These are always the days when we reflect on what this Dirty Great Town Northampton could be.
Northampton Music Festival places stages all around town offering any flavour of music you could wish for.
You wander around town in the ‘blistering sunshine’ dipping in and out of drumming, rock, jazz, pop, reggae, funk.
You get a little depressed by the boarded up stuff in the main commercial spaces but then you find yourself standing outside the gothic splendour of the Guildhall looking down at the Mediterranean chic of All Saints and you get a little whoosh of what Northampton could be/really is.
Wandering around during the day Fish Street had a crackle about it that is worth recognising. There was a little pop up stage outside The Fish and the pavement tables were full all the way down, generating a chill vibe and a high quality of life for the citizenry.
Northampton College and the University of Northampton ran a student stage at the Element Bar giving acts valuable experience of live work alongside a chance to showcase their amazing skills.
I bumped into Dave Jackson, a big beast of rock journalism in Northampton, and he noted sagely but approvingly that “it takes more than just being an amazing musician”.
That indeed is the thrill of Northampton Music Festival because you encounter performers at all levels of experience and fame, for free. You might be watching your neighbour on one stage and a charting band like headliners Sarpa Salpa the next.
Almost certainly you are seeing something you will never be able to see again in quite the same way.
You go home from it thinking how good Northampton could be if only whatever… less litter, more cool little cafe bars, more venues, bigger music festivals and for some people it might be a jumping off point to do a little thing themselves. There’s so much social cohesion it’s almost disgusting.
I went to a lot of festivals as a young man and I firmly believe I once heard Wayne Coyne, lead singer of The Flaming Lips (not to be confused with singer/songwriter Steve Ward of St Giles Cheese who also has that rock’n’roll gipsy thing going on) say this:
“People say what is the point of all the love and joy of festivals if you have to go back to your dull old life on a Monday morning? What does it all mean? Yes festivals are about enjoying life now but you need to take a piece of that joy with you and carry it on into your life, so the more festivals there are, the more joy will be carried out into the world and it will become a better place.”
So there you have it, explained scientifically. Take the joy forward. The trouble is, I don’t think I’ve ever seen The Flaming Lips.