Our first full season in the fields and the summer of 2016 kicked off over the Mayday weekend with OxBurn! It was a pleasure and great start to bring Once In A Blue Moon to our idyllic hometown of Oxford for the first time. This one day event was a grassroots interpretation of the famous US festival Burning Man which takes place every year in the dusty deserts of Nevada. Based on the same principles of community, individuality and creativity, OxBurn took place in a secluded eco park with hidden access only via a rail track. It was a top spot, and the ‘no money involved’ event attracted a great crowd, running late into the night. Setting up our lovely new Indian Marquee for the first time took a little while, but once it was up we had a donations bar and stage area, with a steady stream of live performance and DJs. As it bizarrely became freezing cold in the early hours, the tent became the soul of the party, with a particular highlight being local Oxford blues outfit Papa Nui turning up for a surprise set. OxBurn was a little different to the usual Mayday traditions in Oxford, but a great start to the summer
Next stop was our longest running festival partner, formerly known as Gearfest, the Subsonic Weekender! An all round quality weekend of crazy outfits, some of the most friendly people on the festival circuit and serious basslines in beautifully secluded farmland in Wales. OIABM Cafe was a 24 hour operation here, serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner in our usual organic and delicious style as well as staying open WELL into the early hours as the late night chill out venue. We had impromptu live jams (at one point we can hazily recall there being at least 5 saxophone players on stage) along with some top DJ vibes from the likes of our own PXM, Hiphopatamus and Leon Mook. Bring on next year!
To close the month of May, we returned to No Man’s Land for the second year in a row. The NML Crew had decided to not only change to a much larger site but also seriously up the scale of the event! Competing soundsystems blasted out psytrance, acid techno, drum’n’bass and much more in their various areas, whilst the live stage breathed out fire and hosted top acts such as Gaudi. OIABM Cafe nestled nicely in under some trees, and whilst the soundclash was shall we say a little ‘intense’ at times, the vibes inside were great and we became a popular spot. Shout out to the guy, perhaps ever so slightly under the influence eh, who went into SERIOUS detail about the process of eating our Ethiopian Lentil Curry…
Balter Festival was a weird, crazy and downright fun affair as always, the organisers are onto a winning formula and for most people there, it was a total blast. Back for the second year running, we were in the exact same spot between the campsite and arena, though this time of course with our vastly superior new tent! Feedback on the food, decor and vibe was great from everyone, one geordie guy even earnestly told us that when he got married, Once In A Blue Moon Cafe at Balter would be the place! We’re not so sure he remembered saying it the next day when reminded…Los Albertos headlining ska set was brilliant and the café was popular as ever, though the Balter crew had a habit of ‘sprawling’ rather than sitting in the space.
Triplicity was our first appearance at a new festival for 2016, a fully ‘psychedelic’ event in the beautiful hills of Exmoor with the sea in a sight. It was slightly marred by the most extreme weather we’ve ever experienced at a festival on the last night! A vicious storm and strong winds came in – and we had to pack down the tent early. Otherwise though, the festival was great and we got to know some awesome people who would frequent the cafe every day. Shout out to the regulars!
In the first weekend of July, we head up north to Dazzley! It was the futhest geographically away from our Bristol base we’d been and also the smallest festival we’ve ever done. It was very well organised but still had an intimate friends of friends party vibe, taking place at a wonderful Peak District home. No marquee for us this time, Once In A Blue Moon Cafe set up in the corner of a barn as the only trader. Being so small, it was great to serve food and drink to members of the bands who had played such as Honeyfeet and the After Hours Quintet.
In the middle of July over a seriously hot weekend, we headed south west for our Cornwall debut at the wonderful Tropical Pressure. This family friendly festival was packed full of music, workshops and performance with a different continental theme each day from across the globe: Latin American, African and Carribbean. With a slightly different set up to usual, Once In A Blue Moon Cafe was cleared out and used for workshops and classes all day – hosting yoga, capoeira and more for adults and kids, whilst every evening we ran a pop-up late night chill space with our very own selection of tunes from around the world along with drinks, cakes and a special new Brazilian black bean and salsa toastie. Due to this arrangement, we actually had some time off one daytime to visit the beach!
At the end of July we hosted our second Summer Party, this time with the title of ‘Once In A Blue Moon’s Midsummer Fayre’. For this all dayer, we re-visited one of our favourite spots in Bristol, the lovely eco-campsite tat filled paradise that is nestled away in St Werburgh’s where our Secret Winter Party was held back in 2014. We had facepainting, a spoon carving workshop, African dance classes, delicious organic food, DJs, bands, a stand up and spoken word showcase and even a bizarre masquerade ball. The firepit embered late into the night, check it out:
The first weekend of August brought us for our first full day event in Bristol in the form of the amazing Redfest in St George’s Park – a roasting hot sunny day and thousands of people packed into the park to enjoy the music, open space and, as it happened, the lovely food we cooked up and served from our stall!
After parting our separate ways for a little break to work and party at Boomtown and Shambala, Once In A Blue Moon crew re-grouped for a double whammy back to back end to the summer over 3 consecutive weekends. One Love Festival came first, our London debut, it’s the UK’s biggest Reggae and Dub weekender and was an interestingly different experience to many of the other festivals we’d done. Serious jah rastafari vibes with a heavyweight lineup featuring the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Big Youth. We fed the entire festival crew and set up in the campsite rather than the providing a popular chill and jam space for the public and campers after the rest of the music had ended. Excitingly, we also put our lovely new custom made bench seating to use for the first time! Out to Polish Pete for his design on this and late night ‘important announcements’ in the cafe.
Illusive Festival was our last full weekender of the summer, a melting pot of different free party sound-systems and ravers created a wild spectacle with some serious set design and projection mapping. There was plemty to keep people occupied, including thumping techno and circus/aerial acrobatics. OIABM Café, with the help of our lovely new custom made benches, was the go-to chill spot again! This 3000ish capacity festival was suprisingly well organised considering how young it is, although it was certainly also one of the messiest ?
To end things off we popped up at Vitality, a new event co-hosted by our fruit & veg partner Chi Wholefoods. With the heavyweight Roots Inspiration soundsystem set up in the courtyard – the bass boomed all day as our café resident PXM played an early world set which was followed by some serious dub. The Once In A Blue Moon décor helped transform the usually plain warehouse into a cosy colourful place and it was filled with crowds from all over Bristol – we served our trademark Ethiopian Lentil Curry and Vegan Coconut Chai which went down a treat – a top end to a top summer!
Bring on 2017…