Festival Review by Ken Harrison with Photography by Ken Harrison and Drew Kirkland

Ordinary_Boys-2

Coventry War Memorial Park is the home of Godiva Festival. Now in its 16th year, Godiva played host this weekend to an audience of around 125,000 for three days of live music, street theatre, comedy and disco as well as a host of family and community activities. The music was a diverse range of rock, indie, pop, punk, ska, rap, including local talent aplenty, with a number of Godiva Calling competition winners performing on both of the main stages. With music coming from established and up and coming artists Godiva, brought a great mix of the old and new, and best of all it was all free. (Yes free!!)

Yes Sunshine

Godiva FestivalGodiva Festival

Godiva Festival

Stone Foundation

Godiva Festival

Godiva FestivalGodiva Festival

Godiva Festival

The Selecter

Godiva Festival

Godiva FestivalGodiva Festival

Godiva Festival

On a very damp Friday night the opening acts were Yes Sunshine and Stone Foundation followed by “Two-Tone” local legends The Selecter led by Pauline Black getting the audience bouncing with some classic “Two-Tone” hits  including “On My Radio”, “Three Minute Hero and “Missing Words”.

The Buzzcocks

Godiva Festival

Buzzcocks-4Buzzcocks-2

Original Punk Pioneers “The Buzzcocks” closed Friday night’s proceedings on the main stage with an hour long set. Pete Shelley, replete with large beard, looks as far removed from an angry young man of his punk days, as you could possibly imagine, and is very unassuming on stage, but his guitar playing is note perfect and his vocal although on occasion lost within the very loud Buzzcocks sound, is still at his trademark higher pitch.

The Buzzcocks

Godiva Festival

Steve Diggle, on the other hand is still snarling and spitting at the world and jumps around the stage with the energy of a much younger bloke. The audience were treated to cavalcade of Buzzcocks tracks  including “Boredom”, “Breakdown”, “You Say You Don’t Love Me”, “Promises”, “What Do I Get?” “Harmony In My Head” and for an encore with Diggle on Vocal “Bring the F****** sky down!” for “Ever Fallen In Love?” and set closer “Orgasm Addict”.

Spooky Wagons

Spooky Wagons-4

Spooky Wagons-1Spooky Wagons-2

Spooky Wagons-3

The Prophets

The Prophets-5

The Prophets-1The Prophets-2

Hula Girls

Hula Girls-4

Godiva Festival

Swamp Donkey

Swamp Donkey-1Swamp Donkey-5

Godiva Festival

Jimmy Weston

Godiva FestivalGodiva Festival

Godiva FestivalGodiva Festival

Young Aviators

Godiva Festival

Godiva Festival

Little Matador

Godiva Festival

Godiva FestivalGodiva Festival

Saturday’s glorious summer sunshine brought thousands to the festival, and the packed out main stage area (sponsored by Kerrang) saw much eating drinking and other merriment whilst enjoying the diverse rang of acts including a number of Coventry based bands gracing the stage. Spooky Wagons, The Prophets (a Pop-Punk outfit and both Godiva Calling winners), Hula Girls, Swamp Donkey (whose lead singer left the stage with blood coming from his head due to heavy use of his microphone) with Jimmy Weston, Young Aviators and Little Matador all getting the crowd warmed up for the evening set.

Funeral For A Friend

Godiva Festival

FFAF-5FFAF-4

Godiva Festival

Funeral For A Friend played an exuberant set, to a packed crowd of what seemed to be predominantly teenage girls. Full of energy, the bass player took a massive slip on stage and ended up on his back to much amusement from his bandmates, but he got back up, dusted himself off and carried on playing with as much gusto as before.

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobious

Godiva Festival

Godiva FestivalGodiva Festival

Godiva Festival

We Are Scientists

We Are Scientists-4

We Are Scientists-5We Are Scientists-2

Godiva Festival

Happy Mondays

Happy Mondays-5

Godiva Festival

Happy Mondays-2

With Dan Le Sac vs Scroobious Pip (in their final set of shows before breaking up) and We Are Scientists following on, the Happy Mondays closed the main stage with some Madchester Melon Twisting Magic. Bez, wide-eyed and his dancing as freaky as ever, roamed around the stage with his maracas. Shaun Ryder, seemed to take a more laid back approach, preferring to stand a little way back from the front of stage. A great close to a great day.

