Picture gallery: Manuden Music Festival is ‘second-to-none’

The main arena

The main arena - Credit: Archant

“I DIDN’T really know what to expect, but the standard of the performers was second-to-none” – the words of one attendee to this year’s fund-raising Manuden Music festival.

According to organisers, many were genuinely surprised at the quality of the players, and a typical quote – from festival attendee Graham Pyle – summed it up: “I didn’t really know what to expect, but the standard of the performers was second-to-none. I attend a lot of major festivals including The Cambridge Folk Festival, Glastonbury and Cropredy and the players today would easily fit into that environment – they were that good.”

Indeed two of the acts had recently performed at Glastonbury, Worry Dolls who showcased their beautiful harmonies, and Sam Green and the Midnight Heist who presented a captivating set of acoustic blues and lap slide guitar.

Dave Gerard played some songs from his double EP I Climbed A Tree and he is just finalising the new Gerard and the Watchmen album ahead of their promotional UK tour which starts at the end of September.

27 strings have become local celebrities over recent months appearing at many festivals. Their rousing set was enthusiastically received from a captivated audience.

The highly original AlicebanD did not disappoint with another great set, whilst Elliot Porter and the Missing Pieces once again provided a powerful range of songs.

And the enjoyment continued across the arena throughout the day. The barbecues sizzled; the cafe sported a vast array of home-made cakes whilst the beer, wine and soft drinks tent had a seemingly endless queue.

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The children’s marquee provided lots of fun and games, including a workshop from Simon Panrucker, and this produced an original music track from the children’s voices. Simon also did a highly original set later in the evening.

As the day progressed the two stages continued to provide superb performances from the 18 acts. Karen Johnson’s lovely voice was accompanied by the excellent harmonies of Tony Clark; the Mike Johnson Band’s really good interpretation of a number of blues and pop songs was highly appreciated; the 70 strong Herts and Soul Choir provided a great mix of pop and gospel songs whilst Keef Jackman’s interpretation of classic blues songs including My Old Friend The Blues again captivated the audience.

Bishop’s Stortford Ukulele Society went down a storm, as did Will Robert and Chris Bishop. There were also excellent performances from Charlie James, Lazy Heart Parade and Rob Finlay.

Josienne Clark and Ben Walker brought the show to a close with songs from their highly-acclaimed album Fire & Fortune.

Of course, this was a festival to raise much-needed funds for ADAS, the charity that helps individuals, children and families who are affected by the impact of alcohol misuse.

“The day was a resounding success” said Philomena Lawrence, chief executive of ADAS. “The number of attendees was very significantly up on our first festival and the money raised will really help us make a difference. Thank you to all of our sponsors including Barclays, HSBC, Intercounty, Barker & Associates and TL Safety (Systems) Ltd; to all of our performers who gave their time so generously, and to the many volunteers for all of their support. It is much appreciated”.

If anyone would like to make a donation to ADAS call Philomena on 01279 641347/438716 or go to virginmoneygiving.com.