Eat your heart out, Glastonbury. Sittingbourne's Party in the Park played a blinder.
After a break of two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival bounced back in style on Saturday with non-stop mid-summer music from some of the best local bands around.
But it wasn't without a hitch. Thanks to the British weather, there was a downpour towards the end just as penultimate band The Martellos took to the stage at the Appleyard sports ground off Gore Court Road.
Lead singer Bethany Hunt mused: "We must be the kiss of death. This always happens to us at outdoor events. We were so looking forward to it. We had been booked since last year."
The heavens opened as the band, on their second outing with their latest line-up, began their second number, the Dusty Springfield classic Son Of A Preacher Man. Bethany said afterwards: "It could have been worse. We could have been paying It's Raining Men!"
Although many of the 3,000-strong crowd escaped to their cars, some brave-hearts danced on to the great set. Those who missed it will be kicking themselves.
Strangely, the storm clouds disappeared just at crowd-pleasers Marylebone Jelly began their top-of-the-bill performance following an earlier appearance at Maidstone's first Foodie Fair. Lead singer Ed Austin, who had been sheltering under a brolly with a beer, said: "We should know by now never to trust the weather. But we'll go on and do what we do."
They opened with their new single Human, released that day, to confetti canon and gas jets and drove the crowd of die-hard Jelly fans mad with follow-up songs I Predict A Riot and Everyone Wants To Rule The World. The last time they played the venue they were supporting East 17 and had former bassman Saul Watson in tow.
This time it was Chris 'Riggo' Payne shaking his instrument like a wild thing. He's very much part of the band now, alongside music teacher Louis Newell on guitar, Dave Boulden on keyboards and Neil Ranger on drums.
Also on the bill were eight-piece soul group The Choos featuring vocalists Andy Bean from Iwade and Sophie Tuck-Brown from Sheppey. There was a slight delay when Jamie Vernon's brand new bass failed to work and he had to appeal for one to borrow.
Ska and reggae band The Curb Pilots from Faversham fronted by Sean Pout took no prisoners with their Madness, Bad Manners and The Specials-heavy set before darting off to Ashford for another show.
The most colour-coordinated band were the irrepressible Taking Care of Vegas sporting black shirts, yellow scarves and top tunes from Elvis. Lead singer Steve Daw had treated himself to a new golden shirt and singer/saxophonist Claire Sampson was resplendent in an eye-catching pink-hearted frock. The Sittingbourne band also features Sheppey solicitor James Bancroft on trumpet and Chris Jull from Sheerness on drums.
They fed the crowd giant word-cards to try to elicit some audience participation for The Wonder of You. Alas, spelling at music festivals has never been a strong point.
Festival organiser Mike Farrow said: "It was a shame about the rain but it was a great day with a great atmosphere. Our staff worked extremely hard. We had a fantastic team and a great band line-up."
The sound, stage and lights were once again provided by Sittingbourne firm Triple A Events with DJ Dave Bowles. Music-lovers were also treated to a beer tent, stalls and all the fun of the fair with a big wheel, dodgems and waltzer.