Wickham Festival News

Calvin Thomas

Calvin Thomas is a Singer/Songwriter from the seaside city of Plymouth. His songwriting has been described as honest and poetic, with a voice that has been noted as one that transcends generations.  He will be appearing in The Quay West Cave on Sunday at 16.30.

Calvin’s influences range throughout many genres including Folk, Blues and Punk but maintains a universal audience from all backgrounds.
Having shared the stage with the likes of Cory Branan, Tim Barry, Franz Nicolay, Austin Lucas, Listener and many more, Calvin is looking forward to what the future brings.

With his first E.P ‘Translucent hills’ released March 2016 we still have plenty more to hear from Calvin Thomas.

Jack Cookson

Jack Cookson is one of 2016’s nominees for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and will be appearing on the Wildlife Stage at 1:30pm, Saturday.

Jack is a multi-instrumentalist and an exciting, young and talented singer-songwriter; a standard set from him is rife with memorable vocal and harmonica melodies, accompanied by masterful, top class fingerstyle guitar arrangements. He combines elements of several genres – blues, folk and punk, paired with articulate lyrics of his roots, his life and of love.

In 2015, he released his self-produced and predominantly self-performed album entitled Revolt & Resolve, while performing over 100 gigs all round the Midlands and South West of the UK, both headline and support. Other past releases include his debut EP Five Times (2012), a split EP with Welsh singer-songwriter Ieuan Williams (2014), and a live EP recorded at Helios Studios, Bristol (2015).

Kodiak Jack

Hailing from the South Coast of England, Kodiak Jack are a five piece hard rock outfit consisting of Bryn (vocals), Jeff (lead guitar), Jon (guitar & backing vocals), Keiran (drums) and Kev (bass).  They will be headlining in The Quay West Cave on Friday.

Their debut album ‘Your Death: My Glory’ was released in late 2011 and gained critical acclaim across the board with Classic Rock, PowerPlay and FRONT magazine amongst those that hailed its release. Radio airplay followed and BBC Introducing, along with many National and Regional stations all picked up on the catchy hooks and driving riffs that define the album. ‘Wasted Youth’ featured on a ‘Best Of British’ CD featured on an international edition of Metal Hammer, ‘Waves’ was used on the closing credits for Eurosports British Superbikes coverage and no less than five tracks were featured on Rumble Rides: Muscle Drag DVD that was released in the USA.

January 2013 saw the band invited to record with Brian Wheat, bassist with US Rock Gods, Tesla. Laying down eleven tracks including reworked versions of ‘Wasted Youth’, ‘Crossfire’ and ‘Waves’, at the request of Brian, the new album was recorded and mixed at J Street Studios in Sacramento over a four week session.

Christened ‘Alhambra’ (in honour of the street the studio backs onto) the album was released in the Summer of 2014 and features the singles ‘Brother’ and ‘Wasted Youth’, both of which received heavy rotation on the ‘New Rock Show’ on Planet Rock with the former making it into their Round Up Of The Year show at the end of 2013.

Once again the album received strong reviews across the board with Classic Rock, Big Cheese Magazine and Power Play Magazine amongst those hailing the release. The band then took to the road once more as they continued to cement their reputation as a formidable live act with appearances at Victorious Festival and supporting Tesla at the O2 Islington among the highlights.

Daniel Eagle

Daniel Eagle, a singer / songwriter originally from the South of Hampshire, tours and plays many shows round the UK.

His music style is compared to a male version of the likes of Lucy Spraggan, Kate Nash and Lilly Allen.  Daniel’s writing and inspiration comes from everyday life and the people around him who he either loves or respects.

Richard Morris

Richard Morris will be headlining our Quay West Cave on Saturday.

Richard and his band are off to a soaring start in 2016 after releasing their debut video for the single “What Is Love” with Vevo. Taken off their debut ep “Await The Sunset” the single was supported by VevoUS and premiered by the world famous Vocalzone who later this year are inviting him into the studio to record an acoustic session of the track. To celebrate the release of the video, Richard and his 6 piece band near filled the 400 capacity Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth with support from Just Millie (James Morrison support) & Nottingham based George Holroyd (Amber Run support). The show attracted the likes of BBC South and Richard was invited onto BBC Radio Solent for a second time to talk about the show and play live in the Studio for “The Afternoon Show”.

Just Millie

Well just think we give you something different, perhaps totally unique and different Just Millie is a 5ft tall one man band using acoustic guitar, harmony looping pedals and an electronic kick drum to accompany her, creating a full and rich sound. She will be headlining in The Quay West Cave on Thursday.

