Wickham Festival: Hampshire’s Favourite Family-Friendly Affair Is Just Around The Corner
Hampshire’s Wickham is one of Hampshire’s best boutique, family-friendly festivals. The organisers are looking to achieve their “impossible dream” of topping 2015’s award winning event. The four day event, that takes place just outside the village of Wickham near Portsmouth, was voted Best Festival (Under 15,000 capacity) at last year’s Live UK Music Business awards. This has posed organisers a very obvious but different question: how do you make the festival better?
This said, though, Wickham’s lineup is certainly shaping up to topple last year’s event. With ex-Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley, punk rock band The Stranglers, Newcastle folk rock band Lindisfarne and Spike Edney’s SAS Band featuring Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor all making appearances ticket sales have been soaring. Organiser Peter Chegwyn is confident that 2016 will be the best event yet.
Chegwyn said: “We were absolutely delighted to win that prestigious award, but it did present us with a massive challenge to keep improving. It was hugely successful so how do you top perfection? It was tough but we have secured a fantastic line-up this year. There is an amazing array of musicians, which has been reflected in ticket sales and I really believe this will be even better than last year. Unfortunately we are not allowed to enter the awards again this year but our success has really put Wickham on the map and the great thing is that we no longer have to approach bands – they are coming to us! We have had so many artists asking to play here that it was tough to whittle the list down. But, I think we have a fantastic array of bands who will provide wonderful entertainment. And, of course, we have the usual array of craft and clothing stalls as well as a big variety of high quality food outlets and a wide range of activities for children who can roam safely.”
Ex-Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley tops the bill on the opening night on August 4th, with The Stranglers as the main attractions 24 hours later.
Headlining on Saturday night will be SAS Band (Spike’s All Stars Band) with a lineup which will include Queen drummer Roger Taylor, former Marillion lead singer Fish, Madeline Bell and solo artist/actress Toyah Willcox, with a chance of other top names also making a guest appearance. The SAS Band will be supported by the Trevor Horn Band who are set to perform a wide range of hits produced by the legendary frontman, who has worked with a number of massive names over the years. These include Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Yes and Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’. Also on the Saturday bill are Oysterband and Chas & Dave.
Closing the event Sunday night will be Lindisfarne. These are supported by Steeleye Span, Hayseed Dixie and Wickham Festival favourites Red Hot Chilli Pipers.
It’s not just the music at Wickham that’s exciting though, with a range of family films to see at the Groovy Movie solar-powered cinema. Not to mention a cartoon cinema, storytelling, puppet theatre and a make ‘n’ take crafts tent. And, to top it all off there’s even a digital funfair, playbus, laser arena, bouncy castles and children’s entertainers; all of which are free once you’re inside the festival arena! As well as the three regular stages, there will now be a fourth platform where local, and unsigned bands, can perform with a view to possibly landing themselves a contract or at least gaining further exposure.
Peter Chegwyn added: “We pride ourselves on our family-friendly reputation and tickets are already selling well with sales up on last year’s record-breaking event. There is a real feel-good factor about this event, which reflects our rapidly-growing reputation locally, nationally and internationally with fans coming from the USA, Canada and even Australia. Parents can enjoy the music knowing their youngsters are being well entertained. The atmosphere is very chilled and relaxed, which is why so many people book to come back year after year, even before the line-up is announced. But, with so many top names now confirmed we are looking forward to this being our biggest and best event yet.”
Wickham Festival weekend tickets are just £160 or £80 for Under 16’s, with Under 10’s admitted free. Day tickets for Friday, Saturday or Sunday can be bought for just £60 or £30 for Under 16’s, while evening tickets (after 6pm) are £40 and £20 for Under 16’s retrospectively). More details can be found at www.wickhamfestival.co.uk.