Northampton Town Festival has been the victim of snobbery over the years.
Among the eclectic mix of events that make up the public social calendar in a Noho summer, this is the one that is ‘the commercial one’.
A lot of the traders and food concessions are festival pros who buy pitches at festivals all over the country. The arena events are packed with acts that travel in the same way.
But as I strolled across the Racecourse in the blazing sunshine and walked in free I did feel like you would have to have a major grump on not to appreciate it.
It only really has to be better than the kickabouts and picnics you would normally get on the Racecourse on a summer weekend and it certainly achieves that.
Having said that there are stalls from charities and the fairground is provided by one of the big local fairground families – or from the Leicestershire/Northamptonshire border at least.
There is also a music stage showcasing the great depth of talent produced by Northampton’s quarter of a million population.
Perhaps its because the festival is free there is no nationally famous headline act to top the bill.
Lionel Richie and Little Mix and previous years’ Northampton Alive gigs pulled in the crowds and show the town can cope, albeit with an additional festival of queueing and parking.
Undoubtedly that kind of boost would change the nature of the whole thing and there is a good debate to be had about how to make the best of summer in Northampton.
From the start of June there are good free events every weekend and it feels like there should be some way of tying them all together in a way that could bring people in from further afield.
My main point is to give credit where it’s due. I enjoyed my couple of hours at the festival. It’s in our blood to enjoy sitting in a field listening to music with fast food sauce dripping down your t-shirt and a beer tent only a short stagger away.
Of course the sunshine doesn’t hurt, and it’s amazing how much a blast of flame from a hot air balloon overhead sounds like a familiar old friend…
Pictures are by Dave Ikin