Wickham Festival

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Wickham Festival
All Time Grate Main Stage at Wickham Festival
StatusActive
Genrefolk, world, traditional, rock, pop, comedy
Location(s)Hampshire
CountryUnited Kingdom
Years active2003–present
Next event5 August 2021 (2021-08-05) – 8 August 2021 (2021-08-08)
ParticipantsSee Lineups
Capacity7,000
Websitewickhamfestival.co.uk

Wickham Festival is a four-day music event that takes place in the village of Wickham, Hampshire, England. Wickham hosts live music and comedy across four stages, as well as food stalls, craft stalls, real ale and cider bars and children's entertainers.[1] It has been listed by The Guardian as a top 'Family Friendly Boutique Festival'.[2] The 2015 Wickham Festival was named Best Festival (under 15,000 capacity) at the Live UK Music Business Awards,[3] and the 2018 event won Best Festival at The Guide Awards, with the 2019 event taking the title of Best Live Event.[4]

Although the history of the festival can be traced to the 2003 Eastleigh Festival, the first Wickham Festival was held from 3–6 August 2006 in and around the village community centre, with a line-up rooted in folk and traditional music.[5] Since then the festival has expanded (moving to its current site in 2013) to become a venue for both well established artists and those just breaking through, across many musical genres, and has previously hosted talks from Tony Benn and Bill Oddie.[6] Recent years have seen high profile performances from rock and pop artists, including James Blunt,[7][8] Kiefer Sutherland, Frank Turner, Wilko Johnson[9] and Lightning Seeds.[10] The festival has not lost touch with its roots, continuing to promote folk music,[11] world music[12] and such festival stalwarts as Richard Thompson,[13] Bellowhead and Steve Earle.[14] Wickham Festival has also introduced British audiences to international musicians, including Carlos Núñez Muñoz,[15] The Spooky Men's Chorale[16] and Le Vent du Nord.[17]

History[edit]

The origins of Wickham Festival can be found in the original Gosport Festival of the early 1990s, and the Eastleigh Music Festival. Both these events were organised by local councillor and music promoter Peter Chegwyn.

Gosport Festival[edit]

The original Gosport Festival organised by Chegwyn, Robin Fegan & Pam Pullen ran from 1991 to 1995 on Walpole Park, Gosport, Hampshire. Concerts were held in a 1000 capacity 'Big Top' and an Open Stage. Artists to perform at the festival included Roger Taylor of Queen, B B King, The Saw Doctors, The Manfreds and The Bootleg Beatles. The Gosport Festival also saw one of the first shows from the supergroup SAS Band.[18]

Gosport and Fareham Easter Festival[edit]

Mr Chegwyn also organised the popular Gosport & Fareham Easter Folk Festival, which ran from 2001 to 2011,[19][20] Based out of Fernham Hall, Fareham (the festival also utilised the Ashcroft Arts Centre and Wallington Village Hall), attendees would be treated to four days of folk music, workshops, dance displays, craft fairs, and a Cèilidh.[21]

The festival was set to move to Wickham in 2012, however it was decided to incorporate it into Wickham Festival instead.[22]

Eastleigh 'Big Top' Music Festival[edit]

The current festival began as the Eastleigh 'Big Top' Music festival in 2003:

The history of Eastleigh’s Music Festival can be traced back to 2002 with the involvement of Keith House, Eastleigh’s council leader with his fellow Liberal Democrat and county council colleague Peter Chegwyn who was also a music promoter. Mr Chegwyn had been organising a highly successful music festival in Gosport which had featured artistes like the international blues superstar and guitar legend B.B King. The intention was to try and replicate the success in Eastleigh.[23]

Location(s)[edit]

Los Pacaminos at the 2006 Wickham Festival.

Previous locations[edit]

Since the first Eastleigh Music Festival in 2003, the site changed a number of times before settling in its current location.

Eastleigh[edit]

Between 2003 and 2005, the festival took place at Eastleigh Park, Eastleigh. The Eastleigh Music Festival was a six day event featuring live music and entertainment, with free lunchtime world music concerts, free family entertainment every afternoon and ticketed evening concerts.[24]

Stokes Bay[edit]

The festival moved to Wickham in 2006, however due to issues with Winchester Council,[25][26] it was relocated for 2008 and 2009. For these two years, Wickham was incorporated in to the Stokes Bay Festival at Stokes Bay, Gosport. The festival returned to Wickham in 2010.[27]

Wickham[edit]

Wickham is a village located in Hampshire, just north of Fareham. The historic village square is home to a number of bars, restaurants, boutique shops and hotels. Wickham is also home to the historic Chesapeake Mill, built from the timbers of HMS Chesapeake.

