Having a self-professed drunk in the form of Beans on Toast performing smack-bang in the middle of a Sunday daytime crowd (made up almost entirely of children and families) seems like an odd choice. Even more so when you consider the subject matter of the peculiar singer-songwriter’s lyrics: sex, drugs and life from a particularly free-living adult perspective. However, as with the very nature of Camp Bestival – a festival that exceeds all expectations even with its widely endorsed reputation – so too did Beans on Toast, who through his charming and open performance struck a chord almost instantaneously with the huge crowd congregated at the Castle Stage.
Both amusing and thought-provoking, the Essex born acoustic artist at one point sung of a friend (this is a family festival, don’t forget!) called ‘Charlie’. This was indicative of his whole performance; playful communication of his songs with multiple points of reference depending on whether you have adult or child ears.
Whilst he also writes explicitly about political turmoil and warfare alike, he does it in such a way for which leaves you engaged, as opposed to feeling irritated at another poor Frank Turner knock-off. Such is the wit of Beans on Toast, at one point he quipped ‘I realise the irony in censoring my own song about censorship’. Here was an artist expressing political sentiment without pretence, or indeed, a sense of suffocating self-importance.
Understanding his environment completely, he even performed a song with children from a festival workshop, naming themselves ‘The Unicorns’. It was in this moment, that he projected with pride the festival ethos, as children sung their own lyrics about their drunk parents. Kudos.
Whilst it was totally mad, somewhat miraculously his selection in prime-time Sunday family hour was, if a bit weird, an unlikely masterstroke.