Deer Shed Festival

Baldersby Park

A deluge of rain is perhaps the sternest of tests for any festival. Before a tent was even pitched Baldersby Park had been left like a sponge and yet Deer Shed 10 had lined itself up with an endurance challenge, having for the first time allowed general ticket holders to stay on Sunday night.

Predictably, by the third day, despite efforts to soak up some of the deluge on the main thoroughfares with wood chips and straw there were rivers of mud, creating treacherous conditions. But those who'd failed to pack wellies or had selected a white outfit didn't appear to care - such is the family-oriented festival’s force of solidarity and array of acts and activities to lift the spirits.

Youngsters and their parents crowded into the crafts and science tents. Among the treats were workshops showing how to make Gromit from modelling clay led by a veteran Aardman animator. The results looked reasonably like the models in the funny films.

As the festival matures, it's becoming increasingly serious about its comedy. Highlights included the ingenious set of quick-fire song lyric-related laughs by Raymond and Mr Timpkins, 65-year-old Britain's Got Talent contestant Barbara Nice reprising her stage dive and ventriloquist Nina Conti improvising with two audience members as her dummies.

Speaking of which, the music got off to an inauspicious start with one main stage act from London announcing they'd only got enough material for 40 of their 50 minute set. However, with generous gaps between sets on each of the stages there would have been plenty of opportunity to over-run.

Ex-Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys and female-fronted supergroup Piroshka delivered shows displaying their experience, while Anna Calvi's headline act on the Friday night was nothing short of intense. At the other end of the spectrum, pop-up performances by The New York Brass Band proved a huge hit as did Ezra Furman's closing show to the festival which triumphed over the elements.

Stuart Minting