Daily Mirror ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Sun “…a weekend party like no other”
The countdown is well and truly on for Wales’ biggest family festival as ‘In It Together’ announce their headline acts for 2024. Set to make for an unforgettable weekend – Sugababes, Rag’n’Bone Man andDizzee Rascal have today been unveiled as the headliners for the festival, which returns to Margam in South Wales next May.
Sugababes are one of the most successful British girl bands of the 21st century, scoring 6 UK number 1 singles, millions of global sales, and multiple multi-platinum albums. Joining them on the bill is 3 time Brit Award winner Rag’n’Bone Man, whose 4x platinum selling 2017 debut album ‘Human’ became the fastest selling debut album by a male artist of the decade.
Also announced today – Cat Burns,Eliza Rose,Craig David’s TS5,James Morrison, Diversity, Joel Corry, Eats Everything, and Sigma are joining a stellar line-up of international stars includingRazorlight, Sam Ryder, Billy Ocean, Blue, Scouting for Girls, Sister Sledge and Gruff Rhys.
With budgets in mind, and cementing their status as the biggest family-friendly festival in Wales, In It Together are also launching their ‘Kids Go Free’ campaign – where children can now attend the festival for free as part of a family ticket. This means access to 150 artists playing over the weekend – plus over 100 free family activities included at no extra charge.
Among the activities are the Climbing Wall, Tic Tac Skate School, Outdoor Cinema, Sports Academy, Science School and Junior Jungle all making a welcome return. Joining them for 2024 will be an Extreme Sports Arena with BMX, Parkour and Volt Stunt Shows and Workshops, Live Wrestling, a designated Baby and Toddler tent and brand new Street Food Village. So, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or fancy yourself as the foodie of the family – there is sure to be something to satisfy your cravings.
Another returning fan favourite is Steelworks which will be bigger than ever in 2024. The stage will showcase the best world music – everything from Reggae, Funk, Soul, Afrobeat to Dub and more. On Sunday the stage will be hosted by crowd favourites ChaiWallahs.
The festival’s iconic dance tent Panchaia will once again see the worlds of House, Techno and Drum n Bass collide in 2024. Elsewhere on site, the popular Rewind arena is back after an epic 2023 debut, playing the very best of 90’s and 00’s anthems. Garage Nation, Noughty 90s and Judgement will all host over the weekend.
As well as welcoming some of the biggest international names to the Welsh Valleys, the festival will once again be a proud supporter of upcoming local talent – with the Padlock Stage hosting over 30 Welsh artists, showcasing the country’s finest exports.
Speaking about this year’s festival Mark Hopkins, Head of Festivals said: ‘‘After much hard work behind the scenes, we’re thrilled to finally be able to announce Sugababes, Rag’n’Bone Man and Dizzee Rascal as the headline acts for 2024. “
Earlier this year the family-friendly weekender well and truly cemented its status as the number 1 festival in Wales, with headliners The Kooks, Anne-Marie and James playing to sold out crowds under the glorious May sunshine. A remarkable achievement for a festival which only made its debut in 2022.
Tickets for In It Together 2024 will be available from 10am on the Monday 27th November– register atwww.inittogetherfestival.com. Prices start from £159 for a weekend ticket or £319 for family tickets (2 adults with 2 kids going free). Secure your ticket for a £20 deposit and pay nothing more until after Christmas.
The first weekend of August 2018 saw the return of the brilliant Bedford Park Concerts. I had an absolute blast last year, so I was excited to attend again. For those of you who are not already award, this is a three day event that begins on the Friday evening and comes to a close on the Sunday. The organisers have never failed to provide a fantastic line up. Previously they have given us performances from Jason Donavon, Tom Jones, UB40, Dizzee Rascal, Kaiser Chiefs and more. Once more for 2018, ticketholders were able to make memories with friends and family whilst watching yet another handful of brilliant acts.
