Wickham Festival News

New sound for Tom Robinson at Wickham

Renowned pacifist Tom Robinson is suddenly all in favour of senseless violins!

After a 20-year wait, the human rights singer and broadcaster is back with a new album and a new sound.

Only The Now is due out in October and is very different to anything the singer has done before.

The biggest change is the addition to the band of violinist Gerry Diver (pronounced Divver) who is adding a whole new dimension to the music.

Robinson said: “Having always hated strings on albums this has given us a new lease of life. It is very aggressive.

“I happened to meet Gerry who is a virtuoso violin player with an incredible punk attitude to the piano and fiddle and he was keen for us to work together.

Tom Robinson
Tom Robinson

“The noises he makes are wild and radical – and very unfolk in some ways. People need to hear his work.

“He will be with us on tour and has phenomenal energy. He makes the violin sound like a chainsaw!

“We are now a six-piece band and he really enhances the standard TRB line-up to cover all songs… for instance War Baby now has a very different sound.”

Gerry’s input has added extra richness to the album which has been painstakingly put together.

He added: “It took seven months to record 11 songs which gives you some idea of the attention to detail. The style is a lot denser than anything I have ever done.

“I had a stockpile of songs written over the years and Gerry got involved and the result was this new album.

“It is quite a spikey album, very lush and very dense – both musically and lyrically.

“I have worked really hard on the lyrics so there are no spare words. It is not packed at all. Every track counts, every word counts.

“It has the standard 10 tracks and then one cover with Martin Carthy singing the Beatles song In My Life because we have both depended so much on our life partners and it felt seemed to say what we wanted.

“It is called Only the Now because it is about seizing the moment – looking back on how we did not seize the moment back in the day. It is not an exercise in nostalgia.

“You can’t regret the past – that is the whole point of the album. What matters is what you can do with this energy now. This is the first day of the rest of your life.”

It may have taken 20 years to come to fruition but Robinson is moving with the times, embracing social media and the current trend for crowd-funding with more than 160% of target reached already.

But he stays true to the campaigning ideals which saw him embrace such worthy causes as Rock against Racism as well as the pursuit of peace and equality.

Tom Robinson
Tom Robinson

So which matters more… the music or the message?

“It has to be the music first – absolutely,” he said. “The music is more important than the message. Without the music, people don’t give a stuff about the message.

“I just concentrate on making the highest quality songs I can for the album. And it has been funded by the fans which is amazing.

“The pre-orders made it possible to make this album and the fact that we have exceeded our target means we can now afford a decent promotion campaign.

“One thing the world is not waiting for is another Tom Robinson album so we have to make sure we get it to people’s ears so they have the option to like it.

“There is such a tsunami of music now that it is hard to get it noticed. People have got to know about it. I don’t mind if they hate it as long as they hear it.

“People like and share it and that is very, very important. Getting streamed counts more than radio. If you offered me one play on Radio One or 1,000 hits on YouTube, I would take YouTube every time.

“I write my own blog too. I don’t see why people should have to pay to hear inside secrets of the industry. This way I can say what I want in the way I want to say it and know it is reaching the fans.”

Although he hosts his own show on BBC Six, Robinson will be resisting the temptation to play his own album not least because he is a passionate believer in the independence of the BBC.

There is a slight irony that he feels so strongly in his support of the Beeb given that Radio One effectively banned his anthem Glad to be Gay in the mid Seventies when times were very different.

He added: “The BBC did not ban Glad to be Gay – they just did not play it. They realised if they banned the song it would get more publicity so they issued a directive to leave it off the playlists. John Peel defied it but apart from that it did not get played for seven years.

“I am passionate about the BBC. It has to be seen to be impartial but it has a lot of enemies.

“For what it costs per head it is a world-class broadcaster. It is thanks to the BBC World Service that so many areas of the world know what is going on. They get information out to oppressed nations.

“People in Burma only know as much as they do about the outside world because of the BBC. To cut that to save a few hundred thousand pounds does not make sense.

“The rest of the world appreciates the BBC a lot more than some of Britain’s most influential people.”

So now it is back to the day job of promoting the album which involves a major UK autumn tour which calls at the Brook in Southampton on September 17.

First though Wickham fans have the chance of a sneak preview of some of the new material as well as the old favourites.

Robinson added: “I have done a lot of gigs for Peter Chegwyn and he is a top man so I was delighted when he invited me to play Wickham.

“There is nothing like playing live on a festival stage to reach people.

“Festivals have a strange intimacy where you can talk to 1,000 people as one; at somewhere like the Brook you can see the individual expressions and share private jokes.

“I am looking forward to it. I have not done a lot of gigs in recent years but that has all changed now. I turned 65 this year, the kids have grown up so I decided to get off my ass and do something.”

