Wickham Festival News

Les Barker

Sadly Les passed away on 14th January 2023.  He entertained us many times over the years.  We’ve left his profile unchanged below, as it was written in 2018 when he last took to our stage.  RIP Les … your friends at Wickham will miss you and your wordsmith wizardry.

For 2018 Les Barker will be appearing on Thursday 2nd August.  For early arrival campers he will also be performing on Wednesday in the Community Centre at 20.00 – 20.45.

Les Barker writes strange poems and comes originally from Manchester, but he’s now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. He’s written 77 books, which sell in large numbers at his gigs because people don’t quite believe what they’ve just heard. His poems have spawned a number of folk heroes: Jason and the Arguments, Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower, Captain Indecisive and Spot of the Antarctic, to name but two.

His serious songs have also featured on albums by Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick, and by June Tabor and he made a name for himself on the circuit with his unlikely contribution to the Mrs Ackroyd Band. But it is his side-splitting poems and his elevation of the pun to new heights which guarantees an unforgettable if baffling evening.

Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel

Legendary rock icon and the original Cockney Rebel, Steve Harley makes his third visit to Wickham Festival when he headlines with his full rock band on Thursday, AUGUST 2nd. Harley has written and recorded twelve albums in a career covering four decades, and continues to tour to sell-out audiences in many countries world-wide.

Recognised as one of Britain’s greatest and most charismatic Live performers, Harley is as much in love with the touring life now as at the beginning of his career: “We see some wonderful sights, visit galleries and museums and really take travelling as part of the experience. I’m a genuine and inveterate Tourist”.

A Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel Live show will be packed with hits such as, Judy Teen, Mr Raffles, Here Comes The Sun, Mr Soft, the classic Sebastian, as well as the world-wide hit and UK Number One, Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me), which has been recognised by the Performing Rights Society as one of the most-played singles in British Radio history…

Harley also picks an eclectic mix of tracks from his career recordings, including a selection from recent albums The Quality Of Mercy and Stranger Comes To Town.

Rod Stewart has described Harley as “One the greatest lyricists Britain has ever produced.” Mojo magazine states, “Harley creates rock songs that are proud, lyrical and full of yearning”.

The Sunday Express called him “Britain’s best-kept Live secret; a consummate performer at the top of his game”, and this show will bear that out.

The Proclaimers

After abandoning plans for a 2021 release/tour, 2022 has seen The Proclaimers recording their 12th studio album at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales with producer Dave Eringa. Confirmation of an autumn release date will be confirmed soon.

They kick of a 14-month World tour with a main stage appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival in June followed by a series of summer festivals and regional concerts.

October to December sees The Proclaimers embark on a 35 date UK & Ireland tour.

2018 had seen their ‘Angry Cyclist’ album released to immense acclaim, becoming their 8th UK Top 40 album debuting in the UK Official Album charts at 17 and at number 3 in the UK Official Independent Album Charts.

The Proclaimers “Angry Cyclist World Tour” began in July 2018 and ended in September 2019, 111 shows in 14 countries to over 400,0000 people. The tour began in Stroud, England and ended at The Hydro in Glasgow. The tour included their biggest ever tours of Scotland, England, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and notably in June 2019, The Proclaimers opened The Pyramid Stage for their 7th appearance at Glastonbury. The Proclaimers July 2019 Edinburgh Castle concert sold out in just under 10 minutes with Castle Concerts reporting this as the fastest sell out in their 25-year history. A second show at Edinburgh Castle was added, this show also sold out within 24 hours, which Castle Concerts are also reporting as never before seen demand.

Strikingly individual, twin brothers Craig and Charlie Reid emerged 31 years ago with their debut album This Is The Story and Top 3 single ‘Letter from America’. Since then their enduring appeal across generations has have over the years seen them enjoy huge success across the globe

The Proclaimers songs are timeless, capturing a gamut of human emotions, written with poignancy, emotional honesty, political fire and wit. Their songs feature at weddings, funerals and everything in-between and there is one song, an early celebration of falling head over heels in love that is known the world over and has become a staggering global anthem. There are many others that have gained great popularity in different parts of the planet and then there is a wide cross section of sublime songs embraced by a multitude that has kept up with The Proclaimers studio albums, compilation collections and extensive touring over three decades.

The Proclaimers have carved out a niche for themselves in the netherworld where pop, folk, new wave and punk collide. In the process, they have enjoyed Gold and Platinum singles and albums in UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Edward II

Edward II will be returning to the festival scene in 2023. This is a band that has incredible on-stage talent and energy that has to be enjoyed live. If you’ve got energy to burn and brought your dancing shoes … who doesn’t love some reggae beats with a twist.

Originally known by the neat title of Edward the Second and the Red Hot Polkas, Edward II reformed some 10 years after originally disbanding. With their unique mix of English folk, world music and reggae, they are a great live act who will bring the crowd to their feet.

Edward II, the English roots band that uniquely blend the rhythms of the Caribbean with traditional songs from the British Isles, have been secretly working on a totally new project and will be back in 2017. Temporarily turning away from the rural songs of the middle England Morris teams, this time around the band has been delving deep into a repertoire of songs born of the industrial revolution, specifically of their hometown, Manchester.

Wickham Festival favourites, Edward II, will get us dancing on Saturday 4th August 2023 with their blend of Caribbean rhythms & traditional English dance tunes.

Still upbeat, and with rock-steady rhythms, blazing horns, fabulous harmonies, and fiery melodeon melodies, this will be a new set mixed with some of the old favourites and a familiar sound for the faithful.

Show Of Hands

For the 2023 festival season Steve Knightley and Phil Beer are returning to the duo format that launched their stellar careers over thirty years ago. Audiences will be treated to the usual ‘Show of Hands’ classics like ‘Cousin Jack’, rousing festival anthems, instrumental virtuosity and stunning harmonies from two masters of their craft.

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    Pleased to say The Tuneless Choir will be leading a 'Big Sing' again on Sunday 4th August at 12 noon ... See MoreSee Less

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    So much better than Eurovision...  Tickets selling fast:  www.wickhamfestival.co.uk/tickets

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    You’ll love The Copper family. Grew up in the same area as them.

    Not a very high bar... but yes, it will be a good one. Any more announcements to be made?

    Is Jerry Douglas still playing ?

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    Our Twitter Feed

    We're sorry to report that London Irish band Neck will no longer be appearing at Wickham following the sad death of their frontman Leeson O'Keeffe from pancreatic cancer. 😢

    Steve Harley was an audience favourite at Wickham Festival, and a delight to work with. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

    Steve Harley: Cockney Rebel singer dies at 73

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-68590846

    The Saw Doctors would like to say a Big Thanks to everybody who has bought or streamed ‘All We Love’ today —the new single is Number 3 in Ireland and No. 23 in the UK. Here’s the link to buy or stream ‘All We Love’   
    https://orcd.co/allwelove

    Wonderfully evocative and typically catchy song from our old friends @sawdoctors ready for #StPatricksDay
    Would love to hear them do this at #wickhamfesival one day. Great stuff!

    Our new line-up inc. Curtis Stigers with a few more artists inc. Jerry Douglas to add. We hope to unveil last confirmed artists inc. one more headliner soon. Day & Tier 4 Weekend tickets selling fast. Save £50 on every 4-day weekend ticket. Book now. http://www.wickhamfestival.co.uk

    We're delighted to announce that 16-times GRAMMY Award winner Jerry Douglas, one of the world's finest dobro & lap steel guitar players, will be at this year's Wickham Music Festival on Sat. 3rd Aug. Day & Weekend tickets selling fast!