Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Chris Bowley

The sun beat down on Maidstone’s Mote Park for one of the hottest weekends of the year and Ramblin’ Man Fair 2018. Billed as the UK’s top prog Rock, blues and country festival the masses flocked to the popular weekend.

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After prior disgruntlement from festival goers regarded the lineup, organisers did not fail to get the best of the best of the current scene, boasting something for everyone.

Mott The Hoople (123)

Vibrant colours filled the field adorned with bright decorations, stores selling garments, memorabilia and lots of other weird and wonderful creations. Aromas from culinary delights the festival had to offer filled the air alongside beer tents keeping the masses hydrated. Billed as a family festival, the atmosphere was relaxed in comparison to some of the other heavy rock festivals, the chilled and mellow vibe attracting rockers of all ages from tots to teens to eighty year olds.

The Dust Coda (17)

The Dust Coda (15)

The Dust Coda (21)

On the Rising Stage The Dust Coda warmed up the crowd even in the scorching temperatures, with their rock meets soulful sounds the crowd clapped along waving their hands in the air at the awesome guitair riffs and catchy lyrics. The Rising Souls were also ones to watch on the upcoming stage. Scotland’s favourites their contemporary rock sound and cool stance left the youthful crowd watching wanting more. Strobed lights flickered accross the stage in time with hit ‘Push up’ as the crowd went crazy.

The Rising Souls (33)

The Rising Souls (3)

therapy 2 (10)

Therapy (47)

Therapy? and The Cadillac Three treated the crowd to a mass of hits and heavy rock rifts, however it was Los Angeles glam metal rockers Steel Panther who recieved a rip roaring reception after the hullaballloo on social media previously where festival goers accused them of not being the right genre for the festival.

The Cadillac Three (2)

The Cadillac Three (11)

The Cadillac Three (41)

Michael, Satchel, Stixx and Lexxi blew the cobwebs and cowboy hats off the heads with an energetic set from opening with ‘Eye Of The Panther’ and ‘Poontang Boomerang’. Their set included tongue in cheek favourites ‘Asian Hookah’, ‘Gloryhole’ and ‘Community Property’. The crowd looked on in awe as their lycra and big hair, the set came to a finale with ‘Death To All But Metal’ winning over new fans and leaving existing ones satisfied in every way shape and form, they were even spotted throughout the weekend sampling the stalls Ramblin’ Man had to offer.

Steel Panther (14)

Steel Panther (116)

Steel Panther (86)

With Saturday drawing to a close, it was time for 70’s English rockers Mott the Hoople they entered the stage to cheers and cries from the crowd. Following on from ‘All the Young Dudes’ that graced the stage earlier in the day. Much to the delight of the crowd, frontman Ian Hunter kept the crowd rocking until the sun went down with hits ‘Alice’, ‘Rest In Peace’ and ‘I Wish I was Your Mother’. Pacing around the stage the audience cheered with delight as the first night came to a close.

Mott The Hoople (9)

Mott The Hoople (74)

Mott The Hoople (2)

Sunday:

Day 2’s weather followed the same trend as the first day, burning hot sun making up for the previous year’s mud!

Over on the Prog Stage Fish’s guitar rifts filled the area, leaving spectators agasp with what they had witnessed. Technical issues caused a delay to the set but they soldiered on to make sure the audience enjoyed the immense performance. Casually dressed in a black t-shirt and scarf draped around his neck the band powered through audience favourites ‘Sugar Mice’ and ‘State of Mind’ creating huge cheers from the mature crowd.

Blackberry Smoke (24)

Denim clad Blackberry Smoke were a highlight for the main stage with relaxed beats, lead vocalist Charlie’s charisma had the crowd stomping and clapping along to ‘Six Ways to Sunday’ and ‘Sleeping Dogs’. The audience screamed loudly as the band powered through their set eager for more.

Blackberry Smoke (18)

Blackberry Smoke (14)

Blackberry Smoke (8)

It was headliners The Cult who failed to disappoint with Billy Duffy on guitars and Ian Astbury on vocals the British rock band wowed the audience as they bursted into ‘Wallflower’ with Astbury’s vocals sounding as good as ever.

The Cult (4)

The Cult (47)

Duffy parading around the stage strumming on his instrument with the coolest stance in rock, Ramblin’ Man was treated to a rip rocking setlist including ‘Rain’, ‘Dark Energy’ and ‘Spirit Walker’.

With Ian’s tousled hair was dragged up into a man bun, he calmly interacted with the audience in between songs gaining rave applause. The diverse setlist combining rock, psychedelia, goth and everything inbetween had the audience captivated offering something for everyone. Eighties classic ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ highlighted Billy Duffy’s epic guitair skills as he tossed picks into the crowd.

The Cult (9)

The Cult (7)

The stage fell into darkness and completed yet another year of fantastic festival hustle and bustle, the masses excitedly exclaiming how much fun they had and what a fantastic weekend they had.

See the full photoset by Chris from this year’s Ramblin’ Man Fair 2018 here.

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