Last weekend saw the third year in a row that Ross and I attended, in my opinion, the friendliest festival in the Country, if not the world! The Rewind Festival 2013 in Henley-on-Thames, UK.
Each year I have attended, I have felt nothing but good emanating from everyone. Complete strangers chat to each other with nothing but happy, positive vibes and don’t bat an eyelid at He-Man talking to a Smurf. You can go dressed as pretty much anything from the ’80s and not look out of place (although Ross and I did wonder at one stage what a flapper girl was doing there! I presumed Bugsy Malone?!).
As we drove down the now familiar hill into an extremely well-organised field of cars, I was feeling the ‘home from home’ ambience that comes with the festival. This year we were greeted by the Stay Puffed Marshmallow man and walked in to a sea of colourful stands and food outlets. One entitled ‘Camp Cooks’ was headed up by a wonderfully entertaining band of transvestites!
This year saw Ross reporting on behalf of the Reading Chronicle. This gave us access to not only the VIP section but also the press tent, sharing with the likes of Heart FM, Radio Oxford and Mike Read on behalf of BBC Radio Berkshire. We also had access to the area of the audience which I always call ‘no mans land’ – the place where the security guards watch the audience and not the acts!
Ross had already interviewed Nik Kershaw, Mark Shaw from Then Jerico (one of the most charismatic pop stars I’ve met and a really kindly soul too) and Sonia prior to the event. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to reconnect with Nik but we managed to get an interview with Sonia. Mark Shaw’s interview with Ross pretty much took over the whole tent in such a very positive way with him running off to meet Steve Augeri from Journey right in the middle of our chat. He was one very excited man! Ross even got introduced to the waiting fans outside the tent by Mark!
Act after act entertained the thrilled throngs of people.
On the Saturday – despite the weather not quite stepping up to the mark of previous years – there were the likes of the Sugar Hill Gang, The Blow Monkeys, Chesney Hawkes, Heaven 17, Then Jerico, Nik Kershaw, Billy Ocean and Kim Wilde. Billy Ocean – for me – being probably one of the outstanding acts of the day. Kim Wilde still looks amazing and had a new EP out on 19th August entitled ‘Every Time I See You I go Wild’. The evening was ably rounded off by The B52’s with a set which finished with the classics ‘Love Shack’ and ‘Rock Lobster’. Fireworks marked the end of an entertaining day.
Sunday saw just as much colour and the familiar friendly faces we met the day before – even the people nursing hangovers were happy – and the line-up was cause for more celebration. Acts included Matt Bianco, Aswad, The Cutting Crew, Leee John and Imagination, The Orchestra (former members of ELO), Sonia, Blancmange, Paul Carrack, Belinda Carlisle and ABC with closing act the Pointer Sisters.
But I have to save the highlight of the weekend until last. For me, this was without doubt, Go West. Having been a fan since the age of 15 you could say I was biased(!).Having previously met both Peter Cox and Richard Drummie, I knew it would be a relaxed affair. We had the opportunity to ask some fans to put questions to the both of them which the guys answered with charismatic vigour! Their performance was their usual high standard with songs including ‘We Close Our Eyes’ and ‘The King of Wishful Thinking’.
So, if you are looking to ‘Step Back in Time’ to a place you could class as ‘Heaven on Earth’, where Mr Blobby meets Mr T and Star Wars Stormtroopers queue for portaloos (good job they have those toilet roll holders on the back of their uniform!) then look no further than the Rewind Festival. Held in both Perth in Scotland and Temple Island Meadows, Henley on Thames. This is one music festival you don’t want to miss! One to add to the Bucket List.
With thanks to Ross and the Reading Chronicle and to Peter and Will for their fantastic organisation.
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