WITTSTOCK: Just 71p per band, how can that not be a bargain?

Yes, two days of live music featuring 14 great bands

With an entrance fee of only £5 per day, the Pond Barn Bar And Restaurant Witt Stock music festival at Bracklesham was extraordinary good value.

Held inside due to environmental concerns, it did not lose any of its atmosphere, in fact one could argue that it made for good friendly close knit feel that bonded audience and performers together.

Olivia Stevens, who organised this event, certainly shows that she knows her local bands.

Saturday commenced with Cloe Barrett and Tom Lawson Baker, whose acoustic jazzy versions of pop and soul classics started the festival in great style. Followed by local and very popular Tim Sturdy who not only did some impressive covers, but several of his own witty renditions.

Lazy Simon (Simon Stevens) and Idle Bob gave us a stunning performance of some much loved classics.

Then Olivia Stevens herself, who goes by the stage name of Ruby Tiger. The local soul, blues and rock diva accompanied by her dynamic guitarist Sedge Seymour gave us an explosive 45 minutes. A hard act to follow, but Sounditions got the crowd grooving with their take on ambient world music.

Lem and the White Fire, was thrilling to watch and what a performance. Upbeat soul music which had the audience enthralled. Certainly a group to watch out for. Brilliant.

Then came The Skedaddles, with vocals and guitar by Graham Fargher. This band is establishing themselves as one of the most popular bands of West Sussex and it is easy to see why.

Saturday finished with the incredible Iron Tyger who gave us an explosive revival of 80’s best rock music. With such diversity such as ACDC, Guns and Roses, Motorhead and more.

What a great end to Saturday’s line up. All for just a fiver!

Sunday started with the fledgling Wittering band Union Sundown, who were playing their first ever performance. Playing covers, they also introduced songs from Nashville’s Don Gallardo who will be playing locally later in the year. Good stuff and by audience re-action much appreciated.

Then came The Dave Baker Project. Featuring fiddle, flute, ukulele and homemade bass this unusual and quirky act was received which much enthusiasm. Good old songs pre 1950’s showed the talent of this trio. Janet Ayers is a talented and funny character who gave this unique act a special quality.

Desperate Dan took us down to the Southern States with the honking harmonica playing of Bob Brookes, who did look like Desperate Dan. A great set with feeling.

Grizzly and The Grass Hoppers. This must see-again band was awesome. Musicianship of the highest order with great vocals slide guitar, from Rhys ‘Grizzly ‘ Morgan. With Jamie Bowden, an organ player, guitarist who clearly loves what he doing. Nelly Shervell on drums who reminded one of Animal from The Muppets and Matt Brace on upright bass. They finished their set with an amazing percussion number featuring Rhys, Jamie and Nelly using djembre drums. Phew!

Ruby And The Revelators gave a sizzling set of sassy Mississippi soul, blues and jazz which kept the afternoon buzzing.

A reggae and ska explosion finished the festival with the outstanding Sticky Rhythms, who is simply one of the best live acts around. Creating a full-on party experience this band does it all. Impossible to listen to without dancing, this band had everyone whooping it up.

A fantastic end to a fantastic weekend. Congratulations to Pond Barn Bar And Restaurant for giving so many so much pleasure and raising money for local charities.

Dave Clapton