James Morrison at Hampton Court Palace Festival 2017

As music venues go, the royal Hampton Court Palace, situated snug in the borough of Richmond, Greater London is arguably as impressive as it gets. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Hampton Court Palace Festival, which takes place annually every June, once again confirmed world-class acts including Bryan Ferry, James Morrison, Jools Holland, Rick Astley, Björn Again and The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra for their outdoor summer concerts.

It was a grey and slightly rainy summer’s day and I was off to see singer-songwriter and 2007 Brit Award winner James Morrison on Thursday 8th June take centre stage in Henry VIII’s historic open air Base Court, one of the stunning Tudor Courtyards of the palace. As an avid listener of his chart-topping album ‘Songs for You, Truths for Me’ back in 2008, a nostalgic trip down memory lane was very much appealing, and I was also keen to lend my ear to some later tracks I wasn’t as familiar with.

With ample time before the 9 pm start, there was plenty of time to enjoy a glass of red and admire the East Front Gardens. And my, what a picture they were. Perfectly preened lawns and distinctively shaped trees shaped the area, and despite the lacklustre weather plenty of people had made an impressive effort with their picnics spread out on the grass. For those that were less organised (myself included!), there were plenty of delicious food stalls selling a variety of different dishes. It really was an absolutely stunning setting to unwind in before a show and I felt relaxed and content sipping my wine in such beautiful surroundings.

                                          

It was soon time for James to take to the stage, and we made our way through the palace to Base Court, completely in awe at our surroundings. Bursting onto the stage, an introduction with the 2009 single ‘Nothing ever hurt like you’, elevated the crowds, some even rising to dance already. After a bit of light-hearted chit-chat to the 3,000 strong audience, up next it was the slower, mid-tempo ballad ‘I won’t let you go’ from 2011 album ‘The Awakening’, the slower rhythm inviting arm swaying from the audience.

‘Stay like this’ from the more recent 2015 album ‘Higher than here’ brought on swooning and wolf whistles, after which James’s sweetly explained it was written with his girlfriend in mind, followed by smooth and velvety vocals of ‘Something right’ from the same album.

Crowd-pleasing 2006 hit single ‘Wonderful world’ had the audience up on their feet, many singing along and turning to the catchy chorus. Interestingly (and as James hilariously pointed out – quite ironically) we learnt that the song was actually penned for a deaf man – though this wasn’t expanded on. Taking advantage of everyone up on their feet, hip-swayer ‘Slave to the music’ was next on the playlist, with everyone jigging along.

My personal favourite ‘Broken Strings’, an original duet with Canadian singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado seemingly had everyone feeling emotional and singing along, and paired with stunning female vocals it was my personal highlight of the show.  

As the performance slowly started to draw to a close, we were treated to the likes of ‘I need you tonight’ from ‘Higher than here’, and of course it wouldn’t be a James Morrison show without the unforgettable 2006 hit single ‘You give me something’ – a classic that everyone knew the words too.

The spectacular setting, matched with a delightful performance from James Morrison made the evening a truly memorable experience and a wonderful way to spend a summer evening, even despite the rain! The Hampton Court Palace Festival showcases outstanding acts year after year, so I eagerly look forward to checking out next year’s line-up.

Bryan Adams & Jamiroquai to headline Magic Summer Live!

In what will be their only UK performance this year, Jamiroquai will be taking to the stage on Saturday 13 July and Canadian rock legend Bryan Adams will be performing at the festival on Sunday 14 July. Joining this stellar line up will be James MorrisonJoss StoneSqueezeLevel 42Soul II SoulThe Overtones and Kim Wilde.Tickets are on sale Friday 15 March at 8amavailable at www.magicsummerlive.co.uk

Bryan Adams, Sunday’s headliner, has sold over 65 million records, toured over six continents and has achieved no.1 status in over 40 countries around the world. Adams’ song writing talent has scaled generations, with hits including “Summer Of ‘69”, “Heaven”, “Please Forgive Me”, and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”, which spent 16 weeks at the top of the UK single charts.

Having sold more than 25 million albums worldwide Jamiroquai are one of the UK’s biggest musical exports. The band will take to the Magic Summer Live stage for their only UK performance this year on Saturday 13 July. What marks the 20th anniversary of Emergency On Planet Earth, Jamiroquai will bring their special blend of pop, rock and funky soul to Stoke Park for what is bound to be a very memorable performance. With a career lasting 20 years, Jamiroquai will be taking to the main stage and performing hits including “Virtual Insanity”, “Cosmic Girl”, “Love Foolosophy” and  “Canned Heat”.

