It is difficult to grasp just how successful the Iwade Rock Charity Music Festival has become since its inaugural outing a mere four years ago. Scaling up massively since last year and moving to a new larger venue to accommodate a significantly larger audience, more stalls and children’s activities has paid off handsomely for entrepreneurial commander-in-chief, Keith Reynolds.
With a capacity sell-out 2,000 strong crowd, spectacular sunny weather and 10 great bands, Iwade Rock just became the premier music festival in Swale.
This year the beneficiaries of the festival are Iwade Herons FC, Iwade primary school and Iwade Village Hall who will all get a share of the proceedings.
I should make it perfectly clear that we only attended the first half of the festival and any commentary, reviews, videos and photography is limited to the first five bands only.
Playing the first difficult slot of the ten hour long festival, was left as always to Keith’s own band The Kulpritts although this year Keith who usually plays drums, elected to have a stand in, so that he could concentrate on running the show, along with his huge team of helpers who included many family members and friends.
The Kulpritts consisting of Shane Barden on lead guitar, Carrie Callingham on vocals, Dave Campbell on base and a replacement for Keith Richards on Drums kicked off the show with a rendition of The Beatles- Come Together followed by tracks including Valerie - Amy Winehouse, I Predict a Riot - Kaiser Chief, High and Dry – Radiohead and Superstition - Stevie Wonder.
I thought they did a sterling job for the first act up on stage and given that plenty of people were still only arriving at that point, they got the party started in style.
Second up were a very friendly and entertaining four piece from the Hawkinge/Folkestone area called Ashes who in their present form have been together for a year.
With Steve Hertz on Vocals and Guitar, Rob Field on Guitar, Joshua Lithgow on Bass and Si Woodhams on Drums they played an energetic set of original rock / blues material.
Certainly looked like they were having a good time, I like these guys, even if the music isn’t entirely my personal cup of tea.
The Charlie Monroe Band
Moving on to more well know territory, The Charlie Monroe Band whose members originate from various locations in kent and consisted of Charlie Monroe on Vocals, Richard Norton on Lead Guitar, Simon Burridge on Bass Guitar, Conor Finn on Drums and filling in for Denise Greenwood, The Kulpritts Shane Barden.
With the crowd nicely warmed up, they continued the good work with a set list that included Use Somebody - Kings of Leon, Price Tag - Jessie J, I don't like cricket - Bobby Cliff and Happy - Pharrell Williams.
Next up were local Sittingbourne lads Marylebone Jelly who having heard nothing but praise beforehand, totally lived up to and exceeded my expectations delivering an awesome and captivating set that was certainly the highlight of the first half if not the day.
We were dancing and so was everyone else. Enthralling, I’m still buzzing now.
Marylebone Jelly consists of Ed on lead vocals, Neil on drums, Saul on bass guitar, Sten on lead & rhythm guitar and Dave on keyboards. Can I say how nice it is to see some proper synths on stage.
What can I say they nailed it with covers including Power Of Love - Huey Lewis And The News, Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen, A Little Respect – Erasure, Boys Of Summer - Don Henley, Place Your Hands – Reef and Mr. Brightside – The Killers
And finally, at least for us, were Dover based Deepwater Horizon who we’d seen last year and were very much looking forward to once more. With Jake Clapson on vocals, Tor Charlesworth on drums, Ben Royston and Simon temporarily standing in for guitarist Dan Leggatt they played a not dissimilar set to the previous year.
Plagued by technical problems before the set even began (not the fault of the band), the change of line-up and not having played together in a while perhaps accounted for a more muted performance than I had remembered. These guys were on top form last year, but for whatever reason and although I enjoyed their set, it wasn’t their finest hour.
The set list included Harder To Breathe - Maroon 5, Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand and Ever Fallen In Love - Buzzcocks
Without a shadow of a doubt the place to be this summer, where can I get tickets for next year?
I'd like to say a big thank you to Keith Reynolds for such an amazing event, Sarah Gigglepics
Quinn for her help and advice, the Gigglepics crew you were great fun to hang with and obviously all those poor people who gave up their time to keep everything ticking along so we could enjoy ourselves.
We also have some video
and more photos
for you to enjoy.