Category Archives: Music Festival

Rocking Hippie Party in Shepperton — LAUGHING STOCK FESTIVAL

The wonderful Jagger family of Shepperton again organized a super fun-packed day of music, peace and love in the Laughing Waters this weekend.

Remarkably, the sun managed to shine for the afternoon…

The wonderful Jagger family of Shepperton organized a super fun-packed day of music, peace & love…

The first LAUGHING STOCK FESTIVAL was held in 2005, when the Jagger family invited a few friends for a summer picnic by the river.

The event has grown over the years and raises funds for charities such as the Diabetes Society, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Eagle Radio Trust and Woking and Sam Beare Hospice.

The Woking and Sam Beare Hospice provides inpatient and community care to approximately 1,400 patients each year. They looked after Linda Jagger’s dad when he got very sick.

The hospice hopes to raise an additional £1.9m to deliver a new hospice service in the heart of Surrey that will be support generations to come.

JJ band – squelchy blues and authentic rhythm and blues…

The party started with some chilled sounds from Heids with acoustic support from the Jagger family’s own function & party outfit — the JJ BAND.

They also played a gladdening and cheerful full-electric set later in the day.

The full band comprises of Linda and Heidi on vocals, JJ and Al on guitars and with Byron and Tim providing the powerhouse bass and drums.

The outfit plays squelchy blues and authentic rhythm and blues, plus breathtaking soul and crackling pop. You can check them out at The Red Lion, Shepperton on Sunday 27th August.

Rifftakers – street-rock boogaloos…

Next up were THE RIFFTAKERS who play their own rhythm and blues brand in the tradition of The Rolling Stones and Yardbirds.

With fuzzy guitars, dynamic beats and party vibes, their street-rock boogaloos, accelerated rhythms and energetic performances provided the motivating force of the afternoon and soon the revelers rose from ground-sheets and picnic chairs to dance in unison.

Next was the super-smooth and super-efficient 8-piece GROOVELINE offering jazz, acid jazz, soul and disco  and who played a swish and dishy collection of funky hits culminating in the wonderful “Blame It on the Boogie” — got to be everyone’s favourite uptempo party-time number.

Grooveline – swish and dishy…

It was Grooveline singer Amy Nicholls’ last appearance with the band (for a while, any-ways) and bass-player Adam was taken sick [we wish him an early recovery] so he was replaced “last minute.”

After a very successful auction and raffle the three-piece roots band MANTIC MUDDLERS, from Petersfield, Hampshire, played some home-style, unfussy blue-grass and rhythm & soul numbers with exuberance and joy.

The lads will be playing the Victorious Festival in Portsmouth on 25th August. You should check them out…

The festival welcomed back the immensely talented local 5-piece rock-reggae band TREE HOUSE FIRE.

Tree House Fire – sonic damage deep down in your Mondongos —

This band are always a big hit, with bouncy, boom-boom songs and a bass line that walks impulsively down-the-line.

At Shepperton they delivered their lumpy, low-noted ditties, intrepid vocals and giddy-paced rhythms with verve and panache.

As we said before, this band causes, “sonic damage deep down in your Mondongos —”

We’ve often thought that experiencing the !DAFT!  cover band is as pleasurable as playing on a kids bouncy-castle wearing nothing but clotted cream…

Their hi-energy rock-covers are salacious & stimulating and at Shepperton the band played an unrestrained, rip-roaringly successful set that magnificently complemented  all the high-jinks and romping frolics at Laughing Water.

!Daft! — a celebratory mix of modern garage rock, post-punk and guitar pop rock…

Their delivery and execution was superb. No wonder they are  justifiably known as the best party band on the circuit.

Their celebratory mix of modern garage rock, post-punk and guitar pop rock is influenced by mid-1980s indie bands — but they easily and successfully turn their hands to garage rock, rock ‘n’ roll and even country when the time is right. And the band’s instinctive ability to “read the crowd” and recognize what is best to keep an audience on their feet is the hallmark of their success.

This was another gleeful and jubilant affair at Laughing Stock

A day of beads and feathers, flower power and gentle people — and, of course, lots ‘n’ lots of love.


