Legends Donovan and The Blockheads added to Chagstock 2016 lineup

CHAGSTOCK FESTIVAL organisers have confirmed that Rock N Roll & Songwriting Hall Of FamerDonovan will headline Friday night on the festival’s 10th Anniversary this July.

Donovan is a legendary Scottish Poet, folk-rock & pop-troubadour who has been an essential part of worldwide popular culture since signing to Pye Records in 1965. Best known for his signature song, ‘Mellow Yellow’, Donovan has recorded more than 27 albums, and his 1967 hit, ’Sunshine Superman’ (featuring Jimmy Page on Guitar and John Paul Jones on Bass) was a US No.1 single.

Over the course of his 50-year musical career, Donovan has performed with legends such as Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. He taught John Lennon & Paul McCartney the finger-picking guitar style, and performed on the recording of The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’. He was also one of the few non-band members to co-write with The Beatles; collaborating on ‘Yellow Submarine’. 
In addition to his induction into the Rock N Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame, other awards that this unique songwriter and performer has been presented with include an Ivor Novello, a Fresh distinguished medal as “Officer of Arts & Letters”, A BMI Icon award, the MOJO magazine Maverick Award, A BBC Folk Lifetime Achievement Award and many more. 

Live performance highlights are include sets at numerous historically important events including Monterey 1967, Newport 1965, Isle of Wight 1970, Bath Blues 1970 … and now of course Chagstock 2016, where he will be performing a ‘greatest hits’ set, along with his current band.

Also added to the Chagstock 2016 bill are The Blockheads. Formed in 1977 to promote Ian Dury’s album 'New Boots and Panties'. Chaz Jankel, Norman Watt-Roy, Charlie Charles, John Turnbull and Mick Gallagher became known as 'The Blockheads'. Chaz composed 'Hit me with your Rhythm Stick' with Ian, which has sold more than 1 million copies to date, and reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart.

The last performance by Ian Dury & The Blockheads was February 6th 2000 at The London Palladium. At this point the band had to make a decision to either stop or continue. The choice was made and the band has continued making albums and touring the world. Now over a decade since Ian passed away, The Blockheads still perform to packed out venues around the world.

Saturday night at Chagstock will be headlined by none other than legendary post-punk band, The Stranglers. The Stranglers are one of the UK’s best loved bands, who have enjoyed a litany of hits across their incredible 42-year career, including ‘Golden Brown’, ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Peaches’, ‘Always the Sun’ and ‘Skin Deep’. 

Other acts confirmed include the wildly popular Ferocious Dog, alt-folk six-piece Danny & The Champions Of The World, the BBC Introducingendorsed Cattle & Cane, a return performance from spellbinding Irish Folk/Blues troubadour Marc O’Reilly, and many more. 

Taking place on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd July, Devon’s much-loved, family friendly, not-for-profit event will feature the biggest and most diverse line up in its 10-year history.

The theme for the wildly popular fancy dress day on Saturday will be ‘Legends’. 

Set in 70 acres of farmland on the edge of Dartmoor, Chagstock is renowned for its stunning location, diverse line-up of artists and non-corporate, family friendly atmosphere. Chagstock showcases the very best music, food and entertainment that the Westcountry and the UK have to offer. Starting life as a small private party, Chagstock has now grown into a major fixture on the Westcountry festival circuit, selling out all 5,000 tickets for the last four years in succession. As introduced back in 2012, all children under 12 can attend the festival for free (ticket is required). 

Last year’s festival was regarded by many as the best yet (“Chagstock has something special… other events should perhaps take note and try and emulate it” – efestivals) and featured memorable performances from the likes of Levellers, New Model Army, Seth Lakeman, Neville Staple, Molotov Jukebox and many many more

Simon Ford Chagstock Festival organiser says, “We are delighted that a band as huge as The Stranglers have agreed to perform at Chagstock this year, and we are very proud of the quality of the other acts announced so far as well…2016 really is set to be a vintage year for the festival. As always, you can rely on Chagstock for a non-corporate vibe, family friendly atmosphere and loads of great and varied music, food and entertainment”

Wychwood Festival 2014 Review

The festival season is now well and truly under way and for me, Cheltenham’s Wychwood Festival – now in it’s 10th year – would be my first taste of what this year has to offer.

