BBG Presents: Festifeel 2016

6 March 2019

Losing people is hard. There are tears and emotions, unsaid words, things you wished you’d manage to spit out when you had the chance. Romances that could have been, but never were. Songs that could have been written. Paintings that could have been made. Love letters that should have been sent.

In this day and age it’s impossible to meet someone who hasn’t been affected by cancer. Having your friend knock at your door and take off that grey woolly hat to reveal a bold and shining head, and tell you the news isn’t good is one of the worst feelings in the world. You can try and cope by making them huge bowls of pasta and endless cups of tea, but nothing will fix it. For them or for you.

Festifeel is the amazing charity set up by the wonderful twin sisters Kris & Maren who were devastatingly affected by breast cancer when Kris was diagnosed in 2009. Since then they have worked tirelessly to ensure that less women go through what they did. The pain of having your life cut short, and the pain of watching someone you love leave a little too early.

For years and years, women talking about their breasts has been something that has been disapproved of. They should be private and covered up, only used in a sexual or mothering way. CoppaFeel are the charity calling bullshit on that. On Saturday 8th October a whole host of musicians, artists, and comedians gathered at House of Vans, the dingy and rustic venue underneath Waterloo Station, to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer and celebrate boobs.

The evening started with an electric set from Flyte, old BBG favorites who have been tirelessly working on their debut album since we last spoke with them last summer. Their sound and style has grown, and lead singer Will explained that he thinks “it’s a bit more distinctive, a bit more grown up and developed … I think the reason we hadn’t gone straight in and made the album was because we hadn’t quite discovered the sound”. The subject matter is one close to the boy’s hearts, as they spoke about how “the themes of the record have come together really nicely. There’s a real sense of cohesion in terms of what each song is saying. I think that ended up being based a lot around masculinity and what that means… making an album for the people who aren’t really cool and wear leather jackets and smoke cigarettes and stuff. It’s for the people who didn’t fit in at school and didn’t get on very well and maybe discovered themselves a little later on”. The boys were excited to be playing for such an admirable cause, and made the point that Coppafeel “feels like it’s becoming a part of the fabric of the music industry”.

We also caught up with Lewis Watson, another BBG veteran, who talked about what being involved in the event meant for him. Having previously chatted to Boys by Girls “in a foggy Oxford pub”, where he is now feels like miles away considering he’s just finished recording the “infamous second album”. “I don’t want to say I dreaded doing it, but I knew it would be a tough thing. The infamous second album thing is real, because people know what you sound like. You want to evolve, but you don’t want to evolve so much that people don’t know who you are. There is a fine middle grey area that’s showing evolution, but not too much change. It was amazing to spend that time in the studio. The first record was made over two years almost and this was made in about two and a half weeks in the same studio, the same producer, the same band, so it’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing. Now it’s that nervous wait to get it out and have people listen”.

Lastly we caught up with Irish lovely Gavin James, who is quite literally taking the world by storm having just won Choice Music Prize "Irish Song of the Year". He spoke fondly of his time growing up in Dublin, the influences and people who shaped and changed him as an artist, like how he “grew up listening to all the traditional Irish acts like Luke Kelly and the Dubliners”. He also kept telling us how important it was to check, and to get young people to check. So, BBG readers, that’s our final thought to leave you with. No one should have to go through the devastation of cancer - all of these amazingly talented acts have gathered for a reason. Cancer is something that we can fight if we band together; so check yourself, nag your friends to check, and next time you're around, come and rock out to some amazing music at Festifeel with us.

Words and Interviews by India Opie-Meres.

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