Caribana’s reputation for it’s fine weather was once again confirmed for part of the evening, as the festival opened its gates under the shining sun.
The evening started with Swiss band Carrousel, made of Franco-Swiss couple Leonard Gogniat and Sophie Burande who met while busking in France. Their enthusiasm and great tunes, engaging lyrics rapidly gathered a fair amount of people enjoying a ride on their musical “merry-go-round” (Carrousel, in French!) under the sun. It’s always quite impressive, specially for the first concert of the evening, to see the change from the few people sitting in front of the stage before it begins to the crowd that gathers after the first couple of minutes. The magic of music and festivals!
Switching from the accordion to guitar, toy piano and even a music box, Carrousel gave a really nice concert, where you could see the band were enjoying themselves as much as the crowd, even under the high temperatures!
Next up on the main stage, Selah Sue enchanted everyone with her powerful voice. Her own mix of soul, funk and R’n’B got people moving to the rhythm, as she went from more energetic songs to mellower soulful tunes, swapping her backing band for an acoustic guitar. The 26 year old Belgian showed she didn’t need four other musicians to hold her own on the main stage, and her solo moments were really good.
The advantage of Caribana is that you’re never far from anything on the grounds, and you can sit down anywhere, have a bit to eat without missing out on the concerts. Traditional festival food stalls offer anything from Curries to Burgers, via Pizzas, Crèpes and Baked Potatoes. Whether you sip a beer at a table in front of the smaller stage, or enjoy a refreshing cocktail from “Miss Caipi’s” bar with you feet in the (enjoyably cool) lake, the festival’s setting allows you to relax and enjoy the great weather in a beautiful spot.
It wasn’t all sun and fun, and as Swedish cult band the Cardigans walked onto the main stage, the sky gradually got more and more menacing. Commenting on what looked like an impending storm, forecast for around 22:00 (quite accurately, too!), they joked they would try and up the tempo and play all their songs slightly faster to finish before the bad weather hit. The crowd was quite diverse, with quite a few people who had come with their children. The most enthusiastic hand wavers were all over 40, and probably fans of the band when they first started playing. The lead singer engaged with crowd, reminiscing of her 18 years of age when she first sang a particular song, for example. Playing to the setting sun, with a background of perilous clouds, the atmosphere was pretty great. An amused festival-goer pointed out to his friends, regarding the colours in the sky, that they seemed to have the best light effects technician in the world- indeed, Nature is hard to beat!
Sadly, they lost against the weather, and as the wind gradually got stronger, and the first drops of rain started falling, some of the crowd wandered off towards the reassuring protection of the bars. Others, more intrepid, maybe hardcore fans or storm enthusiasts simply fished out the raincoats kindly handed out at the festival entrance, and continued, impervious to the (by now) massive amounts of water falling down on them. As the rain didn’t look like it was going to stop, and actually got stronger and stronger, quite a few people started leaving the grounds to head back to their car or the bus and dryer spots.