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Friday Night at Godiva Festival 2017 [Review]

Published: Saturday, 08 July 2017

Godiva Festival comes to Coventry

For some people summer means ice-cream and sunshine, but for others, including us here at Visit Coventry and Warwickshire, it means only one thing: The Godiva Festival.

Back for its 18th year, the award winning family festival brings its usual collection of comedy, food, drink, quirky entertainment and, of course, music. Legends such as The Human League, The Enemy, Ash, Super Furry Animals, Go West, ABC, The Christians, Kid Creole & the Coconuts, Hazel O'Connor, The Primitives, Badly Drawn Boy, The Fratellis, Kasabian, Maximo Park, Scouting for Girls, The Boomtown Rats and the Happy Mondays have all played a stage at Godiva. This year Example & Dj Wire, The Darkness, The Stranglers, Bad Finger, Mallory Knox and Panjabi MC are set to light up the stage. Oh and did I mention that the festival is completely free? Take a look at how Friday evening aka Godiva Day One went and get a flavour of the kind of beautiful beast that the festival really is…

War Memorial Park is the setting for Godiva, a key city attraction and a place that many Coventrians remember growing up in and spending long summer days. So perhaps it’s perfect then that such a heartfelt place is the setting for such a community spirited event. As with many festivals, there is always a feeling of wellbeing, unity, humanity and everyone feeling warm fuzzies towards their fellow music appreciator – Godiva is no exception. Walking through the park towards the main arena, surrounded by people all full of excitement for the night ahead, from small children to those who remember The Stranglers’ (Friday nights long awaited headliner) No More Heroes belting out of their bedrooms in their teens, really adds to the experience. It’s a pretty special atmosphere and one that many festival goers would say is one of the main attractions to events such as this. The festival is divided into three main sites – the family field (which will be covered in tomorrow’s blog), the fayre ground and the main arena, which contains all four stages, food stalls, bars and the craft stalls.

It’s very easy to get drawn over to the food stalls with the appetising smells that reach you as soon as you are through security and into the main field. Fancy some Japanese cuisine? They’ve got it. German Bratwurst or Mexican wraps? They’ve got that too. Burgers or fish and chips, Jamaican rice and peas, Coffee and donuts, crepes and noodles – yes, you guessed it – it’s all there. As you can tell, what I’m trying to get at is – Godiva has a food offer that the world is invited to and so loading your plate is definitely a joy. Not that you will be spending too much time sitting and eating though (although, if that’s what you wanted to do, go for it), with craft stalls selling all kinds of quirky, unusual or just darn tasty stuff. Rainbow coloured fidget spinners? Check. Inca inspired wooden jewellery? Check. Flower Crowns? Of course. How about some chocolate chilli jam or maybe mocktails from bubble boa, indi clothing with independent apparel, brightly coloured woven rugs from Priya or maybe a snow cone to cool down from The Sno Shack? But that is only the tip of the iceburg (pardon the pun). FarGo village, Coventry’s answer to Camden, is bringing Vintage in the Village to Godiva this year and its hard working and passionate stall holders are out in full force. With Wicced offering alternative décor, The Vintage Tea Shop offering up quintessentially English tea and cake. Bumblebee Glass is also there with its brightly coloured ornaments and glass necklaces, Just Jams have got all the sweet condiments that you and your toast could ever possibly want, Albies Boutique has got stuff to keep your pooch well and truly dapper and the Juice House is there to quench your thirst with its healthy, lipsmacking juices and smoothies – Tangerine Dream was my choice of beverage. The Escape Rooms lot are also there ready to show you its puzzle based, real life escape game and to ask you the question – have you got what it takes? Vintage in the Village was a huge highlight of the festival for me and really got me excited to think of what it could become as the festival continues to grow.

The bars are the next stop for me, with Hill Top Bar being the main port of call, featuring a good selection of wines, beers and cider and also being the proud home to the Microacoustic stage. There is a full line-up of talented artists whose main aim is to entertain you whilst you gather round on the wooden benches with a cold one. But don’t get me wrong – they certainly are not background music. They are the main attraction and there is a really homely, beer garden feel about it, with the compare enthusiastically introducing the acts to warm rounds of applause and cheers.

Next up is the main stage, the heart of the festival and sacred ground for Godiva regulars. For a lot of people attending the festival, standing at the main stage is all that they need for a great weekend of entertainment and it really is no surprise why. The atmosphere is electric and the stage lights shine out across the field, the air filled with a chorus of Golden Brown, orchestrated by the lead of The Stranglers and sung out by thousands of festival goers, it really is a sight to behold and sums up the spirit of Godiva.  

 Get ready for our next blog tomorrow, filling you in on all things family field and Rock/Rhythm tent and getting you ready to sing out “I believe in a thing called love” as courtesy of The Darkness on Sunday.