St Ann’s Well Gardens Spring Festival
Last year the festival was washed away as I recall – torrential rain – thunderbolt and lightning…. you get the idea! This year the clouds had parted and the sun was out, it was hot! The Gardens were packed to capacity for this Saturday day of fun and music. People from all over Brighton and Hove, and beyond, had descended to enjoy this friendly and free festival. There was so much to do and look at for everyone. I spotted a circus tent, archery lessons, face painting and near the cafe and surrounding the park were food sellers offering tastes and flavours from around he world. An extraordinary array of gastronomic delights! Also various beer sellers and ice cream trucks all doing a roaring trade. Long may this festival run, but be warned if this year was anything to go by, its only going to get bigger! This is a very picture intensive item – enjoy!
The larger area of the park was set aside for live music – and what a line up! St Ann’s Well Gardens is one of Brighton and Hove’s most treasured and loved City parks. The Spring Festival was established some 9 years ago to celebrate the park’s Centenary. The Festival grow into one of the finest free festivals in the Country and is now a firm date in every Brightonian’s diary. Lets pick things up from when the Scene Sussex team arrived!
Ellie Occleston put on a lovely set of her material. Some fine guitar work and her voice is simply stunning.
Yes, you read that correctly – Sleeper! Live in Brighton! Sleeper are an English rock band formed in London in 1993. The group had eight UK Top 40 hit singles and three UK Top 10 albums during the 1990s. Their music was also featured in the soundtrack of the pop cultural hit movie Trainspotting. The band split up in 1998 but reunited in 2017. And here they are, in the sunshine and a new album, The Modern Age. The crowd numbers swelled as the announcement the band were about to play cam over the speakers.
A terrific set of old and new material was waiting for us. This really was a stellar set, just a bit short for my liking but better than nothing! Another 30 minutes would have been perfect. Sleeper nailed a top performance.
Louise announced next up was a cover from one of her favourite bands, Blondie. The track we got was Atomic which had everybody up, and this was seamlessly run into New Orders Love will tear us apart. Brilliantly done!
There was crowd participation for that one as Louise held out the mic and turned it toward the crowd, asking them to sing it back for the band. It was hot that afternoon, the crowd cooking nicely in the sun and Louise danced her way through this entertaining set. I don’t think she stopped smiling and it was clear this brilliant band were out for a good time in the time they had.
Well played Sleeper, as the kids took to the stage also, for a finale and curtain call. Safe to say we all enjoyed every second of that performance.
Time for some acoustic guitars and vocals!
Two fine guitarists played and delighted the crowds at St Ann’s Well Gardens. In no particular order first a shout to Scott Booth. A guitarist/percussionist of a very high calibre. He brought the crowd to a standstill as everyone watched this musician and his hands flying over the frets and creating the percussion from the base of his guitar. Some pedals and an upbeat Ibiza classic had the crowd back on their feet to close his set.
Announced as a special secret guest, next up was Steve Mason! Beta Band / King Biscuit / Black Affair… and now, on his own, Steve Mason. The sun was getting low as the sunlight filtered through the trees and the smoke from the various cooking sites drifted across the stage area.. Steve put on a terrific set of songs.
Turn the amps back on!
Heading towards the end of the afternoon and Rubber Jaw hit the stage.
A lively 3 piece from Elmstead in Essex. A full on rock out session in the sunshine, a terrific blast to bring folk away from the food outlets and beer tents. Brilliant stuff fellas and hope to see you again soon.
A stunning set and a live performance of Freaking Out. Brilliantly delivered guys – well played.
The day was coming to a close, the crowd gathered in front of the stage, eagerly awaiting Phats and Small to do their thing. The stage was stripped and then their equipment was brought onto the stage.
Phats and Small
The crowd were up for a party as the guys came onto the stage.
The sun had started to set, a chill had set into the air but Phats and Small were about to unleash and warm us up!
They are best known for their single “Turn Around”, which became an international hit in 1999, and that was around the time I met them whilst DJ’ing in Brighton. This track went down a storm with the crowd, even though the track had been played on the music tape about 5 minutes before they took to the stage, it was quickly jumped as someone hit the fast forward button!
This was a lively outing from the guys and enjoyed by everyone – young and old.
Well done Phats and Small, you sent everyone home with a smile on their face and humming their favourite tune from the set.
All Over… until next year!
And so Phats and Small closed the live music. There were still hundreds of people making the most of a lovely spring day in Hove. Huge congratulations to everyone involved in this truly brilliant and family friendly afternoon. It ran like clockwork and had so many other attractions for people to enjoy. A great free festival, and long may it continue. See
An amazing afternoon. There are more pictures and information and some videos on the event page on Facebook – here.
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All original pictures / video – copyright to IAN BOURN / SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.
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