Lower Than Atlantis @ Cambridge Junction 3/4/2018

Over the years, Cambridge Junction has played host to many great artists. On Tuesday 3rd April the venue welcomed English rock band, Lower Than Atlantis.  The quartet, who are originally from Watford in Hertfordshire, first formed in 2007.  They released their first EP in 2008 and then went on to release their first full album "Far Q" back in 2010.  

The live music gig was being held in the main stage room at the venue.  Upon arrival, the room was covered in a blanket of dim blue lighting and was quickly filling up with a relatively young crowd.  With drinks and chatter flowing nicely the audience was soon introduced to the other acts that would be joining the guys from Watford.  

For the evening, Lower Than Atlantis were joined by support acts The Faim and Milk Teeth.  

The Faim were the first of the night's acts to take to the stage. With an excited crowd of people in front of them, they jumped straight into their first song of their set, titled "My Heart Needs To Breathe" before then introducing themselves.  

This four piece pop/alternative band first formed on the 20th November 2014. The band members themselves have stated that their music has been influenced by artists including, 5 Seconds of Summer, Blink 182, and Fall Out Boy. I will also mention that their debut single "Saints of the Sinners" was also co-written by Pete Wentz, also known as the lead vocalist of rock band, Fall Out Boy. The first thought that came to my head upon hearing them perform was "they sound just like Fall Out Boy". And now I know why after doing my research. 

The Faim are a band that have a great stage presence with high energy and know how to work the crowds well, an example of this was asking the audience to jump along with them during their performance.  They are a really likeable band and when performing live it is clear to see that the four lads are very passionate about their music. As the stage is flooded with blue and green lighting, the band performed songs including "A Million stars", "Midland Line" and "Infamous". They brought their set to a close with a performance of their single "Saints of the Sinners" which is not only (as mentioned previously) their debut single release but is also about "making their mark in the world". What's worth mentioning is that the down to earth band members were also seated at their own merchandise stall at the back of the room after their set, with their family members.  Who doesn't love a good family support network? 

After a short break the second of the evening's acts graced the stage.  

Milk Teeth, a punk rock band from Stroud in Gloucstershire, are full of energy and clearly enjoy making interesting facial expressions when performing. The band are Becky on vocals and bass, Billy and Chris on guitars and Oli on drums. Unusually, just like fellow support act The Faim the drummers were set up front alongside their fellow band mates for this gig.  The band's guitar players were great at rallying the excitement from the crowd of fans in front of them. The band members also encouraged the audience to shine lights from their phones during their set.  They performed their original songs including "Nearby Catfight" – which was also the song they entered the stage to, they also showcased "Stabbed" and "Swear Jar". 

After an energetic set from Milk Teeth, along came another short interval as we stood waiting for the night's main act! During this break the venue did continue to play music into the sound system as we chatted amongst ourselves. Some rather unusual releases featured on the venues 'interval playlist'.  What stood out for many people there was the moment when Aha's Take on Me came blaring through the speakers.  It was like being at a gig in the 80s. The whole room sang along and was filled with buzzing energy.  Continuing with their vintage playlist, we were then treated to Uptown Girl which was originally made famous by Billy Joel back in 1983! The well known single got as far as the end of the intro before being turned off to welcome the night's main act. This did not go down well with ticket holders as the room was then filled with Boos and sighs of disappointment. Although these negative emotions were soon forgotten about when the band members of Lower Than Atlantis walked onto the stage.  

The band's drummer, Eddy Thrower was the first to take his place.  He sat at his drum kit and began to build the atmosphere with a small drum solo which was accompanied by synchronised strobe lighting.  He was quickly joined by fellow band mates Declan Hart on bass, Ben Sanson on guitar and then lastly the band's front man and vocalist Mike Duce.  And what strong entrance they made! They started their set with their amazing single "Had Enough".

Further into their set, vocalist Duce had requested the audience to run and mosh in front of him, before he then came down into the viewing area to begin crowd surfing with his fans.  After being carried back to the stage the band continued to play more of their music until once again their front man returned to the middle of the crowds of people.  He stood in the middle of the room with his guitar to play an acoustic version of their song "Another Sad Song".  The atmosphere was so relaxed and calm, with people sitting crossed legged on the floor in a circle around him.  Not something you'd typically expect to see at a rock band's gig. It could have been likened to sitting around a bonfire singing campfire songs. 

This was one band that certainly knew how to work a crowd! It is clear to see how much their value their fans after seeing them live.  The band's lead singer asked the audience "if anyone's got a beer then raise it up!"  he then encouraged drinkers to  consume their beverage of choice while all members of the band and fans chanted "CHUG CHUG CHUG"  and when they played "Beech Like The Tree" they managed to encourage plenty of people to crowd surf.

As the majority of musicians that perform live, Lower Than Atlantis' set appeared to come to an end after finishing their song "Words", which of course, wasn't their last song of the evening.  The band members exited the stage for a very short space of time before returning for once more for an encore.  They all thanked their fans for all of the support they have received over the past 11 years and then stated "otherwise we would be working in Morrisons, although there's nothing wrong with working in Morrisons". Nice cover up lads! 

The gig came to a close with the band's last two performances of the night which were "English Kids" and my personal favourite of theirs "Here We Go". 

Lower Than Atlantis is a band that is undoubtedly worth seeing live, they offer familiarity with their hit singles and also something completely different when interacting with their fans! Our photographer and I are now new fans of The Faim.  All three bands are continuing to tour this year with tickets still available.  

All photos by KANE HOWIE

For more photos visit HERE!

The Amazons Live at Cambridge Junction with Support Act Yonaka! 08/02/2018

On the 8th February 2018, well known venue, Cambridge Junction, opened it's doors to ticket holders filled with excitement to see English rock band, The Amazons, take to the stage.  With an entry fee of just £17 for fantastic performances and ample parking around the local leisure complex, the venue did not disappoint. Doors opened around an hour before the gig was planned to start. Within the venue there are three separate stages J1, J2, and J3 (Junctions 1, 2 and 3).  But for this night, it was all about the acts on the J1 stage.  

The Amazons are a Reading-based quartet that formed back in 2014. Since then the band had been shortlisted for the BBC's sound of 2017, nominated for Q’s Best Breakthrough Act and have even made an appearance on MTV’s Brand New 2017 list.  The band have also caught the attention of many radio DJ's including Radio 1's Clara Amfo, Annie Mac, Huw Stephens, Nick Grimshaw and Greg James. The lads have even found a big fan in Zane Lowe.  The awesome foursome (cheesy I know) are also produced by the Grammy nominated Catherine Marks (Wolf Alice and Foals). It looks like The Amazons are hotly tipped to make it big in 2018! The band's self-titled debut album is also out now!  

​Supporting and touring with The Amazons, are Brighton based group, Yonaka.  The band themselves describe their music as "dark alternate pop with heavy riffs." Yonaka's band members are Theresa Jarvis – Vocals, George Edwards – Guitar, Alex Crosby – Bass/Keys  and Robert Mason on Drums. 

​​In a darkened room filled with screams and cheers and after a short musical intro, the four members of Yonaka entered the stage to start their set with  a performance of their single "Ignorance", to which I and many individuals within the room were putting on our very best karaoke voices to sing along to.  During the high energy set, featuring fast paced lighting and stunning vocals from the band's vocalist Theresa Jarvis, they continued on to perform other singles including "Gods and Lovers", "WWBY (Wouldn't Wanna Be Ya)", the very intense and somber "All In My Head". We were also introduced to a new song titled "F**king With The Boss" – a song to which caused a tiny mosh pit form in the centre of the room.  The foursome kindly thanked their fans for "turning up" and continued on to promote the night's main act The Amazons and referring to them as "f**king amazing!"

As expected they finished their set with their most popular hit to date, "Bubblegum" to which the audience were asked to contribute with vocals along with the band on stage.  "Bubblegum" is a song that will be playing on loop in your head for a while. I've often found myself humming it to myself after seeing Yonaka perform for the first time at Truck Festival in 2017.  I really liked them back then and love them now! I am definitely looking forward to hearing more of their material in the future.  If you get a chance to see them live, then please do.  They are not an act that you would want to miss live. With lots of energy, great interaction with their audience and catchy pop/rock/alternative tracks, they are everything you'd expect from a band of their genre.  

