Described as 'an eclectic weekend' is held in the Historical Priory park next to a beautiful 13th Century Chapel. Part of the Festival of Chichester, West Sussex, the festival had a mix of Jazz, rock and blues, tasty food stalls, bars and two stages.
Three days of music saw headliners, Georgie Fame, Tony Christie, Dodgy, Hugh Cornwell, Chris Farlowe and Jim Cregan.
On Friday the first main stage act was Soul of Santana, comprising of Steve Freeman on guitar, vocalist Morne Gabriels, Keyboardist Chelle Free and a large percussion section. They played Santana hits: 'Black Magic Woman', 'Oye Como Va', 'Maria Maria', 'Just Feel Better' and 'The Sensitive Kind' all to great applause from the crowd. Dressed mainly in black the band had a great connection between band members and were a great start to the festival.
Next the Mainstage saw the Deborah Bonham Band, sister of the late Led Zepplin drummer Jon Bonham clearly giving a strong Led Zepplin influence coming through in many songs. Deborah, who's sung with artists such as Robert Plant and Paul Rodgers has a strong voice with a Bonnie Tyler/Stevie Nicks sound and played tracks from her newly released album 'Spirit'. Guest starring Chris Farlowe, the 76 year old Londoner, dressed Rockabilly style was a real crowd pleaser who brought some laughs and tunes of his own to the act. He played the Patty Loveless track 'I Just Wanna be Loved by You', 'Stormy Monday' (his own), 'Handbags and Gladrags' produced by Mike D-Abo and 'Been a long time' and 'Train kept A-Rolling' by Led Zepplin. He also played his No1 hit single 'Out of Time' written by the stones, which he had performed at Wembley Arena to mark the 50th anniversary of England Football teams 1966 victory.
The last act for Friday Mainstage was Jazz, Rhythm and blues singer Georgie Fame. Previously working with Van Morrison and Bill Wyman he came with a family trio and clearly had a big following. On the organ keyboard Georgie's sound had Nina Simone influences, Ray Charles, Louis Jordan, Jim Reeves, Mose Allison and there were some great guitar solos by the family. Songs played were: 'Green Onions', 'Don't Send me Flowers' and his No1 hit, 'The Ballard of Bonnie and Clyde'.
Saturday in the sun brought 90's band Dodgy to the stage. From the Brit pop era but influenced by Crosby, Stills and Nash there was Lead Singer and guitarist Nigel Clark (he's still hot ladies!), Drummer Matthew Priest who's also been a drummer with lightening seeds amongst other bands and Stu Thoy on bass also played the harmonica. Hits played were: 'So Let Me Go Far', Staying out for the summer' and 'Grassman' from the '94 album Homegrown with some nice harmonies. They had everybody singing along, dancing and cheering. They played 'Water Under the Bridge' ('93 The Dodgy Album'), 'California Gold', 'Never stop' and 'A Mended Heart' from their latest 2016 Album, 'What are we Fighting for', definitely worth a listen. Nigel was very charismatic and engaging with the crowd describing the stories of their songs before most tracks he told us 'California Gold' was a song about about Cornish miners who went over to Calfornia to make money to send home, some came back, some didn't. From the '96 Album 'Free Peace Sweet' they played, 'Found you' (explaining that it was an enviromental song) and 'If you're Thinking of Me' which had a lovely David Bowie vibe to it, had me thinking of Major Tom. Also 'In a Room' and the hit track 'Good Enough' had everybody up and dancing.
Saturday's next mainstage act was Hugh Cornwell. Previously the vocalist and Guitarist for the Stranglers, Cornwell talked about coming down to visit the local town of Selsey and hanging out on Selsey Bill in his younger days which connected him to the audience to begin with and things only got better. Playing in his preferred musical trio format with a bassist and drummer he played tracks from his album 'Totem and Taboo' as well as from his Monster and Wolf albums. Then he played Stranglers hits, 'Always the Sun', 'No More Heroes', 'Walk On By' followed by 'Hanging Around' which all had the crowd quickly gather together singing along and cheering.
On the final day of this weekend in the sun the first mainstage act was Abba Chique the Abba Tribute band. The Swedish tribute band all dressed in glittery Abba style outfits had everybody up singing and dancing. Unsurprisingly most people knew all the words so there were a few great moments there. Songs played were: 'Give Me a Man After Midnight', 'Super Trooper', 'Voulez Vous', 'Mama Mia', 'Dancing Queen', 'Thank You for the Music'.
Sunday mainstage next was Pop Trio S Club. Singing and dancing with backing music the younger crowd stood up singing along for most of it. There was great audience interaction and fun, it definitely livened everyone up in the increasing heat. Tracks played included 'Aint no Party Like an S club Party' from the 1999 'S club' album. Their first single 'Bring it All Back', Disco hit 'Don't Stop Moving' from the 2001 album 'Sunshine', and 'Reach' from the 2000 '7' album.
Second to last on the Sunday Mainstage was the Jim Cregan Band with Jonny Blaize. 71 year old Jim Cregan on lead guitar and vocals was looking very smart in a suit and neck scarf . The band included Pat Mills Bassist, Sam Tanner on keyboards, and Jonny Blaize on vocals. Strictly Come Dancing singer Jonny Blaize, very chic and tidy in a peak cap and suit stole the limelight a bit with his beautiful singing, charm, and a lovely smile. Most noticeably this Band looked like they were having a lot of fun together! They played Rod Stewart's No 1 hit 'Baby Jane' then, 'Forever Young' written by Rod Stewart and Kevin Savigar. 'Hot Legs', 'You're in my Heart' and 'Young Turks' again Rod Stewart hits. 'Young Turks' really had the crowd up and dancing and with a reggae twist at end, the group gathered and danced together. 'I Don't Wanna Talk About It' (nice riffs from Jim) Jim Cregans 1975 hit, 'Make Me Smile', Rod Stewart's 'Maggie May' played with some lovely ukulele and they finished off with Sam Cooke's 1962 hit 'Twisting the Night Away'.
The last act of the weekend was the legendary Tony Christie. The 74 year old Tony Christie was looking very sharp dressed in a Salmon Pink suit and waist coat. Starting his career in the '70s he's tried for Eurovision, made a guest appearance in Emmerdale aswell as having numerous chart hits. Before each song he gave things a nice touch by reminiscing and telling the stories behind them making a good connection between him and the audience. Playing with a large band consiting of trumpet, sax, keyboard, several guitars and drums he brought some real classics to the table. He played UK Chart singles, 'Las Vegas', 'Amarillo' (to great cheers from the crowd), 'I Did What I Did for Maria' and 'Avenues and Alleyways'. He also played the hit 'Walk Like a Panther' written for him by Jarvis Cocker, he described it as 'quirky' to lots of giggles from the crowd. Other tracks included: 'She's the Only One', 'The Key of U' from the 'Nows the Time' album, 'Don't go Down to Reno' from his '93 album In Love again, 'Damned' and 'Jezebel'. Finishing off with a cover of the Smokey Robinson hit, 'Shop Around'. Christie is a real showman, his professionalism and many years experience in the business just oozes out of him, a pleasure to watch.
All in all, this festival with a mixture of new and old, old and young acts, really was an eclectic weekend. There were plenty of good food and drink options, friendly staff and for a small festival I would really recommend it.
latest on this festival
line-ups & rumours
festival home page
Priory Park 2017 review