Wickham Festival News

Fleetwood Collective

Fleetwood Collective is a collaboration between some of Southampton’s finest musicians who have taken on the joyous task of meticulously recreating the Fleetwood Mac live shows, from their glorious peak in the 1970s and 80s.

Songs featured in the set include all the classic fan favourites such as Rhiannon, The Chain and Go Your Own Way, as well as hidden gems, solo hits and album tracks, along with one or two surprises from the early years.

The band really put their focus on the music. The guitar tones, the intriguing song structures and the 3-part harmonies that helped elevate Fleetwood Mac to worldwide adoration are lovingly and painstakingly recreated here.

Fleetwood Collective’s mission is to deliver the music of Fleetwood Mac with the same passion and dedication to performance that the real band did in their heyday.

Virginia Kettle

Virginia’s vocals have been a key element of Merry Hell’s sound since the band’s inception a decade ago. Before joining her husband John, brothers-in-law Bob and Andrew, and sundry others in the eight-piece folk-rock outfit, she’d already established herself as a singer-songwriter in her own right. As “Virginia Barrett”, she released two solo albums: ‘The Quiet Bridge’ and ‘Sense of Human’ prior to joining the band.

Since Merry Hell began she released her first album, No Place Like Tomorrow.  It’s a more intimate affair than a typical Merry Hell album, both in terms of personnel and in terms of subject matter. The songs have far less of an obvious political tone than many Merry Hell songs and here Kettle tends to touch on more personal matters: love, relationships, family life. ‘Union Jack House’ is the most political song on the album but is structured and delivered in a way that has surprising echoes of Victoria Wood (with a little bit of Are You Being Served thrown in!)

Naomi Bedford & The Ramshackle Band

Naomi Bedford is an English singer working in the folk and country genres. She has made four acclaimed albums; most recently ‘Singing It All Back Home’, a collection of Appalachian ballads which was a Guardian Album of the Month in 2019. Her previous albums have featured contributions from UK music legends such as Justin Currie, Andy Summers, Alasdair Roberts and Paul Heaton. She also regularly performs and records with Paul Simmonds, chief songwriter and mandolin player with The Men They Couldn’t Hang.

Naomi has toured widely throughout the UK and appeared at many prestigious Festivals including Glastonbury, Cambridge, Celtic Connections, Sidmouth and Wickham. She has also appeared in session for Mark Radcliffe on Radio 2 and on BBC Radio Scotland. Among her many supporters are; Iggy Pop, ‘Amazing. Naomi pulls no punches’, Shirley Collins, ‘The best singer of Appalachian ballads that I know’ and Del Amitri’s Justin Currie, ‘An English Emmylou’.

The Ramshackle Band are a revolving troupe of musicians that feature guitars, banjos, lap steel, harmonica, bass, percussion and rich harmonies, all of which combine to produce an entrancing folk/country/ceilidh hybrid that is all their own.

Naomi’s latest album, ‘Strange News Has Come To Town’, will be released in May 2024 and features regular collaborator Paul Simmonds alongside a full Ramshackle Band for the first time. They will be appearing across the UK throughout Summer and Autumn of 2024.

The Men They Couldn’t Hang

Founded in 1984, TMTCH evolved from the Shepherd’s Bush squatting and busking scene to make their debut supporting Poguemahone at the Electric Ballroom in Camden in the Easter of that year.

Swiftly their uproarious and engaging style, coupled with keenly contemporary songs, gained a passionate national following, leading to a 40 year career filled with much loved music, a dedicated fan community and high octane performances.

Touring continually throughout their career, TMTCH have crossed the globe by way of Europe, Canada, USA, Iceland, Egypt and Estonia. They have appeared at festivals such as Glastonbury, Roskilde, Reading, Pink Pop and Cambridge Folk and have appeared with a roll call of International artists such as David Bowie, Van Morrison, Bo Diddley, The Smiths, Elvis Costello and the Oyster Band to name a few.

