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

Wonky Donk 2015

Day 2

On Saturday morning the sun rose over the green fields of Halls Farm, preparing the happy campers for another day of Wonky Donk entertainment. Once again there was a threat of rain by the weather forecasters, but the blue skies with light cloud stated otherwise. Kicking off at just after noon “Honest” Pete Read takes to the stage with just his acoustic guitar and harmonica, to gently ease those people into the music who might just have the odd hangover. Pete dips into the past to play homage to some of his own heroes, as well as performing some original material. The set includes “Like it Like That” and the delightful “Strawberry Wine”.

Pete Read
Pete Read 1

The gentle start continues with some Gypsy Jazz from “Wiff Waff”. The band features the multi-talented Sam Wyatt of Sunstone Collective/Quinn’s Quinney with his brother Murray Wyatt. The four-piece use delicately played acoustic guitars; combined with a mandolin played by Martyn Lee, Double Bass played by Rob Lee and some trumpet played by Quinn’s Quinney frontman Rob Farrington. The sound is very different to what you might expect of these musicians but very welcome on this sunny afternoon.

Wiff Waff
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Today playing as a trio Bournemouth’s Bonsai Pirates try and rip up a storm on the second stage with some rum-fuelled nautical sing-a-longs. Front man Bob Fletcher (Usually a primary school Teacher) in his tricorn hat gets the banter going with the crowd and directs the ‘Wonky choir’ into singing upbeat songs like “Where’s Your Cutlass” (about Somali pirates) and the totally addictive “Tattoo”. Amanda on Cajon and Julien with his French “rapped” vocals both add to the organised chaos. These guys in any format are such a fun band and always leave a nice lasting impression on their audiences.

The Bonsai Pirates
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The Alex Roberts Trio are up next on the main stage and word around the “Wonky Manor” seems to suggest that they are going to be the band of the weekend not to miss. The tip-off could not have been more true as Alex shows off his abundant skills with his acoustic guitar, which is intricately picked in his own original style. With respect to skilled percussionist and double bass player all eyes were most certainly on Alex. He performed well crafted songs like “Jack of Diamonds” (a tip of the hat to his favourite guitar player Bert Jansch) and the emotional “Sweet Surrender” written for his wife. One of the many highlights was a traditional song called “Cold Blows the Wind” which included some beautifully executed slide guitar. Alex with his band leave the stage to massive appreciation from the well entertained crowd.

Alex Roberts Trio
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Southampton trio The Paper Trains bought a slice of Americana to the festival with some foot tapping tracks from their debut album “The Mule”. Si, Jb and Nat play a host of fantastic finger picking tracks that get a few early dancers up on their feet. Their set includes the popular “Cocaine” and their final well delivered number “Waggon Wheel”.

The Paper Trains
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The award for the best supported band this weekend are “Trav Cats” who have brought along an army of followers all decked in a variety of coloured “Trav Cat” shirts. The five piece band perform a very popular song called “Special Brew” which will without doubt become a Wonky anthem over the years. They are a skiffle band that include melodic electric guitars played rhythmically over the top of the continuous beat. Their sense of fun is infectious and their great tunes provide the crowd with no reason to stop dancing. The set includes a fantastic re-worked version of the Talking Heads number “Psycho Killer” played on two accordions. A very popular band who continue to delight every audience the play in front of.

The Trav Cats

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Tapioka bring something very different to the second stage, featuring one of the festival organisers “Big G.” (Graham Cullen). The band plough through a set of dirty Rhythm and Blues along the lines of the legendary “Dr. Feelgood”. Like a middle aged version of those Irish youngsters The Strypes these guys perform songs like “Mystery Man”, “She Does It Right”, and “Going Back Home” making authentic use of harmonica with lots grimy guitar chords. The band cause a bit of a whirlwind making plenty of the festival goers make their way over to the stage to find out what all the fuss is about.

