Review: The Spectacular Forest Live
Last month saw the return of the hugely popular Forest Live to the spectacular setting of Sherwood Pines in Nottinghamshire, with artists such as Olly Murs, Tom Jones, Elbow, Louise Johnson and more performing live for their fans.
Visit Nottinghamshire had to be represented at those great gigs and two of my colleagues – Elisia and Simon – got a chance to go and experience Forest Live for themselves. Elisia went to see Olly Murs, Simon on the other hand chose to see Elbow. Read on to find out what they thought of this celebration of music in the heart of Sherwood Forest.
Simon – Anyone who listens to Guy Garvey’s show on 6 Music will be familiar with his ‘let’s all have a hug’ intro, and it’s not unusual to feel like you’ve been in a warm embrace after listening to Elbow’s music.
The Forestry Commission pulled off a double cracker by getting Elbow and the ridiculously underrated Steve Mason to play in the wonderful surroundings at Sherwood Pines…. they also manged to arrange it in the middle of a heatwave!
Steve Mason opened the evening and entertained the crowd with tracks from his recent albums, most notably ‘A Lot of Love’ and ‘Alive’. He was engaging throughout his slot, asking those sat in deckchairs if they were enjoying their pork pies and Prosecco. He finished the set with a rousing rendition of ‘Dry the Rain’ from his previous life in the Beta Band, a band that should have become as big as Radiohead – sometimes there is no justice when it comes to music.
Elbow entered the stage to huge applause and Guy immediately started to engage the crowd with jokes about camping and, predictably, Robin Hood. The band got the loudest cheers for tracks from ‘Seldom Seen Kid’. I loved the fact Guy introduced the ideas behind the songs such as ‘Switching Off, which is about if you have a really good memory of something then you can choose that as the last thing you see before you die…your final scene.
The highlights for me were ‘Magnificent (She Says)’ with its swirling violins and lyrics about the naivety and trust we are all born with – something we could all do with a dose of when we are in adulthood, and ‘Mirrorball’ – a song about a new girlfriend and leaving her house after a night on the town.
They finished with ‘One Day Like This’, a track that catapulted them into people’s homes. Maybe there is justice in the music world after all. By the end, we all felt like we’d had a warm hug from Guy and the band.
Elisia – As a fan of Olly Murs since his X Factor days I was super excited to get the chance to see him and was equally pleased that Louisa Johnson was opening the night. Mac’s at the ready, my sister and I set off to Sherwood Pines wondering if the weather would hold out for the night. Luckily for us it did!
I often visit Sherwood Pines for family days out. The Gruffalo trail is perfect for little ones, the cycle paths provide hours of fun, Go Ape for the days I’m feeling adventurous and other times the simplicity of having a picnic in the beautiful surroundings makes me content. This was my first concert at Sherwood Pines and it exceeded expectations on so many levels!
We arrived later than most but in perfect time to see both artists. This was advantageous as we avoided any queues and were parked very close to the concert area! The atmosphere was electric. It was the end of the heatwave and the perfect temperature to dance along in the fading sunshine. Olly Murs and Lousia Johnson certainly did their best. They are both hugely talented and delivered engaging performances with the perfect amount of crowd interaction.
There was a real family vibe to the evening. Lots of people had brought along blankets, deck chairs and picnics, and had pitched up spots. With ample space at Sherwood Pines there was plenty of room for everybody! Young children had enough space to move around and play which is something you just don’t get with an indoor venue. All in all, it was a fantastic evening and I’m keen to know who is coming next year as I will certainly be signing up to go again.