Ramblin Man Fair 2016, July 2016, Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom

Ramblin Man Fair 2016

Saturday 23rd July- Sunday 24th July  2016

Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom

We do look forward to this annual event and this year the overall bill was impressive. There is still room for improvement on the ticketing and wristband provision, it was by no means clear what you had to produce where e g on the seated grandstand units. The Press Tent was somewhat spartan and water provision spasmodic but at least we could power the gear and have our photographic team post images while we were there. The staff there were immensely helpful and a credit to the organisers. The different publications, web magazines and TV crews get on well, so the atmosphere is good. A few acts’ management were grudging on permissions to photograph, why we cannot fathom…surely the idea is to tell the world how great the event was??

Saturday 23rd July 2016

The weather held up, over the two days. So there’s every reason to wander around and take in not just your favourites but acts you have never seen or even heard of. The tent hosting the country and blues acts was too small and the lighting had to be fixed ad hoc. But the vibe in the tent for these more specialist performers was evident. Selfish customers drag portable chairs in and take up space that others may have wanted to use…outside it’s OK maybe but in a limited capacity tent?

The Rising Stars stage was in the open and had a good variety of performers. It was especially pleasing to catch Will Wilde playing ferocious harp, singing well and channeling Albert King on his Telecaster along with his three colleagues.

For more information on Will Wilde visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2a9BwiU

One act which had a huge crowd very early on the Saturday was Leogun who were added to The Rising Stars Stage just a few weeks before the festival. I loved the track ‘Majick Potion’ which is the title of their EP. Real solid rock sound from a lovely bunch of guys and the queue for the EP after their set was huge.

For more information on LeoGun visit their Facebook page here: http://bit.ly/2aK8oPk

Up on The Prog Stage, the acts were a mixture of meaty and melodic and twiddly-diddly aren’t-we-clever, as you would expect and as last year. IO Earth sounded fantastic if a tad doomy and their female lead singer held the attention of the crowd. We were impressed by Purson whose Lead singer made her SG sing and whose Tele-toting guitarist had a sweeping and dynamic style. Memorable songs, too so well done Spinefarm Records. 

For more information on IO Earth visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2avpELX

For more information on Purson visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2aK88zO

For more information on Spinefarm Records visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2abngKy

The Zombies are on magnificent festival form but for a full report on them please refer to our Cornbury report, the set was very similar culminating in a riveting Time Of The Season, to the delight of a large crowd. Uriah Heep put on an emphatic, keyboard-drenched set of spooky songs and notwithstanding personnel changes over the years did pretty much live up to their legend .

For more information on The Zombies visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/235iIcy

We didn’t catch Family but understand they came on a little late and finished early. If that is so, we don’t know the story.

It is hard to see how any act could have started the Saturday Main Stage proceedings with more force and enthusiasm than the Inglorious lads. Cherry picking the best songs from their debut album and using their twin guitar attack to win over the audience.We last met them in the row behind us at The Palladium for Foreigner! Luckily we had a chance to interview two of them this time around, see elsewhere for that…

For more information on Inglorious visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2avsiS6

I ran into guitar ace Doug Aldrich and had a chance to congratulate him on his Electric Ballroom with our main man Glenn Hughes. He told me that at 2:30 he would be on stage with The Dead Daisies. Their performance was electrifying and bodes well for their imminent next album. They even threw in a cactus-inspired reading of Howlin’ Wolf’s Evil, instant surrender from me, then.

For more information on The Dead Daisies visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2aqci0K

Terrorvision have their fans and have no lack of push, but their songs just don’t connect with me. They were well-received in their mid-afternoon slot. I was scheduled to talk to Ginger Wildheart, but it didn’t happen. He did take the stage with his band and rock up the place with venom and again the audience lapped this up.

Europe are a bit Marmite. Hugely popular with their following and with a fine frontman in Joey Tempest, they have plenty of pacey, melodic songs. For me the dominant synth playing is a bit much and wodges the sound together whereas I like to hear each instrument clearly. All those years listening to Little Feat, I guess….Of course ‘The Final Countdown’ is a successful inclusion but it also reminds me of a filthy joke. Remind me to tell you that next time we meet.

For more information on Europe visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2awTqzu

For more information on Terrovision visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2aqcVqV

Years and years ago I saw a little trio at The Lyceum on a three-band bill. They were from Ireland. The drummer was solid and inspired, the guitar player had his electric roots playing well-established and very fluid and the singer put as much effort into luring the girls as he did singing and playing his bass. But they were an easy listen and had original songs plus a rather good take on Spencer Davis’ hit I’m A Man. So to see six people trying to capture the spirit of Thin Lizzy just didn’t do it for this listener, it seemed very tribute band. Despite the inclusion of Scott Gorham. All the hits were played, the crowd sang along, much beer was bought. Midge Ure guesting did improve things. It must be said.

