REVIEW: Friday night at the Wickham Festival

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Wow. So has the Wickham Festival really been right on our doorstep all this time?

As a first-timer at the event on Friday, I stood there wondering why on earth I hadn’t been before – and walked home determined to be first in the queue next year.

The instant you walk in, you are hit with the best vibe ever – a relaxed, comfortable, free and easy festival which seems to sum up everything a festival should be about, especially when it’s a beautiful evening and especially when Show of Hands are on the bill.

The trio, which for some reason still seems to be labelled a duo, is so much the stronger for the addition of double-bassist Miranda Sykes, the perfect complement to singer-songwriter, frontman, wit and raconteur Steve Knightley and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer.

It’s a winning combination, and their lengthy set was simply superb. Knightley is the perfect host, offering plenty of easy-going chat between the songs before effortlessly switching back into the first-class musicianship which is their hallmark.

Newer numbers alongside Show of Hands classics gave the set just the right balance, and the event did the rest. It’s difficult to think of anywhere finer to be on a summer’s evening –

and difficult to think of a finer festival, the icing on the big fat cake of a day which saw England take a vice-like grip on those Ashes,

When England polish off the Aussies this morning, celebrate in style by popping down to the Wickham Festival where there are still plenty of pleasures to come.

Phil Hewitt

ARTISTS APPEARING ON SATURDAY 8TH AUGUST

All Time Grates Main Stage

The Proclaimers 21.45-23.00

Seth Lakeman 20.00.21.15

Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band 18.30-19.45

Kathryn Tickell & The Side 17.00-18.15

Gavin Marwick’s Journeyman Spectacular 15.30-16.45

The Spooky Mens Chorale 14.00-15.00

Lisbee Stainton 13.10-13.50

The Askew Sisters 12.20-13.00

Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston 11.30-12.10

ARTISTS APPEARING ON SUNDAY 9TH AUGUST

All Time Grates Main Stage

10cc 21.45-23.00

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel 20.30-21.30

Tom Robinson and Band 19.15-20.15

The Dhol Foundation 18.00-19.00

Luka Bloom 16.45-17.45

Moulettes 15.30-16.15

Tankus the Henge 14.30-15.15

Les Barker 13.30-14.15

The Gren Bartley Band 12.30-13.15

The Hut People 11.30-12.15

http://www.wickhamfestival.co.uk/tickets/

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