Upon entering the site at Bedford Park, I could see a wide variety of food vendors, ranging from fish and chips and pizza to vegan street food and sweets. Also there was an abundance of bathroom facilities and access to a couple of different bars serving everyones favourite beverages. Also importantly, the teams from the brilliant St Johns Ambulance were placed in their own gazebo at the back of the park and also stationed on patrol at various locations around the site. As previous years the event was sponsored by BMW Barons Bedford, so there was also an array of automotive beauties on display and test drive booking options.
Friday 3rd August i had the weekend kicking off to a great start. The entier evening was filled with chilled reggae and soulful vibes. At times I even felt like I was being transported to a beautiful beach covered in white sand with crystal clear waters in my mind. It was one of the most chilled out gigs I have ever been to. Which was really quite nice and very enjoyable. During this relaxed segment of the evening we got to see performances from British Reggae band ASWAD, who are best known for their infectious hit singles ‘Don’t Turn Around’ and ‘Shine’. To which were the final two songs of their set.
Also Friday evening brought us a brilliant segment from The Christians, the band had celebrated the achievement of 30 years together just last year. The band from Liverpool have also seen huge success in their debut album which sold over a million copies. Their set included their first single ‘Forgotten Town’ which turned out to be quite apt as they had to ask the audience exactly where they were performing which was quite amusing. We also got to see them perform their cover of ‘Here Comes The Sun’ which was originally performed by The Beatles after the song was written by George Harrison.
The next act certainly took it up a notch as she ramped up the energy while she dominated the stage.That lady was the sensational Jaki Graham. She stood out in her eyecatching fringed attire while wowing us with her vocals. It was clear to see she could not wait for her turn to be on the stage. Graham appeared to be so genuinely happy to perform, she even stated “I came out feeling like Jaki no mates,but here you all are, I love you” which was followed by plenty of air kisses to the crowds of people before her. From Jaki, we heard hits including ‘Could It Be Im Falling In Love?’, ‘Ain’t Nobody’ and even new music including the title track of her new album, ‘When A Woman Loves‘.
Of course, this night belonged to one man, the legend that is Mr Billy Ocean. The Trinidadian-English recording artist is well known for his catchy R&B pop hits, predomintally in the 1970s and 1980s. I was born in the late 1980s but even I can appreciate his amazing talent and infamous hits. People of all ages were so excited to see this man perform live. Billy’s set was clean cut while he showcased his smooth moves as he dazzled in a brilliant white suit. Billy Ocean may not be as young as he once was, but this performance proved that age certainly is just a number. His performance was one of nostalgia and high emotion as he serenaded us with singles including ‘Caribbean Queen’, ‘When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Gets Going’, ‘Suddenly’ and the huge ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’.
On Saturday 4th August, we got to see a very different line up compared to the previous evening. The evening was filled with pop and dance tunes. We saw performances from up and coming solo act Hannah Jane Lewis, DJ sets in between main acts, male solo artist Sam Willis, who was sat for most of his set behind a keyboard playing beautiful music and gracing us with vocals that could closely be likened to international pop star Bruno Mars. So if you’re looking for musical “Treasure” be sure to check out Sam’s music. Also there was a very lively set from the band that gave birth to Harry Styles’ music career. White Eskimo. The quartet rock-pop band were all smartly dressed in fitted black suits and slim ties around their necks as they gave us quite the show. They certainly knew how to work their magic on the audience, especially impressionable girls within their teenage years. Although, some did try to cause a stir by chanting “Harry!, Harry!, Harry!”, the lads remained focused and professional as they were seen laughing off the little stunt and carried on with a brilliant display of musical genuis. The down to earth band members clearly loved to play up to the cameras and also took time out after their set for a meet and greet with their fans at the VW Campervan style photobooth on site.
What impressed me most about these performances weren’t actually anything to do with the acts at all. I can’t continue with this review without mentioning some of the best talent that I saw all weekend. Just to the leftof the stage as the acts were live, also live were some people communicating in British Sign Language. These talented people were performing songs along with the acts on stage. What a phenominal idea! I’ve been to a lot of gigs and festivals since becoming a writer for such events and never once had I seen this at any other event before. Bedford Park Concerts are one of the small handful of events that actually include this thoughtful feature to their line up.
