La freak c’est Chic
Grooving to seventies dance classics wearing a Barbour coat and wellies. It must either be a county show or an outdoor gig.
It was, in fact, the Eden Sessions and I was witnessing a true legend in action: Chic, featuring Nile Rogers. Despite the inclement weather, I felt like I should have made the effort and found something glittery to wear, fitting for a bit of 70s New York disco.
Despite being diminutive in size, Rogers’ charisma lit up the venue. His huge smile and obvious enjoyment created an immediate feelgood vibe. He made it clear at the start that he wrote every song which would be played. I’m glad he cleared that up, as I had no idea he wrote Let’s Dance, or He’s the Greatest Dancer, which transported me back 20 years to my student bedroom, getting ready to go out and drinking cheap Bulgarian wine with my best friends. Aaah, thanks for the nostalgia trip Niles.
The XX were headlining. I like The XX but they were no follow up for Niles and his band of ageing, sassy funksters. Chic found the small window of sunshine in a miserable day, but for The XX it started to drizzle again.
After the demise of the mighty Cornwall Colisseum, which was a guaranteed tour stop off back in the day, Cornwall became a graveyard for live music. It was one of the obstacles against dragging my gig loving husband to live in Cornwall. So when Eden started the Sessions, back in 2001, it was most exciting. Especially as the first year included Doves, Pulp and Spiritualized. We’ve since seen some of our favourite bands there: Muse (who made the ground shake), Kaiser Chiefs, The Raconteurs, Badly Drawn Boy….
With a capacity of just 6,000, Eden is an intimate venue. It means that you can see the whites of the bands eyes without getting crushed. And there are some nice touches: cooking paella outdoors, the biomes lit up, pasties at the end after a long walk to the top. The pints of Pimms, although sadly they didn’t seem to be offering them this year.
According to Eden, 96 per cent of their guests think there is something special about watching live music at Eden. With many of the directors, including Tim Smit, being ex-music industry they know what they are doing and they invest in the best sound and lighting. The pit acts as an amphitheatre and the gardens are a beautiful setting, with the biomes multi-coloured at night. Eden also works with The Sensory Trust to ensure the Sessions are as accessible as possible. They always feel smooth running and safe, with a friendly atmosphere: I remember at an Ian Brown gig someone asked if I could see. If anyone ever dares to stand in the flower beds they are instantly booed.
Although the Sessions have boosted the local gig scene, they also pull in a lot of punters who combine seeing one of their fave bands with a trip to Cornwall. If you fancy it next year you can find out the line up by signing up to the newsletter on Eden website http://www.edenproject.com/sessions or follow them on twitter @TheEdenSessions.
Top Tips for the Eden Sessions
You have to buy tokens for drinks. It’s best to buy these when you show your ticket to get in. You can top up down by the stage, but sometimes the queue can be a hassle.
Even if it’s raining don’t be tempted to buy an umbrella, as it will be confiscated.
It’s OK to bring a picnic – but no alcohol. However you can’t sit on your blanket all evening to watch the gig.
Where to stay
The Cornwall: Handily placed for Eden, a hotel stay which will feel like a treat, with the option of self catering accommodation too. http://www.thecornwall.com/home.aspx
Watergate Bay Hotel: It’s a 30 minute drive, but you are rewarded with a fantastic hotel in a glorious setting, right on the beach. http://www.watergatebay.co.uk Self-catering accommodation is also on offer: http://www.beachretreats.co.uk/places/watergate-bay
Lower Barns: This boutique B&B, just outside St Austell, offers a great experience, with treatments and dinner on offer at reasonable prices. http://www.bosue.co.uk
Antonia’s Pearl’s: for tasteful holiday cottages in the nearby harbour village of Charlestown. http://www.antoniaspearls.co.uk
If you just want a bed for the night, there is a Premier Inn at Carclaze, a couple of miles from Eden.
Innis campsite: The cheapest place to stay within walking distance of Eden: http://lgn1331823628.site-fusion.co.uk