The 19 year old South Coast based artist Just Millie released her debut single ‘Spanner In The Works’ charting at No.13 in the iTunes Singer/Songwriter listings, rubbing shoulders with hits from George Ezra, Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran. 2014 saw performances in NYC, French Alps and at many major UK Festivals.

Mischa Macpherson Trio

Mischa Macpherson is a BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Winner and will be appearing on the All Time Grates Stage on Sunday 7th.

Despite her tender age of 22, Lewis-born singer Mischa Macpherson has already scooped several major UK folk awards – a fitting testament to her music’s pure-distilled expressiveness and radiant vitality. Named Gaelic Singer of the Year at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music awards and BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Award Winner her following is fast growing.

Having grown up immersed in the distinctive culture of the Outer Hebrides, she unearthed her love for music and Gaelic at a very early age, and it is these influences that the young singer now presents with clarity and tenderness to audiences around the world.

Mischa has performed in Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia and Romania, as well as to leading UK folk festivals in front of crowds as large as 20,000 people (Fairport’s Cropredy Convention). Her music was brought to the forefront of the UK’s wider musical audience after a live session on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3 in 2014 and she has since collaborated in a handful of world music commissions with the likes of Galician piper Carloz Nunez and Pakistani siblings Suraj and Chad Khan.

Alistair Goodwin Band

The Alistair Goodwin Band will be performing on Sunday 7th August.  The band members are as follows:

  • Alistair Goodwin – Guitar, Vocal
  • Nigel Rippon – Cello
  • Age Gould – Cajon
  • Nigel Davies-Patrick – Bass

Hard-driven freak-folk steeped in psychedelia, country-punk and urban blues – you won’t know what to call it but you’ll want to keep hearing it.
Alistair’s raw vocal-guitar sound is taken to new dimensions by an actual wizard, whose soul-tripping electric cello sweeps you from rock to flamenco via trance and whale song.

Add percussion, grunge bass and some Nigels, and the result is a musical oddity of strange and rare beauty.

To illustrate the diversity, the audio embed below is the full Alistair Goodwin Band whilst the video at the bottom is from a solo performance.

Since first picking up a guitar at the age of three the instrument has held a lifelong fascination for Alistair. His love of acoustic music has led him to play with an extremely wide range of musicians from street performers to the classically trained.

“Powerful vocals and mastery of the guitar make this guy a must see.”

“A unique and wholly original talent and after having seen him play live on a number of occasions, including a session on the programme, I’m very happy to confirm that.”

“If you’re a fan of acoustic music that’s firmly rooted in the Troubadour tradition then you’ll enjoy Alistair’s music.”

Phil Jackson, BBC Introducing

Described as gutsy driven acoustic roots, Alistair’s live performances blend melody, rhythm and vocal talent into a heartfelt and heady brew. Recent performances include radio exposure on the South Coast’s Spirit FM, live interviews and performances on the BBC’s Radio Solent and for Portsmouth and Southampton Television. His frequent live performances at venues across London and the south coast of England continue to build an impressively awed and loyal following in his musical wake.

Winters Hill

Winters Hill are back in town, or rather coming home to Wickham Festival!

We’re always keen to promote local bands and they don’t get any more local than Winters Hill. They went down a storm last year so much so we used their track on our 2016 promo video on the home page.  They’re a 3 piece Americana / Country band formed in 2012.  This year they’ll be performing on the main stage on Sunday 4th August.  Winters Hill consists of:

  • Max Hoar – Vocals and Guitar
  • Nimrod Taabu – Cajon drum
  • Jack Holmar – Harmonica,Guitar,Vocals

As lifelong friends who share a passion for music, the band formed on the back of watching Wickham Festival. Since then Winters Hill has grown way beyond what was expected. With Jack Holmàr on lead guitar, harmonica and steel slide, Max Hoar on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, and Nimrod Taabu on percussion, the band have crafted a distinguished alternative to the traditional Americana sound. Before ever playing in front of a single person, interest had begun from local radio as the band crafted their unique sound in Jacks’ loft. The trio played an acoustic session on Voice FM as their first ever live performance, and popularity has been rapidly growing ever since.