After the excitement from the support act's performance, the majority of room was ramped up and ready for the main act of the evening to take centre stage.  Around 9pm teenage girls flocked to the front of the room clinging to the security barrier filled with excitement, fans repeatedly chanting "Am-A-Zons, Am-A-Zons!" and clearly a row of parents at the back of the room with their ecstatic teenagers in front them and their backs against the wall, that looked like they had been dragged to the venue against their will, with folded arms and yawns a plenty. 

As the chanting for the main act continued (and got considerably louder), eventually after a short wait, the band began to take their place on the stage under dim red and white lighting to perform their first song of the night "Stay With Me", which had almost the entire room bathed in strobe lighting and fans singing along too.  There were also head boppers and foot tappers as far as the eye could see.  Not including the poor bored and tired parents at the back of the room. Oh dear indeed. The four piece continued on to perform their second and third tracks of the evening – "Ultraviolet" (which has featured heavily on BBC Radio 1) and "Raindrops" before then speaking to their fans in the audience for the first time. Did they announce the title of their next song? Or perhaps thank everyone for coming to their show? Nope. They simply opened with "Hello, we are The Sherlocks!" Just Brilliant!

​​For those of you that don't already know, both artists, The Amazons and The Sherlocks have recently been involved in some rather amusing shenanigans on social media. Recently, the line up for Y Not Festival had been announced, and both acts are confirmed to perform at this popular event.  Yorkshire band, The Sherlocks were shown to appear on the fourth tier on the festival's poster. However, The Amazons are shown on the third tier of the promotional image. When The Sherlocks posted the image of the festival's line up on their social media feed the two acts had been swapped – rumour has it that the band photoshopped the original image to place themselves higher up in the third tier to replace The Amazons.  Whether the two bands are actually just enjoying some friendly banter or they genuinely don't get on, I don't know. But it certainly has caught the attention of the press and has had many people both perplexed and entertained. After all, entertainment is their game! 

​​During their show, the guys also pulled out a few surprises.  Including an incredible percussion solo from drummer Joe Emmett.  Honestly, I didn't want it to end.  It was that impressive! He was applauded with a huge roar of appreciation from the entire room of people.  Also, they included an awesome cover of T-Rex's 70's hit, "20th Century Boy". The last unexpected addition to their set was a clever move to introduce Theresa Jarvis, (vocalist in support act Yonaka) back onto the stage to perform "In My Mind" with the group.  The joining of the two acts was a brilliant idea, and worked to their advantage, creating excellent musical balance.

Throughout the evening ticket holders were in constant admiration for the band on stage. There were moments when the room was filled with people jumping and head banging. There were also times where all I could see was slow hands, phones and even a lighter (not really very safe, but oh well) in the air during tamer segments of The Amazons' set.  After performing their latest single "Black Magic", the guys left the stage and we were left once more in a darkened room. Like earlier in the evening, the chanting started again "Am-A-Zons! Am-A-Zons!". The foursome did return to the stage after around 3 minutes to finish their show with an encore performance of "Palace" and the hit that I, and most likely many others, were excited to see performed live. Their well known track "Junk Food Forever", which even encouraged a crowd surfer to come out of the centre of the room. During the their encore at the end of the night, one of the band members even stated "don't take this the wrong way, but I didn't think this was going to be this f**king amazing! Thank you".

​As much as I like The Amazons' music when hearing it recorded, I much preferred hearing it live. Their music inspires a great atmosphere when they are physically seen performing. It will be interesting to see them perform on a bigger stage and in front of a bigger audience too.  

Both The Amazons and Yonaka have a busy year ahead. The Amazons will also have a very busy festival season this year while appearing at events including Y Not Festival and Truck Festival in the summer months. Yonaka are also due to play at The Garage in Islington on 28th February 2018.  Everyone, grab your tickets now! 

For more photos click HERE!

Photos by Kane Howie


Coasts at Club 85-Hitchin-9th October 2017

On Monday evening (9th October 2017) the small town of Hitchin saw the anticipated return of the band, Coasts.  A band that is well known to the local area as they also headlined the BBC Introducing stage at the town's own Rhythms of the World Festival a few years ago. The band were very well recieved  by the locals at the time so it was awesome to have the band back once again.  The band were hosted this time by the small, but awesome venue Club 85 with colourful neon decor within the all black loft sized room.  The venue also has a small bar and merchendise stalls at either side of the stage.   Something else to be excited about was the evening's warm up act, Misfires

 Misfires are a young, all male indie rock band from Swindon, UK. The band formed in February 2016 and began their musical journey playing for house parties which then led onto sell out gigs in local venues.  In other media the four lads have often been compared to the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen and The Libertines. Some have even called the band the lovechild of the two big names mentioned. Misfires are currently on a month long tour with this being their first time visiting the town of Hitchin in Hertfordshire. They have also recently supported The Sherlocks on their tour playing at three of their tour venues which they admitted they had a great time performing to the larger crowds.  In the short time on stage at Club 85 the band members who were all dressed in black casual clothing totally nailed it! The four guys performed their singles '22', most recent release 'Do You Wanna?' and 'Indie Kid' which the band themselves said is likely to be their next single. During the performance of their song '22' there even appeared to be a tiny mosh pit of adolescent fans jumping around. Throughout their set the band were often interacting with a group of teens at the front of the room, just laughing and joking which was great to see.  They were definitly well liked by ticketholders.  

I also briefly managed to chat to the four lads just after their performance to congratulate them on a great set, along with our phototographer. These lads are so down to earth and fun. They even mentioned that for them its not all about the stereotypical "rock and roll" lifestyle when it comes to being part of a band. They had also expressed how much they enjoyed being on tour and stated that they've performed alongside other bands who don't necessarily prioritise interaction with their fans which is why they expressed how important it is to them to remember that it's always good to make time for fans of their music.  I would highly recommend that you see Misfires live if you should get the chance. I would be very surprised if they didn't make it big in the music industry.  

After a short break to make some changes to the stage set up the main band of the night walked in and introduced themselves. Of course this band was Coasts.

Indie pop band Coasts oringinally formed in Bristol back in 2011 and have had great success ever since.  Over the years they have recieved a lot of airplay especially via BBC Radio 1 with the support from well known DJs Greg James, Huw Stevens and Fearne Cotton. Due to the support from Radio 1, the band also performed for the radio stations 'Big Weekend' festival like event in Glasgow back in 2014.  They also played at Reading and Leeds festival in the following year. The guy's self titled album was released back in January 2016. 

During their time on stage at the Hitchin venue we saw them perform singles "Rush Of Blood", "Modern Love" as well as other album tracks including "Paradise" and "White Noise".  The room may not have been large but an electric atmosphere filled the room and flooded out of the doors. Almost everyone was up on their feet dancing to the satisfying sounds. 
The five piece group also sampled some music from their new album that they are working on. "Heart Starts Beating" is just one of the tracks from their upcoming release and if it all sounds like that we should expect more great things from them. 
After an energetic set leaving what looked like an exhausted drummer as he leant back onto the screens at the back of the stage we were treated to a great performance to see the evening out. The band played their biggest hit to date "Oceans" which was great to leave us all reeling with excitement from a great evening.  The performers asked people to meet them afterwards at the merch stall for a chat and some photo opportunities. It was great to see two acts this evening that were very happy to chat to fans of their music.  

Keep your eyes peeled for more from both of these brilliant artists! Coasts have announced that they will be back on tour in April 2018 which will be in a London venue.  


All photos by Kane Howie

For more photos click here!


Wilkestock Festival 2017

It's September 2017 and Wilkestock Festival is back! With an amazing line up organised and booked by Juicebox Live and The horn, this year the festival celebrated its 10th birthday. The festival began as a party for family and friends and was organised by brothers Tom and Olly Wilkes. Years later it became a charity music festival with all profits going to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and also Keswick Mountain Rescue. Despite being a small festival, Wilkestock has grown bigger in popularity year after year. It was announced that this year saw the festival's biggest event they have ever known, as over two thousand people were in attendance to celebrate it's milestone birthday. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with Wilkestock, it is a small festival based at Frogmore Hill which is just outside of Stevenage, Hertfordshire. The festival provides ticket holders with a choice of artists and bands spread throughout it's five stages (Main stage, Bella stage, Rock up and Rinse, Bangorang and The Doghouse). Main stage and Bella stage were the most prominent of the weekend event and the others showcased DJ sets and a silent disco. There was even a secret stage which was basically a converted bathroom trailer. 

