All Tamara's Parties is a monthly music and performance night based in Oxford - always a reliably great night to discover new acts. This was their first day-long festival.
The festival was held in the Perch's marquee. This is a really beautiful venue - strung with fairy lights and stuffed with cute mismatched furniture. Unlike a lot of festivals, drinks are normal prices, (rather than London pricing) it's indoor so it didn't matter if it rained, and you didn't have to camp with a load of cidered-up teenagers.
On arrival you get presented with a homemade mini-book programme which describes all the acts (often with amusing unreliability) and sets out the festival's ethos. Two important things about All Tamara's Parties is that they try to promote music by women to redress the gender balance in the music world, and they split the door takings evenly between artists. It was lovely to see these values bourne out but in no way compromising the audience experience - there was barely a miss in terms of programming, and the organisation, venue and sound were all spot on despite them not being a huge commercial enterprise.
The afternoon session was opened by Tamara's own band, Death Of A Maiden, who are an all-female swagger folk rock outfit with clever arrangements and knockout vocals. I'd love to see them for a longer, later set. Another favourite from the early session was Ags Connelly, who offered wistful, skilful, heart tugging bluegrass with wryly humorous intros. Little Brother Eli closed the session with their fun, tight, stomp Indie rock. They dress like Mumford and Sons and sound like the illicit love child of Incubus and Kings of Leon. I liked them a lot.
The evening session opened with poetry - gently anarchic fun from George Chopping and deeply engaging, beautiful observations from Caroline Bird. While I loved both poet's sets, I felt they might do better a bit earlier on - the crowd seemed a little restless. My favourite acts from the evening session were The Epstein, with their musically beautiful and utterly heartfelt gentle indie rock, and Rainbow Reservoir, aka my new favourite band. They play sunny, 90s style pop-punk - the kind of thing you'd expect to play over the end credits of a teen rom-com with a feminist twist. SO much fun.
There was a really friendly, community vibe in the marquee. I struck up a fair few conversations with strangers and while the second half was more raucous, it was chilled out and family friendly right to the end.
All in all this was a perfect Oxford day festival. The acts were fantastic. There were a real wealth of different acts in a balance of styles, but with enough breaks and variation that they never felt overwhelming. The whole event had a friendly, laid-back feel and had clearly been put together with love. A cracking day out.