An Interview with Joe Patten (Splendour Festival)

Hello, Joe, so first thing’s first, where are you from & where do you live today?
Hi! I’m from Nottingham and speaking from our office in Nottingham. I had a stint at uni down south for a few years but came back after graduating to get out my overdraft and never left (Nottingham or my overdraft)

Can you tell us about the DHP Family?
We are a concert and festivals promoter as well as music venue operator. Our venues include Rock City, Rescue Rooms, Bodega, Stealth (Nottingham) Thekla (Bristol) and The Garage, The Grace and Oslo (London) Our festivals include Splendour, Dot To Dot, Bearded Theory and Beat The Streets.

So, you’re involved in organising a festival – how did you get into that?
I started at DHP around 10 years ago behind the bar of the Bodega, from there I had a few different jobs in the head office and eventually started booking shows and holding the diaries for Rescue Rooms, Thekla, and Bodega. I had been involved in booking the local acts for a few years and then started booking the larger national acts for this year’s event.

When do you start booking the bands, & how easy is it all?
We’re asking the questions for the 2024 headliners now, there’s definitely more competition and exclusivity clauses to navigate than before. Even for the smaller bands on the bill costs of putting a show on has skyrocketed so it’s not made it any easier!

What kind of a relationship do you have with your local council?
Very good, the event really benefits the city and offers some great opportunities to local acts so they are full on board.

What kind of line-up have you got for us this year?
It’s really exciting, great mix of well know legends Madness, Noel Gallagher, Rudimental, The Kooks, Sugababes, The Vaccines, Jake Shears, The Coral and some newer names that you will be blown away by – Venbee, Confidence Man, DYLAN, Cian Ducrot, Charlotte Plank, Bellah Mae, Lizzie Esau – and LOADS more

Every festival is a step in the great learning curve of life, what improvements have you made on last year’s festival?
We want to make the experience the best it can be for people attending, better options of food/drinks, and things to do that will appeal to everyone. For everyone to have an even better time year on year basically. I think coming out of the pandemic was a reset for a lot of festivals and event producers, many people left the industry and haven’t returned so finding an experienced team or crew can be a struggle. Last year we were happy to have the event on without any major issues, so this year we aim to improve everything for festival goers.

Finally, to somebody who has never been to Splendour before, what are they to expect?
Loads of fun!

Violin Making Story by Linus Wever Andersson & Bing Chen

The Briggait, Glasgow
May 19th, 2023

I was at the very impressive Briggait building in Glasgow’s Merchant City for a violin performance played by the delectable violinist Agnieszka Opiola who had joined up with Bing Chen to write ‘The Violin Making Story’ a three piece set of music that was to directly play immersed with a sculptural/installation work of art.

There was a high attendance in the huge space that after a journey or two had become studios for artists which is open to an art community who strive to make Glasgow’s promised arts into something pliable. This particular exhibition was a deep dedication looking specifically into paintings that attempt to translate the ephemeral relationship of music making it into tactile art.

Tactile art at the moment is a long running style in Glasgow that artists are helping the community into understanding its significance. The building is worth a visit even on a quiet day, its ceiling are of a height and width as to allude to great buildings of the past, metal and glass perpetrate with an exactness of style, an amazing space for many kinds of artistic invention.

The heady work strewn across the large floor, including, sculpture and painting all reflecting this greatest of relationships and so my work stepped into gear as the violin was picked up to perform these three pieces written for the exhibition at hand.

There were so many ideas in place and another striking comment was that the music ran backwards starting with After then Present then finishing on Before. As it was called ‘Violin Making Story’ it gave an appeal of looking at art through a process that both achieved structure and intuition and moulded it into a kind of experience that ever so softly drove a car of beauty, intrigue and tactile invention. Offering answers through a story of movement, sound and visual redemption.

The two performance rooms were the galleries either side of the door, they both have windows looking onto the street and glass walls on the inside, this set up was used very effectively for this seemingly rare performance.

Their collaboration of art, music and somewhat performance art took no time to look in depth into this story of mind and wood bending exactness, the time and how it relates, the skill and how it learns to love. The ideas being that practice itself is a just cause that helps explain things with a performance all were silent for.