 As the festival is a family friendly weekend event, organisers provided a seperate children's area full of large inflatables and crazy golf. There was also a small white tent filled with large cushions, which served as a cinema showcasing classic Disney films such as 'The Jungle Book', 'Oliver and Company' and 'The Lion King'. 
Wilkestock also had a good variety of food available to us. There wasn't many vendors in the small food court area, but the variety of food was quite diverse. There were stone baked pizzas, the sauage company cooking lots of gourmet sausages and hot dogs, an ice-cream van, indian cuisine, greek style street food such as kebabs and halloumi salads and lastly a smoothie stall making lots of delicious and healthy beverages. Of course there were also the return of the log cabin bar.  The main arena looked quite a sight! Due to it's 'Hippie' themed weekend, there was an abundance of beautiful coloured flowers, peace symbols and glitter all around. Just like last year, the main arena was furnished with recycled sofas, logs and straw bales to encourage a relaxed atmosphere.  

So, music, who performed? Who was good? Who wasn't so good? After attending this awesome festival last year and loving the artists that the organisers had booked in 2016, I was somewhat a skeptical about this year's line up just not comparing at all to the brilliance of last year. In all honesty that is how I felt.  I was totally wrong! And I am glad that I was proven wrong.  Wilkestock really out done themselves to celebrate their big birthday. Not only did they have amazing headline acts to close each night, but they also had many acts returning from last year and some new bands and artists that I hadn't heard of before that really impressed me. DJs Adam O and and Matt Crawley also owned the decks throughout the entire weekend!

Let's start with all of the musical goodness from Friday. The main stage was opened by four piece male indie rock band Mono 01. Although only three of the band's members had turned up.  The guys performed singles including 'Lost Dreams' and 'Get Out Of My Face'. Other bands that played on Friday included indie rock band Arcadian from St. Albans who played their hits 'Mandy', 'Talk Slow' and also an amazing cover of Kanye West's 'Stronger'.

 We also saw Alternate pop rock female duo Rews. These two ladies from London and Belfast totally owned the stage while performing singles''For The Broken Hearted', 'Violins' 'Miss You In The Dark' and new single 'Shine'. Their debut album is due to be released in November this year. 

The first of the returning acts from last year were Bedford based band The Scruff.  In 2016 the band played and completly packed out the Bella/BBC Introducing stage.  This year the lads had been promoted to the main stage for a bigger set. I will be honest. When I saw this band perform last year, I thought that they were a good band but not really a band for me. This year they did a complete flip reverse on me. They were one of my highlights for Friday! The Scruff played a variety of music, both old and new. What really changed my opinion of their music was when they performed their newest single titled 'Her' a song about being kind to your mother, it is also dedicated to one of the band member's late mother. A beatifully written and very emotial song which completely tugged at my heartstrings. One feeling I didn't expect to feel while watching this band perform. They are definitly worth a listen to so check them out. 

An act that appeared to entice a lot of people were rock band Blackwaters. Our photographer especiallly.  While headbanging and owning the stage the band performed their singles 'Let The Good Times Roll', 'Help Me', a pretty awesome cover of Britney Spears hit 'Toxic' and the very memorable 'F**k Yeah!' (I'll let you fill in the gaps haha). The band's lead vocalist was quite the showman, dressed in fitted black trousers and what I can only describe as a mariarchi style shirt. Not only did he rock the stage and interact well with the audience but he also jumped down from the stage to rock out in the arena with the fans watching too. For some reason a lot of very young children appeared to like this set too. There must have been around five children under the age of three sporting their ear protector headphones and bopping to this band's music. It was rather amusing. Perhaps a new generation of rockstars emerging, who knows? 

Friday's warm up act for the headliner were British indie/alternative band The Sherlocks. The band brought in quite the crowd which gathered at the front of the main stage arena. I'd heard many people talk about their excitment to see this band on stage. The lads have just released their debut album titled 'Live For The Moment' and are currently touring all over the globe. Their single 'Heart Of Gold' has recieved air play from BBC Radio 1 DJs Annie Mac, Huw Stevens and Greg James. They also played at Reading and Leeds festivals last year (2016) before then supporting the Libertines on their arena tour.  They performed hits for us including 'Chasing Shadows', 'Blue', 'Last Night' and 'Candlelight' before then exiting the stage to make way for the evening's headline act. Carl Barat and the Jackals. What a lovely tie in to The Libertines there! With people flooding in from all corners of the grounds to see this set, it was heaving! Carl Barat is best known for being co-front man alongside Pete Doherty in The Libertines.  In 2014 Barat had set out to to search for a new band online via popular social media site Facebook. He had recieved well over 1000 applications before he then chose members to then form The Jackals. The collaboration works really well and their music is something that many peope enjoy. They are on tour and their current EP 'Harder They Fall' is out now. 

Saturday was a big day for the festival, not only was it fancy dress day with a hippie theme but it was also the day that the festivals birthday celebrations took place.  Throughout the day announcements were made on the main stage in regarding the 10th birthday of the festival. Including a heartfelt speech from the festival's founders Tom and Olly Wilkes. While thanking friends, family, press and production for their support over the years a cake was brought on stage as we were all encouraged to sing happy birthday. For the rest of the afternoon free birthday cake was available at the log cabin bar. And you can't go wrong with free cake! The day even saw a live proposal on the main stage. Congratulations to the happy couple! 

Some of the best sets of the day came from artists including Honeylung, a male rock band that are fresh from the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds festivals 2017 with their grunge like apparel. A band that I thought were a tad different was Haunt The Woods. I can only describe their music as rock/eerie. The guys from Cornwall put on a great set with their singles 'Beautiful Catastrophe', the very haunting sounding 'Twisted' and 'Red Wood' which the band members themselves named a folk song.  

We also saw a very girly punk rock set from female trio Hey Charlie who had packed out the tent at the Bella Stage. The fiesty girls (Lizz, Sophie and Lauren), who play their own instruments also played at the British Summertime Festival in Hyde park earlier this year. I had a lot of fun watching these three. I loved their music! Their song 'Cheer Up Princess' is a brilliant upbeat punky pop song that got everyone up on their feet and left us singing the lyrics throughout the day. 

Saturday like Friday night also had a warm up act before the big headliner. Saturday evening brought us the very energetic and amusing band Vant.  These lads are absolutely brilliant live! Their music has had a lot of air play, particularly on BBC Radio 1 lately and are really starting to make a name for themselves. I only saw this band just over a month ago at Truck Festival and I loved their set there too. It seems that they like to introduce themselves by saying "Hey we are Vant from planet Earth!" Early on in their half an hour set one of the band members burst into song to sing the Spice Girls hit '2 Become 1' which of course set off a kareoke like chorus from everyone else in the arena. This was hilarious! The band even stopped half way through perfomorming their single 'Do You Know Me By Now?' to pass comment on a security issue that was being dealt with in front of the main stage.  The front vocalist shouted out to the security team "security! Have you not been to a punk rock show!, Let the man stay at the front, I will keep an eye on him". This absolutely ticked myself and many other people there. The band just seem so down to earth and have a great connection with their audience. The guys continued afterwards to play a number of songs including their popular hit 'Karma Seeker'. 

Just before the headline act graced the stage, one of the DJs played a number of songs over the speaker system to keep us all entertained in the meantime. Whoever that DJ was did a great job! They just kept throwing out hit after hit which really got the crowds of people dancing and singing along.  Especially when 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' (Originally by Nirvana) was blasted out. I've never known so many people to jump around and go wild. There were even middle aged people acting like the teenagers that they once were. It was really quite something to see. It just showed how much fun can be had at this festival and it brought everyone together. 

Saturday's headline act was the one performer that everyone was talking about, even the other artists on stage. Razorlight! I had loved them in my late teens, so I was quite excited to see them perform myself. They did not dissapoint. The opened their set with a quick "hello" before going straight into their first song of their set, the well known 'In The Morning'. the band took many of us on a trip down memory lane with a variety of hit singles accompanied by an array of laser and strobe lighting. All in all they showcased a total of eighteen hits in their alotted time slot at the end of the night. They rounded off not only their set but also the evening by performing probably their biggest hit 'America' to which the production team also set of huge confetti cannons that filled the grounds and the air, leaving us all reeling from excitement.  

