Return of the Broad Street Tavern Music FestivalBy Caroline Cook
July 08, 2011
When a Wokingham landlord throws open his doors later this month the sounds of rock ‘n’ roll legends will be pouring out onto the pavements of Wokingham making him something like the pied piper of the pub world.
Now in its third year, the Broad Street Tavern Music Festival is quickly becoming the major music event in the town with people flocking to grab a spot in the garden.
And landlord Clive Wallis has booked an impressive line-up for the big event with tribute favourite
Boot Led Zeppelin returning to the stage once again this year on Saturday, July 16.
“It’s a fantastic event,” says guitarist Raff Achour. “It’s a real variety of acts from covers to originals to acoustics. It’s a great atmosphere.”
For the band that topped the bill last year things have been going from brilliant to even better and they will be arriving at the festival fresh from a private gig in France.
The Led Zeppelin fans are well known in the tribute circuit and have even rubbed shoulders with their idols when the originals – including guitarist Jimmy Page – reformed for a one-off gig in 2007.
“The band split up in the 1980s but they reformed for a one-off show at the O2 and a TV company called us saying can you come down and do an interview,” explains Raff.
“Afterwards they said ‘We would like you to go down and do an acoustic set’. We did and we met them very briefly.
“It would be great to get them down to a gig though.”
With guitarist Jimmy Page living not too far from Wokingham there might just be a chance he will catch a hint of Whole Lotta Love blaring into the summer air and make a stop at the Tavern to catch the bands on stage.
Joining Boot Led Zepplin will be Fatmen In The Bathtub, InDefinately, Cockney Rabble, Echoes and newcomers The Police Academy.
“It’s started to hype up now,” says landlord Clive.
“On the day a stage crew come in at 8am and they spend five hours setting it all up.
“Then, the first bands come in and it all gets going. The last two years have been very sunny and it gets very hyper. People are excited about the next band that’s coming on.”
Cockney Rabble duo Chris Hedges and Justin Short are looking forward to their first time at the festival and are guaranteed to get punters up and dancing no matter what songs are blaring out of their sound system.
“We played somewhere on Saturday and they were dancing the foxtrot to whatever we played,” says Chris.
“Then we put on The Jam and they danced to that as well. I think they liked it.”
Cockney Rabble have been playing together for 10 years and are something of a pub-circuit Chas and Dave, only with even more of the cockney charm.
The guys even have an English to Cockney translation on their website which is rather Robin Hood.
“We do a lot of Chas and Dave which are largely comedy songs and we play old music from the 1920s and 1930s as well,” explains Chris, naming The Who and The Jam on the set list.
“We have never played in the Broad Street Tavern before although we have had a few beers in there.
“From what I see on the running order there will be some good bands there.”
Also on the list is Fatmen In The Bathtub, aka Jez Arden-White and Bill Burke, who will be returning for a third year with their touch of vintage music offering blasts from the past.
“It’s 50s rock ‘n’ roll through to the present day so we do things like Elvis right through to James Morrison and Kings of Leon,” said Jez who hails from Sandhurst and met Bill, from East Sussex, when they were 16.
“It’s the third year we will be playing the festival and it’s brilliant,” says Jez.
“It’s always a great event and we’re hoping for lovely weather and lots of food and drink.”
Among those entertaining the beer-sipping crowds will be six-piece band Echoes, who promise to bring a “full on Pink Floyd experience” to the proceedings.
The guys who hail from Kingston and Surrey got together three years ago and have been rocking out at carefully selected venues ever since.
“There’s lots of Pink Floyd around but we just play in smaller venues,” explains keyboard player and backing vocalist Peter Bamford.
“We like going into smaller venues and blowing people away. They tend to go along not expecting much but then they’re blown away by the band,
“It’s a full-on Pink Floyd experience. We do all the early stuff right through to The Division Bell as well.”
Pink Floyd fans will be in for a guitar-pinging, drum-thumping treat as they play hits like The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.
“It’s our first year so we’re really looking forward to it. Once we played in a place and the word got around so much that they ran out of beer,” says Peter.
With a well-stocked bar that certainly won’t be a problem at The Broad Street Tavern, with drinks flowing and the barbecue fired up throughout the day.
And punters will also be able to request their favourite hits from popular covers band InDefinately.
Singer Liam King will be playing a selection of hits with lead guitarist Julian Jones, bass player Charlie Evans and drummer Nikoli Husted.
The core four-piece mix up performances with other musicians and are quickly becoming one of the hottest covers band on the southern music circuit.
Also taking to the stage this year is recently formed Police tribute, The Police Academy, who performed their first-ever gig in the pub earlier this year.
“The previous gig we played was when the weather was good in April so we played outside, which was excellent,” says the band’s guitarist Tim Haycocks, aka Andy Summers.
“For the music festival they bring in a PA and events management company and put up a semi-permanent stage.
“Last year I was there as a punter and it was an excellent day and this year it will be good to be there in a different capacity.”
Guests will have to take a second look at the stage when Tim and fellow band-members Adam Aggiss and Peter Wright, take the stage, fully decked out in 80s wigs and outfits which could rival those of Sting and his pals.
With the growling notes of Roxanne soaring into the skies above Woking-ham people walking through the town will barely be able to resist following the notes all the way to the Broad Street Tavern where they will definitely be in for a treat when they arrive.
The Broad Street Tavern music festival starts at 2pm on Saturday, July 16. Entry is £15 on the door or £12 in advance. For details, call the Wokingham pub on 0118 977 3706 or log on to www.broadstreettavern.co.uk