The celebrated turnout was an insight into how modern artists collaborate in an incredibly positive environment, in the state of a high minded revelling that is a credit for the City where art is loved by many.

The violin is nothing less than magical, and in the hands of a master has an effect that contributes something quite beyond everyday life. Art and Music must be compared in an attempt join in unison of origin, culture and by blending the two thought of many colours are blown and flown into the air. Having come from the world of craft and skill the two put their proposition in the hands of these thought and in finery drew conclusion but also asked seemingly never ending questions up to look for answers, great and purposeful, knowledgeable and exemplary.

Daniel Donnelly

Mickey 9s @ King Tut’s

King Tut’s, Glasgow
May 19th, 2023

Glasgow’s King Tuts special space went dark and the room grew twice its size, enthralled by the prospect of the Mickey 9s. It’s that interesting back room that every time reveals its deep breath as an important venue. It was to a grateful support band Sovirez that the music began in the mid evening. 

Sovirez are a quite well known group who play something akin to pop music but I found that their angles of style included a great many facets of a variety of music. But there was no doubt as to their dance ability, very enjoyable with vocals reaching many octaves. Kind of a rock layout and certainly loud enough to rock a crowd but yes with a light pop aspect they managed to drive the room well before the Mickey’s.

I took a high seat at the back that unveiled an amazing view of all of the stage room and bar (where merchandise was sold) and as I said the room went dark and the crowd abided, it was the first time I had seen a mosh pit in years giving their reputation of being explosive and unpredictable another big jolt of this favoured and award winning live show that stands far above anything else at the moment.

They are steeped in musical folk lore and their singer is called mysteriously ‘St. Cool’ a real name kept under wraps since they formed all those years ago. They are Glasgow’s own as a four piece who deserve any and all praise lavished upon them. 

Their very presence filled every inch of the room with thumping beats, voracious bass, the singer just kills it and further praise goes with rumours of being a shaman, well just look at what happens to the crowd for every second of the performance.

Their debut album called wit fully ‘The Party Manifesto’ in 2015 already screamed with an ability to pick politics apart by alluding to straight lyrics about bringing down these things that ‘…make me feel like I live in a cubicle…’ they play to an audience who lap up the lyrics that play in an abundance and make us feel really good about things suggested by the act.

They work on a formula, one of the most successful for ages and rival live music with any of the greats of the last 50 years. Lavishly confronting heavy topics with a perfect fun evident in every detail from stance, instrument to the masked performer who brings what I can only call magic, make up and wicked delivery.

Their audiences vary, which is another aspect to show the virility of their ever growing reception. The joy billows out as much as the lyrics and ideas confound being anything like miserable, the venue only hosts about 300 but the sea itself was in the room with a crowd making waves as though in thousands.

Such a distinctive style brought about from a great many other and put into a sound so relevant and shaped into such a distinctive way as to be unmistakably their own.  They reach right into the pockets of the gods with a will to express life’s more heavy turns, especially in these days and offer its absurdity through the joy of making music and they look like freedom itself exploding on stage.  

Capable of earning your adoration, with wide smiles on their faces, the kind of fun and joy in the hands of something that works e every time.

Daniel Donnelly

Eric Bibb / Michael Jerome Browne

Edinburgh Queen’s Hall

Imagine if Van Morrison wasn’t such a prick.

You might get a man like Eric Bibb.

Like troubled slapable East Belfast troubadour Van, Mr Bibb surrounds himself with top notch musicians has a back catalogue spanning 5 decades and inspires a devoted following.

Unlike Van he has yet to duet with Cliff.

The much garlanded blues country dixie funk gospel GeeTarr legend Mr Bibb commands a silence in Edinburgh’s suitably pious Queens Hall like The Crucible with Ronnie on the last black of a 147.

Mr. Bibb is an affable host, regaling the rapt audience with tales of his New York childhood where his parents entertained the likes of Joni Mitchel Dylan, Pete Seeger and Westlife (so it begins. Ed.). The Dad Leon was a musician and activist. He was with Doctor King on the Selma Montgomery marches. Al Robeson is the man’s Godfather.

Political literacy and an upbringing in the East Village ‘Folk Renaissance’ of Sixties Manhattan clearly informed his magpie interest in musical styles plucked from the American Songbook and beyond. A thread of considered anger, protest and spiritual optimism weaves through the music.

