80s Fans Celebrate Rewind’s 10th Birthday

Thousands of 80s music fans, dressed in retro fashion, 80s TV characters and pop stars flocked to Rewind South at Temple Island Meadows over the weekend to celebrate the 10th anniversary.

Started in 2009, many of the original acts including T’Pau, Heaven 17, Billy Ocean, China Crisis and Doctor & The Medics returned for the celebration with 24 acts performing in total across two days.

Opening on Saturday was From the Jam featuring Bruce Foxton (bass player) and Rick Butler (drummer) from The Jam playing hits including Eton Rifles and Going Underground.  Other acts on Saturday included Howard Jones, Billy Ocean, Jason Donovan, Marc Almond with Kool & The Gang headlining to finish the show with a fitting funky finale which included Celebration.  Billy Ocean paid tribute to Aretha Franklin singing a few lines of I Say a Little Prayer and afterwards said “Long live the Queen.”  My stand-out act for Saturday was Midge Ure, whose distinctive voice showed his true class when he sang classics Vienna, Fade to Grey and Dancing With Tears In My Eyes which I certainly had.

Sunday saw Roachford opening the show, followed by performances from China Crisis, Tom Bailey from the Thompson Twins, Doctor & The Medics, T’Pau, Heaven 17, Kim Wilde, Jimmy Somerville and climaxing with a legendary set from OMD who were also celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band.  Jimmy Somerville said, “They say music and politics don’t mix but when I started I was out there to cause trouble.”  Jimmy can still hit those incredible high notes and was joined by Sarah Jane Morris from The Republic to sing a superb version of the classic Don’t Leave Me This Way.  Andy McCluskey from OMD opened their set by saying “You don’t need to pace yourself as we’re the last act – just tear it up.  Let’s jump this field into the ground!” before they went on to play classics including Maid of Orleans, Souvenir, Sailing on the Seven Seas finishing with a finale of Electricity – their set certainly could be described as electric with loads of energy!

On the Forever stage on Sunday there were performances from comedians Vikki Stone, Milton Jones and David Morgan and Martin Kemp drew in the crowds with his DJ set to finish off Sunday night.  Festival goers had to choose though between Martin and OMD as they were on at the same time.

As well as the music, there’s lots of other fun things to do at Rewind including fairground rides, silent disco and the legendary inflatable church where you can get married.  Best friends Tracey Maguire from Norfolk and Kay Laney from Suffolk made their friendship official in a wedding ceremony in the inflatable church on Saturday afternoon.  After exchanging Haribo sweet rings the vicar said, “You are now awfully wife and friend.  Drink as much Jesus juice as possible this weekend.”  Tracey said afterwards, “We have been friends for 41 years and after thinking about doing this last year, we decided to do this year.”  Liz Felix from Henley tricked her friends by posting a photo of her hand with a ring on it in front of the church on Facebook before then admitting that she hadn’t really got married.

Jon Swindle from Lower Earley aka #Braman made his annual pilgrimage to Rewind, helping to collect for Sue Ryder, the festival’s official charity partner and was asking stars of the festival to sign his bra in the VIP area which included members of ELO, Shalamar, Odyssey and Chesney Hawkes.  The bra is then going to be auctioned on 1 December and the proceeds split between two other charities; MACS (Merseyside Autistic Children’s Society) and Alice’s Escapes who provide holidays for seriously ill children.

The Ashley family from Henley were all dressed up, Phil as Dick Dastardly, Mia as Penelope Pitstop, Owen aged 4 as Captain America and Sophie, 19 in neon 80s fashion.  Phil said, “It’s my 9th year, my wife’s 8th and my son’s 3rd even though he’s only four now.  I love it as it is a fantastic atmosphere with great bands as well as being very relaxed and big plus it’s only a mile to get here!”

We caught up with Paul Humphreys before he performed with OMD.  This was the third time that OMD have headlined at Henley Rewind South.  This year they were headlining at all three Rewinds – South, North and Scotland.  Paul said, “It’s a total honour to be headlining at such an amazing festival. The audience are really bonkers at Rewind and as a band we normally like to strike a balance between retro and celebrating our back catalogue and also going forward as band as we have released an album every couple of years.   We however always tailor the show to the crowd and this crowd just want to party and sing along to the songs they know.  Fortunately we have had 20 something hit singles but we’ll have to miss some out as we only have an hour.”

Asked who Paul would have like to collaborate and sing with at Rewind South if he was asked.  He replied, “I would have loved to have sung with my friends in China Crisis to sing perhaps  Working with Fire and Steel or Christian.  They are also one of my favourites bands of all time.  I was having a great chat with them earlier and it is great to see them.”

Was it fashion, food or gimmicks from the 80s Paul loved?  No his favourite thing about the 80s  was all the amazing music. Paul said, “There are a lot of things about the 80s I’d like to forget. The great thing about the 80s was the music as it was cool to be different, everyone wanted to be different.  Between all the bands it was almost like a song writing competition to write a better song than the one they had just heard on the radio. I think that’s why all the songs from the 80s are still really popular now is because the songwriting was so strong and everyone was so individual and unique but they all had their own sounds and all the singers sounded different.  If there is a criticism of modern day music is that everyone wants to sounds the same. Individuality was really important in the 80s and that’s my favourite thing.”

Looking back at what the band did before they went on stage in the 80s, Paul said, “We certainly drink less – we used to go on paralytic!  We have reached a certain age.  We just like to chill now in the dressing room but we have our little rituals.  We don’t drink now before the show apart from a quick shot of vodka before we go on.  When you walk out on stage in front of 40,000 people you need to be little calmer before you go on!”