Posted on: 16 / 07 / 2016
2016 Alresford Music Festival Review
On Saturday 11th June over 3,500 festival revellers were welcomed into Arlebury Park for the seventh Alresford Music Festival. That’s around 300 more people than the previous year and they came to see over 25 bands and to enjoy a day full of chilled fun, free family entertainment and of course amazing music, which this year was more diverse than ever.
The increased numbers has meant even more money has been raised for charity and worthwhile causes; £2,000 has already been donated to Winnall Rock School www.winnallrockschool.org and £3,000 to Key Changes Music Therapy www.keychanges.org
There’s been loads of fantastic feedback from so many which is always appreciated. Festival goers, campers and artists alike really loved the whole day’s vibe; the relaxed and happy atmosphere, the bigger space, the increased amount of FREE things to do in the dedicated family arena, the extended festival village and of course - the amazing bands and artists. It was an infectious mix, which embodied the AMF spirit of a family ‘party in the park’, but with exceptional and varied music across four different stages.
Being able to camp from the Friday evening too extended the festival to make a full weekend event – with free entertainment around the town on Friday night including local favourites, covers/dance band ‘Answer Back’ at The Horse & Groom and acoustic singer songwriter ‘Gaz Parker’ at The Globe. The Soul Cellar in the Undercroft (at The Swan hotel), featured guest DJs playing Sixties and Northern Soul, a great night that ‘Soulled Out’ months before!
The FREE shuttle bus from Winchester train station was extended this year to include an additional route from Alton train station via Ropley and Four Marks to Alresford (and back). These services were incredibly popular and meant everyone could relax and get home safely.
The bands of course were the focus of the day. With four stages there was always something to enjoy. Singers, songwriters, folk, indie, jazz, blues, world, rock and pop artists were all represented. Local and national heroes alike came from all over to play. The Sea Slugs from Southampton opened the First Option stage and Dah Rhyl Gah Moor from London opened the SQA stage.
Perins school mates and future stars Spencer and Josh with their band WAIT opened the Big Top tent. The Rock Out stage hosted live performances from Nanking (Alton College), Alresford Ukulele Jam and Mayflower Musical Youth Theatre as well as many workshops, street theatre and magic shows throughout the day.
All the bands were unbelievably generous – giving their time and energy and clearly enjoying themselves. Many were surprised how popular the festival has become and how warmly the audience received them. We were able to welcome more bands than ever this year; local heroes like The Hattie Jacques’ Playlist, Seán McGowan, Accrington Stanley, Juliet Howland, Megan Linford, Rattlewreck and the ‘Rescue Me Too’ collective were embraced by appreciative crowds while bands from further afield including the amazing Barefoot Bandit, Playing House and The Greasy Slicks all lit up the stages with their diverse and incredible sets. African band Zimbaremabwe brought beats and rhythms that drew the crowd to the front and got many more on their feet, while Lionstar were a visual and musical treat – featuring the first didgeridoo ever on stage at AMF! The Black Hat Band and the incredible voice of singer Jaelee Small performed a blistering set, which set the mood for the party atmosphere, which also kicked off in the Big Top tent as the infectious spirit and eclectic talents of Southampton Ukulele Jam took over. Funke and The Two Tone Baby was a one man revelation, while hip hop master Icey Stanley enthralled us with words and music. Back outside Black Water County and Jump 66 played out of their skins while DJ’s Wolf Club stepped up superbly to close the SQA Stage.
Festival masters the Dub Pistols took the headline slot to another level with mighty reggaematic bass-driven, super tight sounds that has won fans from Glastonbury to Bestival and now AMF! As the festival closed, DJs Electro Groove Monkey and Lebrosk reignited the Rock Out stage to set everyone up with a last dance opportunity which many festival goers grabbed with both feet and hands.
What a day!
We would like to thank all of you for supporting the festival and for helping to raise thousands for charities. We were very grateful for the respect and consideration you all showed to the local community throughout the day and a big thank you to the many campers for leaving the campsite spotless.
To our valued sponsors (because without you AMF wouldn’t be possible) we would like to say a huge extra special big THANK YOU and extend a BIG festival hug for making it all possible. Our principal sponsor First Option Software has been with us from the beginning so special thanks goes to them for their belief and vision from the outset. Gratitude also to Thomas Miller Creative who not only sponsor us but provide all the marketing and design and play a huge part in creating the festival itself. A very warm welcome to SQA Consulting who came on-board for the first time this year and took over the second stage. And thanks to CleverTouch Marketing for sponsoring the large TV screen again which added to the enjoyment of the festival for so many who made the most of the space created by the larger arena and who partied hard around their picnic blankets and festival rugs; to Face TV who filmed the whole day and broadcast from the outside stages and whose patience and artistic skills are legendary. Thanks too for LRW Films which for the first time at AMF, enabled us to film from a drone camera high over the festival site and to Robin Waldman of Robin Creative Media who filmed on the ground throughout the whole day mingling with the revellers, families and bands to capture the festival spirit and interview those who wanted to share their joy.
We were blessed with many talented photographers many who gave their time and skills freely. Steven and Ashleigh of The PhotoRooms in Southampton, Chris Gillard & Dave McKibbin and up and coming talent Dan Farmiloe from Winchester College.
Thank you to Paul Rees whose indomitable festival spirit and quick witted banter introduced and welcomed so many acts to the stages both this year and in many former years – you are part of the festival spirit itself. And another big thank you to Axians who sponsored our Big Top Tent which housed a micro-climate of revelry… and not just because it also held the main bar, but being able to get so close to the acts, felt like being at a private party. Heartfelt thanks to Mike Enser of Ensertainment.co.uk for MCing The Big Top tent so effectively and for being there right to the end when the outside stages were closed and the warmth of the tent and Brandywidow was more alluring than ever!
To Families Worldwide and Alresford Salads who sponsored the new Family Arena and enabled us to extend the day to families young and old. Cold Control for their inspired social media competition; Hayward Guitars for being there from day one. Thank you to another new sponsor, Belgarum based in Winchester, and to the continued support from local sponsors The Swan and The Horse & Groom. Thank you New Alresford Town Council and Town Clerk Stevie Kavanagh for working so positively with us and providing a fantastic venue at Arlebury Park, the grounds were well kept and the great views provided a scenic backdrop to the festival.
And last but not least thank you to all the volunteers who turned up to help in any way we needed them to and a special nod to the great back of house crew, you know who you are, excellent work! And also a huge professional thank you to all our traders and suppliers.
You came. You saw. You made it even bigger and better. See you again at next year's festival on Saturday 10th June 2017… we've ordered the sunshine in advance – so bring your mates, get them to bring their mates and keeping spread the word!
The AMF Team