The independent London newspaper

Standon ovation for this summer festival

Rag N Bone Man, Friendly fires, and Nile Rodgers and Chic are among the big names set to appear at this year’s Standon Calling

23 May, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

Saint Agnes are among the acts set to perform at this year’s Standon Calling festival

IT has become one of the best-loved music festivals in the summer calendar – the always awesome Standon Calling, which takes place on the last weekend of July in the picturesque surroundings of Standon in Hertfordshire.

With headliners such as Rag N Bone Man, Friendly fires, Nile Rodgers and Chic, and Echo and the Bunnymen, there is plenty on the big stages to get down to.

But Standon also prides itself on its hidden spots, its smaller sound systems, and parties dotted through the rolling valley that the party nestles in.

Here we quiz rockers Saint Agnes, who will make their Standon debut this year.

What was your first festival as a punter and your first as an artist?

Jon: I went to Donnington Monsters of Rock when I was way too young to be there. Saw Pantera, White Zombie, Sepultura and Metallica – and I’ve never been the same since. My brain got fried and I still hold it up as my best festival experience ever.

Kitty: I went to Glastonbury and saw The Dead Weather on the Pyramid Stage in the sunset slot.
Illegal rave in the countryside, or Hyde Park gig with a megastar? Where would you rather be at 10.30pm on a summer Saturday and why?

Jon: We’re not ravers, but I’d have to go with that. At least in the woods you can escape to find your own quiet spot and maybe get something going on your own with people who feel the same way. In a lot of ways this is like a concentrated version of how we feel as a band, never quite fitting in and sloping off to the woods to conjure up some spirits of our own.

Tour buses: what are your dos and don’ts?

Kitty: Anything and everything goes. It’s your little home for a while so you get to act like you’re at home.

What personal item do you never ever leave behind when on tour?

Jon: My whole life is the band, so I don’t have anything at home I miss at all. The only thing to make sure I have is a good book or two for the long drives.

Living in close confines it is important to be able to escape into your own world for a while. For this tour it is Semiosis by Sue Burke.

Has the summer festival circuit become too crowded to offer something different? Discuss!

Jon: I honestly have no opinion on this, we are so focussed on our own band that the wider live industry and its specific difficulties pass me by. We have enough things to think about that we don’t have space for other people’s worries too. You exist in the time and space you’re in and it is best to accept it and make the most of it rather than waste energy looking back. If you feel really strongly about something then do something to activate change, like Kitty is doing with her Daughters of Lucifer gang.

If you were in charge of booking a festival, which act from the past would you most like to support or see?

Jon: This is so hard, there’s so many magical performers who are either dead or past their prime. Hendrix would be incredible, as would Janis Joplin or The Who when they were at their best. For me, though, maybe mid-90s Nine Inch Nails, as they were at Woodstock, would be hard to beat.

Kitty: Hole.

Are you a happy camper?

Jon: We’re surfers and we’re in a band. Both those things mean we’re used to sleeping where and when we can and roughing it for the experience to come.

Best-ever festival experiences? Worst?

Kitty: Best: The Eagles playing Hotel California at Hop Farm Fest, followed by Iggy.

Worst: Being stuck in a queue for nine hours to get into Isle of Wight.

If you had to offer the first-time festival-goer one crucial piece of advice on how to make the most of their weekend, what would it be?

Jon: Give up on your phone, don’t be someone queuing to charge it and make poor-quality videos of cool bands. Throw yourself into the festival, immerse yourself 100 per cent, give new bands a try and follow your ears. Don’t go see who is hot in the mainstream press, dig a little deeper and find the hidden gems.

If it rains, become one of the mud people. Real life begins again on Monday, what you got to lose?

Win tickets for Standon Calling!

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of weekend tickets to Standon Calling, simply answer the following question: Which song did Saint Agnes’ Kitty see The Eagles perform that became her best-ever festival experience?

Email your answer to

Closing date: June 7.


Share this story

Post a comment