The Sounds. The Noise, and of course The Sun!
A fantastic line up of local musical talent took to the open-air stage last Saturday as Haigh Fest Rewind rocked the crowds that assembled at Haigh Hall Country Park in Wigan.
Wigan Council's "Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles" put together the show which brought together some fantastic artists under a cloudless, sunny sky on one of the hottest weekends of the year so far.
Everyone really did enjoy sitting around, standing, relaxing and dancing to an amazing variety of bands, all of whom were from within a few miles of Wigan, all being carefully selected to appear and entertain the crowds. The organisers chose well, with such a wonderful bunch of artists really playing their hearts out.
The sun shone down all day and as the gates opened at 11.30am, the crowds began to gather in the specially constructed arena next to the courtyard, many enjoying a picnic and a few drinks.
The first band took the stage shortly before 1pm and the format of the day was set. The six bands would each play a 40-minute set, each starting on the hour – the format worked well and it meant that there weren’t huge delays between artists and that kept the crowd engaged and interested throughout.
So, to the bands – it was my first time seeing each of them live and I must say there was not a bad one amongst them – all of them had me foot tapping as I shot the images of the day, and every one of them had a track that hit me instantly, which for bands you have never seen before was quite something.
Growing up on a diet of the indie rock that came out of the north west back in the 90’s combined with the punk influence of Green Day, it was always going to be something that I was going to have an affinity with, so I had a great time shooting them all as they played.
Starting the day off was SecondSon who are a heavy rock / metal band based in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan who have been making music together for over 10 years.
Having last played Haigh Fest in 2011 it was great for them to come back and to kick things off loudly with some crowd-pleasing tracks from their first album along with 4 brand new songs.
The band consists of Mike Gill (vocals and lead guitar), Si Anderton (rhythm guitar), Kate Hodgson (vocals and bass) and Stu Makin on drums.
Next up on stage were The Lines who are made up of 4 members all based in and around the Wigan area.
Dave Martin (Vocals/Guitar), Iain McGuire (Guitar), Martin Hooley, (Bass Guitar) and Neil Hayes (Drums).
The Lines formed mid-2016 and are already selling out shows at the Bailiff Bar, Old Courts in Wigan. They are currently recording their debut album with Wigan Legend John Kettle and hope to have it out early next year.
Their debut track, 'Guilty as Charged’ got radio play and was awarded 'Demo of the Week' by Rick Witter (Shed 7) on Minster FM last October.
Two superb bands to begin with and it didn't end there either.
A change of tone for the next band as the Quaintest Show on Earth took to the stage.
For Haigh Fest the band comprised members both old and new from across the years of and they performed a plethora of original material from the past 4 years from the first album ‘Lucid Dreamer' right up to their most recent release, the new EP ‘Day to Day Parade'
T.W. Jones – (Singer song writer / multi instrumentalist formed the band in 2013)
AJ – (long time drummer)
Michael Bishop – (guest guitarist former original member also known for Ravellas)
Michael Frost – (Keys / piano - produced 2nd album)
Rob Jones – (bass legend - has played across the length and breadth of the country throughout the decades)
"And now for something completely different" – stage presence is something that all artists look for and that can come in all kinds of forms – for some it’s just being up there doing their thing in their own way.
For others, it really is taking over the whole area and the next band up certainly took that title.
With not a single stetson in sight The Stetsons Electric bounced on to the stage.
Shirtless and covered in the most amazing tattoos, lead singer Tommy took up his guitar and played an amazing energetic set with the quieter of the two making sure this 3 piece became a crowd favourite.
The Stetsons Electric are a 3-piece rock and roll band, with undertones of pop punk and witty lyrics like no other. Hailing from Wigan, all three members have played together for many years spanning several projects:
The band played songs with themes such as getting two tickets to watch their own band, being a nana's boy and their bad haircuts and Jesus tattoos.
Once the crowd had recovered from all that energy it was time to welcome the next band up and again another fantastic performance from Inside View.
Another band hailing from Wigan, Inside View are Anthony O'Brien (vocals/guitar), Danny Heaton (guitar/vocals), Will Potts (bass/vocals), and Brett Coop (drums). For Haigh Fest, they also had Georgia Nash as a guest performer on “One Last Time” that closed out their set.
They thought they would do the Ariana Grande cover just as their little tribute to the victims of the Manchester terror attacks. Warmly received by the crowd and I thought that was a nice little touch.
The band have a good connection with event as they filmed some of the video to the song 'Heart on Fire' at Haigh Hall, and performed it live for the very first time at Haigh Fest in 2010!
The final band to appear at Haigh Fest Rewind were The Relays who were formed in 2012 and comprise of Adam Redmond (vocals/guitar), Dean Smith (lead guitar), Paul Hitchen (bass guitar) and Ben Harrington (drums).
A very well-rehearsed and polished band, they closed out the show with some amazing tracks.
Having worked with the likes of Brian Cannon (Microdot) they really did have the confidence and range of material to close out a great day in the sunshine
Hopefully this festival will continue next year and with some slight tweaks to the format it could be something really memorable on the Wigan music scene.
The weather was perfect for the day and although scorching hot on stage, all the bands seemed to have a great time and really enjoyed playing to the public.
All the bands have material out there on Youtube and I have spent all week listening to them and for me as a music lover it has been quite a little unexpected journey to see such talent and all of them from within a few miles of Wigan too!