Shortly after 8pm, hundreds of people were seen moving as close to the front of the stage as they could possibly get, as something exciting was about to take place in the park. All over the site I could hear chanting demanding “We want Jess!, We Want Jess!” Everyone was stood waiting in ancitipation for female solo artist Jess Glynne. The music scene first intriduced us to the female soloist back in 2014 upon the UK release of Clean Bandit’s mammoth single ‘Rather Be’. Jess‘ vocals shone on the track.
Although a little later than expected, Jess walked out onto the stage, gave everyone a quick “hello” and got straight down to business to perform the first song of her set, ‘Ain’t Got Far To Go’. The chart topper also included her well known string of hits such as ‘Right Here’, ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’ and ‘Hold My Hand’ before then slowing things down to what I can only state was a very emotional segment of her time on stage at Bedford Park. Glynne stood quietly at the front of the stage to introduce her next song of the evening and then dedicated it to a young girl and her mother. She continued to say “before I came on stage tonight, I got to meet a very special young girl, she’s so special and deserves some love”. The singer then continued to sing her balled ‘Home’. Many sang along as they swayed their hands gently through the air. It was rather difficult to hold back the tears during this stage to be honest. It wasa beautiful and heartfelt few moments. Jess Glynne is well known for her upbeat pop tracks, so the pace was picked up once again, getting everyone into the party mood they came to experience. This performance brought so much to the weekend’s event. Fun, emotion and pure pop brilliance!
To close saturday night, the organisers of the concerts had the perfect plan. To end the night on a huge party! Woo Hoo! Bring on Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe, aka Basement Jaxx! The duo hit the stage and took their place behind a huge DJ deck as they pumped out some ravetastic tunes. As they played remixed of their own hits including the mighty ‘Red Alert‘, crowds of people were jumping around like hyper school children without a care in the world. All under a fantastic laser light show. What a way to end the night!
As with previous years, the final day of frivolities at Bedford Park brought the most pompous yet patriotic day of my festival season calendar. The Bedford Park Proms. Proms day has always been known to feature performances showcasing a variety of renditions of songs from musicals and film soundtracks. Before attending the event that day, I had said to my partner (to quote myself) “I guaruntee that we will hear music probably the biggest film sountrack of the last year, The Greatest Showman”. Yes,I was pleasantly 100% right! It’s a soundtrack that I personally love to listen to very regularly, so I was excited to witness the children of the Pilgrims School Choir sing ‘A Million Dreams’ followed by the Bedford Girls School Choir singing their version of ‘The Greatest Show’ – which had a brilliant foot tapping routine to go with it. Parents, teachers and pupils from both school choirs should feel incredibly proud of their efforts during their performances.
What was fresh to see was a a brilliant set from the very talented Joe Bygraves. It was like watching a protege of Ed Sheeran’s standing on stage with an acoustic guitar and soft vocals. He and his music were definitely a bighighlight of the day in my opinion. Not only did he perform his own versions of songs including Ed Sheeran’s ‘Galway Girl’ and Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, he also had a great range of original songs to offer too, including ‘Childhood Sweetheart‘ and another, which was inspired by the fiesty fictitious character Daenarys Targaryen from the popular TV series Game Of Thrones. Joe’s music can currently be found on both Spotify and itunes. I highly recommend you check him out – especially if you’re a big fan of a certain red headed guitar playing male solo artist.
The official start to the Proms begins now! The Bedford Town Band kicked things off with a pretty impressive feature. All of their music was taken from the 1996 film ‘Brassed Off’ which starred Ewan McGregor.
Of course, the Bedford Park Proms wouldn’t be the same without the return of the mesmerising talents that make up the London Gala Orchestra. I’m no classical music buff, but I didn’t need to be to appreciate just how magical their symphonies can be. They even had me singing rather loudly “Just One Cornetto!” (Some of you will know what I am referring to there) haha. During some performances the orchestra were also joined by other guests including the Bedford Choral Society and of course the evening’s operatic soloists. Tenor Jeff Stewart and the nation’s musical sweetheart Lesley Garrett. Both were intruguing and enchanting to watch as they performed both alone and together. The pair even at one point sang a beautiful duet while drinking a glass of tipple and dancing as if they were ready for the wow at the ballroom.