Words & Images by @neilmach 2017 ©

Mantic Muddlers – exuberance and joy…

WEYFEST 2016 Review

Last weekend we attended WEYFEST 2016 – it is the 10th Anniversary of this perfect family-friendly three-day festival held each year at the Rural Life Centre in Tilford, near Farnham in Surrey. We arrived on Saturday.

Tthe superior SAIICHI SUGIYAMA band here with Artze Monica
Tthe superior SAIICHI SUGIYAMA band here with Artze Monica

Opening the Main Stage at the Weyfest on Saturday was the superior SAIICHI SUGIYAMA band [@SaiichiSugiyamaBand] a Surrey outfit that was started by British blues guitarist Sugiyama in the late 1960s and early 1970’s.

Their funk/soul sounds are ornamented by rich and fluent guitar-work while the band also boasts some extraordinaryly talented female vocalists. For example, at the Beekeepers Stage we were entertained by the passionate Artze Monica and the Californian beauty Joanna Pearl. Songs like their “Somewhere Down The Road” possessed ribald squelches and fervent heat.

Festival 'favorites' LEATHERAT ...
Festival ‘favorites’ LEATHERAT …

LEATHERAT have released five studio albums; most recently “Snake Eyes” but are really most famous as a ‘festival band.’

In fact the first time we saw their excellent show was at the Bearded Theory fundraiser in Guildford years ago. We also caught them at Cropredy. This year they have been exuberantly celebrating their tenth year in existence… though they have had a few ‘make-overs’ during the decade. We thoroughly enjoyed their impressive folk-rock show and loved Leon’s solo.

We were surprised how much we adored THE WURZELS. They were on after Leatherat. We hate to admit it, but this was the first time we had ever seen ’em.

Before this show we pretty much wrote off the West-country lads because we assumed [perhaps rightly] that they were just a ‘novelty band’ and it’s true their show at Weyfest was full of silliness and comedy. But actually, we dare suggest, they can actually play. And certainly they are great performers.

We were pleased to see that Darth Vader boogied to the silly beats. Incidentally, most of their melodies have been brazenly nicked from other more-famous numbers… then decorated with the legendary West Country burr.

Puncture from THE ROOZ at WEYFEST 2016
Puncture from THE ROOZ at WEYFEST 2016

We have been following Birmingham alt-rockers THE ROOZ for a while so we were pleased to see the lads at Surrey’s best music fest. Songs like their recent single “Puncture” had soaring heights and sparkling guitars.

Over at the Old Kiln Stage was the Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band aka SHUBB. This orchestra of blighty souls armed with ukes and pipes entertained the ukulelian crowd with masterful professionalism.

Of course most revellers had come to see WISHBONE ASH and THE DARKNESS but there were plenty of other sights and smells to be enjoyed. Not least were the roaming daleks, The Racing Bug challenge [to win a scalextric] and even a Laser Quest area.

Our favorite side-show was the THE WIDDERS those purple-clad border Morris-Dancers from Chepstow [@TheWiddersBM] who stomped , cracked and clapped seven barrels of sh** out of each other.

JO HARMAN got revelers up and dancing on Sunday ...
JO HARMAN got revelers up and dancing on Sunday …

We looked forwards to the show from blues singer JO HARMAN on Sunday. She drew a large crowd even though she was on stage early-on. Her songs, for example the Hendrixy number “The Reformation” got folk up and dancing… Jo is quite something! She is playing an extra special show at St John’s Church Godalming, October 14th. Info on her site.

On at the Old Kiln were Portsmouth’s indie rock ‘n’ rollers THE BAYONETTES whose complicated yet accessible songs were lucid and effective.

THE BAYONETTES - lucid and effective ...
THE BAYONETTES – lucid and effective …

INGLORIOUS were unable to perform at Weyfest, due to illness/injury. Luckily, in their place we had the incredible BROKEN WITT REBELS [@BrokenWittRebelsUK] whose trusty-rusty roots ‘n’ ashes blues ‘n’ soul numbers oozed into our glands… It was as if we were seeing Led Zeppelin for the first time! Circa 1968. No I’m not kidding and this is not hyperbole. This young blues-rock band from Birmingham with the amazing Danny Core on vocals are that good!

