Cambridge Club Festival 2022

Cambridge Club Festival
Childerley Orchard, Cambridge
10-12th June 2022

Photographs by Mark Stimpson
Words by Sophie and Mark Stimpson

Held in Childerley Orchard, Cambridge Club Festival is a relatively newcomer to the festival scene. Launched by three friends in 2017, with a “shared passion for feel-good music, letting loose and
dancing”, bringing together “friends and family of all ages”, it’s predominantly aimed at the slightly older festival goer.
Having agreed to cover the festival rather late in the day, it was a case of catching the train every day as no hotels in the area were available. There was already a party atmosphere on the shuttle bus that ferried revellers from Cambridge North station to the festival site. After arriving at the site, the
first port of call was the media tent. Asking for directions caused a lot of blank faces, one steward just shrugged his shoulders and walked off while another suggested “find someone in blue”.

Eventually the tent was located and then it was off to explore the site. The huge site is divided into several areas which are centred around the main stage. A big top named the Imagination Station is
an area for children, The Discovery Den which is an area for dancing to DJ’s and The Orchard which is a lovely enclosed green space with outdoor games for children. Nestled in the corner is the
Auditorium Of Intrigue, a stage for comedy and discussions. The party was already in full swing in the Discovery Den with a number of revellers dancing along to Denise Van Outen’s DJ set which was followed by Bestley (AKA Jonathan Bestley).

Level 42 started their set 30 minutes early which caught most people off guard. It was a quick dash across the site to the main stage to catch them. Level 42 are a firm favourite and are fantastic
performing live. While they are not all the original members the songs (Running in the family,
Something about you, Lessons in Love, The Sum Goes down) sounded as good as they did in the 80’s. Mark King is clearly a very talented musician. The crowd loved every minute of their set.

The 80’s theme was continued with Sara Cox. Her 80’s disco complete with inflatable Rubics Cubes and dancers was a big hit with festival goers. Day one felt a little disorganised and this view was shared by a few others. Stick with it, it will get better was the advice from a fellow photographer.

Day two started well despite a packed train of holidaymakers heading for Stansted. There was good humour on the shuttle bus, there was a giggle when one guy asked where he should stick his
inflatable alligator. The sun was out and everyone was up for a party. The main stage kicked off with Cassa Jackson, a London based singer songwriter with her pop songs of youthful love. I quite enjoyed her set and will look out for her again. Next up were Rayowa, formed by three brothers, Dan, Reece and Luke with a shared love of funk, soul and disco, Joined on stage by friends which they describe their family they performed a solid set. Over in the Imagination Station, Andy and the Odd Socks had the children bouncing around to their crazy songs. They were great fun to watch. Dick and Dom were equally entertaining and had both young and old dancing.

One regret was not spending more time watching the comedy on the Auditorium Of Intrigue. Marcus Brigstock was simply brilliant.
By mid afternoon many had gravitated to the main stage to grab a good spot for the afternoons impressive line up. Mica Paris sounded fantastic and had everyone singing along with My One Temptation and Where is the Love. The Brand New Heavies carried on this trend, Midnight at the Oasis never sounded so good.

There as short video by way of an introduction and by the time the Jackson’s came on stage everyone was up on their feet. While it was only Tito and Marlon they had everyone singing along to their hits including Can You Feel it, ABC and Blame it on the Boogie.

Headlining was Nile Rodgers and Chic, showcasing the best songs he’s worked on in his long 40 year career. It’s simply jaw dropping the number of people he’s worked with and it’s a veritable who’s
who of the music world, from Madonna to David Bowie and Duran Duran to Diana Ross. The audience don’t need asking twice When Nile says please sing along and they dutifully oblige. I Want
Your Love, Everybody Dance, Let’s Dance, Like a Virgin, Notorious and Le Freak. It is fair to say it was a sensational way to finish day two.

Day Three starts somewhat subdued after the previous night. Perhaps everyone was hungover but there didn’t seem the same vibe as the day before. The main stage kicks off with Danny Toeman. Danny was winner of the Live and Local competition, and his prize is to play at the festival. He looked a bit silly walking stage wearing a bright yellow cape. It wouldn’t have been too bad if it had been a proper cape, but it just looked like he’d tied his mother’s curtain around his neck. That aside he gave a good performance. Judi Jackson and Corinne Bailey Rae gave good performances but really nothing to write home about. Disappointingly Craig Charles was ill and couldn’t attend.

As with the day before, by mid-afternoon people had gravitated to the main stage to grab the best spots. Gabrielle put on an absolute blinding performance belting out her hit’s Out of Reach, Dreams
and Rise. Next up was Trevor Nelson who had everyone dancing in the early evening sun. Closing the festival was Diana Ross, fresh from her performance at the jubilee celebrations. There
was no entry to the pit and the backstage was cleared so any photography had to be done from the audience with a warning not to be seen.

Just after 8:45, a video is played and then wearing a long tropical dress and wrapped in an orange shawl (It’s Danny Toeman’s cape again!!), Diana Ross walks on stage and launched into I’m coming
out which received a huge cheer from the crowd. It was then straight into More Today Than Yesterday before six Supremes songs. The audience loved it, singing along to Where Did Our Love
Go?, Baby Love, Stop! In the Name of Love and You Can’t Hurry Love. Diana Ross still sounds great Overall, Cambridge Club Festival was a great weekend, and it ticked a number of boxes. It’s going to be a must for next year.


Philip Goddard

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