Lastly in true proms style to end the evening and the weekend long event, the site was filled with sea of red, white and blue flags and costumes during a very british and patriotic segment before the big finale! A very spectacular firework display that filled the air with colour and sparkle and contentment in our hearts.
There is no doubt about it that the organisers of this annual event deserve a huge round of applause and a pat on the back for yet another job well done and a successful 2018 weekend event. I loved every minute of last year, I had so much fun this year, and preparations for next year’s weekend are already underway. I only hope I will be lucky enough to attend as a reviewer for a third time in 2019.
Reload relives all those memories and more bringing the very best acts and global superstars of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s to the Norfolk Showground for a weekend of nostalgic celebration and unbridled fun for all the family. With over 100 million records sold between the first six acts announced, Reload promises musical merriment in abundance with sets laden with sing-along anthems and pop hits of the day.
First up for 2015 are Birmingham’s finest sons, UB40’s Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue reunited. This seminal act transcended their working class origins to become one of the most successful reggae acts of all time selling in excess of 70 million albums worldwide. Their global hits included ‘Red Red Wine’, ‘(I Can’tHelp) Falling In Love With You’ and ‘I’ve Got You Babe’ and they are a fitting headliner for this year’s extravaganza.
Level 42’s unique fusion of jazz funk with a pop / rock sensibility saw them emerge as one of the most powerful live acts of the 80’s. Noted for Mark King’s percussive slap bass guitar, the group spawned a string of huge hits in Europe and the US including ‘Lessons In Love’ and‘Something About You’.
Boomtown Rats need little introduction. Led by the irrepressible force of nature that is Bob Geldof, their high energy, new-wave sparked a string of classic singles including ‘Rat Trap’ ‘I Don’t Like Monday’s’ and ‘She’s So Modern’
The undisputed highlight of last year’s Reload festival was Billy Ocean’s set and he returns to festival by popular demand. This Grammy Award winner has sold over 30 million records and his performance will have the Reload audience revelling in classics such as ‘When The Going Get Tough’, and Get Out Of My Dreams, Get In To My Car’, See you at the front!
One of the voices of the 80’s, Jimmy Somerville is sure to spark a huge sing along to his up tempo brand of synth-pop, new-wave and dance which spawned hits such as ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, ‘Smalltown Boy’ and You ‘Make Me Feel’.
The dance, disco and soul of M People was one of the defining sounds of the 90’s, culminating in a Mercury Music Prize for the album Elegant Slumming. Formed by legendary DJ Mike Pickering and featuring the irrepressible vocals of Heather Small, M People had a string of hits including ‘How Can I Love You More’ and ‘Moving On Up’
Reload Festival confirms it will bring a raft of British and US music legends to Norfolk for its two-day event later this year, on Saturday 6 & Sunday 7 September, at the region’s Showground
Saturday’s main stage line-up is confirmed to include a UK exclusive performance by Kool & the Gang, along with Soul II Soul, Rick Astley, ABC, Go West, Hot Chocolate, Imagination, Oddysey and From the Jam
The Human League, Billy Ocean, Sister Sledge, Jason Donovan, Heaven 17, Aswad, Bjorn Again, The Real Thing and more will complete the main stage line-up on the Sunday.
These iconic artists have amassed scores of classic smash hits, through a vast array of musical styles, from Ladies’ Night, Don’t You Want Me Baby, We Are Family, Celebration, Back to Life, When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going and Too Many Broken Hearts, through to You To Me Are Everything, We Close Our Eyes, Don’t Turn Around, The Look of Love, Temptation and Never Gonna Give You Up
With family camping available on-site, a second stage featuring a host of DJs spinning the big sounds, trapeze artists, stilt walkers, a silent disco, karaoke and much more, Reload Festival is the place to show the kids how it’s really done
A Reload Festival spokesperson comments: “Reload Festival is a brand new festival dedicated to delivering music for a generation of partygoers who long for the days of music you can really dance to. Reload represents the rare opportunity to see a large number of top acts across one weekend of huge hits”