FEATURE: Camp A Low Hum 2014

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Words: Ed Gorwell 

Photos: Bec Capp

When you lose someone, all of a sudden you have to speak about them in the past tense. It feels weird. This was the eighth, and final Camp A Low Hum. Redolent of 2008‘s ‘Muddy Meredith’, constant rain hung over this year’s Camp A Low Hum, dubbed ‘Camp A No Sun’. Although festival founder and curator Ian ‘Blink’ Jorgensen lamented and apologised for the shit weather, I thought the rain worked to evoke a camaraderie and defiance in the punters.

Camp A Low Hum is one of those rare festivals that is as much about community it is about music. It’s staged in an old scout camp near Wellington. There’s no backstage. No media pit. It’s BYO and the line-up isn’t announced until gates open. While Camp A Low Hum features a spattering of international bands during it’s eight year run, the main focus is on New Zealand and Australian talent.


An on-the-fly wet weather timetable this year saw some of the stages close, while many bands were relocated and rescheduled. The ‘Renegade Room’, a do-it-yourself stage equipped with amps and instruments where budding musicians could give their tunes a burl, doubled as a sleepover zone for campers whose tents had flooded.Though I was disappointed that I never got to check out the mythic ‘Journey’ stage (set somewhere high in the hills beyond a river crossing), the impromptu timetable seemed to fit the event’s DIY ethos.

A drizzly forest show among the pine trees suited Seagull. Back to back sets from Collarbones, Guerre, Rainbow Chan and Black Vanilla had campers grooving at the lagoon stage on Saturday, where a few people went swimming because they were wet anyway. Mesa Cosa, with some vicious tambourine accompaniment from Scotdrakula’s Dove and Matt, had campers actually swinging from the rafters in the ‘Noisy Room’. A guy kept offering me beers too. That was nice of him.


Other highlights:

When Kangaroo Skull brought a strobe light to the forest. When Bare Grillz were really good even though Matthew had a fractured wrist and had to play one-handed synth instead of two-handed guitar. Seeing Day Ravies at the after-party even though we missed them at the festival. They made my hangover go away. The crowd amassing in a spontaneous group-hug during Kirin J Callinan and Liam Finn’s collaborative rendition of ‘Total Eclipse of The Heart’. Magic stuff.

So much more happened and I documented the whole thing on film. A few weeks later, robbers broke into our car and stole the bag that had all my film from the festival in it. Our water-resistant photographer, Bec Capp was on a lucky streak though.These are her pictures from the final Camp A Low Hum.


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