Wickham Festival hailed a success

Banjo-Vie on stage at the Wickham festival. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142421-848)
Banjo-Vie on stage at the Wickham festival. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142421-848)
The Rampant at the ramparts of Portchester Castle in 1967. L to r: Peter Richardson (aka Ritchie Peters  they turned his name around) vocals, Ron Hughes guitar, Ken Hughes (his brother) drums, Don Golding bass, Mick Cooper Hammond organ.

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THIS year’s Wickham Festival was the biggest and best it’s ever been.

That’s the verdict of organiser Peter Chegwyn.

Music fans packed the two big tops and the outdoor acoustic stage to take in the shows, which culminated last night with a headline performance by English folk band Bellowhead.

Mr Chegwyn said the weekend had topped all expectations. ‘It’s been the biggest and best ever – a fantastic success,’ he said.

‘It helped having lovely sunshine. It’s broken box office and attendance records.

‘The whole weekend was a roaring success. All the feedback has been positive.

‘It gives us all a buzz that a little village festival has come of age. It’s such a friendly and relaxed festival and that’s what makes it special.

‘We’ve already got a number of names in mind for next year.’

Festival goers enjoyed the huge variety of stalls at the site on the outskirts of the village, from vintage clothing to food.

And there was plenty on offer for children too, with a bouncy castle, inflatable slide and glitter tattoo stalls as well as shows from Jungle Buddies Playbus. A troupe of morris dancers entertained the crowds, and the food fayre ensured there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Margaret Holt, 62, from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, was among those who enjoyed the show. She said: ‘We came last year. When we got back we got an early bird ticket for this year. We didn’t know who was on then all of a sudden we get James Blunt!

‘He was very good live and he got the audience going.

‘It’s been a bit muddy but because it’s undercover it means it doesn’t matter about the weather.’

It was Linda Turnbull’s second year at the festival.

The 65-year-old, from Fishbourne, said: ‘There’s a great variety of acts and it’s a good price – it’s good value.

‘And James Blunt was very good.

‘A lot of people like to take the mickey out of him but he was very good, and very professional.’