“We are pleased to say we will be playing the main stage at Wickham Festival this year. As many of you know, this is the festival that inspired us to start playing music. This truly means a hell of a lot to us. Thank you for everyone who has supported us over the last 3 years. When we stood by the acoustic stage 3 years ago, we never thought in a million years this would happen.”
Winters Hill 2016

“It was fantastic to watch this great band open on the main stage today.  This is a real fairy tale success story for Wickham Festival.  We’re sure these guys have an incredible future.  You heard them here first and hope they’ll be back to perhaps inspire some other local bands.  Thank you Winters Hill, it was a brilliant start to our day… “
Peter Chegwyn, Wickham Festival Organiser, 5th August 2016


Spotting early hints of talent, music mogul Doogie signed up the boys! As well as managing affairs he also performs intricate rhythms on backing munchies.

Combining elements of Folk, Blues, Country and Rock, Winters Hill have a certain nostalgia and romance to their music. With catchy choruses wrapped in melodic guitar riffs, Winters Hill have been influenced by a vast range of musicians from both past and present; from Dylan to Young, Springsteen to Tom Waits, and Kenyan born Nimrods’ drumming style on the Cajon is something not to be missed. Within the first year of Winters Hill forming, they were playing at the London 02 arena for Country 2 Country, a spot well deserved from by the boys.

Winters Hills’ song writing style tells a story which is relatable to every listener; songs of good times and past times. Recent national radio (Amazing radio) sessions and joining bands on tour such as Brother and Bones, The Treetop Flyers, and Ben Caplan are creating a loyal fan base for the trio. Two-time Isle of Wight Festival favourites Winters Hill, are set to embark on this years festival season with new original songs and a brand new setup. Fresh from being invited by Gabrielle Aplin’s record label, Never Fade Records, and supporting Aplin herself to play the labels debut showcase night, Winters Hill are fast becoming the name all Americana fans are talking about. Listen to them chat with Stephanie Nieuwenhuys on BBC Introducing 22nd April 2017…


Their EP, Burnt Hearts and Landmarks, is available on iTunes.

Cherish The Ladies

“It is simply impossible to imagine an audience that wouldn’t enjoy what they do”, says the Boston Globe speaking of Cherish the Ladies, the long-running, Grammy-nominated, Irish-American super group that formed in New York City in 1985 to celebrate the rise of extraordinary women in what had been a male-dominated Irish music scene and has since toured the world, played the White House and the Olympics, recorded 16 outstanding albums including “An Irish Homecoming”, a live recording of their Emmy winning Public Television Special that aired across America and Ireland.

Under the leadership of the dynamic and irrepressible flute and whistle champion Joanie Madden, these ladies create an evening that includes a spectacular blend of virtuoso instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements, and stunning step dancing. Their continued success as one of the top Celtic groups in the world is due to the ensembles ability to take the best of Irish traditional music and dance and put it forth in an immensely entertaining package.

The New York Times calls their music “passionate, tender, and rambunctious”, and the Washington Post praises their “astonishing array of virtuosity”, They’ve won recognition as the BBC’s Best Musical Group of the Year and named the Top North American Celtic Group by both the Irish Music Awards and NPR’s Thistle and Shamrock – not to mention having a street named after them on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx; Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies! Over the course of 30 years, the Ladies have performed thousands of concerts and have collaborated with such notable musicians as The Boston Pops, The Clancy Brothers, The Chieftains, Vince Gill, Nanci Griffith, Pete Seeger, Don Henley, Arlo Guthrie and Maura O’Connell as well as being the featured soloist with over 300 performances with symphony orchestras.

Jackie Leven Tribute

The great Scottish singer and song writer Jackie Leven passed away on Monday, 14th November, at 8 o’clock in the evening. He had suffered from cancer.

“There are spiritual story tellers and there are soulful story tellers. I hope to be a soulful story teller. I see the two kinds as two different directions. Spiritual is ascending. Sky, God and all that. I hope my story telling is going down into the earth, is wetter, has more moisture.” Jackie Leven

In a career stretching over forty years, Jackie Leven has carved an impressive reputation as a uniquely gifted singer-songwriter. From his emergence as leader of the underrated DOLL BY DOLL in the seventies, through well documented addiction problems which Leven overcame with remarkable strength of will, culminating in a solo resurgence through the 1980s to the here and now, Jackie has amassed an amazing body of work – the composer of over four hundred songs, including arguably his greatest song – ‘Call Mother’, from the album ‘Mystery of Love’ (ranked by Q magazine as one of ‘100 Best Albums of All Time’.

If sales didn’t always reflect the overwhelmingly positive critical reception his albums received, he nonetheless remained a perceptive writer and performer. Jackie was imbued with a restless creativity, and always searching for new settings for his ruminative lyrical forays, laced with humour and melodic grace. As a performer, Jackie could enthral and entrance the audience with picaresque tales taken from first-hand experience.

