Featuring: The New Roses, The Virginmarys, The Fallen State, Gorilla Riot, Doomsday Outlaw, Haxan, Blue Nation, Black Lakes, Tarraska, and Electric Black

After spending two days at this event once again, I must say what an excellent place it is to be; the festival has so much going for it. I applaud the organisers for the first class facilities and the overall friendly vibe of the festival. Sometimes the larger multi-stage festivals can be a bit overwhelming and a little confusing as to who is on when. Here it is very simple when one band finishes there is a short 15-30 minute gap (Time to go to the loo, get a beer, have a chat and top up the sun cream) and the next band can be on only one of two stages. Those of us with chairs just need to turn them in the direction of the stage or saunter over. The security staff are not the usual mean moody types, they welcome us on the gates when we arrive and have a bit of a laugh too. That also goes for the bar staff, sound techs and virtually everyone else running the festival.

For the final day we have ten bands laid on to keep us entertained and the first of these are Electric Black (It is easy to get confused as there are so many bands with “Black” in their name, four on this line-up alone). These guys are a four-piece band from Hitchin in Hertfordshire who despite the early hour are ready to rock. These guys have a brand new 2nd album which they are about to release named Late Night Lightning. The band feature Ali Schiach – Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar, Jonny Bryant – Lead guitar & Backing Vocals with the rhythm section made up of Ryan Trotman on Bass and Matt Butler on Drums. We are delivered a selection of cuts from the new record including opener “World Ain’t So Heavy”, “Take the Roof Off” and the impressive “Master Or Disaster”. The band have heavy Blues lineage coupled with a distinct ‘Hard Rock’ influence with some discerning lyrical content. Their set cannot be faulted and the Loverocks crowd show them positive appreciation for their great 40 minute set.

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The third of the local bands on the bill are South Coast based Tarraska who released their debut self-titled album in June of last year. The line-up features brothers Jack Lande on Vocals/Guitar & Ollins Lande on bass, with Ben Parker on Lead Guitar and seasoned sticks man Allan Varnfield on Drums. The band’s heavy melodic, dual guitar sound with its significant rhythmic patterns more than tests SR Hire’s PA system. With tracks like the soaring “Trailblazer” and the more delicate “Prose”, Jack (in possibly the coolest garment of the weekend, blue snakeskin print shirt) displays his fine and effortless vocal range. They are also apparent on the emotional ballad “Requiem”; which is dedicated to a late dear friend. The band are fairly unknown to most of this crowd and by the audience’s reaction they certainly get their seal of approval.

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New up are Black Lakes a 5-piece alternative band who deviate from the normal Rock boundaries to create something quite different with a combination of intense screamed and clean vocals, backed with a hard heavy dual guitar attack with crushing rhythms. It’s possibly the hottest part of the day and the sun is bathing us all in 25 degree heat once again, though this does not put the audience off from moving to this band’s significantly nonconformist Rock. With tracks like redoubtable “Verity in Flames” and the politically charged “White Cliffs” the quartet thoroughly get under my skin and make me want to discover more. The band comfortably end their set within their time slot and are afforded an additional song and this comes in the form of Linkin Park’s “One Step Closer”, much to the delight of the audience.

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From Black to Blue just like the sky at the moment with very few clouds, Blue Nation are a band I have never heard of before and after this showing would like to see them again. They are from Birmingham and I expect the “Blue” is named after footballs “blue side” of the West Midlands. The three-piece have already earned several accolades including being a Top five finalist for UK Blues Awards “Emerging Act of the Year 2023”. There are plenty of old school influences and these three accomplished musicians emerge onto the stage and thrill us all with a pitch-perfect set that boasts a host of great original material including one of their newer tracks “Hand Me Down” and “Come Back Home” with it’s fine vocal harmonies, infectious rhythms and skilfully creative guitar parts. The finest creation is a track called “Down by the River”, it’s a track with so much going for it and includes some enthusiastic audience participation.

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All girl Welsh power trio Häxan are next up, what is is with Wales at the moment – there are so many great Rock bands being produced there. Häxan are an example of three musicians who have successfully navigated their way around the world ticking off major events one by one. To their credit their success is totally deserved as they each have the qualities that when brought together, provide their audiences with one hell of a show. This afternoon is no different as Sam Bolderson (Vocals/Guitar), Harriet Wadeson (Bass) and Jess Hartley (Drums) give the audience the full two barrels with a commanding performance full of their impressive compositions, including “Skeletons” and “Grave Digger” full of driving guitar riffs along with powerfully euphonic rhythms.

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After seeing them for the first time here in 2021 and being wowed with their performance, I am really looking forward to seeing Doomsday Outlaw once again. This time they have a new album out called “Damaged Goods”, the follow-up to their 2nd long player “Suffer More”. This is the first time the band have played for over four months as frontman Phil Poole has just become a father and opted to stay at home to spend time with his new born daughter.

The band confidently stride out onto the Loverocks stage and get a great reception from the crowd. Kicking off with “In Too Deep” The band are firing on all cylinders and the five guys are sounding great. The two guitarists Alez D and Rowan O’Sullivan weave in and out of each other’s staggering riffs. While flamboyant bassist Indy Chanda in his white jeans and electric blue jacket provides the backbone of the band with drummer Nic Rudd.

