The Quomps, The Quay, Christchurch

Christchurch Festival 2014

With the summer festival season in full swing the first weekend in July brings the much anticipated Christchurch Festival, set on the banks of the River Stour on Christchurch Quay. The annual self-funded festival is put together by a huge bunch of regular volunteers whose aim to put on a great event as well as to raise funds for this year’s chosen charities: Royal British Legion, Dorset Cancer Centre and Somerford ARC. Last year’s event raised over £2000 for the mayor’s chosen charities. Each day there is a full line up containing a variety of local bands specially chosen to give a complete mix of styles and genres, plus three specially chosen popular headliners to make each day go out with a bang.

Voodoo Vegas
As the rain fell heavily from the skies one of Bournemouth’s brightest hopes in the world of rock music, Voodoo Vegas, take to the stage. Owing partly to the heavy rain, the band have a slightly shaky start with problems with the lighting rig and various technical issues on stage.

Voodoo Vegas

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They carried on professionally and fought valiantly against these setbacks to pull out a top draw performance full of highlights. The band are currently working on their second studio album and the new songs such as “Killing Joke”, all about Batman’s evil nemesis ‘The Joker’, and the epic “Lady Divine” are sounding really strong. A few covers such as Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heavens Door” got the crowd singing along with plenty of enthusiastic encouragement from frontman Lawrence case. The band’s expertly played twin guitars of Meryl and Nick really provide a nice layered sound which is so important to give these classic rock songs their unmistakeable edge.

The band leave the stage after over a hour of performing some great material that I’m sure will also continue to entertain the festival audiences of Europe throughout the rest of the summer.

When a band has been going for as long as Galahad they must always struggle to put a set list together as they have so many songs to choose from spanning their near 30-year career. It is even worse if you are a progressive band as the songs are quite lengthy in most cases.

Galahad have not played in Dorset for a fairly long time as the majority of their shows are played over in mainland Europe these days. This appearance at the Christchurch Festival has been much anticipated by their fans, and this huge marquee is virtually packed as the band take to the stage. Kicking of with “Salvation 1 & 2” from the recent album “Beyond The Dreams Of Euphoria” the five piece band receive a huge warm welcome from the excited audience.


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Tonight the band’s bass player, Tim Ashton, returns for the first time since the early 1990’s along with the rest of the line up of Stu Nicholson on vocals, Roy Keyworth on Guitar, Dean Baker on Keyboards and Spencer Luckman on drums. The band’s epic sound shows it’s full colours in songs like the brilliant “Guardian Angel” and the emotive “Barbed Wire”, with Stu’s vocal sounding as good as it ever did.

The band make the most of their time on stage pulling out a seriously great performance that impresses everyone. An encore of “Seize The Day” seals the deal with Galahad reminding the people that still, after nearly 30 years together, they are alive and kicking, and giving the much younger bands a run for their money.

Lady Winwood’s Maggot
With the sun shining brightly outside, the festival’s regular Sunday headliners “Lady Winwoods Maggot” take to the stage greeted by the largest audience of the weekend. The four-piece New Milton band have been entertaining audiences here for more years than they care to remember.

They kick off with the banjo-lead “Unleash the dogs” which gets the party started with plenty of dancing by people of all ages throughout the marquee. As usual the banter on stage is hilarious, with Mark and Tony discussing tea drinking and how many grand children they each have. The music continues with a varied set list that is quite different from recent years, with a great mix of popular covers and originals that keep the momentum high throughout. A dig at Dolly Parton’s miming at her recent Glastonbury performance is followed by a version of “Jolene” done in a “Sisters Of Mercy” style.

Lady Winwoods Maggot
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Former “Maggot” brother Dave Lambert is bought on stage to play the mandolin on an uplifting version of Tom Petty’s “Freefalling”, with the audience singing along in beautiful unison with the band. This ends a great weekend of music from a festival that each year delivers some fantastic musical entertainment thrilling everyone who attends, and long may it continue.


Words & Pictures By Dave Chinery (Chinners)
Galahad pictures by Jon.

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