And he can play the blues no mistake.

The righteous funk of 12 Bar stomper ‘Send Us’ testifying to that.

More much more than that his sound saunters through the crossroads of JJ Cale’s soporific dixie crooning taking in Lambchop past the Rev Al Green Church vibes and veers off occasionally to Meddle type Floyd paying visits to Joni Mitchell’s completely fictitious residency at the Taj Mahal along the way.


He got his first guitar, steel string, when he was seven. Further adventures led the man via Colombia University to Europe and Scandinavia where he met and married tonights guest vocalist Sari Matinlassi happily absorbing music along the way. as is evidenced by tonights genre promiscuous set.

Perched up front, flanked by guitarist/support act Michael Jerome Browne and backed by Keyboardist bassist vocalist Glen Scott with percussionist (not tall ) Paul Robinson behind, Mr. Bibb smiles benevolently at us from under a deeply groovy hat.

Like Clint Eastwood after he has dispatched the henchmen of the exploitative local cattle rancher, saved the school, rogered the teacher and made friends with a horse. (Haven’t seen that one, Ed.) Mr. Bibb’s set wanders all trails from the old school trad of ‘900 miles’, quasi cum by yah gospel in ‘Can You see me coming’ to proper call and response thankfully non cringe inducing audience participation sing a long ‘I wish I was a mole in the ground’

There are more arrows in this mans musical quiver than strings on accompanist Michael Jerome Brown’s selection of twelve strings.

Mr Browne is a legend in his own right.

Of whom my wingman Hippy D was moved to opine

‘Mate.. the honky is a shit hot guitarist’

I can think of no higher praise

and Hippy D saw Hendrix at the Isle of Wight.*

The much lauded septuagenarian Eric Bibb and co are promoting their latest offering Ridin’

In the process they provide an evenings masterclass of laidback virtuoso twanging.

Interspersed with a few well travelled gags

‘Tuning is like aircraft maintenance. always worth it’


Studio SB

*(This just in: Hippy D didn’t see Hendrix at the Isle of Wight Festival, where he played what is generally regarded as the best set ever, ever. because he turned back to London to get wasted as he can ‘always see him next year’. Muppet)

An Interview with Emma Holling (Underneath the Stars)

Hello, Emma, so first thing’s first, where are you from & where do you live today?
I live in the village of Cawthorne, a beautiful, rural corner of South Yorkshire. I’ve lived in South Yorkshire all my life, have travelled widely and love this place all the more because of that!

You are the Managing Director at Pure Records, how did you get the job?
Pure Records is an independent record label and we look after the musical interests of Kate Rusby. I’ve worked for the business for 24 years. Don’t tell anyone but I’m actually Kate’s sister 🙂

Where, when & why did the idea for Underneath the Stars take place?
Through 2007 to 2011 we ran a series of successful fundraising concerts in Cawthorne. The idea for the festival sprung from there. Our brother, Joe Rusby, floated the concept and it was developed alongside our technical director, Pete Sharman, who runs Isophase Audio.

The Mumble was there last year, & it’s got such a ‘big family’ vibe, where does that come from?
We operate as one big family; organising the event is a family affair, both for the Rusby family and then our extended village community. Our volunteers are amazing, we couldn’t do it without them. They bring the third family dimension. Music and family – they go hand in hand for us and I think it must radiate from there.

When do you start booking the bands, & how easy is it all?
We are super lucky in that we work with Eddie Barcan from Splendid Events. He used to run Cambridge Folk Festival and also books a stage at Glastonbury, so has great connections. He’s also in close contact with Joe, who helped found the festival and also has a great ear for good music. He starts in the Autumn usually and fortunately there are always a number of artists who wish to appear, due to our great reputation. However, we are still only quite small festival in size, so the biggest challenge is finding artists who meet our very high standards across a whole range of musical styles, to fit in with our modest balance. It would be easy just fill the stage, but the skill is in finding the right mix, a good gender balance a few big names people know, but quality throughout.

What kind of a relationship do you have with your local council?
We have a really good relationship with the team at the Local Council (Barnsley) – we are well supported by them. Prior to the festival I had very little experience of dealing with the council but the team genuinely want to help us jump through all the hoops and contribute to making the event a success.