Jamiroquai

Neil Fox, Magic 105.4 Breakfast presenter, says: “This is going to be an amazing weekend. Some of my favourite acts who are all fantastic live, playing at a beautiful new location for Magic Summer Live. Roll on Summer!”

British soul sensation Joss Stone and “Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)” hit makers and two time Grammy award winning Soul II Soul have both been confirmed to perform at the festival on Saturday 13 July. Joining the line-up on Sunday 14 July will be BRIT Award winning singer/songwriter James Morrison, British new wave pop music icons Squeeze, rock & jazz-funk stars Level 42 and the UK’s hottest vocal harmony group The Overtones. Magic 105.4 presenter Kim Wilde will also be joining the Sunday line up and will be performing hits including “Kids in America” and “You Keep Me Hanging On”. Many more artists to be announced soon.

What is already sure to be a highlight of the summer for all the family, Magic Summer Live will host a spectacular array of activities and entertainment on site at Guildford’s Stoke Park. In addition to the Main Stage, the ‘West End’ Stage will showcase performances from some of the best-loved musicals and shows, with details to be announced soon. Organisers are keen to ensure that local businesses and talent alike are well served by the event and the festival will showcase some of the best local talent Guildford has to offer. An initiative is currently being put into place to involve as many Guildford local / independent businesses to trade on the site as possible. More information will be made available soon.

Lineup announced for Cornbury Festival

Just look who’s coming…major international stars like Elvis Costello, James Morrison and Alison Moyet….great performers like Will Young, Jools Holland, and the irrepressible bluesman Seasick Steve, pop princess Pixie Lott, the intriguing trio Stooshe and mischievous Norwegian instrumentalists Katzenjammer will all join the fun. US diva Macy Gray makes her first ever UK Festival appearance.

James Morrison

Here’s Cornbury 2012’s complete line-up…SO FAR.

Opening up Friday is aspiring singer Juan Zelada and rocker Beth Hart. The day unfolds with appearances from the likes of critically-acclaimed star Gretchen Peters, the awesome live act that is Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves along with starlet Pixie Lott. Friday night sees festival favourites Waterboys, 80s diva Alison Moyet and singer-song writer James Morrison.

Come Saturday and Cornbury favourite Elvis Costello will be joined on the main stage by his band The Imposters, while gracing the Songbird stage will be House TV star-turned bluesman Hugh Laurie & his Copper Bottom Band. Revellers will also be treated to the ultra-talented Police Dog Hogan along with local hero Danny & The Champions of the World on the main stage. Other artists include troubadour Newton Faulkner, the awesome Rainy Boy Sleep, the emotionally raw Tom Baxter, joined by Aloe Blacc, who brings his Motown-esque troupe for some compulsory dancing on the back of their international hit ‘I Need a Dollar’

National Treasure Jools Holland, brings his unique Rhythm & Blues Orchestra to Sunday’s proceedings with guests Marc Almond & Ruby Turner. Rhythm & blues fans are further catered for with legendary rockers 9 Below Zero and extraordinary Texan rockers Los Lonely Boys. Closing the Songbird stage is the beautiful songwriter Nerina Pallot, who makes a welcome return, and Norway’s best live band, the completely brilliant Katzenjammer will be strumming, plucking, blowing and banging their way through a huge selection of instruments.

Also at Cornbury 2012…

The Absolute Comedy Stage returns bigger and better than ever before. Expect a fun-filled Friday programme presented by local regulars Charlbury Riverside, who is set to field a two-day 3rd stage line-up joined by Balham’s infamous Kashmir Club. On top of this, a fantastic children’s zone with countless programmes will keep kids entertained all weekend long.

Getting the artist bill together is always a nail-biting task but I think we’ve raised the bar yet again with some great exclusives and a fantastic range of artists, so there really is something for everyone –  and maybe I’ll even get to see some of it” says festival director Hugh Phillimore.  

    “2012 could be our best year yet. We’ve weathered some difficult times in previous years, successfully relocated the festival to an even better site, stayed true to our original aims in remaining a truly independent family festival, and I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the local community who’ve supported us brilliantly over the years – so all bodes well for a successful 9th Cornbury.”

As a family-orientated festival, Cornbury undoubtedly offers something for everyone. The glamour, the charm and the comfort of a VIP area have given it the status for being UK’s ‘cleanest, cosiest’ boutique festival. With a slightly eccentric atmosphere and mixture of the old and new, this quintessentially English event preserves its good natured, inclusive feel. Set in one of the most spectacular and most ancient sites in the Cotswold countryside, coupled with some truly ‘feel-good’ music, Cornbury 2012 is sure to resonate in everybody’s mind.