Temple Meadows was again awash with festival-goers this weekend dressed in neon and characters from the 80s dancing, singing and partying enjoying all that Rewind festival has to offer.
Despite the rain on Friday, the hardened Rewinders didn’t let that spoil the fun with legendary DJ Grandmaster Flash mixing-it up for a big crowd on the Riverside Stage.
The Undertones kicked off the show on Saturday afternoon on the main stage. They were followed by the Dire Straits Experience, Johnny Hates Jazz and then the highlight of Saturday for many UB40 (featuring Ali Campbell and Astro) singing classics Red, Red Wine and Kingstown Town. Kim Appleby’s (from the duo Mel & Kim) performance was a very emotional one for the singer. She told the audience that she’d only sung twice in the last 25 years since the death of her singing sister Mel in 1990 at the young age of 23.
Heather Small wowed the crowd next with her powerful voice singing Search for The Hero, Proud and Moving On Up. She however had a slight wardrobe malfunction during her set doing nearly a Janet Jackson! Afterwards, Heaven 17 performed their 80s club anthems of (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang, Penthouse and Pavement and Temptation during which lead singer Glen Gregory asked the crowd to get on people’s shoulders to get them higher and higher!
Lulu, aged 70 years young, dressed in a gorgeous sparkly beaded jacket showed off her voice right from her opening song the Take That classic Relight My Fire. She then said, “I had a unique relationship with the great late David Bowie” before singing his Man Who Sold the World. As a nod to a fellow Scot, Lulu then delighted the crowd by singing Lewis Calpadi’s Someone You Loved with the audience singing along. Afterwards she sang 1974 Bond film theme tune Man With The Golden Gun commenting, “Everyone in the 60s wanted to be Bond girl, I didn’t get to be one but I got to sing a theme tune.” Before singing her most famous song Shout Lulu said, “I got the contract as long as I agreed to sing this one!”
Headlining Saturday night was the Four Tops with Abdul “Duke” Fakir, aged 82, the last of the founding members. Their set backed by the Funk Brothers studio band included Going loco down in Acapulco and Baby I Need Your Loving. Duke then said he might need to sit on a stool during some of the show. Lead singer, Alexander Morris then got the audience to shout out “We don’t care about that chair!” The set continued with Same Old Song, What’s Going On and medley of Reach Out I’ll Be There and Standing in the Shadows of Love. Duke paid tribute to the original band members who had passed away over the last 20 years. During the set Duke told stories about the past which included a story about winning a bet with Berry Gordy, founder of Motown if the Four Tops got another Top 10 single. He’s never told anyone how much he won as he didn’t want the tax man to know but he did say that with his part of the money he bought his then fiance and now wife her first car. Unfortunately there were a few too many stories with the crowd wanting the classic hits to keep coming. They got the crowd back though with an encore of the classic I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch).
Sunday saw From the Jam open the show, followed by Neville Staple, The Selector, The Wailers and Hazel O’Connor. Hazel was joined by brilliant saxophonist Clare Hurst who showed off her talent especially during Will You with the crowd giving a big applause afterwards.
Midge Ure was back again this year. Our Rewind favourite from last year didn’t disappoint again performing Ultravox songs, If I Was, Fade to Grey, Vienna and Tears in My Eyes. Compere, The Doctor from Doctor & The Medic said afterwards he hoped next time he introduced Midge it would be Sir Midge.
Paul Young was up next followed by Belinda Carlisle and then our favourite performance of this year Kathy Sledge from Sister Sledge. Marking 40th anniversary of We Are Family, Kathy still has a fantastic voice and the crowd enjoyed dancing and singing along to the classics Lost in Music, I’ve Got to Love Somebody and a great cover of Stevie Wonder’s Do I Do. During Greatest Dancer, Kathy invited six dancers on to the stage to show off their dance moves. The set finished with Thinking of You and of course We are Family. Henley’s well-known milliner was delighted to have her photo taken with Kathy in the VIP area before she performed (above).
Earlier in day on Sunday, Rewind made the announcement that Michael Bolton the Sunday headline act was unable to perform due to illness and announced that The Waterboys would replace him. Festival-goers aired both their disappointment and their delight on social media. The Waterboys set included How Long Will I Love You (a hit for Ellie Golding) and ended their set with their classic Whole of the Moon with an unexpected brilliant encore cover of Princes’ Purple Rain.
New for this year was comedy with Joel Dommett and Tom Allen performing on the Forever Stage. The silent disco proved popular as always in the disco den, there were the usual fairground rides and children had their own mini festival activities too. It was a shame that the inflatable church where Rewinders could get married or renew their vows wasn’t here this year after many years of being one of the great Rewind attractions.
There were so many stand-out costumes to name but probably the one that everyone had to have their photo with was ET (aka Lee from High Wycombe). He only brought his ticket this year on Saturday to come on Sunday. Lee said, “I’ve been for the last 3 years and I love it. I was given the costume by a friend.” If you weren’t sure who was Darth Vader – it was Henley’s very own DJ Gary Boys who is also a regular Rewinder and was celebrating this birthday. Rewind’s very own red arrows were seen doing their own display in the VIP area – unfortunately they were too quick for us we missed them!
Artist photos above by Joshua Atkins and Gobinder Jhitta