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5,000 soak up atmosphere at Cumbria's CockRock music festival

Prize bingo, 12 Welsh men in tracksuits and a 40-piece rock choir wouldn’t normally have that much in common, but this weekend brought them altogether at one glorious event – CockRock.

Cockrock photo
Some of the crowd at the Goldie Lookin' Chain gig. More photos at

The three-day festival saw 5,000 music lovers and party animals take over several fields at Wellington Farm, near Cockermouth, to become a new temporary town of the weird and the wonderful.

Music is its main focus and the headliners chosen couldn’t have been more different.

Friday night was dedicated to the heavy and angst-ridden rhetoric of Funeral For a Friend and Gallows.

These poster boys of new rock demonstrated that misery loves company – and apparently likes a good dance as well.

Saturday was much more easy going with Goldie Lookin’ Chain and The Bluetones. Both can be described as indie/alternative, but are as far apart from each other as rock and roll and dance.

The Chain didn’t even steal the show – they stole the entire weekend.

They bounded onto stage in dayglo tracksuits and belted out tracks that while witty and sometimes laugh-out loud funny, shouldn’t really appeal to a huge cross section of people because of their “adult” nature.

However, they defy all expectations as tots to OAPS were singing along and dancing to tracks, including, of course, Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do.

I have never seen a crowd as big at Cockrock and probably won’t again, unless the Chain reappear.

After whipping the crowd into a frenzy, they were suitably calmed by The Bluetones with their slice of good, honest guitar indie.

Sunday is always chill-out day at CockRock and it was wrapped up by Steve Harley and The Cockney Rebel. Still going after all these years and consummate professionals, they drew a huge audience and raced through song after song – leaving their biggest hit Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) until the encore.

As well as the headliners, there were hundreds of local bands performing all over site including Five And Dangerous, Hunderneath, Katfish, Tropical Fruit Disaster, AWOL and Colt 45.

Bizarre moments included prize bingo at Tent 42, with prizes hand picked at a car boot festival the week before, and a rock choir performing marvellously in the dance tent yesterday afternoon to the delight of a rather large audience.

And that’s the beauty of CockRock. Organisers create a wonderful environment for festival-goers to enjoy the bands and Tent 42 is an oasis of sublime oddity in the centre of it all.

Anything is possible there, from one-man bands to bingo to Red Hot Chili Peppers tributes to thrash metal. You never know what you’re going to get.

It’s not all about the music – this year, a Green area was created, which almost became a festival-within-a-festival. It had its own vibe, with music, craft tents, healing areas, green toilets (which were the best on site) a fire, real ale and a solar-powered stage. A great place to recharge your batteries and added another dimension to the event.

There was only one brief shower of rain and the rest of the time, the weather was glorious. It couldn’t have gone better.

Have your say

First time at festival with my son we found it perfectly organized, super atmosphere and different stiles of fantastic music:
steve harley!!hunderneath!newcomers car crash radio! thanks for all
Thomas from Germany

Posted by thomas/germany on 3 August 2011 at 18:50

its ok saying that people look after each other and where were the security when my caravan was getting smashed up with my 14 year old daughter asleep in side it plenty of people where there watching the person do it but not one person tryed to stop it from happening just all stood there and watched but what goes around comes around and it might happen to your kid and i might be there just watching it happen i hope everyone that just watched are pleased with there selves i even parked right next to a van that had someone watching the flood lights why could they have not got security to come over

Posted by charon on 30 July 2011 at 18:18

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