Whitesnake played loads of memorable blues-rock songs with David Coverdale having the easy charm and burnished voice to carry them off. Highlights were ‘Crying In The Rain’, ‘In The Still Of The Night’, ‘Here I Go Again’ and the sublime ‘Is This Love? ‘Ain’t No Love’ was too brief but was soaked in blues feeling. The place for individual solo’s is a hall concert by an act and NOT when included in a festival. We KNOW Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra can play their guitars, they’re in Whitesnake for ****’s sake !!! Why people of this stature feel any need to prove themselves I will ever understand. Would rather have more songs. But the night belonged to them, absolute kings of what they do.

One interesting thing – as a charity effort for Nordoff Robbins the festival opted to release a triple live album of performances from the two days which was organised and recorded by Live Here Now. When we get this through we will review it for you.

You can purchase copies of the Live At Ramblin Man Fair 3CD set and download here: http://bit.ly/2axm5la

You can find more information and donate to Nordoff Robbins here: http://bit.ly/2auh3rg

A lot of drink was consumed over the two days but we saw no trouble. The quality of t shirts was maintained and some cool designs were being sold. Hippie and metal garb was on sale here and there and there was a record stall. Foodwise, we really did miss the Caffe Nero tents that Cornbury have, though one tea and coffee stall we found was OK, if pricey. The Festival needs a franchise or two of this quality and a good bakery. Too many mushy curries and wraps!

Sunday 24th July 2016

The Prog Stage featured the folksy tumble of sound that The Fierce And The Dead produce, their performance being spirited and at times playful; Blurred Vision distinguished themselves by having a bass player who understands the power of space, a crisp drummer and a personality-driven guitarist and singer, I think from what he said of Iranian descent? A planned interview didn’t happen, but we shall catch up with this group. The singing Strat lines sounded right for a sunny afternoon and they signed off with a variant on Another Brick In The Wall. Headspace were heavy prog rock and turned out to feature our old friend Darby Todd on drums. The Von Hertzen Brothers made a great effort to connect with the audience and succeeded. Hawkwind’s current incarnation were up next and I think we got some good images of the group.

Finally, a band that can play anything and play it well, everyone aboard a master of their instrument and a majestic songbook plus one of the most distinctive characters in the business as lead vocalist, Gary BrookerProcol Harum tonight deliver the most varied set of all the acts over the weekend with melody at the forefront. An ace in the pack was the guitar of Geoff Whitehorn, swooping, snarling, singing, chugging, imitating seagulls on A Salty Dog. English Garden was beautiful and tempered, bearing in mind that they had kicked off their show with a gritty blues with rolling piano. Some of the PH numbers have tricky drum parts, but no problem tonight. The noble blast that is Conquistador was delivered with fire and emphasis, one hell of a song. As for Homburg, I remember playing that myself and it had a lot of chords! What on EARTH is that song about? The blues strut of ‘Whiskey Train’ got the audience clapping. While I think of it, the lighting and sound balance for the Procol (open air) set was the best and clearest I have ever experienced at a festival.

Brooker reminisces about some of his favourite music, rolling into a Percy Sledge tune, jazz and then some Bob Marley before seguing off into Whiter Shade of Pale, with room made for a stately and fitting guitar solo. A satisfying, colourful and above all warm set from absolute masters.

For more information on The Fierce and The Dead visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2ah2l6i

For more information on Headspace visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2abrmT2

For more information on Blurred Vision visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2amntJd

For more information on The Von Hertzen Brothers visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2a9GhsC

For more information on Procol Harum visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2ah0luZ

Meantime the Blues Tent was witnessing Irish star Pat McManus playing rock blues and reels, I kid you not, in a power trio; Nashville trio Simo plays every set as though the world is about to end and with a sense of fun and adventure and for more on Simo see the Cornbury report and/or other features. King King were playing their last show before Alan Nimmo’s much-needed throat op and have as cohesive a quartet sound as you could wish for. It was good to catch up with our old pal drummer Wayne Proctor later on in the Press area, he is a busy bee with KK live set mixing and a new record from Red Butler to sort….

For more information on Pat McManus visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2awT1gx

For more information on SIMO visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/1nZ92xr

For more information on King King visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/1TW0aHi

After King King’s set it was a chance to see blues rock outfit Tax The Heat who are really making a name for themselves with the release of their debut album ‘Fed To The Lions’ on Nuclear Blast Records (the same record label of Blues Pills who performed at the debut Ramblin Man Fair in 2016)

This four-piece from Bristol gave it all on the album tracks including the title track but it was their new single ‘Animals’ which saw Alex Veale (Lead Vocalist & Guitar) really shine as a singer. The band have a real bite to them and Antonio Angotti (Bass & Backing Vocals),  JP Jacyshyn (Guitar & Backing Vocals) and Jack Taylor (Drums & Backing Vocals)  have a real music presence whilst playing the rhythm and blues music they love.

Tax The Heat will be the special guests on Terrorvision‘s UK 2016 tour so catch these guys soon in intimate venues before you end up seeing them from a distance in larger rooms. For more information on Tax The Heat visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2aeA7J0

Walter Trout has merited legend status and we have plenty on him and his work here on this site. We think he will be on the live Festival CD. A highlight of Walter’s set was ‘Playin’ Hideaway’. For more information on Walter Trout visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/29ZyVe2

Later when we raced over from the close of Procol Harum set to the Blues Tent we caught the end of Warren Haynes and his Ashes & Dust ensemble playing The Allman’s Jessica and THEN inviting Bernie Marsden up for Queen of the South his finale. More on Warren on this site including the ensemble’s full London concert AND a chat by me with Haynes about the Ashes & Dust album. Oh and my meet with Bernie as well in which we discuss his record, Walter, Danny Bryant and Joe Bonamassa ….

