Thursday, 7 July 2016

Tenbury Music Festival gets into full swing

Tenbury Music Festival

Saturday 18 June, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire

Steve Gibbons - seemingly effortless enjoyment
(c) Phil Richards 2016
Only in its second year, Tenbury Music Festival is one of those small-but-beautiful events which promises to get bigger and bigger. Tenbury in Worcestershire, nestling on the sleepy borders of Shropshire and Herefordshire, seemed unperturbed by the good-natured jamboree taking place in the heart of the ancient market town. Performers and organisers had generously given up their time to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust but it was also a celebration of some of the most enjoyable musical talent in the region.

Steve Ajao - stroll on
(c) Phil Richards 2016
The main stage featured acts including singer-songwriter Dave Onions and bluesman Steve Ajao - who took a stroll around the audience while continuing to play guitar. Celtic rock band Quill featured a special guest in the guise of Clive Bunker (erstwhile Jethro Tull drummer) while headliner Steve Gibbons provided seemingly effortless enjoyment with his affable rock n roll, including his unexpectedly hilarious ditty Biggles Flies Undone.

Son of John
(c) Phil Richards 2016
Interspersed with all of this were a variety of more rootsy folk and fusion acts on the - let's face it - much more interesting acoustic stage. Swing drummer (and former Steve Gibbons collaborator) Sticky Wicket, with a five-piece band, had a repertoire ranging from The Jungle Book to B.Bumble and the Stingers' Nut Rocker. Arcadia Roots, led by singer/drummer Dave Small, galvanised the unsuspecting audience with a high-energy set which would have transposed well to the main stage, while the day drew to a close with the earthy, almost prayerful music of Son of John aka Jacob Johnson (accompanied by his mate Will on double bass) with songs from the stunning debut album Autumn's Hymn (which we'll be reviewing soon on the blog.)

It's hard to imagine a more varied collection of acts. We look forward to doing it all again in 2017. 

(Phil Richards' photographs used with permission.)

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Tony Gillam is Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Wolverhampton, a freelance writer, trainer and musician. He is the author of 'Reflections on Community Psychiatric Nursing' (2002) and 'Creativity, Wellbeing and Mental Health Practice' (2018).