3,000 drunken festival-goers and make them laugh at all your jokes is no mean feat.
This is probably why stand-up Stephen K Amos seemed to have had a little too much Dutch courage before headlining at Hop Farm Festival last Saturday night (June 30).
Having seen the talented comic live once before, I thought we were in for a real treat – a set full of hilarious tales about his Nigerian parents and growing up.
But it appeared the charismatic funnyman had just had one too many drinks to pull off his usual quality show.
Although he dealt with hecklers well, the set lasted for a fleeting moment and left everyone a little disappointed.
Thankfully, a few of the absolutely magnificent acts which had taken to the stage beforehand were funny enough to keep us laughing even after Amos had gone to bed.
I adore listening to live music and dancing like a lunatic at festivals.
During the fantastic weekend we watched amazing sets by Peter Gabriel, Gary Numan and even Bruce Forsyth – but the comedy tent was home to my favourite highlights.
Sitting cross-legged in front of the stage with the 10th beer of the day in hand, I discovered comics I’d never seen before and even found my new favourite stand-up.
Canadian born and raised Phil Nichol absolutely brought the house down with his musical comedy genius.
This ever-so-slightly camp star had thousands of hyped up audience members in the palm of his hand, hanging off his every word.
Now living in London, he praised our “violent” sense of humour and laid into the stupidity of the yanks.
Obviously a firm favourite with the crowd, people were begging Phil to play his hit tune The Only Gay Eskimo.
I have never heard such a ludicrous song sound so lovely before.
By the end of this loveable character’s set, everyone in the room – including one lucky guy who was pulled up on stage to sing with Phil – was singing in harmony.
“I’m the only gay Eskimo, in my tribe.” I belted out all the way back to our tent, and resumed the next morning.
Another wonderful surprise came when former Neighbours star Mark Little, aka Joe Mangel, bounded onto the stage to scream inspirational lines at us.
The amazing Aussie had the whole tent joining in with him and wailing expletives at the top of our lungs – absolutely brilliant fun.
I didn’t even mind the wasted girl in front of us who kept screaming ‘where’s Bouncer? We want Bouncer!’
Musical brothers and best friends Tom and Ed Croft, who come together to form Jollyboat, also delighted the crowds with their pirate-themed twist on pop songs.
These cheeky Yorkshire lads have incredible chemistry on stage together and were a pleasure to watch.
Friday night saw a line-up including headliner Russell Kane impress the audience.
Unfortunately the acoustics let the tent down on Friday, but the sound was perfect the following night .
Everyone felt a real sense of camaraderie, sat together and being treated to such an amazing night.
This is truly an integral part of the festival, and I sincerely hope it continues to get bigger and better.
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