I grew up on a farm with two younger brothers. We are all quite close in age, and when we were aged between 8 and 13 our mother found that having three young lads charging in and out of the house covered in dust, mud and the nameless detritus of a farm yard, fighting and generally being boys was quite hard work. She got around this problem by not letting us in the house for weeks at a time. This may have you hunting out the Childline number but let me stop you there, as it wasn't quite as barbaric as it sounds (though there was a hint of Lord of the Flies about her solution). Instead of sleeping in bedrooms like normal people, Mum preserved the orderliness of her house by making us camp on the farm.
At the start of the summer we'd pitch a number of tents on the farm and each evening we would pile onto one of the farm vehicles shortly before dusk and trundle up to the campsite, where we would produce that particular type of cremated-on-the-outide-raw-on-the-inside sausages that only a really good campfire can deliver. The next morning we would return to the house and spend the day frolicking in the garden and hitting each other. I don't recall how we washed, but I suspect that we were not that concerned. The summers were long and dusty, hot and seemingly endless. What days.
I mention this childhood memory as it was painfully reminded of it as I struggled to pitch my tent against the biblical rain at Boomtown this year. I reflected, as I cursed and wiped the rain from my eyes, that camping seems to have lost some of its appeal in the intervening 20 years. For one, the tent seems far smaller, and my ability to spring from my sleeping bag full of vim and joi de vie after a night sleeping on the grass is very much reduced.
It is for this reason that given identical lineups and all the rest, I'd pick an urban festival over one in a field. Swingamajig in Birmingham is an excellent example of the breed, but the schelp back from the midlands to London the following day is a brute.
That's why when the promo material for the London Remixed festival starts arriving I feel a little frisson of excitement. Organised by Continental Drifts (Chris Tofu's event production company), it comes at just the right time in the year to help banish the rapidly blurring memories of Dry January (why would you do that to yourself?!), and to get the juices flowing ready for spring.
If you haven't been to London Remixed before, its a "a celebration of the best emerging musical talent and genres and will offer creativity, fun and madness, complete with buzzing atmosphere". As the name implies, the festival is all about the remix. Over the course of the weekend you can catch Latin Grooves, Afrobeats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix, Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix. But you'll be most interested in the electro-swing, Vintage Remix and whatnot.
My top tip is to make sure you catch Symphonica & Mr. Switch. I missed them at Boomtown and can't forgive myself. Just check out these videos of what to expect. Its not electro-swing. It's not even vintage remix. I don't know what to call it other than "thoroughly splendid".
Other acts to catch over the weekend include the Temple Funk Collective (whose brass section also forms part of the Dutty Moonshine Big Band) and brassy hip-hippers 'Dat Brass'.
I know this blog has lots of readers who also make music - if that's you, don't miss out on a day of free ‘Remix Workshops’ with professional music production tutors and established music producers. This is a unique opportunity to mingle with industry professionals and to gain tips on how to progress creatively. Along with sessions for beginners and intermediate remixers running throughout the day, there will be another Remix Speed Dating session for bands, producers and industry bodies to meet up and swap ideas at Rich Mix.