Lastly, Sunday was a shorter day at the three day event but to be honest it was my favourite of the three days.  The music was a lot more diverse rather than mainly rock bands throughout the day. As much as I like rock music it was nice to see some tamer styles of music. My highlights of the weekend were mostly acts from the last day of Wilkestock. On the list of stagetimes it showed that at lunchtime we were to see another of the returning bands from last year My Little Empire. When they took to the stage this was quite different. I say they, but only lead singer and guitarist Rob from the band took centre stage alone. As only he attended this enabled him to perform a slightly different set to what was originally planned. One man and his guitar often means one thing. A relaxed acoustic set. Yep, the band's front man performed their singles 'Solitude', 'Letting Go' and a really good cover of Ocean Colour Scene's 'Robin Hood' which he had said was an iconic song to him growing up. As it was to many of us too. This would have been the band's 7th year playing at his festival. But Rob certainly managed to pull it off all by himself.

Another Wilkestock veteran returning from last year were St. Albans based indie/rock band Alexis Kings. I loved them last year and to be honest I was quite enthusiastic about seeing them again over this weekend.  The all male musicians had a slightly more grown up look after recently returning to the UK as they have been busy touring Asia. They played at the Summer Sonic festival in Shanghai alongside the likes of The Kooks and Sum 41. We heard some familiar songs from them such as their most popular single 'Squire' and a personal favourite of mine 'Strawberry Blonde'. They also sampled their newest  masterpiece, 'Magic Mind'  which they admitted they've only performed live a handful of times. This single is set to be their next release in around two months time. Watch out for it, it's a really great tune and I will be surprised if it doesn't do well. 

To be honest I think the most popular performance of the day came from electro/pop group Club Drive. This set was a particularly important one to the band members as four became three. This was their bass player's last gig alongside the other lads as he is moving on to bigger things in his life outside of the band. Club Drive are becoming more and more popular with each single they release. The musicians from hertfordshire put on an amazing show for all ages. Everyone was up on their feet enjoying the music from their set. There was tons of energy on stage too.  Their music is very upbeat and infectious. They certainly bring the party with them.  

Sunday evening and the festival weekend was brought to a close by the cheeky chaps from Padding Needed. I had spoken to one of the band members in the afternoon before their set and he informed me of the antics that the band get up to while they are performing on stage. They had spent their afternoon handing out flyers inviting everyone to their pillow fight in the tent they were playing in. The band member that I spoke to had told me that the reason why they provide lots of pillows and encourage a huge pillowfight at all of their gigs is due to their single 'Pillow Fight'.  They thought it was something unique and very fitting to promote their single. Ever since then, they have had giant pillow fights at every single gig they have played.  This weekend we saw not only their famous pillow fight, but balloons being thrown into the crowds which packed out the tent completely and also what appeared to be sparklers on the ends of their guitars. They really do put on a gig like no other. The band that are based in the Milton Keynes/Northampton area are currently gigging all over the place and they even have their own festival planned for December called Pillow Fest! Which sounds like a massive fun party. If you get the chance to see these guys live then do so, you don't want to miss out on this much fun at a gig. Great music and laughs, what more could you possibly ask for?

So now this brings my rather lengthy review to a close. Wilkestock really upped the ante for this year's event.  I'm so glad I've been able to go for the last two years as its a great family weekend out.  Tickets for next year have already gone on sale and they will probably sell out fast so get them while you can.  
Thank you Tom and Olly for having us share your festival fun once again! 

For more photos by Kane Howie click on day links below.


Wilkestock Festival 2017 Preview

Wilkestock 2017 is the 10th Anniversary for the small independant festival located in Hertfordshire running 1st-3rd September.  It may be small and compact, but it has a lot to offer. You can lay back and relax on recyled sofas at the main stage arena or find hidden stages through the straw bale walkways. With previous years showcasing some amazing bands such as The Subways, Mystery Jets, Bastille, Dub Pistols and many more.
This year has a 'hippie theme'  with a fancy dress competition on the Saturday. The line up has been organised by Juicebox live who put on many bands in surrounding areas. Headlining the weekend is Carl Barat and the Jacks, Razorlight and a secret headline guest for Sunday. 

Some of the artists that we think are worth checking out include:

 Alexis Kings who are are a rock band from St Albans, last year they played the BBC introducing stage and had great success with their performance. They will be playing on the main stage on sunday this year.  


Vant who are a London based punk rock band who have had numerous singles named  as Annie Mac's Hottest Record In The World. They have played with Royal Blood, Biffy Clyro and Catfish and the Bottlemen. These guys recently rocked the main stage at Oxford's Truck Festival and we have no doubt they will do exactly the same at Wilkestock.


Club Drive is a 4 peice guitar funk pop band from Hertrfordshire. With similar sounds of Maroon 5. The band have already caught attention of the BBC Radio 1 introcuding team and they have also sold out national and international headlining shows.  They are definitly a band to watch out for! 


The festival is also a family festival event.  Organisers will be providing a secret cinema, facepainting, bouncy castles and crazy golf within their family area.  Plus if the festival is anything like last year's event then it will also have a great selection of cuisines to choose from too. 
We had great fun at last year's event, so we cannot wait to go again in a few weeks time!

For more information check out Wilkestock's website HERE!


Bedford Park Concerts 2017 Review

August 2017 saw the town of Bedford celebrating its 21st year of putting on its brilliant Park Concerts.  With everyone still reeling from the success of last year's event, which saw performances from rapper Dizzee Rascal and the one and only welsh legend Tom Jones, organisers really had to step up to top that for this year's concert weekend.  Boy did they certainly do that! 

The weekend provided three nights of amazing performers. Friday night (4th August) took us back in time to the 80s and 90s for the ultimate party that was oozing with cheesy pop goodness. The evening got off to a great start with performaces from 90s Zambian solo artist Rozalla who was most famously known for releasing the track "Everybody's Free" and singer/songwriter Nik Kershaw. Kershaw not only saw fame as a solo artist but also wrote big hits for other artists. Including Chesney Hawkes infamous "The One And only" which Nik also performed himself this weekend dedicating the song to Hawkes. Friday night also gave us the lovely and rather sparkly Baby D who performed three tracks, one of which was the amazing club classic, "Let Me Be Your Fantasy". One act of the night that was getting people talking was 80s english pop band Go West. The Duo enjoyed their peak of popularity between the mid 80s and onto the early 90s with hits including "We Close Our Eyes" and the iconic song written by the band for 1990 film realease "Pretty Woman" which was indeed the unforgettable "King Of Wishful Thiking". We were lucky to see both of these being performed on friday night also. Friday's biggest performances came from 80s pop hunk Jason Donovan, Livin' Joy and DJ Dave Pearce. Shortly after 8pm, the pit area of the arena was filled with middle aged women anxiously awaiting the arrival of their favourite 80s hearthrob. Donovan still looked great, and performed famous hits of his including "Sealed With A Kiss", "Nothing Can Divide Us", "Especially For You" which he sang with a guest female soloist for Kylie Minogue's segments of the single, the amazing "Any Dream Will Do" from the infamous musical Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" and he finished his energetic set with fan favourite "Too Many Broken Hearts". In My opinion, Aussie favourite Jason Donovan has certainly still got it! His stage presence was charismatic, cheeky and comical. During sets for Livin' Joy and Dave Pearce we were treated to many 90s club classics and heavy bass beats while watching an amazing laser light show from the stage which filled the grounds. 

Saturday evening (5th August) Bedford featured artists including, London based band Victoria, Bedford town boys The Wholls, 90s indie band Feeder and headliners Kaiser Chiefs! In amoungst thousands of people eating pizzas, mexican cuisine and drinking rather large quanitities of Pimms, I could feel how electric the atmosphere within the park really was. Chatter of people so excitedly waiting to see their favourite bands of the evening, including the performers families and friends.  Rock/indie, Bedford boys The Wholls drew in a younger audience while performing original songs "Give It Up", "Perfect Waste Of Time" and "Roll It Out". The local lads are quickly climbing up the music fame ladder after recently signing to big recording label Sony. If you like new up and coming bands, you should definitly check them out. Their debut album is out now. 

