We always knew that the wall-to-wall sunshine of last year’s Alresford Music Festival would be a tough act to follow. So when the day started with a bang (literally – huge thunderstorms gathered round Alresford and for a few early hours heavy rain beat holes in the ground) everyone prepared for the worst. Out came the Glastonbury Wellies, the umbrellas and the just-in-case waterproof jackets.

But in the end, we didn’t need them. Indeed, out came the sun hats and Factor 30 as the soggy field dried out to a warm, balmy summer’s day with blue skies, little fluffy clouds and, oh yes, some 2,500 people of all ages – about 25% up on 2013, believe it or not.AMF 2014 First Option Stage

AMF celebrated its 5th birthday this year – rather fitting as First Option, major sponsor of the festival for all five years, is also celebrating its 25th year of trading.

The festival, now a firm fixture on the musicfest calendar, again boasted over 20 bands, many of them returning from last or previous years, some of them making their first appearances. There was a great mix of rock, indie, jazz, classical, folk, cover bands and even the Alresford Community Choir and The Southampton Ukelele Jam to get people in the mood. The format was tweaked to improve the user experience – the four stages were shifted slightly to improve acoustics and sightlines, tents and stalls were adjusted to maximise viewing areas and ease gangways, and there was a general air of easy confidence by the AMF crew who have turned the Friday set-up and Sunday get-out into a fine art – not to mention all the backstage crews and bands who gave of their time on the day and created a great experience once again.

IMG_3223The day shift was very family-orientated – we had loads of enthusiastic people of all ages turn up at the sponsors’ tent proudly demonstrating the AMF app on their iPhone or Android device to claim a free hat. In fact over 60 people went away sporting a distinctive yellow hat – sadly we ran out but there were other goodies to take away and many visitors took the chance to have a go at our competition game app to win a mini sized, high quality speaker. This involved much scratching of heads to sort pictures of storage devices into order of maximum capacity. In case you took part and want to know what the answer is, the picture (right) shows the correct sequence:

Disk game

1. The 5.25″ floppy disk – typically held 140kb – 720kb

2. The 3.5″ floppy disk – typically held 1.44mb – 2.88mb

3. The ZIP disk – typically held 100mb – 750mb

4. The Sony Magneto-Optical Disk – typically held 600mb – 2.6GB

5. The DVD-R – typically 4.7GB

6. The Standard microSD card – typically 8GB – 64GB

10 people guessed the order correctly and of those the lucky winner, Nigel Buckingham was drawn out of a hat and will be presented with his Ultimate Ears Mini Boom Speaker once he responds to our email!

The evening brought a slightly different mix of festival goers as tired, excited families headed homeward to be replaced by a rather different, but equally enthusiastic evening audience.

Last year, £10,000 was awarded to two local charities from AMF profits – we sincerely hope that future contributions can be as generous, once all the costs and calculations have been made. Five years complete – here’s to the next five!