As you may well know, co-authors Lloyd-Jones and Lambe are the pair who run the acclaimed Summer’s End, and they’ve done a marvellous job in painting a portrait of what has made this festival work in the first 10 years of its existence.
If you’re looking for serious insights and salacious behind-the-scenes gossip, then this book isn’t for you – there’s none of that here. Instead we get conversations between Lloyd-Jones and Lambe on every one of the individual years, peppered with good photos of the relevant performers. Writing this in the form of a dialogue immediately gets you to the core of what makes the annual event work so well: these two clearly have a self-deprecating rapport, which comes across in the way they connect with one another. Every year is lovingly assessed in brief spurts of text, with appraisals of those who were on the bill and also the occasional amusing anecdote. The overall impression is that Summer’s End is a well-run festival that’s happy to remain a small, niche happening, rather than build itself into a huge commercial concern. While it would be reasonable to have expected a smattering of criticism of some of the bands who have appeared, nonetheless this wholesome approach is to be commended, because Lloyd-Jones and Lambe are genuinely grateful that so many well-known names are happy not only to play at Summer’s End, but to return when they can. And there’s no sign at all of any egos getting in the way. Moreover, there’s a welcome recognition that the fans are more than money machines: they are a crucial part of what makes Summer’s End the event it is. This really is a heartwarming book; grass‑roots prog brought to life.