Kimberley Barber’s Wickham Festival review

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I’ve had some bad camping experiences. And some bad festival experiences.

I’ve witnessed episodes with portaloos which would put you off your breakfast.

Then there was the time with the mud.

But thankfully the sun really was shining on Wickham as this weekend’s festival restored my faith in campsites, music festivals and the dreaded portaloo.

For Wickham Festival was a very pleasant experience. It was clean, tidy, well organised and simply lovely.

It helped that the folk line-up had attracted a rather more mature audience, who seemed to come prepared (with an abundance of very annoying camping chairs) and prepared to tidy away after themselves.

The sun shone giving us a rare burst of British summer and there was a relaxed family feel, with plenty to keep any children amused.

All four nights had big name acts grace the main stage - Wilko Johnson, Billy Bragg, The Proclaimers, 10cc - but it was in the second stage, the Bowman Ales stage, where the festival magic happened for me.

Great bands followed great singers and there was a fresh feel about these yet-to-be-truly-discovered acts.

I found a couple of new acts who I’ll be keeping a keen eye on - including fab French-Canadian band De Temps Antan and local act iolar.

Also deserving a mention are the great sets from names lower down the bill on the main stage. Show of Hands put on a truly special show as did Seth Lakeman and Eliza Carthy Wayward Band.

And my proudest moment of the whole weekend? Well that was meeting Billy Bragg and getting him to sign a CD.

For a headline act to take the time to meet and greet his fans, posing happily for pics, was extraordinary, unique and simply smashing.

Picture: Kimberley Barber enjoys the festival