Charisworth Farm, Blandford, Dorset

Teddy Rocks 2017


Last year the Dorset-based Teddy Rocks Festival exceeded all expectations and raised over £42,000, with a larger new location in Blandford. The success story of Tom Newton and his family to take positive steps after the tragic loss of Ted Newton to cancer in 2010 at the tender age of 10 continues to touch people. The family have worked tirelessly to continue Ted’s legacy and make the Teddy Rock’s Festival bigger and better than before. This year the event has moved just a few miles from the previous location to Charisworth Farm and got a whole lot bigger. The publicity created by the story has reached far and wide with some huge names joining the bill to make sure that the 2016 target is smashed out of the water. This year Teddy Rocks features 4 stages, a silent “Teddy Raves” disco, Dodgeball, Zorb Football, Gladiator Jousting and over 100 acts performing across the weekend. The line-up over the weekend is just so diverse, offering something for everyone with tribute bands, soloists, big name Rock bands and a host of upcoming acts.

Day 1
This festival has really learned how to look after its customers – the facilities as you enter the site are first class, the campsite has hot water, there are cash machines, a multitude of different food outlets, easy to access & clean toilets, a phone-friendly website giving up to the minute information on line-ups and even showers on the campsite.

With the festival in full flow we arrive after a hard day’s graft, there is just time to grab a rather tasty burrito before going off around the different stages to check out what is on offer. There is entertainment in all directions with “Colt 45” in full flow on the Origin stage, belting out a hearty selection of well-delivered Rock covers. The vocals from frontman Chris Payn on tunes like “Night Train” and “Whole Lotta Rosie” have to be heard to be believed.

Colt 45
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Liverpool band “WSTR” are delivering their “scouse style” of Pop/Punk on the main (Ted Newton) stage to a large crowd, with great tunes like “Gobshite” from their “Red, Green or In-between” album.

WSTR
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“Autumn Ruin” soon draw our attention over on the Vocal Zone Stage with a high energy set from these Mancunians who all really put in a solid shift including songs like “123”, “Rewrite” and addictive new single “No One Does We (Like We Do)”. Frontman Alastair Carrington has a fine set of lungs on him which delivers pitch perfect vocals, more than complimented by his really tight band.

Autumn Ruin
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Over on the Badger Sett stage musical pianist/comedian Matt Black is entertaining the audience with some hilarious parodies of popular tunes.

Matt Black
Matt Black 1

The Xcerts draw a huge crowd on the main stage after the Aberdeen-based band stepped in to replace “Creeper”, who pulled out due to other commitments (Boo!!) The three-piece treat us to a set full of highlights including the latest single “Feels like Falling in Love” and “Slackerpop”, where the band get the willing crowd singing along to the chorus “I’ll be your man, I’ll be your mannequin”. Murray Macleod impresses with a solo number called “Aberdeen 1987” before the set ends with cascading purple and white confetti showering the audience.

The Xcerts
The Xcerts 123456789

“Tigress” continue the momentum on the vocalzone stage with the feisty Katy Jackson pushing the audience to get involved. The five-piece band more than deliver with a set that includes the new single called “Headache” and “Give Me a Chance”. They really do a fantastic job with some lovely twin guitar melodies, coupled with Katy’s powerful vocals.

Tigress
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Who would have thought it, the mighty “Twin Atlantic” playing a gig in a farmerís field in Blandford?! Well rub your eyes and believe it, Tom Newton and his gang have made this happen. Sam McTrusty and his band arrive on the main stage to a huge welcome from the Teddy Rocks crowd. Kicking off with “Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator” from the latest “GLA” album-there are no half measures here, the band show they are on fine form. The crowd need no encouragement and sing the lyrics back at the band on virtually every number and as you look around there are so many excited faces here, so pleased to have a band of this calibre on the bill. The band dedicate a beautiful stripped down version of “Crash Land” to the Newton family before Tom Newton comes to the stage to announce that on Day One the festival has raised a staggering £14,654. Twin Atlantic go on to end the set on a massive high with a barrage of pyrotechnics and confetti with a stunningly powerful version of “No Sleep”, which sends the crowd back to their tents with huge smiles on their faces.

Twin Atlantic
Twin Atlantic 1
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Day 2
The 2nd day brought overcast skies and thankfully no rain, though the area had a certain dullness to it the festival’s heart burned brighter than the previous day. After such a fantastic start the momentum was kept up with a full day of entertainment from all areas; the question was, what to watch? Our first band of the day to ease us in gently was The Quiet Donkeys, an acoustic version of The Wonkey Donky’s fronted by the velvet-voiced Jools Buckley who play some well know covers by some of their favourite bands including Stereophonics, Razorlight and Foo Fighters.