Broken Witt Rebels - as if we were witnessing Led Zeppelin in 1968 ...
Broken Witt Rebels – as if we were witnessing Led Zeppelin in 1968 …

After that we had the BLOW MONKEYS and the BOOMTOWN RATS to enjoy. This was an excellent festival. With artists of quality, lots to do and see (in addition to the music) plenty of good food and drink and expert organization and administration.

WEYFEST is probably the best managed  event we have been to all year!  So congrats to all the team at WEYFEST. Happy tenth anniversary.

Right, how does it go? “Ruby, ruby, ruby…. ooh arr — ooh arr — ooh arr ...”

Words & Images : Neil Mach 2016 ©
Main Picture: Weyfest 2016 with Joanna Pearl

The Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band aka SHUBB at WEYFEST 2016 ...
The Surrey Hills Ukulele Big Band aka SHUBB at WEYFEST 2016 …

FOUR PLAY Prog Rock Festival Review

The Four Play Festival held at the Acoustic Couch In Bracknell was a female fronted feast. A celebration of beautifully hand-crafted talent.

We traveled in from Staines to attend this dedicated one-day festival on April 10th. It was held in a concrete basement unit in the centre of the (still restructuring) town.

The wonderful fun began with a band from Surrey — the adorably smooth and sensually aromatic duo QUIET WISH (we were told it rhymes with night-wish) which is the creation of Carola Baer with David J Lambert. We really enjoyed the folds & layers of synth and guitar that coexisted so fluently with the gently wavering motion of Carola’s voice.

Slightly trip-hoppy, this band from Woking played a wonderful set of delicately crafted and organic numbers. Each long note seemed to have its own ethical reasons for existence… Each song had a deeply moral sense of duty. Yet these political undertones did not interfere with the serene quality of the vibrations. The elongated guitar notes — often stretched beyond recognition by David — adorned the hauntingly beautiful yet strong hearted voice. The jammed songs — the ones that had never before been played to an audience — with guest guitarist Dave Salisbury were the best.
Prayerful and meditative.

The Far Meadow - finely crafted and invigorating...
The Far Meadow – finely crafted and invigorating…

The London five- piece THE FAR MEADOW were on next. This group was slightly more forceful, slightly less fragile… though they were no less talented.

There’s was an extremely enjoyable set marred — perhaps just a little — by the lead vocals from singer Marguirita. She seemed to be experiencing some technical difficulties throughout the performance, unable to match her pitch to the instrumentals. However, the band’s output was finely crafted and invigorating.

We were very much looking forwards to seeing SPRIGGAN MIST again, and they didn’t let us down. We love the folk traditions that swirl within their songs. And we could also hear calypso and even ska rhythms in some of their numbers.

These sounds, helped along by a squirt of sax from Max, or some bravely slapping bass-notes from Baz, reminded us that Kate Bush experimented with exotic rhythms just like these on her album “The Kick Inside”.

Spriggan Mist - swirling folk traditions...
Spriggan Mist – swirling folk traditions…

Our favourite song was the sexily bubbling tune about Mermaids titled “Secrets” – this was a slinky vortex. Dangerously hypnotic!

We were not sure if the stylish and fun dancers — they uncoiled directly in front of the band during some of the numbers — were a distraction rather than an attraction …

Headlining the festival was KINDRED SPIRIT. We thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Phoenix’ from their most recent album ‘Phoenix Rising’ but we still preferred their older masterpiece Metamorphosis .

We were entertained by the high-spirited mischief from prog-god in-the-making Martin Ash on violin. (His first appearance with the band.)

Drummer Chris Goode was also on top form. And we loved Catherine Dimmock’s cheerful vocals and soothing flute. Elaine’s lead vocals were, as usual, nectar-sweet and filled with personality.

Their phantasmal rendition of “A Horse with No Name” summed up the whole evening quite well …

This song captured the mystical atmosphere and the psychedelic magic of the event.

What a jubilant occasion!