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Their material is anthemic and their set takes us on a rollercoaster ride. The emotional “If This is The End” is dedicated to Phil’s father who passed away in December. You can tell by the look on his face that singing this song is really difficult and he has to summon some inner strength to deliver. The all too short set comes to a close with the band’s epic anthem “Runaway”, it’s a hard-rocking Blues sound that soars and it’s hard not to be carried along with its soulful vibe. The audience sing the chorus at the tops of their voices and the band end their set with big smiles on their faces after a fantastic 40 minutes work.

If ever there is a band to fit in perfectly with the vibe of this festival it’s Gorilla Riot. They arrive on stage in a jovial mood as they have just been watching the FA Cup final and clearly for them the right team Manchester City won, there is even an Erling Haaland shirt draped over one on the amps. The 4-piece band could not be more laid back if they tried and their sunshine soaked Blues is just brilliant to listen to with a pint of cider in your hand. Their delicious Blues guitar riffs radiate from the stage and send out lots of positive vibes. Kicking off with Blues and Rock-infused “Kerosene Clown” the band are sounding in fantastic form and frontman Arjun Bhishma even cheekily dedicates a song to Marcus Rashford from losing team Manchester United. The set meanders soulfully with “Molotov Sister” and the wonderfully orchestrated “Bad Sun”.

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The Fallen State are up next and the five-piece are well known for their critically acclaimed releases, they recently added frontman Adam Methven to their line-up who replaced Ben Stenning. The hard rock twin guitar approach suits Adam’s style and the band released an album “Betwen Hope & Disillusion” last year. The band are clearly well known and appreciated by the musically educated crowd. They give us a mixture of songs from all areas of their discography, we get the newer “Knives” along with the intense “Burn It To The Ground” as well as the epic track “Nova” which clearly everyone was waiting to hear. Sadly tonight the band did not raise to the heights that I expected of them and I’m left a little disappointed by their performance.

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Fresh from a UK Tour with Massive Wagon are the penultimate band of the weekend The Virginmarys, a duo who feature Ally Dickaty on Guitar and Danny Dolan on Drums who are from Macclesfield. The band first got together in 2009 as a three-piece and more recently streamlined to a two piece. The current set up really suits them and not having a bassist in no way detracts from what they do. Opening with one of the most recent releases they show their abilities with some impressive arrangements and some divine musicainship.

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Danny in his bright Orange Netherlands football top is a very animated drummer and unlike any other drummer out there. He hits the kit with such ferocity and has lots of individual creative pieces including a bell that is like the one you find in a pub for last orders or a boxing ring. He gets through many sticks as they begin to splinter as he hits the kit so hard. He has some really determinded facial expressions as he is playing the kit and uses large amounts of energy with each number the band play. Ally is also unique with his guitar playing style and powerfully delivered vocal range. Each song is a total work of art, further newer songs like “NYC” and “Devil Keeps Coming” are mixed with older material such as the rarely played pulsating ‘Off To Another Land’. A set to savour and appreciated by virtually everyone in the place who clearly enjoyed it.

Yes you guessed it, I am bloody knackered; it’s been a long day and I was up at 6:15am to pick up my wife as she has just got back from a cruise in Spain. Apparently it was a training thing for her work, but she sounds like she had far too much fun. My friends come to my rescue with a much needed can of full fat coke and a few of Mr. Kipling’s finest to give me the energy for the last band of the evening. The last band have also had a really long day as they have travelled over the English channel on a long journey from their homes in Wiesbaden, Germany. The New Roses are an accomplished band that have toured with Rock heavyweights including Kiss, Black Stone Cherry and ZZ Top. With five albums already under their belt the band have a plethora of material from which to build their set-list.

After an intro of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” the band arrive on stage and launch into “The Usual Suspects” and as I’ve not seen them before I was not sure what to expect? Take a mix of styles from your favourite Classic Rock bands: there are influences from America, Australia, Germany and of course the UK. The band have plenty of notable qualities, the lead vocalist Timmy is a proper frontman who works hard to whip up and include the audience; the two guitar players light up the place with some wonderful riffs, dutifully accompanied by the tight rhythm section. The crowd are euphoric and as the band plays on the atmosphere just gets better, a rip-roaring cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in The Free World” is a highlight, one of my personal favourite ever tracks.

During “Glory Road” Timmy takes a trip into the photo pit to meet and greet the audience and still manages pitch perfect vocals while doing so. “Down By the River’s ” chorus gets everyone singing at the tops of their voices and the noise continues as the band try and leave the stage. They return for a two song encore which includes a version of Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock n’ Roll”.

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The New Roses end the evening and the festival perfectly, Just before we are all about to leave, organiser “Jim Love” comes to the stage to give his thanks to everyone who has helped put this event together. He also announces that it will be back next year at a slightly later date of 20th-22th June and tickets are to go on sale soon, check the Loverocks socials for details. It been a pleasure being here, thank you to Jim Love and his team for their warm hospitality. Thank you to my two besties Lynn & Becky for their wonderful company and thank you to all the bands that entertained us…..see you all next year!! (Right, I’m now packed and off to Download Festival – that’s a whole different kettle of fish altogether!!)


More Videos from the festival can be found on our YouTube Channel here.


Words & Media by David Chinery (Chinners)
Photography & Sugary Treats by Lynn Burt of Lynn Frances Photography
Additional Media & Expert Rock Stars Selfie taker by Becky Crowthall-Brown

The Virginmarys