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Review: A New Day Festival, Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham

There is something other-worldly about A New Day Festival.

The name, for starters, is a bit of an oxymoron. It should, perhaps, be called Old Codgers' Day Festival, based on the number of fans of a certain age mixing peppermint tea and real ale with scones and noodles.

The time-warp music fest is the very definition of eclectic.

Crowds at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861451)
Crowds at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861451)

The majority of acts, too, reached a certain age many years ago and now are best described as 'veterans.'

Yet they rock like there's no tomorrow in the natural amphitheatre which is Mount Ephraim Gardens hidden in the Kent backwater village of Hernhill nestling on the Downs between Faversham and Canterbury.

Mungo Jerry drummer Bob White arrived in the nick of time at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861464)
Mungo Jerry drummer Bob White arrived in the nick of time at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861464)

It is not the easiest place to find, as bewildered drummer Bob White discovered on Sundaywhen he ended up lost and landed on stage with his kit while the rest of Ray Dorset's Mungo Jerry band were already sound-checking.

He must have been in a right two-and-eight but despite his initial fluster the six-piece band produced a stonking set with, of course, their 1970 number one In The Summertime and its distinctive Chh chh-chh, uh, chh chh-chh, uh lyrics.

Mungo Jerry at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861469)
Mungo Jerry at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861469)
Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861486)
Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861486)

The band also produced a different version of the Kelly Marie hit Feels Like I'm In Love which Dorset had originally written for Elvis Presley.

As the daylight began to fade, Dorset, 73 and still sporting a full head of jet-black Afro hair and sideburns, was about to be upstaged by 70-year-old Andy Scott, with flowing blond hair, the last founder member of glamrockers The Sweet.

They proved they are still a force to be reckoned with as they powered through a non-stop party set with classics like Blockbuster, Hell Raiser, Wig Wam Bam, Teenage Rampage, Little Willy, Fox On The Run and Ballroom Blitz.

The Sweet at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861899)
The Sweet at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861899)
The Sweet at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861897)
The Sweet at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861897)

Sunday had been bitter-sweet, if you pardon the pun. Shortly before The Sweet took to the stage, festival organisers and roadies paid tribute to Kent-based Irish rocker Bernie Torme who had played a sensational set the year before and then died of pneumonia on March 17 this year, the day before what would have been his 67th birthday.

In a touching ceremony instead of a minute's silence the audience was treated to the final howls of sustained feedback from his guitar propped against his old Marshall amplifier.

Tribute to the late Bernie Torme at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861867)
Tribute to the late Bernie Torme at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861867)

Sunday's line-up featured True Deceivers, Stonewire, Leatherat, Jawbone, The Regulars, Bad Touch, Martin Turner from Wishbone Ash and Uli Jon Roth from German rockers The Scorpions.

The festival was closed by eccentric Canvey Island guitarist Wilko Johnson from Dr Feelgood and The Blockheads, backed by his old sparring partner Norman Watt-Roy on bass.

Guitar 'stabber' Wilko Johnson of Dr Feelgood and the Blockheads with veteran bassman Norman Watt-Roy closed the New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861917)
Guitar 'stabber' Wilko Johnson of Dr Feelgood and the Blockheads with veteran bassman Norman Watt-Roy closed the New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861917)

The three-day bash also featured Focus, guitarist Martin Barre celebrating 50 years of Jethro Tull, Glenn Hughes singing classic Deep Purple, the Climax Blues Band, Soft Machine and the Hawklords.

* Why A New Day? The rockfest is named after a Jethro Tull magazine called A New Day launched by festival organiser Dave Rees back in 1985. The festival will return next year for its fifth anniversary over the summer bank holiday on August 28-30. Details from www.anewdayfestival.com

Uli Jon Roth from German rock band The Scorpions at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861869)
Uli Jon Roth from German rock band The Scorpions at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861869)
Crowds at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861445)
Crowds at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861445)
The Sweet at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861913)
The Sweet at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham (14861913)

For more ideas on days out and things to do or read reviews, head to our What’s On section here.


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