Let’s Rock Shrewsbury – Singalong on the Severn

What can I say, one of the best days out I’ve had in a long time. A few weeks prior I was supposed to be at the Let’s Rock Leeds but my inadequate brain mixed the days up and I was even on my way to it before I realised my error. So I groveled and managed to get myself in the Shrewsbury Festival.

I was surprised how easy and inexpensive it was to travel from Manchester to Shrewsbury, what a beautiful town. The gloriously sunny day just enhanced that.

After getting my passes sorted, I just about made it to see Scritti Politti, as much as I love the 80s, they were never my thing so I took a few shots and parked myself on the bank of the Severn with a drink listening.

They were followed by Bad Manners, heard their songs so many times on the radio. Buster Blood Vessel has a great stage presence and treated the crowd to gems like My Girl Lollipop, Special Brew and Lip Up Fatty. Brilliant, the party was getting hot.

While The Retrobates set up, Ottowan did a couple of their hits with Hands Up and D.I.S.C.O. which was brilliant, proper childhood tunes for me.

When they had set up there was a Medley of songs from Tenpole Tudor, Kym Mazzele, Rozalla and The Urban Cookie Collective. With songs like Swords of a thousand Men, Young Hearts Run Free, Everybody’s Free and The Key, The Secret………was brilliant. The house band really did the songs justice as they did for most of the day.

Next was Living in a Box with a new singer, playing tunes like Blow the House Down and Living in a box……..they were followed by Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals, to be honest I was a bit star struck with him. He slowly moved around the stage and reminded me how good they were with Johnny Come Home, Good Thing and She Drives Me Crazy…..Legend.

I’ll not lie, I was here for Belinda Carlisle and Billy Ocean, I’d never see them live before which is odd considering how much of a crush I had on Belinda Carlisle.

Still looking absolutely stunning, she came on stage and sang hit after hit. Live Your Life Be Free, Circle In The Sand, I Get Weak, Leave A Light On and Heaven Is A Place On Earth. She stole the show and was my favourite of the day, which is no mean feat considering how good the rest were.

Next was Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins accompanied by 3 young ladies in white. The way the stage was set out with them all in white looked good……and also good to see young musicians getting to work with legends, it can only help them become future stars. The songs I remember were Love On Your Side, You Take Me Up and Hold Me Now. I loved everything about these, even got myself a cheeky selfie with Tom later.

Nick Heyward was great but I’m not really too familiar with Haircut 100 but totally remember Love Plus One, Boy Meets Girl and Fantastic Day…….but really love the sound of his band.

Tony Hadley, what can I say……Legend of the 80’s. I would have been gutted if he hadn’t played Through The Barricades, it’s one of my most favourite tunes of my childhood. The fact he played Gold, True and Only When You Leave was just a bonus. He nearly took a tumble over the wires but luckily got his feet just in time……that would have hurt.

The rest is a rush as I had to scurry to the train station to get home. Luckily Billy Ocean was on a little early so I managed to shoot a few songs then leg it. I forgot to mention Nathan Moore of Brother Beyond who did a couple of songs then spent 15 mins doing selfies with the crowd, what a nice bloke.

As far as Let’s Rock Shrewsbury goes it’s quite possibly the best one dayer I’ve ever been to. The area has a natural slope to the stage, it is also set out perfectly with all areas where you can get a little chair set up for the day except for the spot in front of the sound desk which is strictly standing……..well I mean the dance floor.

Never had time to stay for the Wets sadly. I would recommend to anyone who likes a chilled day listening to Hit after Hit in one of the most beautiful towns i’ve been to.

Photos and Words by Philip Goddard 

Over 150 pics below, see if you are in them……


Philip Goddard

Back to top