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Ramblin' Man Fair

Live Review

Venue: Mote Park, Maidstone

Let the blues be your shelter and your guide on this festival journey.

It was the best of times. It was the wettest of times. For the first time in history, the four corners of the TeamRock universe came spectacularly together in the Garden Of England for a two-day musical extravaganza that wasn’t going to let a minor thing like the great British weather get in the way of having an amazing time.

At this point, some of you may well be thinking “here we go again”. “I’ve had my fair share of festivals and some of them have been damn good,” we hear you cry. “What is so bleedin’ special about the this one?”

The signs, admittedly, are not all that great when everyone arrives on site for the second day of the Ramblin’ Man Fair. While day one on the Saturday had been blessed with perfect, dry, warm festival conditions and dawn-to-dusk sunshine, this is going to be something of an uphill battle as driving rain and strong winds do their best to literally dampen spirits.

And all the people standing around at the bar saying “you should have been here yesterday” and “the Scorpions were amazing!” do not exactly help matters, either. It seems there’s a lot to live up to as Sunday gets underway.

But when the going gets tough, the tough head straight for the nearest shelter. For many of the revellers on site, this turns out to be a circus tent, which is home for the weekend to The Blues stage. In the very best show business tradition, there is something here for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are an out-and-out blues aficionado or just looking for a place to avoid the rain. The Blues tent is calling the children home.

Belfast singer VerseChorusVerse kicks off proceedings at lunchtime. Despite being a “5ft fuck-all Irishman” (these are his words, not ours) and having to go head-to-head with buzz-band of the moment Blues Pills, who take to the main Classic Rock stage at the same time, he nevertheless gets the day off to a flying start. At times, the thunderous roar of Blues Pills – who can be heard from all the way across the other end of the site – doesn’t do him any favours, but his growling Tom Waits voice and unwavering sense of humour win him many new fans among those gathered inside the tent.

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