The Quiet Donkeys
The Quiet Donkeys 123

Things start getting busy as Portsmouth band “High Down” take to the stage. The five piece pop/punk outfit have masses of energy and really have their own untethered sound. They perform some great tunes which include “Life Lessons”, “Make it History” and a lovely heartfelt, acoustic tune called “Rescue Me” with Samuel Little from the Gospel Youth.

High Down
High Down 123456

“The Last Resort”, a local covers band are mixing it up on the Origin stage with an acoustic and electric mix of originals and covers. They have possibly the happiest bass player I’ve seen this weekend.

The Last Resort
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A quick jog over to the main stage just in time to catch “The One Hundred”, who are litterly ripping things up with extreme amounts of energy and volume in equal measures. Frontman Jacob Field is all over the stage delivering his huge rap-style vocals combined with the band’s mix of epic guitars and electronica. The first circle pit of the weekend gets underway as the band’s epic tunes inspire the audience into action. This size of stage is where this band belongs and it certainly won’t be long before the guys are climbing much higher up festival bills.

The One Hundred
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A change of pace next with Bournemouth’s Jack Grace and his band who slow things down with something completely different. Jack and Christian’s atmospheric guitars combined with Joe’s keys really make an original sound with tunes like “Tremble and Pause” and the epic “Blindsider”.

The Jack Grace Band
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Like a tidal wave hitting the shore “The Bottom Line” arrived on the main stage with a frenzy of audience excitement. The band does feature festival organiser Tom Newton; but this aside they are just so good and infectious, you cannot watch them without enjoying yourself. Wearing their pop/punk hearts on their sleeves they belt out tunes like “A Little Much” and “Record Player” inspiring the audience to create small earthquakes with a bounce frenzy.

The Bottom Line
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In the Badgers Sett it is time to catch our breath and have a welcome sit down for some acoustic tuneage from Bournemouth’s Tim Somerfield aka “The Afro Ninja”. Tim is one of the bright lights of the local music scene, working hard promoting and playing gigs. He plays a few choice covers including his own interpretation of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers “Under the Bridge” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”. A loop pedal is used to layer the guitar sounds and vocals giving a much fuller sound which really enhances the audienceís experience. Tim also performs his new single – “Loving You (Would Be the Greatest Way to Die)” is a touching and passionate number showing some excellent songwriting.

Tim Somerfield
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Saturday’s headliners are quite a surprise considering the festivals past; “Modestep” are quite different from any artists that have played any of the Teddy Rocks events previously. That said, they absolutely smashed expectations pulling a huge crowd with their totally original live dance sound getting under the skin of all the moving festival revellers. They performed amongst a mass of dancing pyrotechnics and confetti cannons shooting high up into the cold night air. Tom Newton took to the stage once again to announce that the Day 2 total was an incredible £51,276, smashing last year’s target. All of this and we still have one more day to go…………bring it on!!

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Day 3
You cannot have it all your own way and today’s weather is certainly going to be a challenge, it has been forecast for most of the weekend but has stayed dry until now. As festivities start the rain starts to fall, and with it looking like it’s in for the day wellies, raincoats and umbrellas are the order of the day. This indeed will be a test for this positive festival crowd.

The day starts with the delightful “Signals” on the main stage with Elle Price and her band glimmering through the gloom with a beautifully crafted set. The “math” band deliver lots of lovely harmonies over electronics, atypical rhythms and guitars. With tunes like “Paraesthesia” and “Lungs Apart” they entertain with their jazzy intricate sounds.

The Signals
The Signals 1

Next up on the origin stage is 4-piece Punk band “Kill the Colossi”, who get people’s feet moving with a string of politically motivated tunes including “196 Walls” and the controversial “F**k the Taxman”.

Kill The Colossi
Kill The Colossi 

One of my discoveries for the weekend has to be The RPMs, a four-piece band who take to the stage in the rain and with youthful spirit and exuberance. They perform some great original, melodic rock n’ roll tunes that include “I don’t Like it” and the lovely “Troubled Town”. There is a freshness and real excitement percolating from these four guys and I really hope to see more of them.

The RPMs
The RPMs 1

Ska band The Decatonics get things moving back on the Origin stage, fronted by Sally Meaden the band belt out plenty of great ska classics to keep the audience dancing.

A minor catastrophe has just happened on the VocalZone Stage as it was discovered that the stage is sinking into the mud, making it unsafe. This is but a mere setback for the crew who get a quad bike and trailer to move the equipment over to the badger sett stage, making a few minor adjustments to the line-up to keep things moving along!! “Young Astronaut” from London; after a scare that they might not play, make a few changes to their planned set in the Badger Sett to impress the audience with a great performance including some stunning guitar work. The rain continues to fall and the temperatures begin to drop with motivation sagging a little in-between bands, but as each band comes out and performs it makes everything worthwhile.

