We go on and on and on about how over-saturated the UK festival scene is - compared to how stale some of the bigger names seem to be feeling lately in terms of facilities and lineups - so it’s always nice when promoters are creative with summer concerts. We already enjoyed Lytham festival last week, with its localised flavour and huge global names, and today we are visiting the south coast of England - New Milton to be precise, bedding in on its huge acreage and five-star hotel setting.
Wholesome four-piece McFly are headlining today’s events, supported thematically and splendidly by The Hoosiers. The promoters of the concert, Senbla, were besieged by issues when they put on a Michael Buble concert just before, ranging from car-park and traffic issues due to punter complaints about being prevented from bringing in their own seats. Senbla, to their credit, have attempted to ensure the McFly concert is hitchless on what at the time was the hottest day of the year - car parks were much more expertly stewarded and any restrictions for bringing in water and soft drink limits were relaxed. Tears For Fears were also set to play this week, but had to cancel the whole rest-of-tour due to Roland’s fractured ribs, which was a shame for the New Milton locals.
It certainly was a hot day, and many of the Golden Circle ticket holders, who paid approximately £30 extra for the privilege of accessing a front section of the concert area, were found laying low in the shade caused by being near the stage. Most outdoor UK events would struggle in the kind of freak heatwave that we are experiencing, and the important thing is access to shade / water refills and low bar queues - and Senbla’s McFly day at Chewton ticked these boxes.
As for the music itself, The Hoosiers were a fun, tight support act with a delicious mix of new songs and millennial-indie anthems - the crowd would have rioted had they not ended with Goodbye Mr. A!
McFly, complete with obsessed fans split in the audience between where their favourite band member stands on stage, delighted everyone by being the headliner that warranted camping out in the unforgiving and blazing sun. Whilst the roadies set the band up, Tom Fletcher’s kids came out to talk to the audience and play some instruments (they had arguably the biggest cheer of the day) and when the band do actually explode onto the stage, it’s wall-to-wall unadulterated fun. The band are so animated and so full of energy that it’s hard to keep track of who is where on stage - in particular the rock-guitar-acrobatics of principal songwriter Tom Fletcher. All the songs are big singalongs, from massive single Obviously to the Queen cover Don’t Stop Me Now. The band even bring out some electrical storm rain to soothe all of the crowd’s heatstroke - we could hardly believe it was rain at first and it doesn’t last long. Even without the extreme weather, nothing would have dampened the McFly fans’ spirit and enjoyment on this feel-good sunday.
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Five Star Fun and Heatstroke!