Thanks to all involved… but especially to the talented co-hosts of Kindred Spirit and Spriggan Mist . And praise must also go to the Acoustic Couch in Bracknell whose warm hosting made this such a special night.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2016 ©

Kindred Spirit - whose phantasmal rendition of “A Horse with No Name” summed up the whole evening quite well ...
Kindred Spirit – whose phantasmal rendition of “A Horse with No Name” summed up the whole evening quite well …

RedFest 2013

Imagine this … You are laid on the soft grass, and you are enjoying the beautiful surroundings of  Robins Cook Farm.  Just 30 minutes from London.

You are listening to the soulful vocals of an extraordinary artist like Jazz Morley.  She is playing at the Boileroom Stage on Saturday along with Frank Hamilton and Ryan Keen. The sun is gently tanning your arms. You feel refreshed and comfortable. You are surrounded by the kind of happy, relaxed and sociable people that could easily become friends for life.

Redfest 2011  Image © Neil Mach

Redfest 2011
Image © Neil Mach

Your new best friend cannot stop talking about seeing some high-octane rock act. Turbowolf  for example.   They wll be performing on the Hype Stage along with Zico Chain and Bleed From Within.  Everyone is welcome.

You have both heard so much about bands like Arcane Roots and Little Comets. You have downloaded all their material. And you follow them on social media. They are playing on the Blackstar Stage with Dry The River and Bastille. You have never had the chance to see these bands playing live before. But now you can … in a peaceful and relaxed environment.

Here, at Robins Cook Farm,  you will never feel as if you have been rounded up and herded in. You won’t feel as if you have been treated like cattle.  You won’t feel confined or harassed. There are no huge crowds – or cramped footpaths. You will feel safe and secure, but you won’t feel hounded by security. There are no long queues.

Most importantly, when you see your favourite bands playing live, you can really hear every note … and you can see the smiles on the performer’s faces – they will not be miles away – across a sea of people.

After sunset, you will dance, drink and relax. In the evening you can visit the nightclubs to see luscious burlesque artists, night-time singers and exotic cabaret artists. They will smile, pirouette and twirl for you. And later, if you do not feel too tired, you can take in a movie at the cinema.

With an extraordinary line-up of over 60 amazing acts including:   Bastille, Dry The River, Dog Is Dead and Lucy Rose  – plus Bury Tommorow and Bleed From Within (if you like things a bit heavier) or Ryan Keen and The Other Tribe (if you like to dance) – you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a festival experience that is too good to be true.

REDFEST really is as nice as we have described.

If you want to appreciate all of this – then we invite you give REDFEST a try this year. It’s been going since 2007 –  so the organisers know a thing-or-two about how to put on a great show.  It’s totally independent.  And –  if you live in London or the Home Counties – it is right on your doorstep.

Ticket are priced very sensibly –  from just £36.00 per day (for a non-camping – e-ticket). Or you can get a full 2 Day Weekend Pass that includes camping for about £65.00 (Plus a booking fee) per person.

Check it out now.  We would love to see there … really you enjoying yourself !

For full details visit the Redfest site here:


Kurran and the Wolfnotes – Redfest 2010

If you are one of yesterday’s men (or daughters) and you want to hang on to those past sweet summer memories then you will, of course, have enjoyed Glasto and Reading – but for those of us who want to celebrate the joy of discovering new talent and fresh sounds, and who wish to assess what is going to be hot (and what’s gonna be cool) in the years to come …… then there is no summer festival finer than Surrey’s Redfest. Now in it’s fourth year, Redfest has gained a solid reputation for show-casing emerging musical talent. And boy, did this year’s festival just roll out that talent. In abundance.

For example, on the main outdoor stage – that looked like a giant jesters hat in the rolling green fields- we had the alt/folk rockers Kurran and the wolfnotes.  Those smooth and shiny main vocals from Kurran were given splendid counterpoint from the gorgeous J-Lo look-alike on keyboards – the ravishing stomp-mistress, Natalia.

The K&W songs are complex structures, they are tapestries of sound. Churning waves of emotion given form and life by delicate strings, sweet harmonies and always eloquent and memorable tunes. Songs like ‘Your Four Limbs’ have a natural ebb and a gentle flow that stir up sweet emotions within the listener. But sometimes, just when you start to think that the structure of a song is sparse and fragile, great waves of brittle, menacing sounds greet you like a sudden summer storm. The effect is both exhilarating and breath-taking.

