Stour Meadows, Blandford

Teddy Rocks 2016

A 10-year-old boy called Ted Newton died in 2010 from a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. His family was obviously devastated at the loss of this little lad with his life so cruelly cut short. The family, though suffering from their loss were not going to let the memory of Ted’s life just fade. Together they set up a charity in 2011 to raise money to fight children’s cancer. Ted’s old brother Tom Newton set up an event called “Teddy Rocks” in 2012 at the Greyhound (pub) in Blandford and raised £2500. The event became an annual event and each year the festival grew and grew with the amount raised each year topping the last.

In 2016 it was thought the event had outgrown its location for the last four years at The Greyhound Pub in Blandford. So it was moved to a much larger site at Stour Meadows alongside Tesco’s in Blandford. Tom Newton and his team of willing volunteers including his Father, Mother and Sister have worked around the clock putting everything into place for this much larger event, which included several big name headliners who all willingly gave up their time for free. The family were bowled over by all the generous offers for help with the festival, and from the big name bands that offered to play.

The event itself was over four days and thankfully the weather was kind to us all; as despite being a little chilly, the sun shined for most of the weekend. The new site included three stages: an acoustic stage; the sunrise music stage and the huge ‘Ted Newton stage’, which included two huge videos giving everybody in the arena the best possible view of all the action. With the festival having three stages there was a constant flow of music at all times keeping everybody happy. The video screens were on hand during the intervals to give festival information and to tell the Newton’s family story, making everybody understand why we are here. Despite the emotional effects of why the festival started, it was a really positive affair with everyone willing to celebrate and have a fantastic time.

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There were so many highlights during the weekend including the “FVK” (Fearless Vampire Killers) who brought some of their trademark alternative/rock to the main stage. They are no strangers to a festival crowd and delivered a really memorable rocking performance; which included an unexpected cover of “Holding Out for a Hero”, made famous by Bonnie Tyler. As day became night “The Dirty Youth” from South Wales further warmed up the crowd with an excellent set. Danni Monroe and her band energetically delivered on all levels with tunes like “Darkest Wedding” and the uplifting “Alive” from the 2015 album “Gold Dust”. There was an amazing headline set by “Don Broco” who came out on to the stage and gave their absolute all; performing some stunning tracks including “Priorities”, “Fire” and the epic “SuperLove”. The band finished their 90 minute set with a cascade of colour as multi-coloured confetti rained down on the excited audience.

On day three the acoustic tent saw an intimate performance by InMe’s Dave McPherson; who despite a hangover after attending a friend’s wedding, was on top form. Dave performed a host of his own solo, original material and a show-stopping version of “Boom Boom, Shake the Room”. Bournemouth singer/songwriter Joe Boiling pulled a huge crowd on the same stage with a delightful set of original songs, before ending with a skilful cover mash-up including Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise”. Mikey ball had the job of following Joe and he kept up the high standard with a thoroughly enjoyable set which included a good mix of covers and originals.

Back on the main stage “Dead!” brought their raucous high energy rock ‘n’ roll to Teddy Rocks. Lead singer Sam Chappell covered every inch of the stage and took things to new heights by climbing up one of the stage supports, to the top. The hard working band belted out their new twin guitar-led “You’re So Cheap”; along with the high energy “Enemy”, which got a good-natured mosh going in the heart of the crowd. All the way from Essex are the much anticipated “InMe” who pulled a big crowd to the main stage. Despite some light rain showers during their set the crowd refused to move and were treated to classic songs such as “Underdose” and the hard-hitting “Myths and Photographs”. Dave McPherson said it was such a pleasure to be performing at such a worthy festival and congratulated the “Teddy Rocks” team for all they have achieved.

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The final day brought with it a few heavy rain showers which did nothing to dampen the spirits of the festival’s large crowd. The late afternoon gave blue skies and sun shine, and with it some tribute band’s to see our way through to the headliners. “Oas-is” (Tribute) did a fantastic job of recreating the big anthems of the 90’s with the audience singing along to tunes such as “Cigarettes and Alcohol”, “Live Forever” and the monumental “Champagne Supernova”. “Kings O’ Leon” were next on the sunrise stage with a host of recreated classics including another big sing-a-long with “Sex on Fire”.

Monday’s headliners “From the Jam” just nailed their set with Bruce Foxton and Russell Hastings giving their all. The crowd were treated to classics such as “Start”, “Butterfly Collector”, “Town Called Malice” and a great sounding brand new single called ìNow The Time Has Come”. Just before the band’s final encore Festival Organiser Tom Newton took to the stage to give his thanks to all the festival acts and volunteers and to announce the staggering news that they had raised over £42,800. “From the Jam” returned once again to perform their final number “Going Underground”, which also featured brightly coloured confetti raining down over the hugely excited audience.

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Teddy Rocks is a festival with a great big heart, an event that shows when you put in the effort the rewards can be huge. Next year the event is expected to be even bigger and fingers crossed, exceed this year’s expectations. I’m sure Ted Newton was looking down from heaven with a huge smile on his face, mighty proud of what his family and friends have achieved. Their efforts will make the life of the children that suffer from this crippling disease a little easier. There are now real words to express the emotional feelings that this festival leaves me with, you can safely say I was uplifted and hugely proud of the way these people dealt with this.



Words, Pictures & Videos By Dave Chinery (Chinners)

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