2016 Ramblin’ Man Fair, Maidstone
The huge green space of Mote Park, slap bang in the heart of Kent’s county town, Maidstone again played host to the Ramblin’ Man Fair on the weekend of the 23rd – 24th July, which boasted a celebration of classic, prog and contemporary rock, alongside an eclectic mix of country and blues.
The second run out for this festival, after its inauguration last year which earned it the title of ‘best new festival in Britain’ from Classic Rock magazine, Ramblin’ Man played host to an impressive line-up of acts from all around the world, including some well-known faces and some acts to watch out for in the future.
With four stages in use and plenty of food and drink available there was something for everyone, though it was the main stage that naturally attracted most attention throughout the weekend.
Kicking off the action on the main stage on Saturday were Inglorious, a hard rock band who have been influenced by acts such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rainbow and Aerosmith. Only formed in 2014 Inglorious already have a dedicated following and treated the festival-goers to tracks from their self-titled debut album. Inglorious got the crowd in the mood with Until I Die and finished their nine-song set – which is sure to have made then some new fans – with Unaware, a track which showcases the impressive classic rock vocals of lead singer Nathan James.
IO Earth singer Linda Odinsen at Ramblin Man Fair
At the same time, over on the Prog Stage, IO Earth treated us to their eclectic musical style, which encompasses a range of musical genres, from contemporary metal to jazz, and all sorts in between! Looking to break into the mainstream, IO Earth are up for an award at the Progressive Music Awards, to be held in September.
The Dead Daisies
Then it was back to the main stage for the Dead Daisies; a musical collective with an ever changing line-up of well-known faces in the world of rock. Stylistically, the Dead Daisies have clearly been influenced by the hard rock of the 70s and early 80s, and their infectious live performance on Saturday is sure to have helped spread the message that rock and roll is back!
Other performers like the psychedelic band Purson, formed by singer-songwriter Rosalie Cunningham, and Lifesigns impressed on the Prog Stage, with their take on a more chilled-out style of rock.
A massive draw for the afternoon was Terrorvision; a slightly different band to the hard and heavy rock that had gone before on the main stage, an ever-youthful Tony Wright was leaping around like it was the 90s again! Although they didn’t perform Tequila, (the Mint Royale remix of which takes me back to ’99 and my late teenage years,) they put on a great set, which the audience couldn’t help but get up and moving to, starting with Alice What’s the Matter and including the ever-popular My House and the pounding rhythm of D’ya Wanna Go Faster?
Ginger followed, quipping with an enthusiastic audience member who had yelled that he was a legend that only legends are dead and he’s not dead yet. Next up, a firm favourite of ‘80s rock, Europe, who found international success with The Final Countdown, took to the stage. Gone was frontman Joey Tempest’s huge 80s hair, but not gone was the band’s brilliant stage presence, and their final song, the fitting Final Countdown, received some of the loudest cheers of the day.
The penultimate act to take to the main stage was Thin Lizzy, who were stopping off at Ramblin’ Man on a leg of their limited Anniversary Tours in celebration of both 40 years since the release of their Jailbreak album, and the untimely death of Phil Lynott 30 years ago. Joining Thin Lizzy for the tour is Aerosmith bassist, Tom Hamilton and Judas Priest drummer, Scott Travis. It was a poignant tribute to Lynott, but also a great set, as they ploughed through 12 tracks, including Jailbreak, The Boys Are Back in Town and culminating in a rousing rendition of Whiskey in the Jar. A special treat for fans of Thin Lizzy, and paying his own respects to Lynott, joining the band onstage mid-set was Midge Ure, who had been an important part of the band during 1979-80.
And then to the headliner for Saturday, Whitesnake. Led by former Deep Purple frontman David Cloverdale, Whitesnake have had a slew of top 10 albums in the UK, and since reforming in 2005 have released a further three albums. Coverdale knows how to work the audience, and he certainly did that, getting the crowd up and singing along to their hits and rounding off what was all-in-all a fantastic day.
Written Review: by Clarie Lucas