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Ramblin' Man: The Keith Harewood report

An alternative view of Kent's best rock, prog and blues festival

My name is Keith Harewood and I work as a security guard. Here is my review of Ramblin’ Man Fair.

I'm sorry it's a bit late, but I'd lent my laptop to my brother-in-law because he was booking a holiday and got a last minute flight to Spain. He didn't tell me where he'd left his key to get it back, so I had to text it bit by bit to the people at TeamRock. Anyway, here's how my weekend in Kent unfolded...


FRIDAY
11am

My mate Jeff broke his arm on a stag do – he didn’t even know the groom, the idiot – so I’ve been asked to cover his shift at my third rock festival of the year. It’s called Ramblin’ Man Fair and we’re in a place called Mote Park which I’ve never heard of. My step-brother thought this had something to do with hiking and offered to lend me his waterproofs he bought off some bloke in the pub. I didn’t know there was a company called Noth Face. I think he got ripped off. Anyway, I didn’t need any because my car is full of them, because there’s nothing more miserable than doing a 14-hour shift when it’s pissing down. Apart from my ex-girlfriend. I’m even not joking. What a fun vacuum.

11.10am
Sorry. Shouldn't have said that.

12pm
Right, we’ve been briefed for the day. I’m in the backstage area which sounds like I could be rubbing shoulders with Klaus Meine from the Scorpions. I’m going to phone Jeff and laugh at him.

12.05pm
Couldn’t really hear what Jeff was saying. Sounded like he was in a car.

12.15pm
Looks like I’m guarding the gate downwind from the toilets. Wunderbar, as Klaus might say. If he was being dead sarcastic, like.

1pm 
I can hear that the first band of the day have started on the Classic Rock Magazine stage. They’re called No Hot Ashes, which is ironic because I’m standing next to a massive bin. I'm assuming that's where they got their name from.

3.15pm
Get in! I think I can hear FM. Anyone who says it stands for ‘False Metal’ will not be welcome in my flat.

3.40pm
That Girl followed by Other Side Of Midnight? Perfect.

4.20pm
Just had a thought. FM should change their name to DAB. I tried to say this to their bassist Merv Goldsworthy just now, but he waved hello to his friend over my shoulder. Weird though, because when I turned round, they must have ran away. 

4.45pm
I wish I could clock off for a while so I could see Blue Öyster Cult. I found a cowbell at Download in June and know the perfect song I could play along with.

4.46pm
You know, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper.

4.50pm
Those lyrics are really depressing. Still, the cowbell is enough to take your mind off all that death.

5.30pm
There's a lot of tractors and diggers onsite. I wonder if I could have a go on one tomorrow?

7pm
Saxon! What a set. Is there anything better than eating a smuggled Pot Noodle and handfuls of Space Raiders to the songs 747 (Strangers in the Night), Wheels Of Steel and Denim and Leather? No, there’s not. Still can't get through to Jeff, though. He was saying how much he wanted to see Saxon today.

7.10pm
There’s Merv from FM again. Going to tell my joke. 

7.15pm
I’m sure he’s deliberately ignoring me.

7.20pm
Dream Theater are on now. God, their music is complicated. I once tapped my foot to something from When Dream and Day Unite and sprained my ankle. Never again.

7.45pm
Swapped spots with someone so I could see Hayseed Dixie on the Outlaw Country Stage. Anyone who can do covers of AC/DC, Queen and Black Sabbath on a banjo are clearly worth a look. Although personally, there’s a limit to how much banjo I can stand, due to a long-running argument with my numpty of a neighbour.

9pm
Finally! Time for the Scorpions. I’ve been into them ever since I heard Wind Of Change in a bakery in Aston. I remember buying a sausage roll and some Quavers. They’re the last word in German metal. Well, them and Helloween. And Accept, at a push. I’ve seen Helloween seven times, though. Will the Scorps play Wind Of Change? That’s my big question this evening.

9.30pm
I’m sure I’ve just seen Jeff at the bar.

9.35pm
That’s definitely Jeff. Carrying two pints. His broken arm healed quickly, didn’t it?

10.10pm
I’m so annoyed, I’ve missed the whistling bit in Wind Of Change. Only the Scorpions can save the day if they play…

10.15pm
Hee ah am, rawk you like a hurra-cay-hayn’. Amazing. Right, I’m off to sleep in my car as I’m up early tomorrow for the second shift. Jeff can get bent, if I'm being perfectly honest. 

Gallery

SUNDAY
5am

It's boiling in this car. I'd go camping but my dog chewed up my tent.

11.30am
I'm backstage again today, but not near the toilets, so that's a good start. 

11.45am
Had a text from Jeff. He's been in a hospital in Barming all night, because he tripped and fell during_ Rock You Like A Hurricane_ and actually broke his arm. I shouldn't laugh.

11.55am
I really, really shouldn't laugh.

2.45pm
Had a wander over to the Prog Stage to see a band called Knifeworld. Imagine that, though – a world full of knives. A bit dangerous.

2.55pm
They sound like three bands playing at once. I quite like it.

3.40pm
There’s a blast from the past on the Classic Rock Stage now. I’ve not seen the Quireboys in years. Spike's really getting his money's worth out of that bandana, I see.

5.00pm
Was a bit distracted and found myself counting all the different JCBs in the pouring rain. I saw a crane and a load of generators, and started to take photos until I was asked to stop by man with a clipboard. Killjoy. He should go out with my ex-girlfriend.

6.10pm
It seems that Rival Sons' retro rock has the power to make it stop raining. Thank you. I'm soaked from head to foot – and my packed lunch is ruined. I'm not in the mood for a halloumi wrap. Whatever that is.

7.20pm
I'm on my break and it turns out halloumi wraps are delicious. I've wandered over to the Prog stage and I'm watching the one and only Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

7.30pm
This set is full of classics. Every time I see Ian Anderson balancing on one leg playing the flute, it reminds me of my old schoolfriend who is also called Iain Anderson – note the spelling. He used to play his recorder on one leg during our music lessons. Well, that was until a couple of lads took it upon themselves to give him a wedgie. I'll never forget that sound.

9.10pm
To my shame, I've never really listened to Gregg Allman before. I've just looked up some of his songs on Spotify and I'm surprised he'd take the time to record a song specifically about this festival and not bother playing it.

10.15pm
I've knocked off for the weekend, so I thought I'd watch some Marillion before I jump in the car and drive back to Birmingham.

10.20pm
Welled up during Sugar Mice. Time for home, I think.

I'm guessing that you'll want to see some pictures of the bands as well? Check out Classic Rock's stuff below.

From the archive

Early bird tickets for next year's event are on sale now.

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