This child friendly festival, self proclaimed to be ‘a truly wonderful thing’ certainly did not disappoint. It had everything I love to see at these type of events – the weird and wonderful hit me from the word go; stepping out of the car to be greeted by a group of cub scouts, complementing their neckerchiefs with pink cowboy hats. I followed the smell of barbecued burgers into the main site and the little pangs of excitement I get around this time of year had begun.

The ‘big top’ tent seemed to be where Wychwood had scheduled the more underground acts of this years festival. The first act I saw in this tent were an electronic outfit from Manchester called ‘No Ceremony’. A 3 piece band I would love to experience again. From ambient guitar washes to four-to-the-floor AKAI sampler breaks in an instant, they were a great band to ease yourself into this festival and to show the crowds that the ‘big top’ tent was the place to be. I later went on to watch the amazing Bipolar Sunshine on the same stage. A band who would be at Parklife festival next weekend, to give me a second helping of after summer tune after summer tune.

The big top was also the venue for my stand out highlight of this entire festival – Wolf Alice. They were mesmerising from start to finish – with lead singer Ellie Rowsell’s unique vocals haunting you to the bone one minute, before hitting you right between the eyes the next.

The first headline band of the weekend was The Stranglers. They took to the stage, each member dressed entirely in black and I had all sorts of comments running through my head – things like them being ‘shadows of what they used to be’ and all that rubbish, but they soon blew all of my ignorant negativity out of the water. Smashing out hits like ‘Golden Brown’ and ‘Peaches’ it was great to see them genuinely still loving every minute of doing so, even after being together all of these years.

Some of the big names on Saturday’s bill I found a little disappointing. It may have just been in comparison to the mind blowing Newton Faulkner and his unexplainable rhythmic guitar magic but Reef, a band who I listened to a lot in my teenage years (and genuinely really like) just didn’t seem comfortable amongst the somewhat tamer bands on this years bill. I’m sure in a different setting, seeing them blasting out ‘place your hands’ and ‘naked’ would have had me bouncing around like I was 16 again, but not here surrounded by a crowd predominantly sporting headline band ‘Levellers’ t-shirts. When they finally took to the stage, the ex-glastonbury-main-stagers worked through their back catalogue with songs such as ‘One Way’ with their signature folk/punk rock influenced stylings.

The final headline band on Sunday was Bob Geldof’s own Boomtown Rats. They took to the stage with an energy from way before their current years, with Geldof commanding the crowd like it was second nature to him. They sounded fantastic, belting out ‘I don’t like mondays’ right in the middle of their 16 song set list, which came to a head with their self titled ‘Boomtown Rats’ to bring this fun-filled family festival to an end.

It was slightly strange filtering out on the Sunday night, amongst crowds of tired toddlers and drunk mums but I had really enjoyed my weekend at this quirky little festival in Cheltenham. Now to wash down those wellies ready for Festival number 2 next weekend ;)

Review by Sam Ansell


Photos by Melanie Chitty


The Stranglers and more added to Wychwood Festival lineup

Heritage favourites The Stranglers have been announced for Wychwood 2014, joining The Boomtown Rats as the second headliner for the 10th Anniversary of the Gloucestershire Festival with one more yet to come. To kick off festivities on Friday evening, The Stranglers will no doubt delight audiences with their epic back catalogue of 23 top 40 UK singles, including acclaimed hits 'Golden Brown' and 'Peaches'. The British rock band first formed back in 1974 and will be celebrating 40 years in the music industry with a very special performance at Wychwood – a double reason to celebrate!

JJ Burnel, bass guitarist of the band commented, "As we are celebrating two Anniversaries, it's gonna be a hell of a party!"

