Standon Calling the fun 5,000

The grounds of a 16th century manor house just 10 miles east of Stevenage is the setting for one of the most innovative, intimate and fun festivals in the now crowded summer diary.

Standon Calling, near Standon village, takes place on August 12 to 14 with headliners Spiritualized, Lamb and Battles - giving some indication of how coolly left-field this festival is.

The bill toppers are joined by over a hundred bands across five stages including the brilliant The Mummers, the bonkers Parliament-esque Chrome Hoof and the electro monkey antics of Errors as well as MC Cole, Little Boots and Saul Williams.

With a Gods and Monsters theme this year (it was Crime last year and Space the year before), the stage and set designs, art installations, theatre and general encouragement to festival-goers to dress up gives the festival a unique flavour – as do its swimming pool, literary lounge and 24-hour cow shed nightclub.

The festival now in its eleventh year, with a licence for 5,000, has grown from very modest beginnings – a 25-strong birthday party – to championing some of the best new acts in the country. Florence And The Machine, Friendly Fires, Mumford And Sons and The Noisettes have all played here before hitting stellar status. Festival director Graham Macvoy said: “It’s a really friendly place – friendly people and friendly staff and a great line-up.

People are welcomed by a pedal powered DJ and its music all the way from then. There’s an interactive theatre for the whole weekend – the Gods and Monsters story plays out and people can search for bits for pieces and puzzles as part of the story. It’s really interesting and you can get immersed into it.

“Every year there’s a big fancy dress theme and a fancy dress competition on Saturday night. You get some amazing sights on Saturday.

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“A lot of the original people are still involved with it and it’s definitely got that feel to it. Still that same place.”

Ticket range from not a bean for under-12s to �120 for full weekend adult camping.

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