What kind of line-up have you got for us this year?
As ever, Stars is more than just a folk festival. Friday night has the hit pop act Scouting for Girls, currently touring with Olly Murs and we are very excited to have Lottery Winners, who at the time of writing are #1 in the Album Charts – that kind of booking foresight is what we like! We also have The Longest Johns, the sea-shanty band who went viral with “Wellerman”. Saturday has the amazing double bill of The Shires and Newton Faulkner, as well as world dance act Molotov Jukebox and Skerryvore – they are currently #1 in the Scottish music charts!. Sunday is our very own Kate Rusby, The Magic Numbers, plus Beth Nielsen Chapman and the wonderful Elephant Sessions to close. However, there is so much more depth than the more well known names. I am really looking forward to Angeline Morrisson – her album telling the story of the much unreported Black experience in British Folk was one of the most moving of last year. We’ve also got an amazing French-Latin band called Super Panela kicking off the main stage, who are going to be wonderful. In addition we have jazz, Moroccan trance, blues, and a full choir!

The Lottery Winners will be at this year’s UTS

Every festival is a step in the great learning curve of life, what improvements have you made on last year’s festival?
Crikey – so yes, running a festival is a steep learning curve. Some years are steeper than others! We are nearly 10 years in with Underneath the Stars and just about getting into our groove. We are improving infrastructure all the time; so not often all that visible to the audience. We are always tweaking the site plan!
Ooh but this year our new creative group, ’The Space Crafters’, have been busy making all sorts of loveliness for the site. I can’t wait to see it all ✨

To somebody who has never been to Underneath the Stars before, what are they to expect?
An eclectic mix of music presented to a really high standard within covered big top venues 🎪. We endeavour to bring something truly special to our corner of Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Building a festival means bringing people together to build a small community for a few special days in the summer. Quality underlines everything we do. We hope you join us to party in the sun and the rain, discover your inner self, energise your mind and body, try new things, meet new people, make new friends, and most of all HAVE FUN.

Cawthorne, Barnsley

Ghost Dance: The Silent Shout (Album Review)

Ghost Dance Fronted by the very brilliant and beautiful Anne Marie Hurst from Keighley in Yorkshire. I was about 17 when the first incarnation of Ghost Dance rocked Yorkshire with their brilliant live shows and brilliant recorded output. Anne Marie also sang for the first incarnation of Skeletal Family another band that helped to form the musical subculture that is Goth. Some thirty years on Ghostdance have reformed with Anne Marie taking back her crown as High Priestess of Goth. The Silent Shout is on a loop am taking it in❤️ Full Mumble report coming soon❤️

Ghost Dance
Anne Marie Hurst, Vocals
Tim Walker. Guitar
Phil Noble. Bass
Stephen Derrig, Guitar
Dave Wood, Drums

So for now I can satisfy my Ghost Dance live longing, with this rather brilliant selection of songs that my new CD contains.

The Silent Shout was produced by Tim Walker the legendary Ghost Dance guitarist and owner of, Voltage Studios in Bradford Back in the day, Tim Walker was the very handsome leader of a Bradford Rock Band called Architect. So this new incarnation of Ghost Dance brings together two musical Yorkshire legends to bring us this new long player. Ghost Dance are currently Touring The Silent Shout across England. I was all geared up for a proposed Gig at Ivory Blacks in Glasgow. Alas the gig was pulled, but we are promised a visit to Scotland in the Summer.

  1. Goodbye.
  2. Disgrace
  3. Fools Paradise.
  4. Jessamine.
  5. It Rains
  6. A Town Called Sympathy
  7. Casting Shadows.
  8. Immortalised.
  9. Falling Down.
  10. After The Rain..

With The New Wave of New Wave firmly taking hold as a progressive new Genre of Music. New bands like the brilliant IST IST, who take their lead from Classic Sisters and Joy Division. They sound like Andrew Eldritch and Ian Curtis’s love children. Even Skeletal Family have reformed with a new female vocalist taking Ann Marie’s place in the band.. Opening ears to good old-fashioned Goth Rock and a well-received new album.

