photo credit: Rachel Young
A couple of year’s back, the classic rock extravaganza name High Voltage Festival seemed to pop up and then vanish after a few short lived years. All of a sudden a new classic rock festival pops up, entitled `Ramblin Man Fair’ and situated in the picturesque Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent. Headlined by `Scorpions’ and `Gregg Allman’ its inaugural year, you know it’s already out to mean business.
Approaching the stage to what last night was the scene that even Noah would have built his ark in preparation, but as of opening the festival is array with sunshine and a building crowd emerging from whatever hole from whence they came for a day of quality classic rock.
Toseland (6) are a quintessential modern rock band, full of bounce and swagger and a fun way to get your tastes salivating, did you know that their lead singer is also the World Superbike champion James Toseland? Pretty cool, really.
Having the choice of a tonne of acts over 3 stages at festivals, it’s definitely a good idea to run over to check out what’s on offer and the Prog stage with its sparkling banners shows off a medley of overblown keyboard solos with an audience clapping in whatever crazy time signature they derive and Hemel Hempstead’s own `Touchstone’ (6) personifies that with their version of `Mad World’ with added keyboard solo.
Back to the main stage for `Blue Oyster Cult’ (7), who without doubt set the first standard for a sing-along moment of the festival with the classic `Don’t Fear The Reaper’ with the audience bellowing back as loud as the PA, proving that even since 1967 when the band first formed they are still as strong today.
Up next NWOBHM stalwarts `Saxon’ (8) gave the festival a metallic edge, rocking the Maidstone night air with Metal tunage `Denim and Leather’ and `Wheels Of Steel’ before laying the ground for American Prog Metal virtuoso’s `Dream Theater’ (8) setting up the first elaborate stage show along with musicianship that makes most of us scratch our heads in disbelief, marching through 13 songs such as `Panic Attack’, `Constant Motion’ and `Behind The Veil’, Dream Theater certainly prove that prog metal is still alive and kicking in the 21st century.
Our headliners for tonight and Germany’s own classic rock heroes `Scorpions’ (10), who quite simply stole the night with their brand of hard rock tunes and ballads they turn Maidstone’s cool night air into one of breath taking majesty hitting it up with `Wind Of Change’ and `Rock You Like A Hurricane’ proves that the best in the business knows how to pull the heart strings as well as getting those heads bouncing. It’s fantastic to see a band that’s been in the business for 40+ years and still hitting it up strong, quite simply the perfect end to a classic night.
New festivals tend not to be around for long but with this one being backed Team Rock and co. it’s highly likely we will see the `Ramblin Man Fair’ return again especially in Maidstone’s Mote Park with its stunning grounds seems to the ideal placement for a classic rock festival to return year on year.
Live Long and Rock on Ramblin Man Fair.