The Big Chill

Stages flanked by 10ft-high daffodils, a fake moon rising in the sky and a hillside sauna with no ob

Now in its fourteenth year, the Malvern valley festival offers a melange of jazz, folk, ambient, dance, comedy and spoken word performances, alongside an art trail, moonlight cinema and Victorian fairground, to name just some of the other attractions

Highlights from the Big Chill, Saturday 2 August

Jamie Woon is the first act to grace the Open Air stage on Saturday, and already a change to the programme. Accompanied by drums and double bass, Woon knocks out slick soul numbers where everything rides on a funky riff. He does have a gorgeous, expressive voice, but when I realise that this is basically Darren Hayes-lite, I start to feel a bit nauseous and gladly make my way over to the Castle stage. First up here are the Spokes, a folk-inflected rock five-piece who combine Celtic modes and the bright melodic cut of the violin with driving guitars and ample drum rolls. It's lively enough but they seem to denote power merely by increasing the volume, and the crowd blanket-sits its way through their set. Expect to hear them on a Vodaphone ad sometime soon.

Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, the Portico Quartet play with complex time signatures and unconventional instrumentation to fling out quick, hot jazz numbers and deceptively soothing ambient ones. Technical sophistication aside, the Quartet's ability to exploit the full potential of their instruments' timbre mean they really do sound fresh and new, almost as if they play four instruments each and employ a different combination for each song. From the crowd reception, they already have a dedicated fanbase that will only grow if they do clinch the Mercury Music prize. That the Malvern Hills are bathed in sunshine by this point can't do any harm.

Back on the Open Air stage, Fujiya and Miyagi combine pared down guitar riffs with computer game scales and a chattering bass to create a kind of rock electronica which has everybody dancing. It's a very British kind of sexy funk, "if only he wasn't wearing that hideous sports jacket," grimaces my friend G. But the sun is still shining and spirits are high in anticipation of one of the weekend's highlights, up next.

"Big Chill - you dirty bitches!", Noel Fielding simpers to the crowd from out of his Nannageddon guise before stripping to reveal a skin-tight sequinned siliver jumpsuit. So begins the much anticipated 45-minute set from the Mighty Boosh in which the band invoke a number of memorable characters from the three series of their TV show, and generally rollick.

A "Robots in Disguise" sketch which features Rich Fulcher as a priapic cyberman is a particular highlight. The psychedelic monk and the polo-eyed Cockney Hitcher both perform numbers, and even Bollo is afforded a pink feathered mohawk. At one point the crowd starts to boo when a technical hitch threatens to repeat an already-seen Boosh moon video skit but order is restored and the set ends with the requisite mistaken death of Naboo set piece, all to much whooping and laughter from audience and performers alike.

You know that the crowd would pretty much settle for anything Fielding and his band presented right now, such is the current affection for the Boosh. That said, its all been carefully choreographed and very well practised and Noel Fielding is the consummate showman. Sardonic romping music hall for the 21st Century.

The evening ends with a set from Plaid, featuring a unique dance performance from Wayne McGregor's Random Dance troop. It's this kind of collaboration, and a willingness to give it the final main stage slot on the Saturday night that makes the Big Chill one of the better festivals.

Nichi Hodgson is a 25-year-old Yorkshire emigree working as an Editorial Assistant on an Arts Database. She freelances on arts, culture and gender issues

Nichi Hodgson is a writer and broadcaster specialising in sexual politics, censorship, and  human rights. Her first book, Bound To You, published by Hodder & Stoughton, is out now. She tweets @NichiHodgson.

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Jeremy Corbyn sat down on train he claimed was full, Virgin says

The train company has pushed back against a viral video starring the Labour leader, in which he sat on the floor.

Seats were available on the train where Jeremy Corbyn was filmed sitting on the floor, Virgin Trains has said.

On 16 August, a freelance film-maker who has been following the Labour leader released a video which showed Corbyn talking about the problems of overcrowded trains.

“This is a problem that many passengers face every day, commuters and long-distance travellers. Today this train is completely ram-packed,” he said. Is it fair that I should upgrade my ticket whilst others who might not be able to afford such a luxury should have to sit on the floor? It’s their money I would be spending after all.”

Commentators quickly pointed out that he would not have been able to claim for a first-class upgrade, as expenses rules only permit standard-class travel. Also, campaign expenses cannot be claimed back from the taxpayer. 

Today, Virgin Trains released footage of the Labour leader walking past empty unreserved seats to film his video, which took half an hour, before walking back to take another unreserved seat.

"CCTV footage taken from the train on August 11 shows Mr Corbyn and his team walked past empty, unreserved seats in coach H before walking through the rest of the train to the far end, where his team sat on the floor and started filming.

"The same footage then shows Mr Corbyn returning to coach H and taking a seat there, with the help of the onboard crew, around 45 minutes into the journey and over two hours before the train reached Newcastle.

"Mr Corbyn’s team carried out their filming around 30 minutes into the journey. There were also additional empty seats on the train (the 11am departure from King’s Cross) which appear from CCTV to have been reserved but not taken, so they were also available for other passengers to sit on."

A Virgin spokesperson commented: “We have to take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn’t able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn’t the case.

A spokesman for the Corbyn campaign told BuzzFeed News that the footage was a “lie”, and that Corbyn had given up his seat for a woman to take his place, and that “other people” had also sat in the aisles.

Owen Smith, Corbyn's leadership rival, tried a joke:

But a passenger on the train supported Corbyn's version of events.

Both Virgin Trains and the Corbyn campaign have been contacted for further comment.

UPDATE 17:07

A spokesperson for the Jeremy for Labour campaign commented:

“When Jeremy boarded the train he was unable to find unreserved seats, so he sat with other passengers in the corridor who were also unable to find a seat. 

"Later in the journey, seats became available after a family were upgraded to first class, and Jeremy and the team he was travelling with were offered the seats by a very helpful member of staff.

"Passengers across Britain will have been in similar situations on overcrowded, expensive trains. That is why our policy to bring the trains back into public ownership, as part of a plan to rebuild and transform Britain, is so popular with passengers and rail workers.”

A few testimonies from passengers who had their photos taken with Corbyn on the floor can be found here