In addition to The Stranglers, 10cc's co-founder Graham Gouldman will be bringing his fantasticHeart Full of Songs acoustic set to the festival. The 60 minute set will feature classics such as 'I'm Not in Love' and 'Dreadlock Holiday' with fellow 10cc bandmates, along with other Gouldman-composed hits including 'Bus Stop' and 'Look Through Any Window', written for The Hollies. Topped off with new material from his acclaimed new album along with a few surprises, the performance is one not to be missed at Wychwood.

A Wychwood Festival line-up would not be complete without an energetic Ska band to liven up a Saturday afternoon in the Prestbury Hills. This year it is the turn of popular 80's group Bad Manners, led by frontman Buster Bloodvessel and who's hits include 'My Girl Lollypop' and 'Lip Up Fatty'. Other new mainstage acts announced today include Cheltenham locals and Wychwood regulars, Thrill Collins, plus the unique sounds of Gaslight Troubadors who made an impact in 2013 with their debut album 'Clockwork Curiosities'.

The Big Top will once again play host to the UK's freshest and emerging talent courtesy of London promoters Smashing Blouse. Wolf Alice will close the weekend as Sunday night headliners; fresh from supporting The 1975 on their sell-out tour the band are already making waves in 2014 with hits such as 'Fluffy' and 'Blush'.

Other additions to this stage include London-based trio Benin City named after a Nigerian city the band are already boast a loyal following from the likes of BBC 6's Huey Morgan. More exciting new names added to the Big Top include groups Racing Glaciers and Pixel Fix.

With an innovative and pioneering programme to delight those that lust over indie, folk, rock and world music, an enviable extra-curricular timetable, plus an undeniably friendly atmosphere in a stunning location, Wychwood is incomparable to other family festivals – and the 10th anniversary celebration will be the biggest and best yet. As one of Britain’s most treasured events, Wychwood has seen a wealth of emerging and classic talents grace its stage over the last ten heroic years from the likes of Duffy, James, Happy Mondays and The Human League. All completed by an enlightening programme including the Children’s Literature Festival, chuckling comedy, a plethora of workshops and a Beer & Ale festival in association with Wychwood Brewery; making Wychwood a fantastic addition to any family’s calendar.

The Stranglers are confirmed to headline Galtres Festival

Scoring 24 UK top 40 singles and 18 UK top 40 albums to date in a career spanning four decades, the Stranglers are the longest-surviving and most continuously successful band to have originated in the UK punk scene of the mid to late 1970s. Their legendary smash hits include Peaches, No More Heroes, Five Minutes, Duchess, Something Better Change, Always The Sun, Golden Brown, Strange Little Girl and Skin Deep amongst many, many others.

Festival director James Houston said: "This is a major coup for us. The Stranglers have stood the test of time brilliantly, with outstanding recent festival performances and a new album building on their extraordinary success over four decades. They are legends, we've always dreamed of booking them, and now they are coming. It will be a fabulous end to this year's festival at our spectacular new home."

The Stranglers occupy the big Sunday night spot occupied at Galtres by the Levellers, The Beat and Adam Ant in recent years. "Our event always ends on a big high," said James. "This year, as the sun sets over the North Yorkshire Moors, it will be a golden brown high!"

Known for their aura of danger and cool, the Stranglers begin their 2013 live campaign today in Scotland with an extensive 25 date UK tour, and concluding at Duncombe Park in August. The band, whose hits include 'Duchess', will play Galtres Festival's fittingly-named Duke Stage, overlooking the stately home.
In 1977 the Stranglers released their extraordinary debut album, Rattus Norvegicus and firmly established themselves as progressive punk outlaws.

The Stranglers first new album for six years, Giants was released in March 2012.  The record was critically acclaimed and saw the band complete another hugely successful UK tour, quickly followed by 23 dates in Europe.

Last summer the band played V Festivals, Hop Farm and Isle of Wight in the UK. They also played Germany’s major festival, Rock Am Ring & Rock Im Park and shows in Estonia, France, Belgium and Turkey.