The first of the most anticipated acts of saturday night were met with a rather loud roar of excitement from the crowds of people in front of the stage.  Of course this excitement was when 90s welsh rock band Feeder stepped on stage. The band  formed in Newport in 1992 and were originally named Reel. The band found fame with the name feeder later on in their career. They are said to have been inspired by Nirvana, The Police and The Smashing pumpkins. Feeder gained much more media attention in 2001 during the release of their third album which featured lead track "Buck Rogers".  Now some time on are now looking very different, but can still play an amazing live gig.  Over the weekend we saw them perform a variety of hit singles including the chart topping "Buck Rogers", "Feeling A Moment",  "Just A Day" and the very mellow "Just The Way I'm Feeling" which caused the arena to become filled with fans gently waving their mobile phones with torches on in the air. Lead vocalist Grant Nicholas also revealed that they will be releasing a best of album in September 2017. This album will feature all the favourite hits and also debut nine new tracks. During the final song of Feeder's set a flare was lit in the crowd which to be perfectly honest looked quite spectaluar with its yellow glow and smoke filling the pit area. Despite looking rather awesome, this was a big hazard which could have caused harm and this was dealt with very swiftly by the security team looking after everyone over the weekend. 

Onto Saturday night's headline act! English rock band Kaiser Chiefs! The park was filled with screams and excitement when members of the band stepped on stage. Even more so for front man Ricky Wilson. The band was formed in Leeds in the year 2000 under the name Parva and released just one studio album which was titled '22' in 2003 before then establishing themselves as Kaiser Chiefs. With six studio album releases under their belts they are still going strong and continue to make great new music.  The five piece opened their exciting set with the ever popular "Everyday I Love You Less And Less" to which at the end of the song singer Ricky Wilson came to the very edge of the stage to encourage ticketholders to be louder and dance.  Over the course of the evening we saw them perform hits including "Never Miss A Beat", "Modern Way", "The Angry Mob" which we saw Ricky teaching lyrics to the audience to sing along with him, "Ruby", the massive "I Predict A Riot" and a favourite of Wilson's from their latest album "Hole In My Soul". Their latest singles from the 2016 album 'Stay Together' are quite different from the slightly heavier rock style that we are used to hearing from Kaiser Chiefs, they have a bit more of a slight pop/indie sound with catchy lyrics and more mellow rythms. During their set the very energetic front man was continuously playing up to cameras and playing one side of the audience off against the other during tracks. We were even asked by the band to sing "Happy birthday" as a birthday cake was brought out filled with candles on stage to celebrate the birthdays of a member of their sound crew and also drummer Vijay. After filling the park with music, strobe lighting and fans jumping around like caged animals the lads left the stage leaving us all shouting for "More, More, More" The rather tired looking band members returned to the stage once more to perform not one, but two more hits for us. They played "Misery Company" and then ended their set with the brilliant "Oh My God" I can honestly say Kaiser Chiefs have to be the best band that I have ever seen live! I am still feeling the buzz since seeing them on saturday night. And I'm pretty sure I will be for a very long time. Before this weekend I had enjoyed them, but now I love them! 

Still reeling from the night before, we then attended Sunday's Bedford Park Proms. A much more relaxed kind of day with a lovely calm yet excitable atmosphere. This year's theme was Bedford Proms Goes To The Movies. Upon entering the grounds we were greeted by a replica of the famous Delorean from "Back To The Future", which looked amazing with twinkling lights and its doors up in the air so that we could see some fun movie props from the films. All that was missing was Doc Brown and Marty Mcfly. On the far side of the stage we could also see a huge inflatable of Staypuft from the Ghostbusters films and a birds of prey meet and greet tent inspired by the enchanting Harry potter film franchaise. The Proms really was an event for all of the family to enjoy.  The grounds were filled with people equipped with tables, chairs and fancy food spreads. We even spotted someone that brought their own drinks bar with them. While some were sitting in their fold up chairs, covered with blankets just soaking in the ambiance, others were chatting with friends and relatives while dining on some rather exquisite meals which even included snacking on  lobster! Very elegant stuff indeed. A popular and clever food choice taken by many ticketholders was large quantities of watermelon. Have you guessed why? It was a little reference to the iconic film "Dirty Dancing". 

To get the musical evening off to a start we saw the young, talented and very brave children of the Pilgrim School Choir enter the stage with their teacher. All smartly dressed in their school uniform sporting lovely green blazers the children began to sing some of their favourite classics from the movies. Their time slot gave them the chance to perform well known songs from musicals and feature films including "A Whole New World" from Disney classic Aladdin, "When I Grow Up" featured in Matilda, "Do-Re-Me" from the timeless film and stage show The Sound Of Music and popular Mary Poppins track "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" which was made famous originally by Dame Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. The small choir sang beautifully and were very professional on stage during their performance. It was very lovely to watch as the primary school children smiled at their families who were sitting in front of them in the pit area with cameras and tears of joy feeling immensely proud of their little ones for such an amazing achievement. 

Shortly after a small interval entered the next act of the evening. The students from The Redford School of Speech and Drama. The teens looked flawless as they were elegantly dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns as they walked onto the stage to take their places. The teenagers began their set with their rendition of the chart topping single "Skyfall" which was the title track originally made famous by popstar Adele from the James Bond film Skyfall. With gentle harmonies their version was just beautiful and soothing. The Choir then went on to perform Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" which was also featured in hit TV musical show Glee. The choir featured a male and female soloist during their version of the peppy pop song with the rest of the group performing in an accapella style.  One memorable part of the performance from this group of talented people, was a female soloist coming forward to sing latest disney release "How Far I'll Go" which happens to be the lead track on the soundtrack to Disney's Moana. The single was originally performed by Auli'i Cravalho who also voice's the lovely Moana in the animated feature film. The young blonde vocalist in the school choir sounded remarkably like the original voice actor while performing this song. She had the most beautiful and delicate voice, her rendition literally gave me goosebumps. The group performed a medley of music from feature films to finish their set, which again featured acapella vocals. During the medley the choir performed tracks which included "Part Of Your World" from The Little Mermaid originally sang by Jodi Benson, the "Star Wars Main theme", "Rule The World" originally performed by Take That for the film Stardust, "The Circle Of Life" from The Lion King, "The Time Of My Life" from Dirty Dancing, and an amazing leg slapping routine to "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone" which was used in the film Pitch Perfect and was performed by actress and singer Anna Kendrick. During this amazing medley of memorable soundtracks the group also performed approproate theatrics on stage to accompany each hit that they sang. These young people had amazling talent and really could go far in the music industry.

For the main concert, which started around 7.30pm our ears were treated to the sounds of the London Gala Orchestra who also introduced the Bedford choral society and west end stars Joanna Forrest, Daniel Koek, and opera vocalist Alison Buchanan. Daniel had performed "Born Free" and also sang "The Prayer" alongside Joanna. Alison Buchanan performed the ever wonderful "Ave Maria" with the orchestra also. During the concert we heard many well known soundtrack releases from feature films being performed by the London Gala Orchestra which also heavily focused on the amazing compositions of the award winning John Williams to which they played some of his most memorable pieces such as the "Star Wars Main Theme", "The Imperial March" also from Star wars, the "Jaws theme" from the movie of the same name, the "Superman Theme", the "Jurassic Park Theme", the theme from the whiptastic "Indiana Jones" and many many more. At the end of the night the orchestra brought their time to a close by playing the patriotic "Rule, Britannia" and "The Land Of Hope And Glory" as they were joined on stage by all three vocalists wearing great britain attire. The grounds was a sea of Union Jack flags waving in the wind. They then performed famous music from the James Bond film franchaise during a spectacular firework display, which also saw the organisers set off what I can only explain as mushroom cloud flame throwers which were situated in the pit area of the park. Sunday was definitly the most enjoyable night of the three for me (minus the Kaiser Chiefs on Saturday evening). There was no rushing around, no being trampled on by people trying to see their favourite acts. Just good old fashioned patriotic fun.


My weekend at Bedford Park Concerts was certainly a busy one. But nevertheless a very enjoyable one. I loved my time there as did our photographer and our 2 year old son. 

I wonder how Bedford will be able to top this next year? 
I can't wait to find out what they will have in store for their 2018 weekend!

