Ashley Cross Green, Lower Parkstone

Featuring : Vida, Empire Affair, Island Glo, Jackson 3, New Volunteer

Party in the Park

After the two day success of this years “Grooves On The Green” Ashley Cross gets it’s second two day festival of the year in the form of “Party In The Park”, organised by local businesswoman and entrepreneur Jane Jones.

The festival boasts a great varied line up of local bands; but unlike “Grooves” as it is later in the year, the chance of the weather causing a few issues is slightly higher. The Saturday opens with thankfully blue skies and plenty of people arriving with their collapsible chairs, blankets and picnics getting comfortable for the day ahead. As well as the musical entertainment, there is plenty to do for all the family with childrens activities and various types of food stalls a plenty.

The first band to take to the stage are Dorset Music Awards 2011 finalists “New Volunteer”; who take to the stage as a three piece with just drums, keyboards and guitar. The band play the opening set of the day performing all original material including some great tracks like “Out Of My Mind” and “Science Fiction-a song all about the TV programmes of the genre in the 70’s. The crowd respond well to the band when frontman Chris Mears encourages a sing-a-long during new song “Ideology”, a song that has a killer guitar part that packs a real punch. The band leave the stage to plenty of applause, kicking off the weekend in some style.

New Volunteer
New Volunteer 1

Next up are local party band “Jackson 3”, there are usually three of them but for today they have invited a friend along to play keyboards. The band play a 45 minute of well chosen covers that gets the first dancers of the day up off their chairs and dancing down the front. There are performances of “I Shot The Sheriff” and “Lucille”, with some more modern songs such as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” keeping the younger members of the audience more than happy.

Jackson 3
Jackson 3 1

With the sun still shining brightly it is time for a bit of reggae in the form of “Island Glo”. There seems to be a technical hitch as they seem to take ages to set up, and when they finally take to the stage there is sadly only time left to perform two songs. In this time the band try their best but they unfortunately fail to find any real stride. The bass-ridden dub coming from the speakers was just the ticket to have livened up the day, the band disappointedly trudge off the stage after just 10 minutes.

Island Glo

Island Glo 1

Empire Affair have no such troubles and give the event a much needed injection of energy, frontman Neil Talent encourages everyone to get up and come to the front and dance, a good deal of people follow his instructions with finally a great feel-good factor being created. The five piece produce some killer guitar riffs on some great original material that you only need to hear once before you are singing along, with songs like “One Night In Munich” and “December”. The band throw in a couple of covers for good measure getting everybody singing along with tunes by “The Killers”, “Stereophonics” and current radio favourites “Bastille”. The band end their set with a couple of very memorable original songs which keep momentum high until the end. During the first of these “I Can’t Get Through” they manage to blow the power, which is thankfully fixed in moments. The second of these a song called “Tornadoes” has even more people up dancing, as well as singing the chorus back at the band with some clever coaxing from Neil.

Empire Affair
Empire Affair 12

The final band of the day “Vida” have the difficult task of following on from the energy of Empire Affair, and they have no such trouble keeping up the momentum. The 5 piece band that features 2 very harmonious front-girls Kristy and Elena, who perform some great crowd pleasing covers that keep the audience dancing right to the end. Vida’s set contains songs like “Candyman”, “Lady Marmalade” and Reef’s “Place Your Hands” with unfaultable vocal performances more than ably backed by their rock solid band. A truly fantastic end to what had been a great first sunshine-filled day.

Vida 1



Review, Pictures & Video by Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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