Lead vocals (Kurran – formerly K-Bomb out of ‘Trash Fashion’) ‘are ‘West Coast’ scenic and are reminiscent of Paul Simon – singing along with band Love. Sparkly guitars from Kurran and Tim tend to be from the poppy side of folk-rock – but there are plenty of generous sound structures reminding me of Fairport Convention.  Songs like ‘Set You Off’ tend to remind me of R.E.M  (circa ‘Out of Time’) and perhaps have a harder, leaner sound at times. The chugging rhythms and earnest steadfast beats make the happy Redfest crowd sway and clap in joyful harmony. Tribal percussion is beaten, thrummed, trampled and crashed out by Chris on drums (but never brutally) and is often augmented by other members of the band who cooperate to create a solid yet luminescent wall of sound.

A band to remember …

© Neil_Mach
July 2010


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Four Wheel Drive, Hard Rock Hell – Part 2

Four Wheel Drive


Four Wheel Drive at Hard Rock Hell III – Prestatyn North Wales-
Part 2

I worry about Danny (the singer from Tribal Law) all night. I worry about  4WD missing their chance for glory.  First thing in the morning I go down to see the Hard Rock Hell management.  They say they have been inundated with fans coming up asking about Four Wheel Drive. They confirm to me that 4WD will go on. The band will play at the end of the ‘day’ on the Old Skool NWOBHM Stage  – They will have a slot right at the end of the afternoon on this (smaller) stage set in the Queen Victoria pub (within the camp.) They will go on after the likes of Dumpys Rust Nuts and Hammerhead etc. It is not a grand stage.  It is not even a great setting. But it’s gonna be just right …. just right because those other old skool bands will warm up the crowd in all the right places. And what about Danny from Tribal Law?  “No news” says the man …. “But I hear he is OK”.

So we wait till the end of the ‘day’ for Four Wheel Drive.  We pass the time with the bands like Kingston’s Pig Iron (amazing Southern style raw metal) and Girlschool, Glitterati and Tigertailz.  Then we move into the Queen Vic ‘pub’ which is heaving with hot sweaty rock luvvas grinding to the sounds of Hammerhead.  For a few anxious moments it looks like Hammerhead don’t wanna relinquish the stage to the ‘new’ boys – Four Wheel Drive.  Paddy and Ben are standing at the back of the stage with sullen expressions upon their faces – well it is understandable,  this is their second day without booze ! God love ‘em.   But, anyway,  the stage manager (a rather short man wearing a cap that is too large for him and comedy eye-wear) finally tells old-timers Hammerhead to ‘F** Off’ and ushers on our hard working rock heroes…

The hairy festival poet introduces our boys and makes reference to their latest album.  He gives ’em a good, solid warm up and even goes some way to explaining why their gig had been postponed from the previous night.

For a few moments I thought that the crowd of NWOBHM die-hard fans would wander off from the area, but 4WD caught ‘em with an amazingly electrifying opening that cleared the way for a stupendous set.   Hooray!  Four Wheel Drive had finally made it. They had got to the zone before the zone had got to them…

The band’s balls-out Rock N’ Roll ‘attitude’ has accelerated considerably since the last times I caught ‘em live.  They are now less Southern Rockin in sound and stature and instead play a harder variety of rock / heavy metal. Yes, the Southern blues influences are still there but now the sound is brasher, bolder,  more self-assured.   Their’s is now mainstream variety rock, fit to fill stadiums – think the Australian rockers Airbourne to get an idea.

Paddy and Ben, stripped to the waist, played intertwining guitar solo arrangements and brazenly brash chords with flare and finesse and the excitement was truly raw and unpretentious. Will played Herculean drums with pride and pomposity, beating out the rhythm until the fragile walls of the pub began to tremble in sympathy.  The crowd roared with delight as the band ladled out the hits like ‘White Lines’  and ‘High Roller’.

The spectacle and the sheer brute force of this band were more than the ears (or eyes) could behold. Yet the Hard Rock Hell punters were screaming for more. As I looked around the venue I realised that scores more rockers were filing into the venue from next door (Stage 2) – which I assume was hosting Witchfynde.

