Review: Show of Hands, Wickham Festival

Show of Hands''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151034-5)
Show of Hands''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151034-5)

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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,