Luna Wilson
Luna Wilson 1

Next up on the main stage is Bournemouth’s Luna Wilson who brings a welcoming splash of colour into the gloom with some bright, well-executed tunes including “Glitter”, “Human” and the infectious “Boom Boom”. Their tunes backed with electronic percussion, keyboards and some skilful guitar work from Jack Grace really hit the spot. Sixteen year old duo “Teen Ambition” play some rather predictable covers in the badger sett, surely songs like “Wonderwall” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine” should be banned as they get played far too much in pubs/music venues. That said Nicole McNally has an incredible voice and really nails each number that she sings, accompanied by the impressive Calvin Glen on acoustic guitar.

Until today I had only heard the name “The Gospel Youth” amongst my musical friends – the word was these were the band of the weekend to see. Coming from Brighton the four-piece write from the heart and their songs contain lots of personal references about experiences in life. Frontman Daniel Little gives his all to the Teddy Rocks audience with a performance that really stands out. The passionate from the heart vocal delivery, coupled with top notch guitars and spot on percussion shows why people are talking about this upcoming band. Hard hitting tunes like the powerful “Lighting Fires” with its amazing harmonies; “Stay Positive”, and a new tune called “Heavy Hearts” really make this band a wonderful new discovery for any music fan.

Gospel Youth
Gospel Youth 1

Bournemouth’s “Wolf Culture” do their best to keep up the momentum and deliver their Punk/tinged tunes with a gusto and determination, possibly the loudest band to have played this small stage they certainly open a few eyes with their creative artistry. “Palms and Pelicans” bring their dreamy shoegaze sound next and shoehorn themselves into the growing number of acts to play this stage. Performing a slightly shorter set than anticipated they deliver with their atmospheric guitar sound playing songs including their new single “Evaporate”; “Uncomfortable” and “Drowzy”, with the latter two describing feelings that I have had throughout this dank afternoon.

Palms And Pelicans
Palms And Pelicans 

Local Country singer Amie Knight follows and is certainly a great sounding young singer/songwriter who entertains the rain-soaked crowd with a 20 minute set including a near note-perfect version of Dolly Parton’s “I will always love you”.

The penultimate band on the main stage this weekend is “Vant”, a band who are certainly on the rise and have recently announced a fairly high billing at this yearís Reading Festival. With the rain still falling they show their appreciation to the audience for sticking around with a thrilling set full of highlights. They lift the dampened audience with tunes from their recent “Dumb Blood” album including the uplifting “Karma Seeker”, “I Don’t Believe in God” and “Do You Know Me”. Their twin guitar Grunge-tinged Rock; coupled with edgy controversial lyrical content, seem to be a hit with the appreciative crowd.

Vant
Vant 
Joe Boiling
Joe Boiling 

Back in the Badger Sett Joe Boiling is having to improvise due to some rain-induced technical problems. Joe has no problems in raising a smile and delivering first class entertainment, building on his successful performance last year. Mikey Ball and the Company are the final band on this stage tonight and bring their very catchy form of acoustic Folk/Rock. They mix things up starting with a great Feeder cover “Just a Moment”; before introducing some of their own material including the infectious “Castaway”, and ending on a perfectly executed version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”

Mikey Ball
Mikey Ball 

I can honestly say I am quite relieved that we are on to the final band of the evening as I am soaked through, and now I want to get home and get a shower. My mind then thinks of all the organisers who have been here for much longer than the three days and have to stay long after the revellers have gone home, taking things down, their massive sacrifices they all have made must be commended.

“Scouting for Girls” are an amazing choice as headliners and despite the weather, they arrive on stage to a huge crowd and a massive Teddy Rocks welcome. They enter to the Superman theme and kick off appropriately with “Bad Superman”, with the whole of the audience behind them. There is such an amazing atmosphere here, everyone singing and dancing along to their really infectious tunes. We are treated to “Elvis Ain’t Dead” and “I Wish I was James Bond”, followed by an excellent version of “Live and Let Die” and a crowd-pleasing version Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”.

Scouting For Girls
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The man of the moment Tom Newton arrives on stage just before the encores with the news that everybody’s been waiting for; and the figure raised is a massive life changing £76,659, which will be put to work right away helping children with cancer. Scouting for Girls return for an encore of epic proportions which includes the ever popular “She’s So Lovely”; and the audience sing the words right back at the band while flames shoot high into the air, as confetti falls from the sky sticking to the wet crowd. What an amazing conclusion to one of the fastest growing festivals in the UK. The sky can only be the limit and I cannot wait to see what Tom and his team come up with for next year.

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Links
http://www.teddyrocks.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/TeddyRocksFestival

If you would like to volunteer for next years festival or can help with sponsorship contact: info@teddyrocks.co.uk

Words, Videos, Day 3 Pictures, and professional “badger advice” by Dave Chinery (Chinners)
Day 1 & 2 Pictures and “badger banter” by Jon Musselwhite

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