Tom Robinson Biog

Tom Robinson is a British songwriter and broadcaster born in 1950. His music career began
with the London acoustic trio Café Society, whose 1975 album was produced by Ray Davies.
With the Tom Robinson Band (TRB) in the late seventies he was a vocal supporter of Rock
Against Racism and LGBT rights – enjoying chart success with Glad To Be Gay, 2-4-6-8
Motorway and Up Against The Wall. TRB’s debut album Power In The Darkness went gold in
the UK and Japan, and after the band broke up in 1979 Tom subsequently wrote songs with
both Peter Gabriel and Elton John.
His third band Sector 27 was unsuccessful in the UK, but in New York they played Madison
Square gardens with The Police before splitting in 1981. After further solo hits in 1983 with
War Baby and Atmospherics: Listen To The Radio, Tom was offered his own regular radio
show on the BBC World Service.
His broadcasting has subsquently won two gold Sony Academy Radio Awards, and Tom has
hosted programmes on BBC Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, 4 Extra, 5 Live and 6 Music – where he
currently presents three shows a week. In recent years he’s become known as a champion of
independent musicians – both through BBC Introducing and via his own new music blog at
Fresh On The Net.
In 2015, inspired by the vibrancy of today’s new artists, Tom has returned to the recording
studio with award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Gerry Diver to make his first
new album in almost 20 years. The songs are as vibrant and edgy as any he’s ever written:
the sound of a veteran craftsman – drawing on his long, rich fund of experience – with a
renewed energy and purpose.

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    Great News! Van Morrison is confirmed for next year's Wickham Festival. Saturday 7th August 2021. Please 'Share' the news. If you've not already got your tickets, they're onsale now via this link (and selling fast): www.wickhamfestival.co.uk/tickets ... See MoreSee Less

    Great News!  Van Morrison is confirmed for next years Wickham Festival.  Saturday 7th August 2021.  Please Share the news.  If youve not already got your tickets, theyre onsale now via this link (and selling fast):  www.wickhamfestival.co.uk/tickets

    Comment on Facebook

    I like it, I like it a lot !!

    Well done Peter et al. If you were going to lose anyone between now and 2021 it was going to be the bigger acts that might already have had tours lined up. You're doing a wonderful job, as ever, in the face of something that must have been so disappointing and costly :-( for you x

    Good news was really looking forward to seeing him. Great work going on behind the scenes as always by Peter and the team.

    Anne Collins I know next year will be the last thing on your mind, right now, but this was the festival I was planning on this year. All of us next year?! X

    Excellent!! Well done! Was really hoping you could hang onto him.

    See you next year then. Lots of love Edward II. Xx

    On my birthday too - Well, it's a marvelous night for a moondance

    Great news. Well done.😀😎😎

    So excited to finally get to see him 😎😎

    That’s some good news!

    Marvellous news!!!!

    Wonderful news. See you then.

    So pleased to hear this! 😍

    Brilliant we’ll definitely be there x

    Fantastic news - can’t wait to see Van the man !

    A lovely Happy birthday present for me ☺

    That's great news 😀 👍

    Amazing news!

    He is one of my favourites

    Brilliant news. Van is my all time favourite xx

    Absolutely brilliant

    Fantastic ❤️

    Woo hoo. Good news indeed. 👏

    Skinny Lister, should be back on the road, pretty please Wickham 😁

    Get the fabulous Jack Lukeman booked as well!

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    Thank you so much for all your love & support over the past 24 hours. We really do appreciate it. We'll see you all in 2021 to enjoy the likes of The Waterboys - they've confirmed today that they'll be at Wickham on Sunday 8th August 2021. www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UrXRbMYzD8 ... See MoreSee Less

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    Saving my ticket and looking forward to seeing the wonderful Mike Scott! 😍

    Whooohooo. That's a bloody good start to next year's line up. So sorry not to be there this year but we're really happy that we already have our tickets and they'll roll over <3

    No clash with Cropredy weekend, so should be good for us too. Might still take up our 2 nights at the Shedfield Country Club and explore the Meon Valley a bit more, this year.

    Looking forward to seeing you all next year xxx

    Looking forward to kicking off 2021 festival with SAS Band!! 👍

    Saving ours for 2021 🤘👍

    Keeping ours safe for next year.😊

    Looking forward to 2021. Let’s hope Van is still good to be there.

    It’s going to be brilliant! X

    I will be there to steward😊🚩

    When can you purchase tickets for 2021??

    O yes

    Hi. I have a weekend ticket but also got my wife a day ticket to see the Waterboys. As they are now on a different day next year to I have to refund this year’s day ticket and get her a new one or is the one I have transferable to Sunday next year? Cheers

    Roll over for me, gutted to not be having the festival this year.

    Fantastic! ❤️

    Steve Kemp

    Vanessa Sherlock.

    2021 tickets now onsale at 2020 prices. If you've yet to buy, save £40 on weekend season tickets if you buy now. www.wickhamfestival.co.uk/tickets

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    We tried everything we could to get this year's Wickham Festival on but sadly we're forced to postpone to 2021. The good news is that all this year's artists are being re-booked for next year. Please click on statement below to enlarge and read. ... See MoreSee Less

    We tried everything we could to get this years Wickham Festival on but sadly were forced to postpone to 2021.  The good news is that all this years artists are being re-booked for next year.  Please click on statement below to enlarge and read.

