Saturday 5th July 2014
Western Park Festival 2014.
Report by Trevor Locke with contributions by others as indicated.
A one day festival of local music was held today on Western Park in Leicester.
There were three stages: The Main Stage, The Black Annis Stage and The bandstand Stage.
Photos by Kevin Gaughan are no longer available on this page.
One source estimated that over 3,000 people attended the event, the purpose of which was the raise money for The Friends of Western Park. The event was organised by Zander Events on behalf of the Friends of Western Park, an organisation set up in 2009 to raise funds for recreational facilities on the park. Around the music stages there was a fair selection of food outlets and an avenue of stalls providing community information and craft products. There were rides for the kiddies and various other events taking place including a dance area and an zone catering for mountain bike riders. All the acts at today’s event played for free, to help with the fund-raising initiative. Members of the public were asked to donate £1 on entry and kids were admitted free of charge. Following the event there were many very positive comments on the Facebook page of the festival.
This was the third event of this kind held on the park; for previous coverage see the links below. In 2013 the festival took place on Saturday 6th July. In 2012, the event was held on 29th September.
The large area of the park, where the music stages were held, covered an extensive area. By offering a broad spread of local bands and artists, the line-ups enabled people to see local acts that many would not have heard before. Most of those appearing on the three stages were acts that have played in Leicester’s music venues this year.
I was there to cover some of the event for Music in Leicester and Kevin Gaughan took photos. More contributions are expected to come in, after this initial report, so please come back to this page in a few details to look for fresh comments.
Guitarist Sam Bradshaw played a set of his instrumental pieces. Sam is a noted musician, often seen in the city playing his guitar at venues and festivals. A fine musician, Sam has composed a number of instrumental pieces and plays with distinctive style and skill.
Dr X (Markus Reeves and Art Pridmore) opened the Black Annis stage to the early starters. Declaring that time was running backwards and as such they were headlining they were a nice introduction (or should that be close) to the day. Art, looking to outdo Markus with his home-made guitars, had a drum fashioned from the body of an acoustic guitar, balanced on a fully functional wine rack, writes Keith Jobey.
Local singer Calvin Jeffreys was on the bandstand stage; accompanied by his Saxophone player, Calvin sang a delightful selection of his own songs, perfectly suited to a summary afternoon.
The Arcadians opened the main stage. An indie band with a chirpy lead singer, their set of dancy tunes and attractive rhythms set things off to a vibrant start. The band performed in one of the first round heats of the Play@LMF competition, earlier this year and were also seen at I Wanna Be A Rockstar where they were on stage with The Bobcats and Casino Empire. Keith Jobey commented: The Arcadians are a four-piece from Burton upon Trent. They had a bit of attitude about them and played a decent set of indie style rock.
Keith Jobey: I caught the last song from Matchstick Men and it sounded pretty good. Looks like they’re coming along nicely.
Flying Kangaroo Alliance were playing their last gig with the current line up as drummer Ivan Hunt lays down his sticks. And what’s more, mascot Little Kangaroo has gone walkabout. Could anything be read into Meri’s throwing the FKA sign away during the closing song Feel Free with technical issues early on but sounding great once that was sorted, wrote Keith Jobey and Trevor Locke added: The Flying Kangaroo Alliance had a fine set of songs, led by the strong vocals of Meri Everitt. Amazing as always, this band has drawn a lot of positive acclaim. Keith has taken this video of FKA playing at the festival.
Keith Jobey said: I hoped to catch Fallers featuring Rosie Doyle again but the stage times were running late meaning the bands on both stages were aligned, so I had to make do with buying a copy of their debut EP.
On the Black Annis stage Surf’s three musicians provided a set of smooth sounds, highlighted by twangy guitar riffs. Listenable songs with a contemporary style.
A four-piece band, Murmur delivered a lively start to their set. Their songs had plenty of vibrant rhythms and high-pitched guitar riffs that reminded me of Leaving Party.
Blues rock band The Bobcats delivered another stunning performance. This year has seen The Bobcats take off with a series of festival appearances both in Leicester and elsewhere and a series of highly acclaimed performances. Read more about The Bobcats on Music in Leicester.
