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Hop Farm Music Festival at Paddock Wood gets underway with Ray Davies, Brian Wilson, Grace Jones, James Blunt

By Claire McWethy

Thousands of music lovers have been enjoying big name acts at the Hop Farm Music Festival.

But there was disappointment today for fans of Chas & Dave as it was announced they would not be playing the Jazz and Blues Lounge as advertised.

Instead, they will play on the main stage on Sunday.

The three-day extravaganza, which has the capacity for 20,000 fans, kicked off last night, with former Kinks frontman Ray Davies headlining.

He is joined at the top of the billing with Beach Boy Brian Wilson tonight while singer, actress and model Grace Jones is due to steal the spotlight on Sunday.

Beach Boy Brian Wilson will be headlining the Hop Farm Festival
Grace Jones
Ray Davies
Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds takes to the stage.

Also on the line-up is James Blunt, Deacon Blue, Curtis Stigers, Echo and the Bunnymen and the Lightning Seeds.

Former Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton revealed it was his first time performing in Kent and joked as he was in the garden of England it should make him the Alan Titchmarsh of music before belting out hits such as Caravan of Love, Happy Hour and Rotterdam to an admiring audience.

Enjoying the sun and the music at the Hop Farm Music Festival in Paddock Wood.

10cc proved they could still pull it off after four decades in the industry and seduced the crowd with their melodic hits including I'm Not in Love.

hop farm festival day one

Some big names entertained the thousands at the first day of the Hop Farm

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Ian McCulloch from Echo & The Bunnymen Paul Heaton, who performed with Jacqui Abbott Watching the acts The crowds are entertained at The Hop Farm Music Festival. Enjoying the music

The comedy tent proved popular, with appearances from the likes of Jo Brand, Rich Hall, Russell Kane, quirky Irish hip-hop singing comedy act Abandonman providing belly laughs aplenty and street style carnival fun from The Flying Seagull Project.

One festivalgoer, Jo Charles from Chatham Road, Maidstone, said: "It's been great so far, with really great music and some varied entertainment."

The Hop Farm Music Festival

The Hughes' family had travelled from Hadleigh in Suffolk to see the line-up.

Mum Annette, who was joined by husband John and teenage children Alex and Sarah, complemented organisers for the facilities and praised the crowd for their courteous behaviour which she said was not always present at other music festivals.

She said: "We've been to a number of festivals over the years, but I have to say this is the best so far. People are so friendly and polite and it's nice to have something for all age groups. It's a great venue and I can't wait to see Grace Jones."

There was also disappointment for up and coming local bands, after the Rising Talent stage was cancelled in a last minute move.

The festival itself was cancelled last year following poor ticket sales but has returned under a new promoter.

The previous organiser, Vince Power, attracted stars such as headliners including Prince and Bob Dylan to the Hop Farm, and is this year set to hold a his rival event.

For the full line-up details and ticket info head to www.thehopfarmfestival.com

The festival is held at the Hop Farm Family Park, near Paddock Wood, until Sunday (July 6). Adult day tickets from £68. Call 0845 0756101 for more details.

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