Their recordings have been acclaimed in print, on radio and online; from their definitive version of the anti war classic Green Fields of France to the anti fascist anthem Ghosts of Cable Street and the epic historical ballads, Ironmasters and The Colours. Recent albums The Defiant (2014) and Cockahoop (2018) have seen TMTCH rise again into prominence; their vitality undimmed.

Devastated by the passing of friend and founder member Stefan Cush during the Covid lockdown, TMTCH are responding in the only way they know how; writing, recording and playing live to their ever loyal and growing community of fans. An anniversary tour is planned for 2024 when they will celebrate their 40th year of raising hell with special events and a ‘Best of’ release, then in 2025 they will be releasing a brand new album.

Alistair Russell

We welcome back Alistair Russell as one of our comperes for Wickham Festival 2024.

Singing and playing folk music since his teens, and over thirty years a professional musician and sound engineer, Alistair sings songs mainly from his family homeland Scotland, its neighbour Ireland, self-penned songs inspired by his world-wide travelling with Battlefield Band, and any other song that takes his fancy.

Alistair grew up in the North-East of England, with Scottish parents who had a rich fund of songs of their own—music hall favourites, Harry Lauder songs, sentimental ballads and stage Irish songs which his father brought back from working on contract.

The sixties’ beat boom saw Alistair and a few like-minded school friends exploring folk music. By the late seventies, his band was playing extensively throughout NE England, with frequent forays into Germany and Poland. In 1978, he teamed up full-time with Tom Napper, and they released their first album, “Tripping Upstairs”. The next four years saw Tom take his leave, and Alistair set out on a solo career. His album “Getting to the Border” (with a star-studded guest musician list) was released.

Then came that rare thing in the world of folk music—the “big break”. Alistair joined Scotland’s legendary Battlefield Band. The next thirteen years were a whirlwind of touring—one million miles of it!

Nine Battlefield albums and two videos later, Alistair jumped off the global tour bus to “recharge the batteries”. His spell in Battlefield had not only developed his playing, singing and songwriting skills, but his role as “front man” in the band had honed the skill of relaxed communication which is so vital to putting the music across.

He didn’t remain idle for long. Knowledge gained on the road and in the recording studio got him jobs in management (Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley), album production and CD recording (over 60 commercial projects released), tour management (Magnetic Music),  stringed instrument setup and sales (The Music Room), stage management,compering and live sound engineering at major UK festivals (CV Audio and freelance), and tuition DVD production (Mrs Casey Music).

Alistair Russell has recently written a book! It’s a light-hearted look at life on the road as a travelling musician & sound engineer. It’s received rave reviews from the critics and copies can be ordered online here:

https://www.alistairrussell.co.uk/shop/

Learn a few songs, pack up your guitar and see the world as a touring musician!

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    Theyve supported Levellers & Frank Turner on tour.  Now The Wilswood Buoys will make their Wickham Festival debut on Sat. 3rd Aug. (same night at Levellers & Ferocious Dog). Give them a listen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21qnLKAGylI

    They've supported Levellers & Frank Turner on tour. Now The Wilswood Buoys will make their Wickham Festival debut on Sat. 3rd Aug. (same night at Levellers & Ferocious Dog). Give them a listen here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=21qnLKAGylI ... See MoreSee Less

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    Newly confirmed! Swan Samba will be bringing their infectious beats back to Wickham on Sun. 4th Aug.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWDS2U76sV0&t=17s

    Line-Up Addition: By popular request, #FleetwoodCollective (Fleetwood Mac tribute) will be back at Wickham on our opening night, Thurs. 1 Aug., following their superb show last year.

    LAST CHANCE TO SAVE £30 ON WICKHAM FESTIVAL WEEKEND TICKETS 1st-4th Aug. Levellers; Suzi Quatro; Curtis Stigers; Tony Christie; Seth Lakeman; Ferocious Dog; Tankus The Henge; Michael McGoldrick; John Otway & so many more. Hurry! Prices rise on 1st July.

    As reported in The News, we're moving to a much better #WickhamFestival site after last year's mud! It's great to have our lovely new flat, grassed & well-drained arena field this summer!

    You can still save £30 on every 4-day adult weekend ticket to this year's #WickhamFestival... but please hurry! Prices rise on 1st July.