Apart from 2008/2009, the festival has taken place in Wickham since 2006. The first Wickham Festival included performances from Daby Blade from Senegal, Spiers and Boden, Los Pacaminos, Richard Thompson, Shooglenifty, Sparks, Oysterband, Fiddlers' Bid, Osibisa, Flook, Steeleye Span and The Larry Love Showband. These shows primarily took place in and around the Village community centre.

In the years since 2006, the festival site has moved slightly to the fields either side of Blind Lane, north of the village square. The festival settled on its current site in 2013, where it has expanded to include three music stages, a dance stage, food and craft fayres and real ale and cider bars. The festival also features family entertainment, including a Digital Funfair and the Groovy Movie Solar Powered Picture House. Camping facilities have also grown to include glamping fields and spaces for motorhomes.[28]

Present day[edit]

The Bowman Ales Stage 2 at Wickham Festival 2015

2014[edit]

Running from the 14–17 August, the 2014 festival started with one of Wickham's biggest audiences, when 7,000 people saw James Blunt perform in the Big Top. Other acts to appear that year included Lightning Seeds, Bellowhead, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and Hugh Cornwell. The festival was also treated to a rare UK appearance from Steve Earle & the Dukes.[29]

2014 also saw the introduction of the Acoustic Stage, and the first editions of the Wickham Festival podcast.[30][31]

2015[edit]

The dates for the 2015 festival were 6–9 August. The festival saw the introduction of an open mic stage and a late night Festival Club,[32] a new viewing platform for the use of disabled festival-goers, and other improved facilities.[1]

Artists appearing at the festival included: Billy Bragg, Seth Lakeman, Eliza Carthy Big Band, 10cc, The Proclaimers, Moulettes, Show of Hands, Martin Carthy, Wilko Johnson, Andy Fairweather-Low, Tom Robinson,[33] De Temps Antan, The Spooky Men's Chorale, Askew Sisters, The South, Lisbee Stainton, Luka Bloom, Tankus the Henge, Les Barker and Roy Bailey.[34][35][36] The main stages were known as the 'All Time Grates Main Stage' and the 'Bowman Ales Stage 2'.[37] Gosport based Quay West Studios provided support in managing the second and third stages.[38]

Buoyed by stunning weather and lineup, over 25,000 people attended the festival, making it Wickham's most successful year. Festival organiser Peter Chegwyn stated: This festival has really put Wickham on the map. Now we are becoming well known we have top acts asking to play here rather than us chasing them, with Tom Robinson adding: It has been a fantastic festival and I am delighted for Peter Chegwyn who is truly a legend in this area. He is a one-off and people are very lucky to have him. The atmosphere here is wonderful and the reaction from the fans was amazing. I was quite moved by it.[39]

Wickham Festival was awarded the 'Best Festival (Cap. under 15,000)' at the 2015 Live Music Awards,[40] and was shortlisted for 'Best Event' at the Portsmouth WOW247 Awards.[41]

2016[edit]

The 2016 Wickham festival took place from the 4–7 August. The first acts announced for 2016 were Lynched, a traditional Irish folk group from Dublin, Skerryvore, Keston Cobblers Club and The Red Hot Chilli Pipers. The headliners for the Big Top Main Stage included Tony Hadley, The Stranglers, SAS Band (featuring Toyah Willcox and Roger Taylor) and Lindisfarne.[42] Other acts to appear included 'Rockney' legends Chas & Dave, Folk music icon Roy Bailey, American/Irish folk super-group Cherish the Ladies, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Gretchen Peters, and pop producer extraordinaire Trevor Horn (who will be joined by Lol Creme of 10cc and X Factor winner Matt Cardle).

Comedian and conservationist Bill Oddie gave a talk at the festival, on behalf of the League Against Cruel Sports 'Sanctuary' campaign, and performed two songs with SAS Band.

The number of stages at the Festival increased for 2016. The site included three covered stages and one open air stage, as well as a performance stage for dancers. All Time Grates sponsored the main stage at the festival, with Sam FM and The Breeze joining the festival to support the second stage.

2017[edit]

After another successful festival in 2016, the 2017 dates were announced as 3–6 August. Earlybird tickets at a reduced price were made available on the final day of the 2016 festival. The camping capacity was increased with three added fields, and a free concert at Wickham Community Centre was scheduled to entertain early arrivals on the Wednesday evening. Three inches of rain fell before the gates opened, causing a delay to proceeding while festival staff worked tirelessly to ready the site. As organiser Peter Chegwin said:

We have got every tractor we could from south Hampshire and we have put down tonnes of straw. The rain has just made the fields an absolute quagmire but the bottom line is if we haven’t moved heaven, we have certainly moved earth.[43]

£30,000 was spent in one day to get the festival running, with improved weather conditions ultimately allowing the event to break previous records.[44] Revellers were treated to performances from KT Tunstall, 10cc, Levellers, Eliza Carthy, Peatbog Faeries, John Otway, Tankus The Henge, Ferocious Dog and many, many more.

