Wickham Festival News

Afro Celt Sound System

It will be a very welcome return for Afro Celt Sound System featuring our Festival Patron, Johnny Kalsi, on Sunday 6th August 2023 who last appeared at Wickham in 2019.

Afro Celt Sound System are among the pioneers of the contemporary world music scene. Their ground-breaking fusion of African, Gaelic and Bhangra influenced sounds has won the hearts and minds of audiences since the group’s beginnings over 25 years ago. With album sales now topping more than one and a half million, two Grammy nominations to date and tours all around the world, they are the legendary afro-celtic band bringing spirits and music from different cultures together to a breath-taking show.

In 1995, The first Afro Celt Sound System album was released to great critical acclaim. To quote Real World Records:

“The world’s press waxed superlative: “a hurricane let loose” declared Q Magazine. “Hearing is believing,” announced Mojo. “Heady, heartfelt music,” proclaimed the Wall Street Journal. Word of mouth spread. A host of imitators soon began crossing cultural boundaries, bent on embracing the future without losing sight of the past. None of them, of course, caught the essence of Afro Celts. Much copied, they were never surpassed. “ The group went on to release 8 studio albums in total, becoming one of Real World Records top selling artistes of all time.” 

In March 2023, ACSS founder Simon Emmerson sadly passed away after prolonged illness. Simon founded the ground breaking group and was the driving force in it’s innovative genre defying recordings and live shows. His loss will be felt for many years by both the band and their fans alike. Simon was steadfast in his belief that the band should continue after his passing, and had been working on the next album for some time. The New Album OVA (short for Ovate, and the Afro Celt Symbol) will be released in Simon’s memory at the end of 2023.

Tankus the Henge

Tankus the Henge have built their reputation on unforgettable songwriting, spectacular live performances and relentless hard work, playing hundreds of shows across Europe and building a devoted fan base along the way.

“..I love that. It reminds me of a mixture of early Kinks, Squeeze and a bit of Blur mashed in. His voice is his own, …so great. I love it.”
Dave Davies – The Kinks

Their funk-fuelled repertoire is wildly eclectic, ranging from New Orleans inspired swing to heavy rock riffs, and since their beginnings in the ratty alleyways of London’s Soho, the band has evolved into a wild groove machine.

Musically inspired by bands from the British invasion of the 60s and artists such as Tom Waits, Blur, Randy Newman and Queens Of The Stone Age, and with lyrics influenced by 20th Century American Literature, specifically the Beat Generation and Gonzo journalism, Tankus the Henge defy categorisation. Their hair-raising show, like no other, has to be seen and heard to be believed. Like a psychedelic, rock n roll octopus – only with four more legs.


“….a virtual carnival of sound that’s high on energy and deep on soul. With copious helpings of R&B blues, funk, disco, Django, a dose of Dexy’s, a drop of Ray Davies and a pinch of Madness emerging throughout the eleven tracks – it’s an exciting mélange of sound.”
The Guardian. Simon Wells

The Dhol Foundation

Whilst some acts transfer well to TV / on-line viewing, others you can only truely appreciate live when your body shakes … we’re welcoming back The Dhol Foundation.  Over the years they’ve proved a real Wickham favourite so it’s another bhangra bonanza on for 2022.  These guys know how to put on a stunning show … Wickham, you want vibrant enery?  They’re back!!!  We’re not sure any other festival could claim to have a bhangra based house band.  On Saturday 6th August 2022 we’ll be welcoming some unique Indian culture to get us jumping on our feet.  You can also catch Johnny Kalsi’s DJ Set on the Friday.

Established in 1989, The Dhol Foundation began as a small class in slough with only a few friends asking Johnny Kalsi for Dhol drumming lessons. A couple of weeks went by, and those friends bought friends of friends and so on… One class turned into several! Before we knew it we became the first-ever dhol class/academy in the UK, creating a new breed of modern dhol players that became quickly in demand!

With a strong team of dhol players built up, it was time to hit the road! So Johnny Kalsi and The Dhol Foundation began workshops internationally and then tours across the globe, Slowly expanding along the way.

In 2001 TDF released our debut album, ‘Big Drum Small World’ which was another milestone for the British Asian music industry. With backing from Peter Gabriel’s Real World Publishing, the album grabbed mainstream attention and was quickly picked up by Hollywood directors. TDF collaborated with Martin Scorsese on ‘Gangs of New York’. This collaboration was then followed by more silver screen work with the likes of, Ang Lee on ‘Incredible Hulk’ and Sean Macleod Phillips on ‘Sea Monsters 3D’,

​As the years have flown by, The Dhol Foundation continues to grow. As through the lockdown months, they have started writing new material for their 6th installment. As the saying goes… Watch This Space!​

Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston

A regular performer with Show of Hands since 2004, Miranda Sykes formed a duo with Rex Preston in 2009 and in just a few years they have developed into one of the most sought-after and acclaimed duos on the English folk scene.

A superb vocalist and double bassist, Miranda surprises audiences with her versatility on the guitar and with her unique interpretations of songs.

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    Weve over 40 gorgeous craft & clothing stalls at this years Wickham Festival including Global Emporium (pictured).  Do browse them.  There are some wonderful goods on offer.

    We've over 40 gorgeous craft & clothing stalls at this year's Wickham Festival including Global Emporium (pictured). Do browse them. There are some wonderful goods on offer. ... See MoreSee Less

    14 hours ago

    Our Twitter Feed

    Newly confirmed! Swan Samba will be bringing their infectious beats back to Wickham on Sun. 4th Aug.

    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.