The Damned at The Wychwood Festival
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Day one - The Wychwood Festival 2012 - 08.06.12

Mercifully, the rain held off for the start of one of my favourites of the festival season - the wonderful Wychwood at Cheltenham Racecourse, which again featured selected acts picked by the BBC Introducing shows from Gloucester, Wales, Wiltshire, Oxford, Bristol, Coventry & Warwickshire - and of course Hereford & Worcester. A fine choice by the organisers to kick-start what would be an amazing weekend with our own Roving Crows, who set the feelgood stall out for the next couple of days with their sparkling ditties like Mary and Long Time Dead. I was very taken with their version of The Devil Went Down To Georgia - which went down itself with a whole of whooping and a-hollering!

It's probably fair to say that I've learned that trying to stage-manage as well as do a live broadcast isn't that easy - and one or two of the more perceptive listeners may have picked up on that! But I've gotta say a massive thanks to Evesham's I Am Ryan for playing till they dropped to sort out the timing problems - thanks muchly guys! And much kudos due to those Roving Crows for picking up I Am Ryan's baton and playing a bonus set for us on the Introducing Stage and really getting the atmosphere buzzing. This was a real 'show must go on' event and credit to both bands for making it happen - and a special mention to Caitlin of the Crows for helping the BBC Wales band that followed them - great stuff!

I'd soundchecked in the press tent right by the main stage earlier while the Roving Crows were playing their semi-acoustic folk - so it was hardly surprising that I could barely hear myself when Friday headliners The Damned hit the stage - but gotta say that I'd rather hear great ditties like I Just Can't Be Happy Today and Smash It Up (only the short version tonight) rather than my own inconsequential ramblings. The 1970's punk originals are still the slap-happy knockabout act of total fun and enjoyment who still refuse to take themselves seriously - and thank goodness for that! I'm not sure their legacy will be with their own great numbers like History Of The World and punk classic New Rose - or their incredible revivals of otherwise great-but-obscure 60's numbers like Eloise and Alone Again Or - but they're #4 in my own personal greatest acts of all time.

Andy O'Hare

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