British summer is well known for two things: unpredictable weather and the best festivals. So choosing the right festival experience can be crucial to keep your mood up during the downpours. Rewind The 80s gives you the opportunity to cruise through the decade with your smile in place, no matter the weather conditions. But it’s always good to have your waterproofs ready.
Here are some of my personal highlights from the North edition of this year’s Festival writes Edyta Krzesak.
I have to admit, two years ago when New Order were announced as headliners of The Other Stage at Glastonbury Festival 2016 I was over the moon. No matter the rain, the mud, the tiredness, I was sure I was going to see them, and I was just as sure I’d have the time of my life. Sadly, that wasn’t the reality. Bernard Sumner clearly forgot he was at a festival, playing to a bunch of ordinary music lovers rather than die-hard New Order fans. His decision not to interact with the audience and play all new songs nobody knew didn’t help to lift the spirits of mud-covered, rain-soaked festival goers, but I was still standing there hoping for a miracle. It didn’t come. What did were the first words he said to the audience: “You should be dancing.” Honestly, that was a bit too much for me, and I left the field thinking I should have chosen a different performer that night.
So, with that experience of New Order still fresh in my mind, I was reserved when I saw Peter Hook & The Light in the Rewind line-up. But Hook is a different class of performer. He knows the nature of festivals well and, instead of pushing his newest work, at Rewind he offered what people hoped and waited for. The set (providing a mixture of Joy Division, New Order, and his new tunes) created the right vibe, with fans singing and dancing from the first to the last song. Transmission, Love Will Tear Us Apart, and Blue Monday all glistened like diamonds, and Hook knows the right way to gain new fans and make the old ones sing their hearts out. If you ask me, he should have been offered that headline slot at Glastonbury 2016.
Another undisputed highlight was the woman responsible for more than a few broken hearts in the ’80s, Kim Wilde. With songs like You Keep Me Hanging On, You Came, Kids In America, and Never Trust A Stranger, she was always a queen of the stage, and her Rewind set proved she never gave up her crown. Standing up in a biker jacket and her red scarf, she ruled the crowd. Her voice easily and flawlessly hit the high notes, like the last few decades never happened.
Kim Wilde is an uncontested queen of the stage, but Rewind also had a king of guitar in the form of John Parr.
The man, who stole people’s hearts and hit number one with St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion), delivered one of the best sets I have ever witnessed at Rewind. Full of drama, the Restless Heart performer rocked the audience, almost setting his guitar on fire. There are just a few guitarists with as much passion and skill, and if you factor in his sense of humour and ability to connect with the audience, he has it all. He’s a magician, able to change a guitar into a living, breathing creature capable of all the softness and depth one could imagine. No wonder there was a long queue of fans waiting for the opportunity to chat or take a selfie with him.
Rewind The 80’s is a two-day festival, and I have to say both headliners made my day. The first night turned into one huge dance party with Village People. The Macho Man and Go West performers are as energetic as they used to be in the ’80s. Dancing, shaking, singing, and jumping they spread joy along the way, making even the security guards sing. But it was YMCA that made the crowd go absolutely nuts. Fans, security, medics, stall keepers, press team, and everybody else in earshot jumped, sang, and hand-signed Y-M-C-A as the band performed their biggest hit.
On the rock’n’roll side of Sunday stood Status Quo. The legendary band was on my bucket list since I’ve heard In the Army Now for the very first time as a kid. It was one of the first bands that shook my world and made me jump on the sofa, pretending to rock the stage with a guitar. They and Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing were to blame for my first announcement that I wanted to be a musician, making my mum wonder if her 5-year old daughter was okay.
Kicking off with their biggest hits Down, down, Whatever You Want and Rocking All Over The World, the band beat the torrential rain that poured down onto the site as they hit the stage. Soaking wet but happy, singing In The Army Now I realised how lucky I am, living my childhood dream. Well almost, as being a music photographer is the next best thing to being a musician.
Photography and photostory by Edyta K