2018[edit]

At the conclusion of the 2017 festival, reduced weekend tickets for 2018 were made available. The dates announced are 2–5 August 2018, and on 17 September Gaz Brookfield and the Company of Thieves were the first confirmed act.[45] After its successful launch at the 2017 festival, it was announced that Jonathan Pie would be returning in 2018 to headline the comedy stage. The festival ultimately included five fully programmed stages of music, as well as the late night comedy and the return of a free concert in the Wickham Centre.

At the end of the festival it was announced that a contract extension had been agreed, securing the festival at the current site until 2020. Wickham Festival 2018 won the 'Best Festival' award at The News Guide Awards 2019.

2019[edit]

Following the conclusion of the 2018 festival, early bird tickets were made available for 2019. The dates for the festival are 1–4 August 2019. A strong line up was put together, featuring Graham Nash, local boy Frank Turner, Hollywood star Kiefer Sutherland and Barnsley comedy-folk stalwarts The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican. The second stage (Village Stage) has been expanded to give it equal billing with the bigtop (Valley Stage).[46]

The 2019 Wickham Festival won the award for 'Outstanding Street Food at a Music Festival' at the Hampshire Street Food Awards.

2020[edit]

The dates for the 2020 Wickham Festival have been announce as the 6-9 of August. In September 2019 it was announced The Young'uns will be playing Wickham Festival 2020. Stanley Jordan will be returning to the festival, playing a set of Jimi Hendrix music inspired by his iconic Isle of Wight Festival appearance. Van Morrison was announced as the Saturday night headliner.

On 1 July 2020 it was announced that due to the ongoing [COVID-19_pandemic] Wickham Festival 2020 was being postponed. Despite attempts by organisers to put on a 'COVID Secure' event, Government advice made it impractical to do so. The official release from the festival stated the following:

Until a few days ago we were hopeful of being able to stage our Festival as planned this August.

We have invested a considerable amount of time and money in drawing-up detailed plans for the UK’s first ‘Covid-Secure’ Festival and had received a very favourable response from all who had seen our plans.

Sadly, in the last few days, two things have changed:

  • The Government issued an edict stating that no live concerts can be held at the present time. Although clearly aimed at indoor venues the Government have yet to make clear whether it also applies to outdoor venues. If it does, we would not be able to have any musical performances. No music = no Festival.
  • The Government have also re-introduced lockdown measures in Leicester and have stated other local lockdowns may follow if Covid infections increase. We cannot take the risk that fresh lockdown measures may suddenly be imposed just days before our Festival and force us to cancel at the very last moment.

Within the announcement it was revealed that the festival would return in 2021, with all 2020 tickets still valid and all booked artists returning.[47]

Following the postponement, a special 'drive-in' concert was arranged with Show Of Hands.[48]

2021[edit]

With the dates confirmed as 5–8 August 2021, a majority of artists that were booked to appear at the postponed 2020 festival agreed to appear in 2021.

Comedy[edit]

In May 2017 it was announced that a late night comedy stage will be added to the festival. The first act confirmed for the new comedy stage was Tom Walker, famous for his alter-ego Jonathan Pie. Sets from Raymond & Mr Timkins, Zoe Lyons, Matt Green, James Veitch and others made for a successful first year of comedy at Wickham.

Lineups[edit]

Billy Bragg (seen here performing at South by Southwest) made his first Wickham appearance in 2015
Levellers have played at all three festival sites
James Blunt drew one of the biggest crowds to Wickham Festival in 2014
Kiefer Sutherland bought his band to Wickham Festival in 2019

This table shows the 'Main Stage' headliners and other notable performers from the all stages at Wickham Festival.