Those that have worked with Jackie will know of his mordant wit and very idiosyncratic world view. His latest release, Wayside Shrines and The Code of the Travelling Man, recorded with multi-instrumentalist Michael Cosgrave was yet more proof of Leven’s enduring talent and inexhaustible creative energies.

O’Hooley & Tidow

With a personal invite from Billy Bragg to play Glastonbury, sessions on BBC 6 Music and Radio 2, a five star live review and feature in The Guardian, culminating in one of MOJO’s Folk Albums of the Year award for groundbreaking album The HumO’Hooley & Tidow are regarded as lionhearted trailblazers of contemporary music and songwriting. Having the originality and skill to invite comparison with the most celebrated harmony duos, from early Simon and Garfunkel to the iconic Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Belinda and Heidi’s powerful, deeply moving, and at times spine-tingling performances are infused with an honesty and empathy that will disarm even the hardest of heart.

Chris Wood

Self-taught on guitar and violin, he is a lifelong autodidact — and his independent streak shines through in his composition and studio work. Always direct and unafraid to speak his mind, his song writing has been praised for its surgical clarity. His work is typified by his trust in the space music can create and a gift for lyrical understatement. He cites his major influence as “Anon”.

Throughout his career independence has been balanced by collaboration. The artists he has worked with include Billy Bragg, Andy Gangadeen, Andy Cutting, Jean François Vrod and Hugh Lupton (Wood and Lupton’s “One in a Million” won Best Original Song at the BBC 2 Folk Awards in 2006). Recently he has worked alongside Martin and Eliza Carthy and others in The Imagined Village: “Cold Haily Rainy Night”, performed by Wood and Eliza Carthy, took the award for Best Traditional Song at the Folk Awards in 2008.

He set up R.U.F Records in 1992 and this label continues to carry his catalogue. He also founded The English Acoustic Collective, a movable feast of musicians, writers, photographers and choreographers who look to England’s indigenous arts as their inspiration.

Gretchen Peters

Over the last three decades, Peters has proven to posses one of the most indelible voices in country and roots music in addition to wielding one the genres’ most enduring pens. But in 1996, as she crossed the invisible Music City barrier between writer and performer, few could have predicted what lay ahead. On ‘The Essential Gretchen Peters,’ she combines career-defining tracks with rare outtakes, demos, and B-sides to provide a two-disc snapshot of her remarkable journey as a singularly fearless and creative talent.

Peters first arrived in Nashville in 1987 and quickly established herself as a songwriting force to be reckoned with, with tracks recorded by some of the biggest names in country music. She landed her first #1 with George Strait’s rendition of her “Chill Of An Early Fall,” garnered her first GRAMMY Nomination and CMA Song of the Year win with Martina McBride’s recording of “Independence Day,” and penned hits for Patty Loveless, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Trisha Yearwood, Jimmy LaFave, and Etta James among others. “If Peters never delivers another tune as achingly beautiful as ‘On A Bus To St. Cloud,’” People Magazine wrote, “she has already earned herself a spot among country’s upper echelon of contemporary composers.”

All the while, though, she had bigger plans for herself.

Gretchen Peters is a songwriter and an artist. Both sides are essential to her identity, and one listen to this collection makes it clear that her extraordinary body of work is indeed essential listening for the rest of us.

The SAS Band – Spike’s All-Stars

Spike’s All-Stars featuring Spike Edney (Queen) and guest vocalists Graham Gouldman (10cc), Steve Harley (Cockney Rebel), Tom Robinson, Toyah, Madeline Bell (Blue Mink) and an all-star band.

Every SAS show is unique and Thursday 5th August at Wickham Festival will feature a fabulous line up of eclectic artists. This will be an evening not to be missed.

Founded by renowned musician and musical director, Spike Edney, THE SAS BAND (a.k.a. Spike’s All Stars) is the “Ultimate All-Star Band” featuring world class musicians and some of the world’s greatest Rock artists.

These performances include The Prince’s Trust “Party in the Park” and the Mandela 46664 concerts in Cape Town, Hyde Park, London and Radio City Music Hall, New York. Corporate clients feature Microsoft, Harley Davidson, HSBC and McClaren Mercedes.

The SAS Band last appeared at Wickham Festival back in 2016 with special guests including Roger Tayor and proved hugely popular.  We can’t wait for their return as headliners on our opening night.

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    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


    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’   

    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