All photos by Kane Howie

For more photos visit 




Bedford Park Concerts 2017 Preview

Bedford Park Concerts is back for 2017 after a very successful event last year which showcased the legendary Tom Jones,  rapper Dizzie Rascal and many more. This year we will see the return of an amazing jam packed three day line up. Friday 4th August will will see Bedford's biggest 80s and 90s themed party night with seven awesome retro acts which will include the likes of DJ Dave Pearce who is best known for hosting BBC Radio 1's Dance Anthems, Ex Neighbours star, musician and Australian favourite Jason Donovan, 80's band Go West, Nick Kershaw, 'Dreamer' artists Livin' Joy, Rozalla and Baby D who brought us singles "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" and "Everybody's Gotta learn Sometime".

Friday's Schedule:
16:30 Gates Open
17:00 Rozalla 
17:40 Nik Kershaw 
18:35 Baby D
19:15 Go West
20:15 Jason Donovan
21:15 Livin' Joy
21:50 Dave Pearce

On Saturday 5th August, Leeds Indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs are expected to perform some of their most notable hits including "I Predict A Riot", "Ruby", "Everyday I Love You Less And Less" and more from their six studio albums.  Supporting will be Welsh band Feeder, The Wholls – a local Bedford Town favourite and lastly indie rock band Victoria.  

Saturday's Schedule:
16:30 Gates open
17:45 Victoria
18:45 The Wholls
19:45 Feeder
21:15 Kaiser Chiefs

Sunday 6th August the weekend event will present  Bedford Proms 'Goes To The Movies'.  This wil be an evening of beautiful west end style performances including a set from Australian Tenor Daniel Koek who starred in west end show Les Miserables.  He will also be joined by soprano singer Joanna Forest and opera vocalist Alison Buchanan who is originally from the town of Bedford.  As if there isn't enough to enjoy there will also be the London Gala Orchestra, Bedford Choral Society, a laser light show and even the infamous Delorean car from the memorable Back To The Future franchaise films and a firework finale to round up the weekend to bring it to a close.  

Sunday's Schedule:
16:30 Gates open 
17:15 Pilgrim School Choir 
18:00 Bedford School Of Speech and Drama
19:30 Main Concert 

I can see this being a very popular event. Tickets are still available to get yours while you can. 

To purchase tickets please click on the dates below




For more information click HERE!

Truck Festival 2017

Truck festival is the self labelled “Godfather of the small festival scene” and is one of the longest running small festivals in the UK. The festival based in Steventon in Oxfordshire was founded by brothers Robin and Joe Bennett and originally began as a birthday celebration for Robin. The brothers then handed control of the event over to Matt Harrap and his team after facing financial difficulties in 2012.  Now in 2017 in it’s twentieth year, the festival is still going strong with a line up that gets bigger each year.
In past years the festival has been known to find talents from up and coming bands that are trying to find their way onto the music scene to become arena sell out artists with many of these artists making their festival debut’s at Truck. Past performances include Biffy Clyro, Mystery Jets, Foals, Catfish and the Bottlemen and many, many more.

This year, Truck has seen a big change to the layout of the festival site compared to previous years’ usual look. The large area provided festival goers with eight stages, each with their own style of performances. Over the weekend, the ever popular Truck Stage, which is the event’s main stage in the centre of the site provided a huge variety of bands and artists for us to see.  Secondary to the Truck stage was the Market Stage which brough us performances from popular artists including Honeyblood, Tom Grennan and Twin Atlantic. The other six stages included were The Nest-the third of the bigger stages, then the slightly smaller venues that included The Barn, The Saloon Bar-which is well known for its country style, Veterans and Virgins stage, and lastly, not forgetting The Temple, and The Ruins venues that could be found within the Palm City area of the site which mostly showcases DJ sets including an amazing set from none other than Hollywood actor Idris Elba!

Also on offer on site was an array of activities and stalls for all ages to enjoy. Even fairground rides and games. As this is a family friendly festival, Truck saw the return of Angel Gardens which is a dedicated team of enthusiastic people in a designated children and family area. This area was situated just  off of the main arena and provided activities from 10am until 6pm.  Their tipi was full of lots of things to keep little ones happy and content. They had planned activities that included arts and crafts, singing and music, dance and movement, sensory play, story telling, cooking classes, races and games and even circus skills performances. Angel Gardens also planned to provide a bath and bedtime hour each evening from 5pm until 6pm where children can wash and relax to get ready for bed. I thought this was a brilliant idea, especially as I took my two year old son with me.
Next to the children’s area was a cinema with a diverse range of films for both  children and adults. The listings included big Disney movies- Moana, Up!, Toy story 1, 2 and 3 and also films aimed at a more mature audience like Jurassic Park, The Mask, Jaws, The Wedding Singer and the multiple award winning La La Land.

Each year the team at Truck festival has been known to provide ticket holders with a wide variety of food choices. Well this year there was even more! They had almost every corner of the food map covered. What was better is that because there was a much wider choice of foods this meant that people were spending a lot less time queueing for their grub. The food hall tent gave us pizzas, smoothies, indian cuisine, a hog roast, burgers, mac and cheese, tea and coffee and so much more. There was also many street cart food vendors on site around the arena which introduced us to greek street food, vegan and vegetarian cuisine, thai food, the list goes on and on. Feel good food stands were also donating all of their profits to many different charities which is a really nice idea. The one downside that I and many others noticed was the extortionate prices at the bar. I remember going to buy a bottle of water and being charged £2.50 to which I refused to pay, especially as I was able to buy the same amount of bottled water for just £1 at another food stall. Not only this, many people I had spoken to at the event were feeling a little cheated as they were being charged £5 per pint at the bar. And as there was a new no alcohol on return policy in place, this certainly rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way.

Speaking of grievances, If anyone reading this review has also read any other 2017 Truck festival related news, you will have undoubtedly seen a lot of negative articles about this weekend’s event. Here on behalf of myself and everyone at Summer Festival Guide, I do not intend to focus on the negatives that have appeared to over shadow many peoples opinions of this festival. Lets get the negativity out of the way. Firstly the weather was absolutely awful.  It rained, and rained and then rained some more. This of course turned the festival grounds into a giant muddy slip and slide and caused many campers tents to become flooded, including my own. No one is at fault for the very unpredicable weather conditions, but the security teams and production teams on site tried to help as much as they could by covering the worst effected parts of the ground with straw in an attempt to soak up the mud. Which worked to a certain extent.

While at the festival and since the event, I have spoken to many people as they were wanting to express their concerns to pretty much anyone who would listen as unfortunately the organisers of Truck festival haven’t appeared to be overly co operative. It appeared that the layout of the camping areas were not as well thought out as they maybe should have been.  There were five campsite areas which surrounded the arena, one of which was for the production team. The rest included general camping, the glamping and Zodiac camping areas which were priced higher than general camping as it provided extra facilities such as showers and larger tents and lastly the family camping area.  Family camping was the furthest away from the arena to which I can only assume was an attempt to keep it quieter for families with younger children which in therory is a good idea. Although in order to get the the festival arena, families were expected to walk through the general camping area which in my opinion and in the opinion of many others wasn’t such a good idea. Especially as it required walking down a hill that was turned into a giant mud slide after the heavy rainfall.  Not only that, it also was not ideal for young children to be walking through a campsite full of other festival goers that had a lot of alcohol and even recreational drugs on them which also left the general admission campsite in a bit of a state.  There is a very strict no drugs on site policy in place so clearly there would have been further security issues there too. Further issues with campsites included broken showers in the glamping and Zodiac camping areas. Ticket holders in these areas had paid over £30 extra to be able to use these shower facilities only to discover that they weren’t always able to. Lastly regarding complaints and unfortunate situations, over thirty reports were made to the organisers about items being stolen from tents, not only while the tents were empty but also when occupied while people were sleeping. Even though many people are left confused as to what is being done about these reports, it does appear that reports of stolen goods are still being dealt with. In all honesty it looks like the organisers at Truck festival will have a lot to think about while preparing for next year’s event.