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The Wessex Pistols are a Country/Bluegrass band from just outside London who play re-worked Punk covers with their tongues firmly inserted in their cheeks. Using banjo, double bass, drum percussion and acoustic guitars they raise a smile with the chaotic versions of “Teenage Kicks” and “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”. There is also a Sham 69 medley featuring all their hits, before ending with the Jilted John classic “Gordon Is A Moron” (which is dedicated to Chef Gordon Ramsey). Frontman Jim Bean even puts on a chef’s hat and a Gordon Ramsey mask for the final chorus of the song. The crowd are also treated to an Iron Maiden medley of “Number of the Beast” and “Run to the Hills” which morphs its way into “Pretty Vacant”. A fantastic fun-filled set with lots of unexpected twists and turns along the way.

The Wessex Pistols
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Bournemouth’s Thin Wire Fence put on their straight faces after the chaos of the last band to deliver a fine set of lap steel lead numbers. The band really impress combining rocked up guitars, Melodica and Nick Waugh’s expertly delivered lap steel melodies. There are tracks from their latest EP “Takerman” including “Bear”, “Stay a While” and the title track which has a thoroughly addictive guitar riff with great combined vocal work. The highlight of the set was a sort of dirty southern Blues number called “Jason” which had some rocking twin guitar goodness, with the song delivering well in all areas.

Thin Wire Fence

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The eight string duo that are the “Dead Plants” are up next on the main stage and they franticly tear through a fine set. Stanley on the banjo and acoustic guitar with Johnny on double bass show how instruments really should be played with tracks from their album “Street Songs”. The audience watch in amazement at the speed, style and ability of these two guys and they get lots of love from the crowd as they leave the stage.

Dead Plants
Dead Plants 12345

American trucker fans “Rattleshack” are up for the weekend from Norfolk to delight the Wonky Donk massive. Their hearts are well and truly worn on the sleeves of their checked shirts. Judging by the look of their setlist and their attire; they should, by all accounts be living in America. There are tracks like “Truckerspeed” featuring an authentic foot-controlled truck horn, “Hauling Outta Texas” and a song about the mighty “Mississippi”. They have a beautifully layered mandolin sound combined with an old Elvis style acoustic guitar, coupled with double bass and drums which gives for that authentic American hillbilly feel.

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The Curst Sons are back once again by popular demand and bring a huge crowd to the main stage. This Brighton trio have been treading the boards since forming in 1998 with Tim Dunkerly (Mandolin/Guitar/Vocals), Dave Simner (Banjo/Guitar/Vocals) and Willi Kerr with stomp stick. Their infectious American Folk-influenced tunes include “Carless Gardener”, “Graveyard Dirt”, and the thoroughly banjo-tastic “Never Liked It”. Their set is full of building momentum and they keep the cider fuelled audience entertained right up until their last note.

The Curst Sons
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A surprise last minute change to the line-up brought in new boys “The Catrachers” to headline the final slot on the second stage. They are made up of members of Lady Winwoods Maggot and “The Doghouse Boat Boys”, and have played more gigs than they have had rehearsals. This is only their 5th gig; however, from the way they sound and play together they were going to be crowd favourites from the start. Mixing covers like The Specials “Gangsters”, The Artic Monkeys “I Bet You Look Good on the DanceFloor” with their own material and a few “Doghouse Boat Boys” songs, their brand of alternative Rock ‘n Roll thrilled the audience. Their stunningly brilliant set ended with The Cure’s “Lovecats”, which included a mass Wonky Donk sing-a-long to the chorus.

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Quinns Quinney need no introduction in these parts, while headlining a festival like this is a walk in the park to them. They have over the years built up a huge loyal following of fans who follow them to events like this. Their customary cheese board is onstage and used to regenerate their many members in-between songs. Tonight the eleven strong band deliver a set full of old favourites giving everybody the opportunity to sing along. The biggest crowd of the weekend are treated to the excellent skiffle versions of “Arabian Nights”, as well as a re-working of Erasure’s “A Little Respect” using a watering can and a percussion suitcase. A perfect way to end the festival in some style! Another year sadly over with a festival that was full of friendship and music-I’m sure most of us will be back again here next July for more of the same.

Quinns Quinney
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Day 2

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

Words and Videos by David Chinery
Pictures by Jon Musselwhite