Ramblin' Man Fair
Venue: Mote Park, Maidstone
The spirit of rock and metal finds a new haven
A celebration of classic rock, prog and blues, the inaugural Ramblin’ Man proves to be an all-ages affair, as denim-clad metalheads rub shoulders with rock scene veterans and families with young kids, emphasising the communal nature and continuity this festival encapsulates so well.
Going against the soulful if cheese-laden AOR of FM on the main stage, MESSENGER  are a somewhat more subtle proposition, taking on added resonance in the open air. At once open-ended and intimate, songs morph as if a barometer for some capricious pastoral spirit. SAXON  get off to a faltering start as they adjust to a shorter than normal stage time, but Biff Byford is a master rabble-rouser and the likes of Wheels Of Steel and a storming Denim And Leather are received like incitements on the eve of battle. DREAM THEATER  repel as many as they enrapt, and for all their impressive musicianship and metal chops, the life of the songs are smothered by the band’s self-importance, reaching a nadir with the wince-inducing The Spirit Carries On.