King Hammond

King Hammond-1King Hammond-4

Roddy Radiation

Roddy Radiation-5

Roddy Radiation-2Roddy Radiation-4

Neville Staple

Neville Staple-2

Neville Staple-1Neville Staple-4

Cream Ov Da Crop

CODC-4

CODC-3

Over in the Rhythm Tent, it had been a Ska kinda day, with new and established acts taking the stage. Barb’d Wire, King Hammond, Roddy Radiation and the Skabilly Rebels covering a couple of Specials tracks “Concrete Jungle” and “Rat Race”. Fellow Special and Fun Boy Three’s Neville Staple, followed on with his band coming on stage to chants of “Rude Boy” to perform a few Specials, Fun Boy Three (Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum) and classic tracks such as “Johnny Too Bad” and ‘Monkey Man”. Staple tells the audience of his appreciation for Coventry Hospital who have “pulled” him through two strokes, and dodgy knees, but he performs so well you’d never know it. The Rhythm Tent is then taken over for an evening of Rap and Funky House acts beginning with Cream ov da Crop and Afrojosh (who is filming a video as part of his set) and many others. The tent is packed to the rafters with a younger contingent of fans.

The Mariachis

Mariachis-3

Mariachis-1

The final day of Godiva starts off with Mariachis (yes the Dorito’s guys) playing the first of two sets at the festival. With BIG Mexican sombreros, the band cover classic hits in a Mexican Stylee, which works surprisingly well. “Final Countdown” Status Quo’s “Whatever You Want” and “Don’t You Want Me” are all given the Mariachis treatment. The crowd enjoyed their performance, but this band would really set a crowd hotter than a Jalapeño if they played later in the evening, when everyone is well fed and tequila’d. What a great party band. Over in the Rhythm tent, a host of local young talent is on show from bands, solo singers, choirs to dance troupes on the intimate stage.

David Sanders

David Sanders-4

David Sanders-5

HE IS A PEGASUS

HE_IS_A_PEGASUS-3HE_IS_A_PEGASUS-4

Nina Baker

Nina_Baker-5

Nina_Baker-1

Batsch

Godiva Festival

Godiva Festival

Godiva Festival

Uptown Ska Collective

Uptown_Ska_Collective-1

Uptown_Ska_Collective-3Uptown_Ska_Collective-4

Godiva Festival

Back to the Main Stage and another couple of Godiva Calling acts (David Sanders and HE IS A PEGASUS) follow on from the Dorito’s guys. Nina Baker and then Batsch are up next before former Special (and artist) Horace Panter brings his Uptown Ska Collective to the stage for forty minutes of classic songs including “Son Of A Preacher Man” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. Asking if anyone is “in from Coventry” and getting a big cheer from the crowd “I’ll be alright for a lift home then!”

The Ordinary Boys

Ordinary_Boys-1

Godiva Festival

Godiva Festival

Samuel Preston (aka Preston) has brought back The Ordinary Boys from a long hiatus for a few shows. During their short energetic set, Preston is running around the stage and getting the crowd going, but the biggest cheers being reserved for “Boys Will Be Boys”.

Lightning Seeds

Lightning_Seeds-1

Lightning_Seeds-3Godiva Festival

The final act of the festival is Lightning Seeds, formed by Ian Broudie, the one-time Echo and The Bunnymen producer brings his band to Godiva, and rather aptly brings some damp weather, including the odd flash of lightning and a few rumbles of thunder.

Lightning Seeds

Godiva Festival

The “Seeds’ soon get everyone singing their upbeat poppy tunes, as the crowd hide under bin liners and umbrellas during the showers and joining in with “Sense” “Marvellous” “Life Of Reilly”, “Lucky You”, “Pure” and closing the set and the festival with ‘Sugar Coated Iceberg”. Note that “Three Lions” did not make an appearance… and given England’s early World Cup exit, quite right too.

Crowd-1

Over three days at Godiva over 150 acts to suit all tastes performed to a good natured crowd in a well organised festival, and even the weather was kind (mostly). If you want a weekend of fun (and you can bring the family), Godiva is certainly a good bet. Bring on Godiva No 17 in 2015, I’ll be back to join in the fun.

Click here to see the complete Godiva Festival photo set on GJ’s Flickr. (438 glorious images!)

Leave a Reply