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Forest Live with Graeme Park of Hacienda Classical, Foals and Paul Weller at Bedgebury Pinetum

By Angela Cole

A chance meeting in a lift led to the clubbing cross-over Hacienda Classical, which comes to Bedgebury Pinetum for Forest Live this weekend.

Manchester master of the mix, Graeme Park, reveals: “It was 4am and I’d be in a hotel bar, and as we were going up in the life, a load of classical musicians got in with us.

“I just thought right then ‘we should do a Hacienda classical.' That was in 2015. There are a lot of people over 40 who have kids grow up and have started going out again. We thought ‘we should

come up with something for these people’, but not a classic club night. Even though it was meant to be a one-off, here we are.”

Graeme Park brings Hacienda Classical to Bedgebury Picture: Jack Kirwin
Graeme Park brings Hacienda Classical to Bedgebury Picture: Jack Kirwin

Graeme, widely credited as one of the original founders of the UK’s rave/club scene, and a leading figure of The Haçienda club in Manchester, leads the show on Saturday, June 15, curated

with Peter Hook and Tom Crooks, with special guests K-Klass, and late addition, Happy Mondays dancer Bez, bringing some maracas action.

The show features DJs performing alongside the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, recreating old school house and club anthems on an epic scale.

Hacienda Classical Picture: Anthony Mooney
Hacienda Classical Picture: Anthony Mooney

They’ve had 5-star reviews and landmark shows at Glastonbury, Isle Of Wight Festival and London’s Royal Albert Hall, playing a set of a continuous live DJ mix with singers, choir and orchestra.

Graeme said: “I can’t believe Hacienda Classical is about to embark on a fourth year of shows. I’m particularly looking forward to playing in Kent where the glorious outdoor surroundings promise to complement our exciting new show.”

Graeme Park Picture: Craige Barker
Graeme Park Picture: Craige Barker

“We are performing more songs in our show than previous years so people will be able to sing along with the most amazing upbeat strings and brass - it’s 80 people on stage absolutely grinning from ear to ear. There is a lot of interaction between the audience and the orchestra, too.”

And there could even be some singing from Graeme. He says: “There was a show in 2016, when I just couldn’t resist singing. It was one of the biggest buzzes of my life. It’s what I did before I was a DJ - I wanted to be in a band but I ended up being a DJ.

“I’ve done a bit more of it and I sang Rock the Casbah last year - if Hooky (Peter Hook, bassist and co-founder of Joy Division and New Order) can’t make it, I’ll also do that one.”

These days, however, the experience is a little different from the 80s as Graeme does it all sober. “I haven’t had a drink for three years, since George Michael’s death, as I’m the same age as him. It

makes me enjoy Hacienda even more."

The man with the maracas - Bez will perform with Hacienda Classical Picture: Anthony Mooney
The man with the maracas - Bez will perform with Hacienda Classical Picture: Anthony Mooney

So does DJing keep him feeling young? “I’ve been DJing since 1984 when I was 19 or 20. I may be 55 but I don’t feel 55. It definitely keeps me young.”

Tickets for the show on Saturday, June 15, cost £38.50 (plus a £4.35 booking fee). Call 03000 680400 or go to forestryengland.uk/music

THE LINE-UP

Foals kick off Forest Live in Kent on Friday, June 14, organised by the Forestry Commission at Bedgebury Pinetum.

Foals will play Bedgebury in Goudhurst
Foals will play Bedgebury in Goudhurst

The critically acclaimed band, who have Mercury Prize, Ivor Novello and BRIT Award nominations to their name and 1.7 million sales of their four Gold-certified albums, last played Kent in 2015, when they played Dreamland’s By the Sea. The date comes after the release of their anticipated double album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 1, which came out in March.

Yak will be at Forest Live
Yak will be at Forest Live

The band is made up of frontman Yannis Philippakis, Jimmy Smith (guitar), Jack Bevan (drums) and Edwin Congreave (keys). The band Kiev with be the opening act for Foals alongside special guests Yak.

Kiev will play on the Friday night with Foals
Kiev will play on the Friday night with Foals

Paul Weller plays a sell-out night on Sunday, June 16.

Read more: All the latest music news across Kent

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