Tony Hadley and The Stranglers heading south for festival date

Tony Hadley is one of many stars heading for the Wickham Festival

Tony Hadley is one of many stars heading for the Wickham Festival

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Tony Hadley, The Stranglers, Lindisfarne and the SAS Band featuring Roger Taylor of Queen have been confirmed as this year’s headliners for the award-winning Wickham Festival in Hampshire.

Spandau Ballet frontman Hadley tops the bill on the opening night on August 4 with The Stranglers and Bruce Foxton’s From the Jam as the main attractions 24 hours later at a venue which is just a short hop along the A27 and M27 from West Sussex.

The Saturday night brings a galaxy of stars to the event which was voted best festival (Under 15,000 capacity) at last year’s Live UK Music Business awards.

Spike’s All Stars Band have a line-up which will include Queen drummer Roger Taylor, Marillion lead singer Fish, Madeleine Bell and solo artist/actress Toyah Willcox with a chance of other top names also making a guest appearance.

They will be supported by the Trevor Horn Band who are likely to perform a range of hits produced by the legendary frontman who worked closely with Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Also on the bill are the Oysterband plus Chas & Dave.

Lindisfarne close the four-day event on Sunday, August 7 with strong back-up from Steeleye Span, Hayseed Dixie and festival favourites the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

Festival organiser Peter Chegwyn said: “We are thrilled with this year’s line-up which has something for everyone.

“It reflects our rapidly-growing reputation locally, nationally and internationally with fans coming from the USA, Canada and even Australia.

“Winning the best small festival award has really put Wickham on the map and the great thing is that we no longer have to approach bands – they are coming to us!

“We have had so many artists asking to play here that it was tough to whittle the list down. But I think we have a fantastic array of bands who will provide fantastic entertainment.”

In addition to the three regular stages, there will now be a fourth platform where local and unsigned bands can perform with a view to possibly landing themselves a contract or at least gaining further exposure.

There will be the usual array of craft and clothing stalls as well as a wide variety of high quality food outlets and a wide range of activities for children who can roam safely.

Chegwyn added: “We pride ourselves on our family-friendly reputation. We have had just one crime reported over the last three years and that was the theft of a bag of jelly babies.

“Parents can enjoy the music knowing their youngsters are being well entertained. The atmosphere is very chilled and relaxed which is why so many people book to come back year after year, even before the line-up is announced.

“They trust us to keep the feelgood factor and produce a strong bill and I am confident this festival will be our best yet. Tickets are already selling well with sales up on last year’s record-breaking event.”

Weekend tickets are £160 or £80 for under-16s with under-10s admitted free. Day tickets for Friday, Saturday or Sunday can be bought for £60 (£30 under-16s) while evening tickets (after 6pm) are £40 (£20). Details at www.wickhamfestival.co.uk or email eastfest@talk21.com

by GRAHAM HILEY

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