We were finding the Estonian island of Saaremeaa a bit dull truth be told and then the sun came out.
As we had time to kill before heading back to Latvia for the Positivus music festival, we decided to stay another day and headed to the north of the island to Tuhkana beach. We parked up ….
…and followed the boardwalk through the pine forest for a day on the beautiful white sand beach.
Come in, the water really is fine.
The Baltic Sea wasn’t icy cold as we expected but wonderfully refreshing. We wild camped in the woods that night…..
…and then next morning set off back over the border to Latvia for the three-day Positivus music festival in the beach resort of Salagriva.
The prospects for the weekend weren’t too promising. It was lashing rain as we passed through Parnu…
…and the campsite was a soggy mudfield when we first arrived. We were the first there.
But you know that saying about red sky at night? It’s all true.
On Friday morning, the sun was shining. The campsite had filled up…
…and we had three days of live music to enjoy with a few beers….
…and just the one glass of Latvia’s national drink Black Balsam. All the blackcurrant in the world can’t disguise that cough medicine taste.
We wandered between the different stages and the favourites of day one were Maximo Park, JP Cooper, the Pixies and Grandmaster Flash.
Here’s a quick blast of some of the performances complete with dodgy upside down filming:
Maximo Park –
JP Cooper –
the Pixies –
The highlight of the night – or should I say early morning as he didn’t come on till 1.30 am – was Grandmaster Flash.
He put on a fantastic show…..here’s a quick blast of it.
Back at the van after 3 am, we had an unexpected visitor….a police sniffer dog poking his way round the van’s awning ‘porch’. As we are carrying nothing more exotic than Albanian mountain tea, the officers soon moved on through the campsite, accompanying a young guy I could hear protesting ‘you’ve just picked me up because I’m Estonian with long hair’ which sounded a bit like rough justice.
Next day, we had new neighbours. Two 20-year olds from Riga in their caravan rented for the weekend. Stuart helped them out by getting their gas working for them. They were there specially to see Rae Sremmurd. Um, who? Seems we may well be the only two on the planet to miss last year’s global viral ‘mannequin’ challenge which propelled these rappers to number 1 with ‘Black Beetles’.
Keen to fill the gaping hole in our knowledge of contemporary music, our neighbours cranked up their speakers. The pounding bass of hip hop sent vibrations through the van for the entire morning and by the time we saw Rae Sremmurd on stage that afternoon we were word perfect on ‘Swang’. Catchy tune, lads.
Not too sure about the gynaecological detail of some of the other songs we had blasted out to us that morning though.
Heading back for a second day of music, we stopped for a sneaky snap of a nearby motorhome where they were sipping champagne from crystal flutes and eating strawberries from a crystal bowl laid on a flower bedecked table.
I couldn’t resist asking. Do you do this for every festival? Turns out it was their 20th wedding anniversary. Ahh.
And for the rest of the weekend, we had soothing afternoon jazz sax from Kamasi Washington…
…even more soothing Rhye…
..Austra and the big draw for the weekend Ellie Goulding.
And on the last day, we had some time on the beach which is within earshot of the stage….
…before heading back to listen to Tina Sipkevica…
… Eska and Jose Gonzalez …here’s a blast from him….
….and The Lumineers.
So highlight from the festival, no question it was Grandmaster Flash (even though he didn’t play The Message ) and ones to put on the playlist for the future are The Lumineers, Eska, Rhye, Jose Gonzalez, Maximo Park, maybe a bit of Austra and maybe, maybe even a few tunes from Rae Sremmurd because, to quote Dylan Moran, I’m so home with the downies.
And that was the end of our musical interlude.
On Monday it was time to pack up and typical of the very changeable Baltic weather, the rain was pouring as we were leaving the campsite.
We crossed the border back into Estonia and are now at a campsite outside Tallinn where we will be spending a few days sightseeing before taking the ferry to Helsinki to start the Scandinavian leg of our trip.