The only thing influencing Ghost Dance is in fact Classic 80’s Ghost Dance. Matured and improved. Anne Marie sounds fresh with more than a little nod to Debbie Harry and Blondie. But only in vocal delivery and that both are Divine heroes. Especially in Fools Paradise, this really does need to be a lead single. The musicianship is excellent throughout this 40-minute ride of musical perfection leaping in straight away with a deep bass guitar intro. Goodbye sets the tone with the urge to dye one’s hair black and don lots of black eyeliner.

Songs like Jessamine are destined for massive stages and performance art venues. Ghost Dance are a classic rock affair with two guitarists, bass and drums complimenting Anne Mariie’s beautiful voice to produce this 10 track megalith of a long player. with just the right amount of romantic whisp to keep the casual Goth interested, right through to the closing number After The Rain. The Silent Shout is a collection of songs that need to be heard played live, with enough excellent Juicy guitar parts to fill any mosh pit and make any headbanging rocker smile.

As I said, Ghost Dance’s The Silent Shout is working its way into my subconscious and is going to be a very entertaining friend for years to come. Brilliant work.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

Omar Afif & Steve Kettley

Traverse Theatre
May 4th, 2023

My now second home is the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh situated in a large town square. I had arrived for another wonderful few hours of music that was to welcome a very special act. Omar Afif & Steve Kettley had joined their musical forces for an interesting hour. Afif play’s an instrument called a Guembri, it is a three stringed bass lute, an ancient instrument, while Steve’s project was on wind instruments such as a saxophone on which he played the most.

Their paring up had an obvious flavour of something a little different than usual music we might hear, actually quite striking combinations were explored. I say that Afif played the guembri but it is worth taking note that he was a master of something called Gnawa – Moroccan Sufi Praise music. Both musician’s have indeed a praiseworthy connection to make and they have been involved in music forever. They collaborate, have their own bands and groups and Afif has been promoting this music for a fabulous 14 years, the music draws on hundreds of years of existence.

Omar and Steve walked on in cultural clothing, I think as a comment on the differences of costumes we have in the world, a different stitch here or hem there, I smiled because on stepped a genuine Sufi Master in a brown tunic of rich finery followed by a man wearing a flowery shirt, jeans and definitely western shoes (though Omar wore trainers) it was a big comment made with the littlest of means.

I’m sure that the theme of the event was to comment (or question) upon many things, and as these were aspects in a kind of sensation, that led us, then the music started. On what looked like a one string instrument out came a sound, a booming beat, it felt like a procession had begun. It was fun being in the presence of these guy’s, who made a kind of music that had its own interests, with the formal dress in mind a great settling happened in the audience and filled the room with something clear and very purposeful.

I struggled a little with the sax sound at first but I guess with anything new there’s always a jolt of some kind that you haven’t heard before it will do that. The saxophone was divisive where as the Moroccan presence had a capacity to flutter with it in all sorts of notes, complex playing and unstopping perfection.

In the 14 years he has been in the UK he must have enjoyed his instrument very well. It play’s as it looks, but in the steady hand of a master is it unravelled into a deep, deep sound, as if through the musician it can talk and wonder around. His study, his easiness and his contribution at this time handle these styles that he loves to explore have made him a group leader of cutting edge definitions of music mixing the traditional African with psychedelic and blues.

As a reviewer there is nothing more pleasant than the release of information whether it comes from on line or, flyer or by the grace of the performers and writers themselves. He told stories about his instruments, what they were for, what colours they inspire and also as means of healing, using I think specific notes and handling that you sneakily feel might have a truth to it.

I also think that the mood spilled a little love into the room, gradually becoming a kernel of strength that came from this sustained sound, vibrating, with hand making complex movement at speed. The sax kicked off at time and withdrew at times, but it all morphed into one by this gradual process of very great good will, an absolute pleasure to have been around for this.

Daniel Donnelly

Kim Carnie

Traverse Theatre
May 4th, 2023

I entered once more the Traverse Theatre to the blackened room with sloping seats that can hold a generous capacity. It was a full Gaelic entourage of music fans there to enjoy the full experience of Kim Carnie’s music, the widely loved singer was to present it will good humour and wit.

It is worth noting that she is a successful singer and songwriter, with vocals she is getting a lot of notice for. The performance at Tradfest had a wonderful line in up at this atmospheric concert. The treatment of music was of a care and tenderness that easily mesmerised in its true haunting beauty with that great connection of the highlands community.