    Comment on Facebook

    We are very sad to hear your news Peter. I know from the updates that you and your team worked hard to put on a show this year for everyone. We would have supported you had the festival gone on this year. You will come back stronger next year once things are back to normal in the world. X

    Thank you for keeping us informed right the way through. We are disappointed, of course, but feel that the right decision has been made. We are delighted that the same line-up will be at next summer’s festival. Thank you so much for organising it and we will definitely roll over our tickets and Motorhome camping ticket and look forward to next year’s festival. Thank you all for your hard work and the way you have involved us at every stage. It is much appreciated.

    I really wanted to come this year for the first time as the lineup looked so good but I was nervous about buying tickets under the circumstances. I think it’s the right decision to postpone and will definitely buy tickets for next year.

    Saddened to hear this decision, however, I believe its the best thing to do. We were in turmoil as to whether we should attend if you did go ahead. Here's to next year, keeping my tickets safe. Thank you for the update... Now go enjoy a well deserved break, xx 😊

    Thank you. For us this was the right decision. If it had gone ahead and as someone who has been in the high risk zone it felt too early to come and mix however careful you were being. Happy to roll tickets over to 21.

    Well done to all the team for persevering with this and trying to organise a fantastic festival for us. We all appreciate the effort you all put in and appreciate this can’t have been an easy decision..However, let’s all look forward to a fantastic festival next year..I for one can’t wait!

    A tough decision to make but in the current climate feel it's the right one. Thank you for all your time and effort giving this year's festival every chance to go ahead, see you in 2021

    It’s a real shame for you all but it will be something to look forward to next year. Too soon to be safe. I am sorry that your plans have been scuppered but hopefully everyone will keep their tickets for the superb line up and we’ll all be there with bells on next summer. Best wishes. X 👏

    Thank you for keeping us informed all the way. We will most definitely be there next year. Tough decision you guys had to make, but I agree it is the right decision. Much love team Wickham xxx

    So sad, no festival has tried harder to keep the faith....................Here's to next year!!!!! 😊😊😊😊😊😊

    Thanks so much Peter and everyone for working so hard to try to make the festival happen this year. Would have loved it to happen but absolutely understand your decision. See you in 2021.

    This announcement, whilst disappointing is both completely understandable and more evidence (as if we needed it) as to why this is the best and most public centered festival in the UK. We will be more than happy to support you and keep our tickets for next year. Keep up the great work...

    We hadn't booked for this year, but glad we didn't miss it as the lineup looks great! Going to see if my husband agrees to booking tickets for next year! 🤞🏻

    So, so sorry. You tried as hard as you possibly could. Thank you for all of your efforts. Stay well & safe & we will see you next year 😢♥️

    Wow...for once everyone is in agreement that the correct decision has been made, there’s a first on Facebook! Well done to all the team who put so much effort in staging the festival. See you in 2021!

    That has to be the right decision given what (little) we now know. Have been really impressed by the communications from Wickham over the past few months, really felt we've been kept in the loop, and have some understanding of the difficult decisions you've been having to make on our behalf. The line up this year was really exciting, we look forward to our annual fix of Celtic bands, so it's great that it's just been delayed by a year and the lineup will be unchanged. We'll certainly hold onto our tickets for next year, as I'm sure will most other ticket holders.

    Happy to roll over to 2021, you did your best but unfortunately this virus has wrecked so much of what is good in life.

    Such a shame - but a sensible decision in these ever-changing circumstances! Our group will be rolling over our tickets :D

    Correct decision, we are so pleased that the acts we were so looking forward to seeing will be there next year. See you all next year keep safe everyone...

    It would have been even more heartbreaking and costly if you'd put everything in place and had to cancel at the last minute. With the ever changing situation just now, I'm sure this is the right decision to have made. I know you'll be making sure that 2021 is even better than ever. I for one am already looking forward to it.

    Thanks for trying, but at the end of the day it's the right decision. We'd already decided not to come, being wary of being in a large crowd, albeit at a certain social distance. We will, however look forward to August 2021 and a great party. If Glasto can have a year off, so can Wickham.

    Well done for , holding out and diligently exploring all options to keep show on the road

    Clearly a difficult decision, but I think it’s the right one. Even without the Leicester lockdown, you hit the nail on the head with point 2 - there would always be the risk of legislation; things have been changing weekly and daily, so committing yourselves would be high risk.

    Genuinely gutted for you Peter, I know how incredibly hard you and your team have worked. We'll just have to make 2021 an even bigger party. Until then, stay safe and good luck with the preparations. Love from The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican xxx

    Sad, but it's the right decision, only what we've all been expecting. See you next year x

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    For those missing live music at Glastonbury this weekend. Click the link for a great 'Beans on Toast' video.
    'I know there will be re-runs on the BBC. And that's all well and good but it's not my Glastonbury'

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=szQOiqQlkHo&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3F2Ege91PxrASJos2bnhONBfe6i8XOJgk...
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    Thankyou. Love Beans, will miss him this year!

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