Who’s ready for the fun stuff? The music highlights! The weekend provided us with an amazing line-up with so many great acts to see. It was so hard to pick which acts to go and see as many of “the ones to watch” had timing clashes so it mean’t a lot of running around for myself and our photographer. But totally worth it, no matter how much mud we may have been covered in. There are so many artitsts that I would love to include in this review but I have narrowed it down to just a few. One of the performaces that really stood out for me was the set from South London band Arcane Roots.  If you enjoy music from Biffy Clyro then these guys will be right up your alley. The band who have recently been raved about by DJ Annie Mac, attracted a lot of fans into the tent, which was eventually full to capacity. Just after perforfming their latest release, titled “Off The Floor” which in itself is a great head bopper, they then went on to sing a small segment of the massive  Linkin Park hit “Crawling”, which I have no doubt was a touching tribute to the band’s front man Chester Bennington who has recently passed away.  This was definitely a stand out moment for me and clearly many others in the room as it was met with applause.

An act that is defintly worth a mention is the unforgettable and high energy four piece, Yonaka. The band’s first appearance at Truck was in 2016 and they were named as one of the best sets of the weekend’s event.  This year they had returned to find themselves performing  on the main stage. With striking vocals from Theresa Jarvis and her very theatrical movements they had an amazing stage presence and captivated the audience. The band performed some of their singles including “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya”, “Ignorance” “Bubblegum” and the intense “All In My Head” to which they encouraged the crowds of people to sing along with them. If you get the chance to see them perform live, don’t miss out!

Saturday lunchtime brought us the very energetic Truck festival veteran that was the one and only Mr Motivator. This was certainly a segment to help festival goers get up onto their feet to shake off their friday night hangovers. With great music, funky moves and inspiring words during his half an hour time slot Mr Motivator really did bring out the inner sunshine in all of us during a very damp weekend.

Sunday evening saw probably one of the best acts of the weekend at the Market stage. Scottish alternative rock band Twin Atlantic. The quartet who formed in 2007 completly packed out their venue at Truck.  Not only was the Market stage bursting at the seems being at full capacity but they area surrounding was jam packed too. The band performed well known singles “Brothers & Sisters”, “Heart and Soul” and had blown the roof off of the venue during big hit “No Sleep!”.  Clearly these four lads would have been better suited to the festival’s main stage.  I really hope they will return to make this happen.

Lastly I cannot forget to mention the awesome headline acts! Truck organisers did not disappoint with these big names. Friday night concluded with the chart topping Franz Ferdinand.  The glasgow based indie rockers opened their impressive set with the very familiar “Matinee”. They also performed hits “Walk Away” and the massive “Take Me Out”.

Saturday night’s headline act was The Libertines. The band ushered on to the music scene in the early noughties with their debut single “What A Waster” competing with the likes of The Strokes and Doves. Following a hiatus in the mid noughties the band then reunited for gigs at the ever popular Leeds and Reading festivals in 2010. At truck crowds of fans saw them perform hits such as “Time For Heroes” and “What Katie Did”.

The biggest and probably most anticipated performance of the weekend was also the one that brought the weekend to a close. This came from huge British band The Vaccines! These guys had drawn in thousands of people to the main stage (even England footballer Stuart Pierce!) while they performed many of their greatest hits which included “If You Wanna”, “Post Break-up Sex”, “Melody Calling”, “Norgaard” and even sampled some new music from their forthcoming album. Their set ended with a spectacular firework display which left the entire site reeling in feel good vibes

To me, Truck festival 2017 was a success. I really enjoyed my time there and I would absolutely love to go again. Yes there were a few hiccups this year that can be improved upon, which the organisers need to take into consideration when planning the 2018 event, but I won’t let it dampen (pardon the pun) my view of a well rounded family friendly festival.

Bring on Truck 2018!

Photos by Kane Howie

For more photos click HERE!

To purchase your 2018 Truck Festival tickets click HERE!

Truck Festival 2017 Preview

With less than one week to go, Oxfordshire brings us one of the biggest events of the Summer festival calendar. Truck Festival! In the festival's 20th Anniversary its going to be the most anticipated year to date. Past years have seen acts including Ash, Mystery Jets, Biffy Clyro, Manic Street Preachers and many more.

2017's event will welcome headline acts Franz Ferdinand, The Libertines and The Vaccines on the main stage. On offer will also be seven other stages showcasing performances from a diverse range of bands and artists which will include Truck Festival veterans Slaves-who packed out the Barn stage in 2015. Also Scottish band Twin Atlantic, The Wombats, Maximo Park, Cabbage, Yonaka, Pulled Apart By Horses and many more.

There will also be DJ sets from BBC Radio 1's Mistajam and Hollywood actor Idris Elba. Saturday morning will see the return of the energetic Mr Motivator, to encourage crowds to get up on their feet and get moving. This is just a quick preview of all the excitement to come with acts that are not to be missed.  New and upcoming artists Tom Grennan, Vant, Honeyblood, The Big Moon, Get Inuit and Crows are definately worth a listen and ones to look out for.

On site will be a huge selection of food vendors, a cinema, fairground rides including a helter skelter and small business stalls. There will be plenty on offer for all ages. For those of you who have successfully purchased tickets to the event, here at Summer Festival Guide we hope you have an amazing weekend, and we look forward to seeing you there!

For more information visit the Truck Festival website HERE!

Ampthill Festival 2017

Every year, the small town of Ampthill in Bedfordshire welcomes people from near and far to their amazing production which is of course Ampthill Festival.
This festival consists of three different events over the course of a weekend (Friday-Sunday). Each part of the event had something completely different to offer. 'Amp Rocks' – A night of music on Friday, 'Ampthill Park Proms' – an evening of west end style perfomances on the Saturday and lastly the 'Ampthill Gala Day' – a well rounded family event that welcomes all ages to an array of perfomances and activities which takes place on the Sunday to close the busy weekend.

Friday night's 'Amp Rocks!' gig provided fun and frolicks for all! The production team had an amazing line up for ticketholders to enjoy. The evening was also hosted by BBC Radio DJ Nick Coffer. Redbourne battle of the bands winners Arccos got the night off to a great start. Fresh from performing live on BBC Three Counties Radio that very afternoon, the five lads performed their renditions of well known songs including 'Use Somebody' by Kings of Leon, 'The Kill', made famous by 30 Seconds to Mars, 'Shut Up And Dance' by Walk To The Moon, 'What You Know' by Two Door Cinema Club and 'Treasure', a track originally relased by artist Bruno Mars. The band's diverse choice of hits were well recieved by a chorus of kareoke like festival goers and even a small Arccos fanclub in the front of the crowd wearing band apparel.

In between each act while the stage team set up instruments and equipment, the crowds of people were entertained by a variety of music being played throughout the grounds and a social media system inviting people to use hashtags and upload their best rock star style photographs to the huge screens at the back of the stage. A live video feed of the audience was also on view for all to see. Not only that but there was a great choice of food vendors to visit just behind the music arena. Vendors included wood oven pizzas, BBQ Chicken and mobile units offering traditional festival foods including hotdogs, burgers, fries, donuts, tea and coffee. Also up for grabs were a pick n mix sweet van, ice cream and a bar. I must say the pizzas were 'delizioso!'

Now…Are you ready for some time travel? Feeling like Marty McFly and Doc Brown? Lets get into that Delorean and go back in time to some amazing musical eras. The rest of the evening takes us back to the 1980s and right up to the present day.
We begin our musical time travelling journey in the early 90s with britpop band Cast. The band, originally from Liverpool performed well known classics such as 'Walkaway', 'Free Me' and 'Guiding star' which had everyone up on their feet. The band also sampled songs 'Paper Chains' and 'Birdcage' from their new sixth studio album titled 'Kicking Up The Dust'. Their music is still quite similar to material that we already know from them, but with its more modern twist it is definitely worth a listen. One very amusing moment of this set was the band discussing with the audience about their journey to the venue. They spoke of how they jumped on the train only to arrive at what they thought was a destination called 'Flit-Wick' station and little did they know that they would quickly recieve correction from a bystander on the pronounciation of the town's name of 'Flitwick' (pronnounced Flittick).

