IF Glastonbury is the big city of modern music festivals, Somersault is a beach house retreat, hidden away from the stresses of everyday life.
From surfing excursions to fire-side long table feasts, this really was the ultimate summer camp getaway – and with a faultless line-up of fresh and established musical talent for company, the pair fitted so effortlessly hand-in-hand.
It’s difficult to lay your finger on the specifics of the festival’s tranquil and chilled out vibes, but it was something so unique, so far detached from the hustle and bustle of the modern festival machine.
No aggro, no impatience, no litter – just a wave of appreciation and a herd of smiling faces.
Mother Nature was another in buoyant mood, stubbornly ignoring the strictest instructions from the powers that be, for a damp and drab weekend. She smiled for much of the five days - taking a short break on Saturday afternoon to show off with a spectacular thunder storm - before ushering blue skies back into the frame. It was almost poetic.
They returned just in time for the King of surf-folk, Jack Johnson to assume centre stage – and he didn’t disappoint, he rarely does.
Gleaming from ear-to-ear, the Hawaiian-born artist captured the hearts of the thousands of festival-goers with a sensational two-hour set, as the sun went down on the main stage.
From the daydreamy sounds of ‘Breakdown,’ to the rockier riffs of ‘Sitting, Waiting, Wishing’ – Johnson grasped the whole foundations of the festival so perfectly, before signing off with a favourite from Inbetween Dreams, ‘Better Together.’ But the long weekend would not have been complete without a fitting finale – arise, Ben Howard.
Devon’s favourite musical son brought the curtain down in a way only he could, but not before Canadian newcomers Half Moon Run had warmed things up.
A finger-picking intro to ‘Only Love’ was all that was required to pluck away at the heartstrings of the crowd’s vast female population – “I’m going to marry him, he just doesn’t know it yet,” said the girl next to me. I doubt she was alone.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are another deserving of a mention and we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the near future.
While the main stage naturally attracted the most attention, your weekend wouldn’t have been complete without a trip the riverside setting of the Communion Stage.
Its daytime sessions truly were music at its most pure and captivating, exhibited in every sense by the soothing and soulful sounds of Bruno Major.
Angelic and harmonic, you got the sense that Major was on the verge of something, well, major – and these intimate shows could soon be a thing of the past.
BBC introducing stars Port Isla upped the ante on Friday evening with an energising display – another you sense are set for bigger things.
The most refreshing aspect of the Communion Stage was the humble and almost uneasy nature of the artists – new to the bright lights, amazed by the turnout.
If you had more to give when the stage lights were dimmed, the late night forest parties provided ample setting for a continuation of the party.
It was Narnia-esque, as the strobe lights bounced from branch to branch in the most unique of settings, but this was Somersault in a nutshell – mesmerising, new, different.
Monday came and the tents began to come down, but they’ll be back next year.
As with Bruno Major and Port Isla, Somersault is destined for much bigger things in the coming years – the challenge will be to ensure the atmosphere and vibe remains, but on this year’s showing, both are here for the long run.