Review: Ben and Jerry’s Sundae Festival 2011

By Ben Lugg

Music, sun and unlimited ice cream were the order of the day as Manchester’s first Ben and Jerry’s festival climaxed with a storming set from Indie heavyweights Ocean Colour Scene on Sunday.

As the baking sun turned thousands of faces pink, 10,000 people swarmed into Heaton Park for the festival’s final acts.

In addition to music, a real farmyard, playground rides and an air guitar area ensured there was something for everyone, even if petting cows and taking part in toe-wrestling made for a slightly surreal atmosphere.

The festival was keen to show off its moral credentials, with Fairtrade stalls around the site and online publicity of its climate neutral status.

After Gary Numan and Maximo Park had headlined on Saturday, it was the turn of Ash, The Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Ocean Colour Scene to steal the show on Sunday, and sure enough they did just that.

A large family crowd and a relaxed friendly atmosphere greeted performers on the big stage, and after the Steve Cradock Band, Munich and Misdirectors had played, it was the turn of Northern Irish Britpop veterans Ash.

Their well received set opened with fans’ favourite ‘Girl from Mars’ and continued to entertain throughout a tight 50 minute set.

Next on were the Fun Lovin’ Criminals who got everyone dancing to favourites such as ‘Scooby Snacks’ and ‘Love Unlimited’ — a tribute to soul legend Barry White.

The New York trio climaxed withThe Fun Lovin’ Criminal’ which saw frontman Huey Morgan flinging his flying V guitar to the floor before exiting to shouts of more, more!

At around seven o’clock it was time for the headline act.

At the height of their fame Noel Gallagher dubbed Ocean Colour Scene ‘the second best band in Britain’ and Sunday’s performance showed they can still wow crowds after over 21 years together.

Fans’ favourites such as ‘The Riverboat Song’ and ‘The Circle’ got everyone on their feet as guitarist Steve Cradock (who had earlier appeared on the main stage with The Steve Cradock Band ) inspired the kind of polished performance you would expect from the Birmingham group.

During the set frontman Simon Fowler dedicated the song ‘One for the Road’ to Amy Winehouse, describing the influential performer as a true talent.

Ocean Colour Scene ended their set with perhaps their best known song, ‘The Day We Caught the Train’, with a jovial crowd happily singing along with every word.

The event in Heaton Park aimed to emulate the success of London’s Ben and Jerry’s Sundae festival in Clapham Common which has been running for seven years.

Ana Thorsdottir, from festival organisers Mischief PR, was happy with how the sunny afternoon in Manchester panned out.

“The festival has been trending on Twitter and there has been a lot of hype from fans on facebook,”she said.

“It looks like something we’d like to do again next year.”

Related Articles