On the main stage singer Elizabeth Cornish with her band gave an excellent performance that drew very positive comments from the audience. Elizabeth was recently acclaimed as being of the top female singers in the Midlands and today she certainly lived up to that accolade. Keith Jobey made this video of Elizabeth Cornish performing Blueprints. Read Keith Jobey’s article on Elizabeth Cornish album launch.
Also on the main stage, The Strangler Figs likewise drew considerable adulation from people, many of whom would have seen them perform at recent events, such as the finals of Play@LMF when they were on stage with Tapestry, The Furies (who also played at Western Park today), Casino Empire and Violet Cities. In our review of that night we wrote:
Strangler Figs were completely different. On the stage was ace lead singer Joe Pickering and standing by him one of Leicester’s best ever bass players Joel Hanson. Both of them sang. The ‘Figs’s music was softer and funkier than the previous bands, more melodious, but every bit as engaging. There is a noticeable chemistry between the members of this band, the kind of chemistry you see in bands like Smokestacks and The Bobcats. They know how to work together, they feed off each other, they are all on the same wave length and they produce music of the highest quality, music that has its roots in jazz, blues and funk. Within their genre they are one of Leicester’s finest musical assets. Every time this band plays people get converted. They do something that few others bands are doing these days. Superb, dazzling, nerve-tingling, inspiring, convivial … finding the adjectives is not difficult. Let’s just sum it up by saying this is an incredibly good band that plays music of considerable excellence.[Music in Leicester 13th June 2014]
Keith Jobey added: The Strangler Figs are a talented bunch that pleased the crowd with their quirky style.
The Furies is a one of my favourite Leicester rock bands; when they played at the LMF finals I wrote
Rock from the mainstream but played with artistic excellence and performance impact that was far from mainstream. The Furies is a Leicester band that has been around since 2009. They have played major venues and festivals, received the plaudits of many rock aficionados and tonight they rocked the socks off the audience… Their performance tonight was exceptionally good, even by the Furies’ standards. What makes them stand out is their ability to write incredibly good songs, tunes you can easily remember on the way home, songs that they wrote themselves but which sound like covers – because they are just so well written and well constructed. Listening to a half hour set by The Furies is a moment of magic. [Music in Leicester 13th June 2014]
Keith Jobey wrote: The Furies are another band considering their future as they saw farewell to guitarist Joe Connor. Their harder rock sound catching the attention of the audience, enabling them to sell a number of copies of their CD after their set. See our article about The Furies at The Musician.
Singer Dan Wright was on the bandstand stage, performing a set of songs. Dan Wright was one of the artists featured in Singers of Distinction 2013.
I caught some of 8 Miles High next. Four songs in fact, three of which were covers of Kasabian, Jet and the Arctic Monkeys, but well executed and played with some gusto. The last song I caught was one of their own, the title track off their EP and the influences of the bands they’d covered were there to be heard. I’d like to catch them again, writes Keith Jobey.
1100 – 1120 Sam Bradshaw
1120 – 1145 John Fryer
1145 – 1210 Daz Lynch
1210 – 1230 Calvin Jeffreys
1255 – 1315 Jason Smith
1340 – 1400 Jesse Wright
1425 – 1445 Andessa Louise Martin
1525 – 1545 Dan Wright
1615 – 1640 The Simpletones
1715 – 1735 Becky Edwards
1810 – 1830 Polly
1910 – 1930 Matt Henshaw
OLD MAJOR STAGE
We have referred to this as the ‘main stage’
1230 – 1255 The Arcadians
1315 – 1340 Flying Kangaroo Alliance
1400 – 1425 Elizabeth Cornish
1445 – 1525 Strangler Figs
1545 – 1615 The Furies
1645 – 1715 Stone Washed
1735 – 1810 The Mixtones
1830 – 1900 Brandy Thieves
1930 – 2000 Stop that Train
BLACK ANNIS STAGE
1140 – 1210 DR X
1215 – 1245 Matchstick Men
1250 – 1320 Fallers
1325 – 1355 Surf
1400 – 1430 Murmur
1435 – 1505 The Bobcats
1510 – 1540 8 Miles High
1545 – 1615 Slow Motion Band
1620 – 1650 The Bench That Rocked
1700 – 1730 the junipers
1735 – 1810 The Lost Future
1815 – 1850 Ash Mammal
1855 – 1925 – Jimmy Amnesia