Year Location Dates Headliners Notable Performers Comedy (since 2017)
2003 Eastleigh 29 July – 3 August Bob Geldof · The Drifters · Levellers · SAS Band The Saw Doctors
2004 23 July – 1 August Bill Wyman · Will Young · Steve Harley Dionne Warwick · Shane MacGowan · Aled Jones
2005 4 August – 7 August The Proclaimers · The Saw Doctors · The Undertones Hayseed Dixie · Beth Nielsen Chapman
2006 Wickham 3 August – 6 August Sparks · Spiers and Boden · Richard Thompson · Steeleye Span Alabama 3 · Seth Lakeman · King Creosote
2007 2 August – 5 August Jethro Tull · Eddi Reader · The Saw Doctors Hazel O'Connor · Shooglenifty · Luka Bloom
2008 Stokes Bay 31 July – 3 August Show Of Hands · The UOGB · Levellers Michael McGoldrick · Chumbawamba · The Blockheads
2009 29 July – 2 August The Zutons · SAS Band · The Proclaimers Edward II · Le Vent du Nord · The Spooky Men's Chorale
2010 Wickham 5 August – 8 August Eliza Carthy · Shooglenifty · Kid Creole and the Coconuts · Show Of Hands The Undertones · Peatbog Faeries · The Mighty Zulu Nation
2011 4 August – 7 August Jools Holland · Richard Thompson · Bellowhead · The Men They Couldn't Hang Toyah · Kathryn Tickell · Tony Benn
2012 2 August – 5 August The Proclaimers · Bellowhead · Levellers KT Tunstall · The Wurzels · Blair Dunlop
2013 1 August – 4 August Dexys · The Waterboys · Seth Lakeman · The Blockheads Wilko Johnson · 10cc · Moulettes · The South · Public Service Broadcasting
2014 14 August – 17 August James Blunt · Lightning Seeds · Steve Earle · Bellowhead Hugh Cornwell · Oysterband · Dreadzone · The Poozies
2015 6 August – 9 August Wilko Johnson · Billy Bragg · The Proclaimers · 10cc Andy Fairweather-Low · Martin Carthy · Dhol Foundation · Tom Robinson
2016 4 August – 7 August Tony Hadley · The Stranglers · SAS Band · Lindisfarne Trevor Horn · Gretchen Peters · Steeleye Span · Hayseed Dixie · Chas & Dave
2017 3 August – 6 August 10cc · Show of Hands · Levellers · Peatbog Faeries KT Tunstall · John Otway · Seth Lakeman · Eliza Carthy Jonathan Pie · Zoe Lyons · James Veitch · Tom Deacon · Raymond & Mr Timpkins
2018 2 August – 5 August Steve Harley · Squeeze · Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings Kate Rusby · The Undertones · John Illsley · Roger Chapman · Richard Thompson · Ferocious Dog Paul McCaffrey · Jonathan Pie · Tanyalee Davis · Marlon Davis
2019 1 August – 4 August Graham Nash · Level 42 · Frank Turner · Gilbert O'Sullivan Kiefer Sutherland · Judy Collins · Alabama 3 · Ralph McTell · The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican Fin Taylor · Alistair Barrie · Ninia Benjamin · Dave Johns · Ben Norris · Clinton Baptiste
2020 6 August – 9 August Postponed
2021 5 August – 8 August Van Morrison · SAS Band · The Waterboys Eddi Reader · Edward II · Lil' Jimmy Reed · Nick Lowe TBA

[49][50]

Charity[edit]

Wickham Festival works closely with Two Saints,[51] a Fareham-based charity that supports homeless and vulnerable young people across south Hampshire.[52] Over £4,000 was raised for them over the 2014 festival weekend,[53][54] with this figure being topped in 2015, with a total of £5,000 being raised. A similar amount continued to be raised at every festival since.

Starting with the 2016 festival, a partnership with The League Against Cruel Sports was announced. The League was established in 1924 and campaigns to end cruelty to animals in sport. The charity hosted a sanctuary tent at the Festival, where attendees could learn more about their campaigns and 'enjoy some tranquillity'.[55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Other attractions". Wickhamfestival.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Palmer, Camilla (13 June 2015). "Eight family friendly boutique summer festivals". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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  40. ^ "Kilimanjaro Live named National Promoter of the Year | News | Music Week". Musicweek.com. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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  43. ^ "Organiser splashes out as festival gets going". Portsmouth.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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  45. ^ "Tickets". Wickhamfestival.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  46. ^ "FRANK TURNER TO HEADLINE WICKHAM FESTIVAL". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  47. ^ Chegwyn, Peter (1 July 2020). "Wickham Festival postponed to 2021". Wickhamfestival.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  48. ^ "Wickham Festival to hold a drive-in concert after main event cancelled". Portsmouth.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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  51. ^ "Involve nov 13". Issuu.com. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  52. ^ "Two Saints | Homeless Services | Accommodation | Advice & Support". Twosaints.org.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  53. ^ [12][dead link]
  54. ^ [13][dead link]
  55. ^ "League Against Cruel Sports". League.org.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]