Riverside Festival 2015

By The Riverside 2015 Photo: RinoFeroSs photography

Saturday 6th June 2015

The Riverside Festival

Bede Park, Leicester

with Not My Good Arm, Strangler Figs and The Brandy Thieves plus acoustic artists

Another success for the Riverside Festival; recent years have seen large crowds assemble at Bede Park for the annual Riverside Festival of water-side activities and music. Attracted by the fine, sunny weather and the promise of a good day out for all the family, thousands of people made their way to Bede Park, where they were greeted with food stalls, rides for the children, crafts and two music stages. A free festival, the event provided a wide range of activities and interests, from water-borne activities through to a real ale tent. Plenty of good food options were on offer.

Banner in front of the main stage
Banner in front of the main stage

The musical side of the festival was run this year by VJT Promotions, the purveyors of obsUnplugged and the Original Bands Showcase, in association with their sponsors Yellow Bean Studios.

As in previous years there was a main stage with the billed line-up being a showcase by Gateway College presented by the college’s BTEC students. This was followed by the band chosen from the OBS: Not My Good Arm.

The Leicester band got the day’s musical proceedings off to a rousing start with their set of upbeat dance tunes. Possibly the largest crowd this group has ever played to, the standing area in front of the main stage was pretty well packed with people, enjoying the lively music and the warm sunshine. Now a firmly established band, Not My Good Arm has become a popular part of the local music scene.

The Strangler Figs is a band provided a set of high quality musical delights. We saw them at The shed on 24th February last year, when

A wonderful set of stylish songs was delivered by this wickedly good band. Unusual music with plenty of colour and vibrant resonances, Strangler Figs set up some skankingly good rhythms with lashings of style and convivial melodies [Music in Leicester]

Today’s main stage performance was clearly enjoyed by the large audience.

The winners of this year’s OBS for bands – Dig Lazarus – provided some robustly energetic sounds, delivered with lashings of stage activity. The band beat over 40 other acts to take the top prize in this year’s showcase. It was a fizzing set that delighted rock fans and gave some music-goers an introduction to something new that they would not have seen before.

The main stage line-up was brought to a resounding finale by the wonderful Brandy Thieves. With their gypsy melodies and punk-style rhythms, laced with ska, this unique band delivered a formidable performance that was second to none. A stunning performance from lead singer Andrea Kenny accompanied by Cain Barriskill, Bernardo Mendes, James Jarvill and Joe Carey (the new accordion player.)

Many people commented “brilliant” about this headline act; that it certainly was. The band will be appearing at the Simon Says… festival in July and they will also be the Strawberry Fields festival in August. The band’s next festival will be Foxton Rocks on 20th June.

On the acoustic stage there was no less of a fine line-up of artists. In particular we made sure we did not miss the singing of Lucy Davies-Kumadiro – the singer who so delighted the audience at this year’s obsUnplugged:

Davies-Kumadiro got straight into her set, standing up at the mic and accompanying herself on the guitar. It was a delightful performance from an artist with an ear-pleasing voice and exceptional song-writing ability. [Music in Leicester]

With her voice full of melody, mood and colour, Lucy’s set was perfect for a hot summer afternoon. Her songs were as warm and breezy as the weather; listening to her singing was an altogether rewarding experience.

Another of our local singer, songwriters, Reuben Wisner also gave a hugely delightful performance on the acoustic stage. After seeing him at the obsUnplugged we said:

An outstanding singer/songwriter, his songs do not lack depth and have lyrical appeal, sensitivity and passion; Reuben has a voice that has character and quality. What makes him outstanding is his own music. [Music in Leicester]

adding that ‘Wisner is a young artist with lots of talent and one that many people would certainly want to see again.’

Acoustic group Idle Empire provided a particularly delightful set; another of the bands that had performed at the obsUnplugged in January, when we noted that

With vibrant and engaging songs, spirited tunes and ear-pleasing instrumentals, they delivered music with plenty of punch and vigour backed with foot-tapping rhythms. A confident performance that delivered a set of spirited tunes played with plenty of energy and verve. [ibid]

The programme of the acoustic stage included two members of Leicester’s Abandon Her. We featured the full band when they played at The Cookie Jar in March

Leicester band Abandon Her is a singing band – Olivia Bowles (vocals), Abby Mottram (guitar, backing vocals), Giles Urwin (drums, backing vocals), Sarah Jordan (keys, backing vocals) and that is one reason to like them a lot. Good vocals and harmonisations are worked with melodic melodies to provide an attractive and likeable sound. [Music in Leicester]

The full advertised line-up for today’s acoustic stage was

Claire Schofield, Tony Alles, Ross Darby, The Hardy Band, Lucy Davies-Kumadiro, Gavin Bradshaw, Idle Empire, Reuben Wisner and Abandon Her.

On Sunday the advertised line-up was

Emily Crane, Michael Kurtz, Guy Jones, Sean Grant, Simpletones, Mikey Vickers, Blue Skies in June and Olivia Rose Deane.

Many of these artists can be found in this magazine.

The fine weather once again brought people out in their thousands to this free festival held on the banks of the River Soar. The annual event has become an established attraction in Leicester’s calendar of public entertainments.

See also:

Midnight Wire at the Cooke Jar

Our report on the Riverside Festival 2014

Our report on the Riverside Festival 2013

About The Editor 535 Articles
The Editor of Music in Leicester magazine is Kevin Gaughan assisted by Trevor Locke