Music lovers brave the mud as Wickham Festival kicks off, welcoming visitors despite delays and changed plans due to heavy rain

HEAVY rain has left music lovers traipsing through fields of mud as the four day Wickham Festival kicked off this afternoon.

By Emily Jessica Turner
Thursday, 5th August 2021, 8:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th August 2021, 8:14 pm

The unfortunate weather also meant that tonight’s acts had to be moved from the main stage into covered tents.

A festival spokesperson said that this was for health and safety, as there was concern about the electricals in the rain.

However, many happy festival-goers were in the spirit, queuing up at the bar and visiting the wide variety of stalls offering everything from food to clothes and jewellery.

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Revellers finally enter the main field. Picture: Andy Hornby

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Donald Wilson and Sandra Aldworth have travelled 450 miles from Girvan to be at Wickham Festival.

Sandra said: ‘It’s been wonderful so far - we came prepared for a festival so we had our wellies and wet weather jackets with us.’

Donald says that he is looking forward to seeing Van Morrison, who is billed to headline the festival on Saturday.

Pictured: Sarah Bloom, Emma Millichamp, Jules Clark, and Sarah Jee. Picture: Andy Hornby

The annual Wickham Festival was axed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but festival organisers say they were ‘delighted’ that the event could take place again this year.

University students Ben Austin, Katie Brant, Drew Hickman, and Holly Langford are excited to see several of the acts set to perform over the weekend.

Drew said: ‘We’re having a great time, although our shoes are muddy.

‘Originally we had tickets for last year’s festival and we wanted to see CoCo and the Butterfields, but this year they’ve got even more bands that we like.’

The main field, left empty as the opening time was put back due to the rain. Picture: Andy Hornby

Amongst the stalls lining the outskirts of the main field was the Miss Sparkle Glitter Bar, which offers glitter face painting.

Festival-goer Emma Millichamp had sparkles painted on her face by staff member Jules Clark before going to see the SAS band play.

Jules, from Royal Leamington Spa, said: ‘We’ve only just started - the field has been empty for most of the afternoon but people are coming now.’

Staff rush back and forth up and down the main field to get the festival open. Picture: Andy Hornby

The owner of Southsea business Ed’s Bangers, Jason Misters, is working alongside his team members James Hall, Cameron McGregor, and Alan Wong to serve sausages in giant Yorkshire puddings to hungry visitors.

Located right next to the main stage, Jason says he is waiting for news of what will happen to the muddy area as staff try to make the space safe to use.

Cameron added: ‘They might need more than hay’.

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Festival-goers. Picture: Andy Hornby
Pictured: Ben Austin, Kate Brant, Drew Hickman, and Holly Langford. Picture: Andy Hornby
Pictured: Mum Julie, and dad Pete with Lyla. Picture: Andy Hornby
The toilets left empty as they were all out of order. Picture: Andy Hornby
The main stage, still being built due to delays because of the weather. Management decide to leave it closed for the first day. Picture: Andy Hornby
The Ye Old Cheese On Toast stall. Pauline Lemon, from Kent, said: 'Its a shame the weather has gone against us again.' With Kelly Pilcher. Picture: Andy Hornby
Ed's Bangers. Pictured: Jason Misters and James Hall. Picture: Andy Hornby