Her voice had notes that with a technique of telling stories, was an evocable sound that her award winning talent has for this heartfelt music structured with the so ability transmitted to an big audience brimming with a Celtic connection.

Our interest peeked listening to stories that set moods both high and low with songs forlorn and alive in their deep and burrowing chests. She moved her vocals around and joked a little as a star onstage. Her work has brought her talent to include writing music for film and computer games, I look forward to finding them, and enjoyed her broad expertise.

The 4 piece band on piano, violin, vocal and guitar played a tightly wound set orchestrated to bring out this tradition of musical storytelling in everything down to a flow. Beginning with a song written about a tale of men who work at sea, the power of reflection took us in for a moment and captured the genre perfectly, as a performance of great wit.

The free flowing attitude concentrated in her solo abilities that ever so carefully gathered a momentum of composition rendering a sharp focus. Style and a great deal of taste called for each little rapture to behave in the arms of a beautiful song smith and mysterious interplay.

Now she has been offered a commission where she is writing work of fresh composition of new music for Blas Festival up in Portree. It was time to test it out and put it to a live show that also celebrates the 2022 release of her exciting debut album ‘And So We Gather’ she is doing things of immense power, with immense charm and sincerity.

The eyes could only close taking this in, we were at the whim of her artistry and her bands quietly faithful dedication that you could actually hear as it went by. The translucent energy full and charismatic set list also included playing covers of songs by bands who have inspired or deserved a playful rendition.

A large stage beckons for this unquenchable music elevated with a most distinctive flow. No little magic arose and I found myself an observer, in a state of listening and being at peace. Her warmth was an example of a bitter free heart.

Daniel Donnelly

The Devout

La Belle Angele

Have loved Depeche mode since I was a kid. From the humble Basildon beginnings, when Vince Clarke was the chief writer and composer that penned the first hits that propelled the band to stardom. When Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode, it brought the first incarnation of the band to an unexpected climax (Vince Clarke went on to form two megasuccwssful groups, Yazoo and Erasure.

The departure of Clarke pushed the songwriting genius of Martin Gore to the fore, pain and suffering never sounded or looked so good, inspiring an increasing audience with an increasingly Gothic slant. So much so that the legion of Depeche Mode Devotees were affectionately called The Black Swarm.

Of course Dave Gahan the unmistakeably brilliant voice that brought Martin Gores genius songwriting skills to life. It really was the Lennon and McCartney of Electronic music. By this time the band had Alan Wilder on board who offered a massive contribution that shaped musical history forever.

I was fortunate to see Depeche Mode touring Music For The Masses. The third in the cannon and a masterstroke, for it was the last time the band would perform in sensibly sized venues because it was from this point Depeche Mode became the biggest electronic band on the planet. A crown that hasnae slipped. since famously performing at the Rose Bowl Pasadena in 1988, A springboard gig that propelled them into being a global phenomenon. Recorded for prosperity, released as a double long player, and called it 101. Its deffo one of my favourite live albums of all time and is also the source material of tonight’s performance by Devout.

Devout Personnel
Barclay Quarton: Frontman, Lead Vocals
Keith Trigwell : Programming and Production, Live Keys, Technical, Visuals
Reza Udhin : Lead Vocals, Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals and production
Glen Wisbey : Live keyboards, Production.

The Devout are a Depeche Mode Tribute Band that exist to replicate the Depeche Mode live experience. With Barclay Quarton playing the part of David Gahan. In Stature and looks Barclay’s voice is remarkably similar. Reza Udhin playing the part of Martin Gore again replicating Martins’s vocal parts perfectly. With Keith Tigwell and Glen Wisbey playing the parts of Andy Fletcher and Alan Wilder Together they brought 1988 back to life in La Belle Angele.

For a tribute band, The Devout have a massive following of Depeche Mode devotees, the venue was heaving with on the whole, a 40 something male audience all t-shirted up with current and past Dep Mode tour T-Shirts. The love that people have for the inspiration of tonight’s performance was completely evident.