The best man of the day, however, was – for me – the 4WD front man and bassist Jamie. He stands out like a tall icon of common sense and propriety in between the berserk frizzy mopped guitar twins. He holds his guitar high and shakes his black locks. His voice is so large it should come with its own planning application stapled to the front of the speaker boxes.  His voice adds another huge layer to the crisp sounds and textures going on in a flurry of activity around him. This band is so great and the sounds are so enriching, that you want to jump, jive and jig for joy.

In the latter stages of the incredible set, as Jamie introduced the band to the rapturous crowd and thanked Total Rock Radio and Hard Rock Hell for the opportunity to play the festival he also took out time to mention Tribal Law.  A shriek and claps rose up from the crowd. Everyone looked around to see where the gleeful noise was coming from.  “He is here …. He is here” a female voice squeals out.  Standing at the back of the crowd, hidden by a glass panel, was none other than Danny the lead singer from Tribal Law.  He had made ‘a full recovery’ and was watching Four Wheel Drive play their show.

After all that we had been through – that was truly the final blessing!

© Neil_Mach

December 2009


The news item about the collapse of Tribal Law lead singer Danny Adams:

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East of Ealing – Bearded Theory Benefit


East of Ealing at Bearded Theory Benefit gig SEP 26 City Club, Guildford

East of Ealing play a fun mix of roots rock fused with traditional brick built and foundry forged foundation folk.

Folk songs are commonly regarded as the songs that express something about a lifestyle that existed in the past or is about to disappear- but that sense of the melancholy does not dominate the music of EoE. Instead, their songs are a lot of fun and puns are in abundance, with musical interludes sometimes surprising the audience when they rise up without warning, like the musical equivalent of Pop-Tarts.

The band also remembers that traditional folk music is an experience shared across the world. So, like Druhá Trava or Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, East of Ealing provides lessons aplenty on the subject of how folk music has evolved into what we now consider to be popular music and how the traditions have merged, emerged and altered into the various distorted forms we now recognise, along the way.

They provide some interesting and unexpected variations, along this tortuous path, and their shared sense of fun is welcome, as is their undeniable virtuosity.

For example, in an imaginative and fun song ‘the Great Unknown’, Moorish influences prevail, but the melody just puffs along like a ska number with Balkan folk flourishes. And for those who did not know that punk rock is a direct descendant of folk music (and I’m not kidding) East of Ealing provides plenty of references to this musical criss-  crossing from the reels, hornpipes and jigs of pure folk to the analytical and sparse punk melodies that can be heard in work by the early Pogues, and even The Clash

Along the way, there’s plenty of fun in the East of Ealing musical repertoire, with puns a-plenty and twinkle in-the-eye tongue-in-cheek antics, as we try to keep pace with the myriad of tiny musical one-liners and punch lines. But the substance of East of Ealing is dances, jigs and general merry-making. And the crowd at the City Club Guildford responded to the music with a hearty gusto …. reeling, jumping and dancing into the warm evening air.

There are large portions of Eastern European sounds in the EoE tunes-  in particular in the single ‘Black Ship’, and these sounds cross-over to more traditional Romany music and then back to punk rock, like other brands of rebel music similar in style and heart to that of Gogol Bordello and DeVotchKa. Pre-Raphaelite beauty Stephanie Graffiti squeezes out some amazing sounds from her electric violin-  from Pink Floyd-esque ‘synth’ lushness all the way through to Led Zeppelin-style screeching ‘guitar’ breaks.

Jim Bean provides most of the voice and the looks (if the whole Pirate Shipmate look is your bag, baby), with a neckerchief, hearty hat and superficial smile. He plays a beautiful acoustic bass and also employs, at times, an electric squeeze-box to give the sounds more depth of image. Paul Castleman on drums, cannot be ignored. Paul is a talented drummer with a superb sense of the mischievous. Mik P plays the electric and acoustic guitars and often provides the kind of rawness and energy that lifts East Of Ealing from their trad-folk roots and prods, pushes and squeezes their sounds towards more lofty rock horizons.

East of Ealing are folksters tinged with rocker irony like ‘The Knitters’  and rockers mixed with folksy irony like ‘Korpiklaani’. I like that.  Get up and dance. Are we there yet?

© Neil_Mach
September 2009

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