REVIEW: Newark Festival is a sun-drenched hit!

Union J Photo: Patrick Balls
Union J Photo: Patrick Balls
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Even the sun came out to give the crowds the perfect weekend at this years’ Newark Festival.

The festivities started on Friday when American act Hollywood Endings took to the stage and got the crowd dancing from the off!

Their pop punk set got everyone moving, kicking off the afternoon with pure young energy. TiCH continued to keep everyone moving as did Ollie Marland who the girls screamed for as he danced on stage like a cross between Olly Murs and Justin Bieber. Rough Copy brought their X Factor charisma to the stage and had the audience eating out the palm of their hands, particularly when they dedicated a track to the local Magnus School whom they had visited ahead of the Festival.

Loveable Rogues then enforced the Carnival feeling with a set that would not have been out of place at the Notting Hill Carnival, ensuring everyone danced in the sun.

Luke Friend calmed the atmosphere with his intelligent singer songwriter songs calling to mind Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran. And then girls screamed the Castle site down as Union J took to the stage and played their hits. As the sun came down and night drew in, Union J brought the evening to a crescendo even jumping into the crowd!

Saturday was not to be outdone and was even sunnier as the mums and dads came out in force for a capacity crowd. Heaven 17 opened the night with a blistering set concluding with a phenomenal version of “Temptation”. Glenn Gregory showed why he is one of the best front men in rock n roll as he danced, grinned and declared his love for the people of Newark who danced and grinned in return.

Marc Almond played a hit fuelled set which ensured a huge audience sing a long to tracks such as “Torch”, “Wave Hello and Say Goodbye “and of course , “Tainted Love”. It was difficult to see how Human League could top this, but they did with various Costume changes and hit records that sounded just as fresh and relevant now as they did when the band first wrote and performed them! Particular highlights were “Mirror Man “, “Fascination” and “Don’t You Want Me” which the audience sang so loudly it could possibly be heard in Grantham!

Sunday was a far more relaxed family day and thankfully the sun still shone. All of Newark seemed to turn out for this free day which included a craft fair, Postman Pat Live Shows, the Brighouse and Rastric Brass Band and Camilla Kerslake closing the weekend with many rousing songs such as “Rule Britannia”, “Jerusalem” and “Land Of Hope and Glory.”

Newark Festival has turned into a key calendar event for the town and if next year is as good as this, June 2015 promises to already be locked into the diaries of most people in Newark.