(I added this video in so you could have a listen to Tom as you read)
Recently the Forestry Commission invited me along to one of their Forest Live outdoor concerts, to see Tom Odell at Westonbirt Arboretum. For those of you who aren't aware of Forest Live, it's a series of open air concerts in seven beautiful Forestry Commission spots across the country. All profits from Forest Live go back into looking after the forests so it's a lovely way to enjoy an evening is a special venue whilst supporting the forests.
We have a lovely evening, the event was well signposted, parking was easy and access easy. As will any concert there was a long list of the usual things not to be taken in such as glass bottles and cutlery and unusually many notices stating that cameras with removable lenses were not allowed in. There was food and drink available, though I was a bit disappointed that in an area with so many local breweries that none were featured. This could be something that the Forestry Commission could consider for 2016, working with more local businesses at these events, in my experience people want to experience not just the location but the area as a whole, especially demographic of people at such an event.
The location at Westonbirt was surrounded as you would expect by tall, commanding trees and was splendid on a sunny Summer's evening. As with most concerts these days the majority of people had taken folding chairs and the crowd was a nice blend of families, couples and groups. The atmosphere was very laid back and Raye Morris was the perfect act to support Tom.
I'd only seen Tom Odell once before, at the Red Nose Day live night of telly at the last show at the old BBC, playing his song 'Another Love' to not one dry eye in the house. The combination of that song with imagery from Comic Relief was quite the experience. His performance was mostly lively, more lively than I would have thought, with the crowd dancing and Tom jigging and jumping about. We really enjoyed it, happy music for happy people. He ended his set on the more familiar slower songs 'Another Love', 'Hold Me' and that Christmas song from 2014, the cover of John Lennon's 'Real Love'. I looked through the crowd and there was much hugging, hand holding and heads rested on partners shoulders. If you want to take the one you love on a special night out, this my friend is the perfect thing for you - dance and be happy and then bring on the romance at the end. Genius.