After a tense wait to receive press clearance; we eagerly trotted into the ramblin’ man arena ready to be rocked off our feet by some of the finest rock n’ rollers on the planet; and we were not disappointed.
Of course a quick trip the beer tent was necessary just to set us in good stead for the upcoming madness. The beer festival was a sight to behold indeed; offering a huge selection of some of the finest British ales on the market.
First up on the main stage was Toseland; making their first ever main stage appearance, they are most certainly ‘one to watch!’. The up and coming band played their hearts out and grasped the undivided attention of the ramblin’ crowd. They smashed one of their new tracks ‘hearts and bones’ which drew in even more of the passing ears.
The next act… the one and only, Saxon! Inarguably a legendary band at the heart of the rock n roll world. Unsurprisingly their set was filled with head banging hits including… Wheels of steel, Denim and Leather, Motorcycle man & Power and the Glory, amongst many other Saxon classics. Anyone who thinks they must be passed it; think again! They are rockin’ just as hard today as they were 35 years ago!
The Scorpions were quite simply INCREDIBLE! Broadcasting intensely thunderous drumming to the ramblin’ crowd, the people of Maidstone, and most probably half of Kent. I can say nothing more other than…. they were a very very special act.
My presence at the ‘Outlaw Country’ & ‘Prog’ stages was sadly cut short on each occasion due to the unmissable line up on the main stage. However both offered a wide range of unique acts and unique sounds, ranging from country to psychedelic. The popularity of these stages is clearly indicative of the quality of music; having had difficulty getting close to these stages on every occasion.
Waking up Sunday; my head was still sore from plentiful beer, thunderous drum beats and electric guitar solos. The weather was miserable but perfectly suited to an afternoon of blues and southern rock; the music undoubtedly helped to sooth the pain.
Rival sons were rockin’ in a style much like AC-DC, but with a unique flare, making them real crowd pleasers.
Seasick Steve was another crowd pleaser, with his charming charisma, homemade guitars and unmistakable blues riffs; he was a true hit. Going out with a bang, he ended with ‘dog house blues’, putting the crowd in perfect stead for the headline act that followed.
Finally…. the headline act, the unmissable, Gregg Allman. He sang from the soul, with his unmistakeable voice that age has not shied. A classic mix of Southern rock, blues and gospel; his songs and voice a premise of the tragedies with which he has been plagued throughout his life….. Pain turned into something beautiful… What a great way to end the weekend!
Sadly time did not permit us to see the entire range of bands ramblin’ man had to offer, although I have no doubt many other great acts were enjoyed by the ramblin’ fans
if only the festival could continue another day…..
Review by Adam Land, Photography Credit Ricky Swift http://www.rickyswift.com