Plenty of covers on stage in the heat at Jack Up Summer Party

Jack Up the Summer 2022 review

By Steve Collins | Published: Tue 30th Aug 2022

around the site

Jack Up Summer Party 2022

Saturday 13th to Sunday 14th August 2022
Hazelgrove Farm, Ashey Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 4BD, England MAP
£57.75 weekend / £28.60 (13-17 yrs), Day tickets £33 / £16.50
Daily capacity: 499

It’s been an interesting few years for festivals and festival-goers alike, and I do mean that in the Chinese sense. As the cost of living bites hard into people’s wallets, there’s increasing pressure to deliver an experience on par with what the fans expect, while at the same time giving value for money. The result can be unsustainable for both parties, leaving fans disappointed, and organisers frustrated.

Jack Up Events are approaching the tenth anniversary of their festival, first as Jack up the 80s, then Jack Up The Summer to reflect a broader range of artists. Having weathered high winds and COVID-19 and pulled a festival out of the bag in 2021, the organisers took the decision this year to park the main festival and launch a new leaner event for 2022. So what’s different? First and most obvious is that the event is now a tribute festival – they were always a fundamental part of the festival but now the main thrust of the event. Second is that the festival has their own permanent site, just outside Ryde in the fields of Retro Staycations. 

around

Getting onto site is a breeze, with parking right next to the arena. Also available (although not well advertised) was the option to bring a campervan on site and stay overnight for a pretty reasonable £10 per night - one of the advantages of the venue being a campsite the rest of the year and having the facilities.
First thing that strikes you as you enter is the row of vintage Airstream caravans (the big chrome units that became so iconic in the US in the 50s) along the side of the field. These make up the VIP option - where you can sit outside your own caravan and watch the show unfold. This theme continues into the main stage - an Airstream converted into a self-contained stage, which looks pretty cool in the sunshine.

Around the other sides of the arena is the usual slew of food and drink stalls, and a small funfair towards the back. Drink selections are pretty good, with several ales and ciders on offer as well as a range of soft drinks and coffees. Food options are the usual selection of pizza and burger stalls, as well as nachos. What we had was pretty tasty and most options are still under £10 for a decent portion.

food

At the back is a small funfair and a slushie stall – the latter being very popular due to climate change bringing 30-degree heat to the event. Finishing up the edges were toilets (commendation has to be given to the team for keeping these clean and fresh despite the temperatures), and an open sided marquee for those needing to seek shelter from the heat. Being of a braver sort (and having liberally applied sun cream) we ventured out into the main crowd and grabbed a spot in the sun. One of the nice things about the slimmed-down version is that there is plenty of space to be had, and so at no point was it a struggle to move about. I suspect this may not last as the event beds into the local schedule and numbers rise, but for now it’s pretty welcome.

As previously mentioned, the line-up is mostly tribute acts, but this is not to the festival’s demerit, as the generally high calibre of artists performing mean you soon forget that these are just imitators. Highlight of the Saturday came from Real Dead Ringer, ‘Meat Loaf’s’ vocal was note perfect. Supported by a full live band, and a female vocalist who easily covered off the female vocals provided by the likes of Cher and Mrs Loud in the original songs.

Simon Howard

Another note perfect performer was Simon Howard, whose Tom Jones vocal didn’t just replicate the booming base but also extended into a pretty accurate impression. Kudos had to be added for him performing in a full high collar suit despite the heat.

Finishing off the day were local band Ska’d For Life – they’ve been festival regulars since it started in 2013, and always popular. The nine-strong line-up were a little cramped on the smaller stage, but if they weren’t able to dance about as much as they’d have liked, there was plenty of space for the exuberant crowd to do it for them – especially now the day had cooled off a bit. With an excellent set – mainly drawn from 80s Ska bands such as Madness and The Specials, they were a great end to the day.

As we sit between the two days, it feels appropriate to mention the band that performed both days. Crowdeoke is a new take on Karaoke – where a live band perform classic songs, and an exuberant frontman runs around the crowd encouraging them to sing the lyrics displayed on the screens. It was an interesting concept and I can see that in a club setting it could be pretty good. But I felt that it didn’t quite work in the open arena where the lead singer was lost at times. Also it was difficult to see the lyrics on stage from further back, and the decision to play medleys rather than full songs meant that often a song was just getting going, only to be pulled for another song. That said, it did draw a decent crowd to the front, and those who engaged certainly enjoyed it.

crowdeoke

Sunday brought a bit of cloud cover and some welcome respite from the sun, if not the heat. The afternoon started with a solid performance from Jersey Guys, performing hits of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Crowdeoke and a slightly lacklustre set from MDNA – A Madonna tribute followed through the afternoon. But the peak of the day were the evening acts. First was Go Span Duran A covers band who focussed on the hits of Go West, Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran. Comfortably switching between the music of the bands, and even moving into a ‘Top of the Pops’ section bringing in the likes of Nik Kershaw and Tears for Fears’, they put on a great show and really captured the sounds of the 80s (the guitarist probably wasn’t even a glint in his parents eyes back then - even the lead singer quipped that he had socks older than him).

Finishing the evening was Rob Lamberti – whose George Michael performance was probably the highlight of the weekend. Slipping comfortably between solo and Wham! era songs, he soon had caught the audiences attention, and managed to gather the first true crowd to the front – the festival attracts a pretty laid back crowd and it takes a lot to convince them to get out of their folding chairs. Rob did keep threatening to play Last Christmas, although the amount of times he mentioned this suggested he was keener to do it than crowd were for him to do so. Thankfully Christmas cheese didn’t make an appearance, finishing with a fantastic performance of Wake me up before you go-go.

Rob Lamberti

I know it’s easy to dismiss covers and tribute bands as pale imitations, but when you get a good one such as Rob Lamberti or Real Dead Ringer, it provides a chance to relive the songs of these performers It may just be nostalgia, but given the state of the world, the chance to relive your past can be welcome.

Jack Up Summer Party may be smaller and lack the bands it had previously, but it has pulled of the difficult trick of maintaining the vibe of previous events in a smaller package. The heart of the original festival is there and very much present, and remains one of the highlights of the summer season on the Isle of Wight. We’re already looking forward to next year.


review by: Steve Collins

photos by: Steve Collins


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