Halls Farm,Lytchett Matravers 10th & 11th July 2015

Wonky Donk 2015

Day 1 – 10th July

Once again it’s that time of year to get Wonky Donked at one of the South’s best kept secrets. The Wonky Donk Festival on Hall’s Farm at Lytchett Matravers; now in it’s 5th year, brings together a host of handpicked artists from a variety of genres, with an emphasis on “Roots Revival”. Lord of Wonky Manor; the right honourable Hawkeye Houlihan, has once again pulled out all the stops to make sure that this year,s event exceeds expectation. The site has an intimate feel with a 500 capacity, and as per usual most attendees have been before, giving a whole family feel to the weekend.

There are two stages which are fairly close together, which enables the hard-working road crew to put on a continuous stream of music throughout the two days. The music kicks off on Friday afternoon with “The Kentucky Stranglers”; a three piece who using a traditional rustic-style, entertain with a few choice covers including the ever popular “Folsom Prison Blues” and an excellent reworking of Steve Miller’s “The Joker”. The three members then dash over to the main stage to perform in their other band “Hometown Show”. The Portsmouth based outfit play a great 40 minute set that features some original material that has an organic Country feel to it. With tunes like “16 Tons”, “Wrap it Up” and “Last Whistle Stop” they impressed the usually hard to please Wonky Donkers.

The Kentucky Stranglers
Kentucky Stranglers 

One of last year’s crowd favourites The Sweetchunks Band are back once again with their brand of Folk-filled humour and drinking songs. These clever lyricists perform a mixture of original songs and cover versions, including a particularly perverted version of Prince’s “Kiss” and a thoroughly reworked version of the Levellers “The Boatman”. These guys know how to entertain a festival crowd and get the first dancers of the weekend up on their feet. A surprise cover of Kenny Loggin’s “Dangerzone” from the movie Top Gun was thrown into the mix, which confuses and delights at the same time! This traditional Folk mixed with Blues and a smattering of Steampunk really has something for everyone with the foursome leaving the stage to generous applause.

Johnny Boxcars
Johnny Boxcars 

Back on the main stage John, Mitchell and Mark aka “Johnny Boxcars” bring their self-styled Roots and Blues to the green fields of Lytchett. Their brand of music is perfect for this sunny Friday afternoon, sitting leisurely with a pint of the excellent festival special Cranbourne Chase cider. These guys play a tight well-rehearsed show combining their notable skills, with the double bass alongside some excellent slide guitar work and some precision drumming. Worthing’s “Rough Chowder” bring a completely different style next with a taste of Cajon from bayous of Louisiana. They have an unmistakeable sound of the accordion combined with “Frottoir”, a sort of wearable washboard and some perfectly executed fiddle work. To make things sound authentic many of the songs were sang in French. A very nice diversion from what the audience here are normally used and a nice way to further broaden our Folk horizons.

Rough Chowder
Rough Chowder 

“Flounder and the Fluffets”, better known as The Boothill Allstars get the award on Day 1 for the most dancers up in front of them. Their totally original brand of Folk/Rock, injected with Ska makes for one highly energetic set. I’m not sure I have ever seen someone play Ska music using a banjo, but believe me it really works. There are songs such as “Night Bus”, “Crusty Girl” and a cover of Boney M’s “Rasputin” which includes a “fluffets aerobic work-out”. These guys are what festivals are all about and their infectious fun-loving performance gains them many new fans.

Boothill Allstars
Boothill Allstars 

The only heavy rain shower of the weekend decided to try and dampen the “Screamin’ Miss Jackson & The Slap Ya’ Mama Big Band” set; but it certainly did not, it just made things a whole lot better. The atmosphere was improved by everybody crowding into the tent to get out of the rain. The seven-piece band from Bristol really embrace the “Roots” genre and make one really great sound. They use banjo, washboard, double bass, mandolin and guitars, along with some well-executed vocals from April and Becca. The rain stops but the audience don’t leave and they stay right to the end for a bit of “Fishing Blues”.

Roughneck Riot
Roughneck Riot 

Roughneck Riot take to the stage with masses of energy, showing the audience that they are more than worthy headliners. The 4-piece band from the North of England are not usually found this far South, but by the looks of the masses of bobbing heads in the audience their journey has been worthwhile. Their Punked up Irish Folk sound with blazing electric guitars and a sweet sounding mandolin hits the spot. The fast momentum of the set keeps going with all original songs including “Animosity”, “All That We Know”, and the powerful “Waiting to Die”. If you imagine a cross between The Clash, The Pogues and Rancid you come somewhere close to the bands sound. They end the day on a fantastic high leaving folks ready for more to come on day 2.

Videos





More Videos from this gig can be found on our You Tube page.

Words, pictures and Videos by David Chinery
Additional pictures by John Musselwhite

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