Fort Fest/Worcester Festival


SO who needs the fireworks, said Orchard Band master of ceremonies Ian Craigan, referring to the absence this year of the bangs and booms that formerly brought the Worcester Festival to a close.

Who indeed. And that was because Fort Fest – perhaps the new unofficial finale – had enough snap, crackle and pop of its own.

At first, it may have been slightly thin on the ground for bodies at Fort Royal park – this is, after all, late summer 2019, not late summer 1651 – but thanks to an energetic set from the Orchard Band, this hallowed ground soon started to become covered with a healthy crop of musically-minded folks and fellow travellers.

The Orchard Band knows a thing or two about moving things along. And the band’s eclectic repertoire soon started to put matches to gunpowder, if you’ll pardon yet another clumsy metaphorical allusion to the Civil War, and no – I don’t mean Brexit.

Although the set list draws heavily on everything from Americana to styles east of the Urals, as guitarist Mike pointed out, if anyone fancies playing a certain number, then that’s just what they’ll do. And yes – it works, it really does.

Anyway, the band’s hour slot passed far too quickly, and then it was time for DrumLove, a team of drummers who from the outset involved the audience, always a smart move.

All good things must come to an end and the session wrapped up with a zumba dance session as valiant souls sallied forth across a sea of sweat in defiance of the tropical temperatures.

Yes indeed. This was a fitting end to the festival and one that can only grow and get better.

John Phillpott