For more information on Warren Haynes visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2amoJMz

For more information on Bernie Marsden visit his official website here: http://bit.ly/2aboOEs

Sunday on the Main Stage was a wonderwall of guitars and then some. For me it didn’t really take off until the appearance of Thunder

The Graveltones were a hardworking duo, guitar and drums. Seems to me this always makes each member work too hard at the expense of the tunes. Any attempts at a solo always sound desperate and the drums can only really keep the beat OR be too flashy. The much vaunted Kentucky Headhunters looked like they were en route to a Z Z Top Convention and played no-frills blues, rock and country. Lots of personality but to these ears a quality roots bar band more than an act I’d be keen to champion. The Cadillac Three have an undeniable presence and feature steel guitar as well as six-string. More spirit and punch than finesse but the audience enjoyed them immensely, so a very good festival booking.

The Cadillac Three’s new album ‘Bury Me In My Boots’ will be released by Big Machine Label Group on Friday 5th August 2016.

For more information on The Graveltones visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2abrnGH

For more information on The Cadillac Three visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/2aeCAU3

I have seen The Answer a few times over the years and it always sounds like The Question must have been ‘Do we call ourselves Free Company?’. Because they sing well and play very well I have no doubt that at some point they will find their own sound and rule.

For more information on The Answer visit their official website here: http://t.co/XBjIUytRWX

Having met the Australian band Airbourne at one of the festival’s Planet Rock signing sessions, I was impressed with their professionalism and attitude towards fans as they posed for photos and shook hands. Really friendly guys who didn’t take anything from anybody according to the band’s bio in the festival program.

How right that summary was! During their set, the band’s lead singer started ascending the metal stage framing to the cheers of the crowd and the dismay of the stage manager. Shouting at him to get down, the stage manager was content when he finally agreed.

However, on reaching the stage he ran to his microphone and shouted ‘We’re not gonna listen to that guy! I’m coming out there with you guys!’ Next thing you knew he jumped on someone’s shoulders and they ran through the crowd at warp speed to everyone’s delight. Rattling through tracks such as ‘Ready To Rock’, ‘Chewin’ The Fat’ and ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ it was clear to me why this band is a live booking favourite even if they don’t always adhere to Health and Safety regulations!

Airbourne will embark on a UK Tour in November 2016 which will include two shows at Electric Ballroom in Camden, London. For more information visit the band’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2au8o8b

Thunder have many albums chocked with great songs and this afternoon they took a chunk of them and just hit the sun-blazed crowd over the head with them. They attained a sharp and defined sound very quickly and soon all over the site the audience were singing along, females as keen as the blokes. Singer Danny Bowes was in his element.The group balance earthiness with skill and hit home with their selections. A jewel in the UK rock crown.

Highlights included ‘Backstreet Symphony’, ‘Devil Made Me Do It’ and ‘I Love You More Than Rock’n’Roll’ which had the crowd dancing and jumping. One of the biggest crowds of the weekend for sure.

For more information visit the band’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2a9AZh1

Black Stone Cherry

This Kentucky foursome have big hearts, supporting charities whenever they can. So their self-confidence mans they can develop their music and still think of others. They seem to be increasingly fond of British audiences .With a lot of material to draw upon, the outfit are a little spoiled for choice. Tonight, they include …

At the end of their show and after a tender acoustic & vocal spot they tore through the Motorhead song Ace of Spades as though it had just been written. Their record company crew are dancing and singing, as well they might.

You can visit Black Stone Cherry’s website here: http://bit.ly/20sQRla

Overall the weather and choice of acts meant that all attending had a great weekend, with some real musical highs. As for next year, we hope the organisers are talking to Steppenwolf,  Laurence Jones, Foreigner, A Thousand Horses, Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown, Broken Witt Rebels, Iron Butterfly, Toto, Glenn Hughes, Black Country Communion, Joan Jett and HEART

Pete Sargeant & Glenn Sargeant


We have to thank our Just Listen To This lensmen Kieran White of KW Media and John Bull of Rockrpix, so much a part of what we are….also Duff of Duff Press and all of the staff, all the helpful Press Area staff, Inglorious, JD Simo, Doug Aldrich, the Mascot collective and all PR’s

Rockrpix: http://bit.ly/2a24xQ6

KW Media: http://bit.ly/1ZFwJIr

You can also read our review of Ramblin Man Fair 2015 with photos here: http://bit.ly/1ZSleRG

The dates for Ramblin Man Fair 2017 are Saturday 29th July – Sunday 30th July 2017 at Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom. General Weekend Super Early Bird Tickets are on sale now and are priced at £105.99 (including fees) Tickets are available here: http://bit.ly/1UNhvyj





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