Time to hit 'The Noughties!' I must admit I am very excited to be able to write about the next act of the night. This is a band that meant everything to my seventeen year old self. A band that I have waited almost thirteen years to see perform live! Introducing the first of the joint headine acts, musicians Charlie Simpson, Matt Willis and James Bourne – otherwise known as Busted! People in the audience were indeed going mad for these three cheeky chaps. For example, next to me, stood two very extatic older women screaming for Busted! They noticed me with my trusty notepad and pen, then looked at me and said "we are such an embaressment to our children, make sure that you don't mention the crazed middle aged women raving next to you" so of course, ladies this is a little shout out to you and your bubbly personalities!

Back to topic. The music. The three members of Busted leapt out onto stage with so much energy and charisma to say a quick hello to the audience and jumped straight into the first song of their alotted time 'Air Hostess'. In amongst the array of big hit singles which included 'Crashed The Wedding', 'Who's David?', '3am', 'Meet You There' and 'Sleeping With The Light On' the bandmates would often encourage audience interaction to build up a good rappor with their fans. At one point lead vocalist Charlie offered a competition to everyone by announcing "the best dancer during the next song will receive a kiss from Matt Willis!" to which Willis replied "I haven't brushed my teeth today." The band went on to perform 'Break your heart' which is taken from their latest album 'Night Driver'. And the lucky winner of the kiss competition? Much to the dismay of many ticketholders, crew and press (including myself), went to band member Charlie. After a sigh from the crowds of people gathered in the music arena Matt Willis then announced that he has "Snogged all of Busted now" After the comedy section of the set the band continued to play more from their latest album which included 'What You're On', 'Without It', album title track 'Night Driver' and new realease "New York". Latest album 'Night Driver' (realeased in 2016) has a very different sound from the classic Busted hits. After seperating and re forming once more, the band's music has definitely grown with them. Their new music has a more of an electro-pop sound. Very much like the style of music that band member James Bourne had experimented with while going solo as 'Future Boy' shortly after the band had split years ago. No matter which direction Busted go in, it totally works!

At the end of an energetic hour and ten minutes and also a heavy rainfall which did not dampen any spirits, the band performed their biggest hit to date 'Year 3000', during which had people from all generations jumping, waving hands and doing their best air guitar impressions while singing along to the infamous lyrics. Before leaving the stage, James Bourne could be seen waving and throwing guitar picks into the audience in front of him. All three members of the band thanked the fans for a fun time, wished everyone a safe journey home and even encouraged everyone to "wear seatbelts!"
After a short interval of music and big screen tv graphics from the stage, the last act of the night began to set up. The stage was transformed with what appeared to be white linen fabric. A very clean and simple look.

The closing act of the night took everyone back to the 1980s! The age of huge frizzy hair and rather dodgy statement cosmetics. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you English synthpop band, The Human League!

The band's female vocalists Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley were first to enter the arena to take their place at each side of the stage wearing rather dazzling black sparkling attire. Then on walks lead singer Philip Oakey waving to the crowds of people in front of him before then dominating centre stage. I absolutely loved Philip Oakey's Amp Rocks look! The singer was clearly out to make a statement in his traditional way. He wore a sleeveless black number which trailed to the floor while rocking a bald head and goatee with dark round sunglasses. I am a fan of the very popular DC Comics and this also includes their TV shows. For those of you that are fans of TV series 'Gotham' you will probably have the exact same thought that rushed into my head as soon as I set eyes on The Human League's front man. "Oh my goodness, Dr. Hugo Strange is on stage!" The singer's appearance had a striking resemblence to actor B.D. Wong's protrayal of the famous Batman villain.

The pop heroes, with their glitzy showcase, put on a truely amazing show for all to see. The atmosphere in the arena was electric! People of all ages were united in one place to enjoy a slice of the 1980s.
The band performed classics such as 'Heart Like A Wheel', 'Mirror Man', 'Lebanon', 'Tell Me When', 'Open Your Heart' and 'Fascination'. During the highly anticipated performance of hit single 'Don't you want me?' the first half of the song was performed entirely by the hundreds of people gathered in the audience, allowing the band members on stage to relax a little and enjoy watching their fans having a great time. The pop icons then contributed after the end of the first chorus to continue with their unique set. Lead vocalist Philip Oakey thanked fans for being at the event to see them perform before he and the other members of The Human league exited to the right of the stage. The lights dimmed slightly and fans were chanting loudly for more music from the final act of the night. As expected there was more entertainment from the musicians. They returned to the stage once more to perform two big hits 'Being Boiled' and the huge 'Electric Dreams' before the night of music on Friday came to a close.

The event was one that was certainly not to be missed and was well organised. Well done to everyone that took part in making this evening one to remember. This includes a quick shout out to the team from local recording studio 'Sound Arc' (based in Shefford, Bedfordshire) who provided all of the music/stage equipment for the concert.

Saturday night saw the festival introduce the 'Ampthill Park Proms'. which is a non profit "boutique" festival event that is organised from volunteers from the local community. It was an evening to invite everyone to come and see some amazing performances from some well known west end stars and more.
Unfortunately I was not able to attend this part of the festival, but I can give a brief overview of the night and what it had in store. Not only this year did the team at the festival manage to sign two big west end names Oliver Tompsett and Julie Atherton but they also welcomed back the return of the popular Ampthill Town Band, The brilliant Redbourne Jazz Band and the very talented Ampthill Concert Orchestra.
Between them, west end performers Oliver Tompsett and Julie Atherton have starred in some amazing shows including Mamma Mia!, Avenue Q, We Will Rock You, Fame, Rock Of Ages, Guys and Dolls and The Wizard of Oz prequel -Wicked!

At the end of the night festiver goers were treated to a bright and beautiful firework extravaganza!

Last, but certainly not least Sunday brought us the 'Ampthill Gala Day'. A free walk in day time event for everyone in the family to enjoy. On arrival we (my partner, my two year old son and myself) were greeted by a couple of people handing out flyers with different activites and performances that were on offer throughout the day. There was certainly plenty to do. There was live commentary over a tannoy system throughout the cricket ground which also hosted a variety of games, competitions and even a parade through the local town that finished at the grounds with many people including children dressed as cheerleaders, ladybirds, extra terrestrials, paintballers and NASA astronauts.

The music arena and comedy tent which provided us with live music, stand up comedy performances, Q and A sessions and even a live baking class with Great British Bake Off 2014 winner Nancy Birtwhistle!

The music arena featured acts Idolising Nova, There Is No Dance, a live cooking demonstration from Bake Off Winner Nancy Birtwhistle showcasing her no bake cheese cake, Ghouls, The Indios, Kit Walker, Massaoke – a brilliant interactive sing along and Oasish – a rather good Oasis tribute band.
The comedy tent organised by Ultra Live and Barnardos presented new and upcoming singer/songwriters and performers including the very talented Sam Neighbour, The Kagools and more. The team also brought us the very popular Mock the Week comedian Milton Jones. This was definitly one of my favorite segments of the day. The man is just as rib tickling as he is on tv. In the middle of the afternoon only a comedian would greet their audience with "Good evening!". Donned in one of his statement hawaiian style shirts and jeans with his wild hair, Jones said how nice it was to be in Ampthill's "onion shaped oven" as it was a very hot afternoon with over one hundred people crammed into a small dome shaped tent. In his routine as many stand up comedians often do he began to talk about recent events and politics and even mentioned that he had a great plan to help the UK government to fight obesity. His idea? "make chip shops doors narrower" this was met with a roar of laughter from everyone watching. Later in his time slot he asked the audience if they had anything that they would like him to discuss, so he had great social interaction with everyone watching. If you like stand up comedy I can definitly recommend buying a ticket to see Milton Jones live.

Another highlight of the day was The Science Dome. This was a black domed shaped inflatable tent which is often found at stargazing events around the country. It took us on a journey through time and space with its light display. We were invited into the tent and asked to lie on the floor and look up as a projector put on an amazing display of constellations, moving planets and even a trip to the international space station. At the end of the amazing experience was a simulation of being on a roller coaster racing around the rings of the planet Saturn. The graphics were absolutely incredible. It did make me a little dizzy but it was still something worth seeing. If you are given the opportunity to visit one of these domes at a stargazing event, I highly reccomend that you attend and take your children too. It was beautifil and very educational.
So after all of that, this brings my review of the brilliant Ampthill Festival weekend to a close. Before this weekend, I had never attended any of these events before and I had no idea what to expect. But now I can say that I had such an amazing time there and I look forward to what Ampthill has in store for us in 2018!

For more photos of the festival go HERE!