Myself too, although at first I was a little sceptical, The Devout worked really hard to replicate the brilliant songs and music that make 101, one of the best-selling live albums of all time and they did so to fine effect, I couldn’t stop myself from dancing. From the first bars of the opening number Pimph, Devout had the complete attention of the capacity audience. It was a great singalong and everyone knew the songs performed word for word. All the singles that were released up to and before 1988, Were brought to life. However for Divine, It wasnae until the 90’s output, Songs from Violator, Songs Of Fath And Devotion and Ultra made an appearance that I let rip, I danced my heart out and sang along at full pelt. The Devout worked really really hard to entertain tonight and with a show that lasted 2 and a 1/2 hours absolutely no one was disappointed.

Part theatre, Part Rock Gig. All done in the best possible taste. Divine had a brilliant time, everyone else did too. The Devout fucking rocked. If you like Depeche Mode then you will love The Devout. Well Done Lads.

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

An Interview with Duncan Wheeler (Stowaway Festival)

Hello Duncan – so first thing’s first, where are you from & where do you live today?
I live at Blackpit Farm, a 430 acre event site and home to Stowaway Festival each year

Can you tell us a bit about Blackpit Brewery?
We started the brewery back in 2016, to brew beer for our events. We installed the brewery kit inside a beautiful old brick stable yard at Blackpit, where we craft the beer and run a small taproom. It’s been an amazing project to be involved with – and the beer’s not bad either!

Little Dragon will be at this year’s Stowaway

So, Stowaway Festival – where, when & why did the idea for the festival first take place?
We’ve been running a variety of different events at Blackpit for the last 10 years. Having said that, with our wealth of event experience and love of music festivals, the progression was a natural step for us.

Why the name change?
The event began as ‘The Festival of Beer’, a traditional beer festival vibe, with live music and street food. As we started to book bigger acts over the years, the event quickly evolved into a music festival. We changed the name as we felt the Festival of Beer didn’t give the event the credit it deserves!

When do you start booking the acts, & how easy is it all?
Our wish list of acts usually looks very different to our final line up! A lot depends on timing. Sometimes we can’t believe how lucky we are to have secured a particular artist. Other times, it’s not that easy so you have to be flexible, but not compromise on the quality of the music.

Can you tell us about your site?
Blackpit is part of the former Stowe Estate, occupying 430 acres of beautiful parkland, ancient woodland and lakes. The site is a Grade 1 listed Park & Garden. It’s a stunning location to host Stowaway and we feel incredibly lucky to be able to share it with our Stowaways for the weekend!

What kind of a relationship do you have with your local council?
We’ve been working with Buckinghamshire County Council on events for nearly 15 years. We couldn’t have asked for better assistance from our local regulators, whether it be from Licencing, Environmental Health, or Policing departments, who have all been nothing but supportive of our events over that time.

What kind of line-up have you got for us this year?
Our music line-up is always very diverse. Our incredible daytime live performers this year include Little Dragon, House Gospel Choir, and Roy Ayers, who is now on his farewell tour. By night, revellers can find themselves deep in the woods, soundtracked by some of the UK’s most cutting edge electronic music from the likes of Eats Everything, Jamz Supernova & Dan Shake, as well as rave classics from the legendary Todd Edwards, Nicky Blackmarket and many more!

What else is on offer outwith the music?
There is much more to Stowaway than just the music. All of the activities in our Kid’s Kingdom are available to young Stowaways of all ages and included within the ticket price. Our comedy line up is headed up by the incredible Jack Dee, Lou Sanders and Jessica Fostekew. We have fine dining, presented by Chef James Cochran of North London’s 12:51 restaurant and Great British Menu winner. For those wishing to relax after a night of partying we also have a rejuvenating spa, complete with hot tubs, ice baths and more! But, above all of that, our site is a stunning place to enjoy a party; you can swim in the lake or party late into the night down in the woods. There’s something for everyone.

Irvine Welsh will be at this year’s Stowaway

Every festival is a step in the great learning curve of life, what improvements have you made on last year’s festival?
We’ll be making tweaks here and there. We’ll be introducing a new late night venue in the woods and have some exciting plans up our sleeves for that. We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve always done, which is welcoming people into our beautiful home for a great party!

To somebody who has never been to your festival before, what are they to expect?
An amazing party set in a beautiful location, built by a small team of festival lovers, for festival lovers. Come & see for yourself!

August 18-20
Stowe, Buckinghamshire