Wickham Festival News

The show must go on…

Wickham Festival organiser Peter Chegwyn has paid a heartfelt tribute to the staff and the fans after somehow ensuring the show went ahead.

KT Tunstall performing on The All Time Grates Stage at 8pm

In the 24 hours leading up to the event, more than three inches of rain fell on already sodden fields turning many of them into quagmires and making it a logistical nightmare to set up the site.

But the crews battled tirelessly to overcome the elements and get all the fans, campervans, artists and equipment in place.

Although the start was delayed while straw was spread over the main arena, it was still a remarkable achievement to get the event on at all.

Chegwyn said: “I have been putting on festivals for 25 years and I have never seen rain or mud like this.

The queue before the music starts

“In all that time I have never cancelled a festival and I was determined not to let the elements get the better of me now – even though they were absolutely exceptional.

“This really was something else and caused us massive problems but I have to say all the staff and volunteers have been magnificent. Without them we couldn’t have got the event on. They worked tirelessly.

“An awful lot of festivals would simply have cancelled. The Y Not festival in Derbyshire had to be called off last weekend and the weather got even worse after that.

“It s just the nature of festivals. You are at the mercy of the elements and there is nothing we can do when it rains like that.

“We didn’t quite move the heavens but we certainly moved earth! We have put down tonnes of straw to improve the arena and laid as much roadway as we could.

Thursday Crowd watching 10cc at Wickham Festival

“We spent and extra £30,000 on the opening day alone and must have brought in every available tractor in South Hampshire to help tow cars and campervans.

“We were prepared for the bad weather and planned for it bringing in extra staff and stewards. We really did everything we could and thankfully it paid off.”

After two years of glorious sunshine, the mud returns

Inevitably the weather did cause some problems accessing the site with long traffic jams on surrounding roads.

Blind Lane was jammed with campervans queueing to access fields and having to wait while tractors towed vehicles through the mud. That had a knock-on effect to the main road.

Chegwyn added: “We are really sorry for the inconvenience but these really were exceptional circumstances. I have never known anything like it.

Welcome back … 4 days of music on the way!

“Normally it runs very smoothly and even though we brought in extra staff, it was still a huge problem getting everyone in.

“We did our best to keep people informed via our facebook page and people appreciated that but it was difficult to gauge exactly how things would pan out.

“Any event would have struggled whether it was Boomtown or Glastonbury; they have not seen anything like what we faced. But I am very proud that we have got everyone in.

KT Tunstall lifted the spirits of our Thursday crowd

“Everything considered we had a fantastic first night. KT Tunstall produced a fantastic set which really lifted the spirits and she even took time to phone a disabled girl who couldn’t get her wheelchair through the mud.

“Our old friends 10CC were electric as always and for those who were not ready for bed, we had our first ever late night comedy stage which went down very well.

“Now we are looking forward to three days of dry weather and a lot more wonderful music and comedy so all our efforts will be worthwhile.”


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