The Big Chill: day three – review

Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire

Read our reviews of the first and second days of the Big Chill

Sunday morning at the Big Chill arrived like a hangover. When festivalgoers crawled out of their tents they were greeted by a drizzly day – unlike Kanye West, who reportedly stayed at the £7,000-per-night Eastnor Castle and probably woke up feeling refreshed.

The final day is typically a comedown at any festival and the Big Chill is no different, with the emphasis on world music and laidback DJ sets. There are also fewer memorable costumes to be seen, so special mention goes to the woman wandering around in a bridal gown.

The Big Chill Radio stage played host to PJ Harvey's Let England Shake, a 30-minute film that accompanies her latest album. Listening to Harvey's haunting lyrics and watching poetic images felt like the right place to be. Not least because it was an escape from the rain, so by the end of the film it was almost standing room only.

The music was relatively undemanding in the morning, with the North Mississippi Allstars Duo playing unpretentious, if derivative southern rock. The sun didn't shine until after lunch when DJ Norman Jay took the stage. He paid tribute to Amy Winehouse by playing a couple of her tracks in a diverse set that included everything from drum'n'bass to 90s anthems – with a bit of Michael McDonald thrown in. Jay's ability to unite generations finally got the Big Chill crowd on their feet.

Femi Kuti kept them moving with dizzying Afrobeat sounds, backed by his expansive, well-drilled Positive Force band, boasting the most booty-shaking dancers of the weekend. In between songs, Kuti railed against African corruption to an appreciative audience.

Although Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela were last to play on Sunday, Robert Plant and the Band of the Joy felt like the real headline act. A grizzled-looking Plant was the festival sage, dispensing wisdom and wit between songs while marshalling the considerable talents of his veteran band.

The Band of Joy strolled through Plant's recent back catalogue and gave Led Zeppelin tracks such as Black Dog and Ramble On a rootsy reworking with huge choruses. As Plant kept telling the crowd, he was just a local boy happy to be close to home. They were glad to have him back.


Akin Ojumu

The GuardianTramp

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