Wickham Festival really has something to Bragg about

Billy Bragg'' at the Wickham Festival. Picture: Paul Jacobs (151034-19)
Billy Bragg'' at the Wickham Festival. Picture: Paul Jacobs (151034-19)
  • Thousands enjoy music in the sunshine
  • Organisers say it is the best yet
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Four glorious days came to a spectacular end last night as 10cc rocked the stage at the Wickham Festival.

A crowd of around 7,000 saw the 70s rockers perform a slick set of their greatest hits.

The festival, which is in its ninth year, was hailed a success by organiser Peter Chegwyn.

He said: ‘It has been the best yet. We have been extraordinarily lucky with the weather.

‘It has been a glorious festival and we had close to full house on Saturday and Sunday, with great crowds on the Thursday and Friday.

‘The whole festival went off without any trouble and everyone had a wonderful time. We have seen great music, great weather and the event has been a fantastic success. It was wonderful to see so many people so happy and smiling.’

The event saw music take place across three stages.

Indie folk band iolar played the Bowman Ales stage on Saturday. Lead singer Marcus Jones, from Fareham, said: ‘It was fantastic, beautiful weather and the gig was good. The crowd reaction was really great. It was the first time we had played at the festival and the first time we had played some new tracks but it went down well, people were cheering and singing, it was exactly the sort of reaction you want from a festival.’

Watching Marcus from the crowd was his dad Glynn Jones, from Arundel.

Glynn, 68, was with his assistance dog, Osborne, from Canine Partners. Glynn has MS and uses a wheelchair and Osborne was there to make sure he could enjoy the festival.

He said: ‘It has been brilliant, I’m very impressed.’

Another local act to play was Americana string band the Papertrains.

Double bassist Jon Brendan, known as JB, from Sarisbury Green, said: ‘I can’t fault the festival. I love it. Every year we spend the entire weekend here.’

Guitarist Nat Olden and banjoist Si Fisk, from Bitterne, Southampton, said they were proud to play at Wickham for the fifth year running, since forming in 2011.

Si also said they were looking forward to playing Fareham Arts Festival at the Ferneham Hall on Sunday.

Festival-goers had come from all over for the event, including neighbouring town Bishop’s Waltham.

Mother and daughter Tina and Millie Heys, from Bishop’s Waltham, were enjoying the music.

Tina, who works for the NHS, said that Friday’s headline act Billy Bragg was her highlight.

She said: ‘I had seen him before but his gig was great.

‘He played a very good set.

‘We have been watching the headliners but it’s also been nice to watch the newer acts on the smaller stages.’