Priory Park Festival organisers unveil exciting 2017 line-up
It may not be the way to Amarillo, but the A27 will certainly lead music lovers to a programme of world-class acts when the Priory Park Festival 2017 returns to Chichester’s city-centre location on 7, 8 and 9 July.
Joining previously announced frontman of The Stranglers Hugh Cornwell, Festival organisers are delighted to confirm that the diverse array of star names will include Tony Christie, S Club, Dodgy, Georgie Fame, Deborah Bonham and The Christians.
Billed as ‘an eclectic weekend,’ the live music and arts event is held annually as part of the Festival of Chichester. The inaugural Priory Park Festival last year attracted thousands of people to the historic park, with a line-up that included Sophie Ellis Bextor, The Feeling, Seth Lakeman and Courtney Pine. Organisers are confident that they have built on the success of last year, with even more on offer to audiences, and some of last year’s acts also promising to return.
New this year, the festival will feature two stages. Housed inside a circus-style tent, The Little Big Top will feature a stage and bar. Providing the perfect intimate performance space, it will also afford protection from the traditional UK summer weather. The Main Stage will stand proud in the beautiful surroundings of Priory Park, which celebrates its centenary in 2018. Home to the magnificent Guildhall, it has recently been confirmed that well-preserved remains of Roman villas lie beneath Priory Park; a discovery that is of considerable interest to archaeologists and historians.
Each day of the three-date festival (July 7, 8 and 9) has a different theme. Friday evening will be steeped in Jazz and Blues, while Saturday will be Rock and Pop, with a sprinkling of Classical. Sunday is scheduled to be a popular family fun day, with huge chart acts and some of the biggest hit songs from the last 50 years.
Friday 7 July
Friday will feature two of the biggest founding fathers of the music scene. On the Main Stage International star Georgie Fame will perform some of his greatest hits of the 60s & 70s, including Yeah Yeah, Get Away, Sunny, The Ballad of Bonny and Clyde, Sitting in the Park, Peaceful, and Rosetta, to name but a few. Responsible for pioneering a trail forged by some of the great Blues artists, in the early 60s Fame was both a regular on TV and in the charts, and also a standard bearer for blues and jazz with his band the Blue Flames.
Playing in London’s famous Flamingo Club, Fame paved the way for bands like Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones. Over the years he has been a regular collaborator with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Diana Ross, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison and Alan Price. His first album was engineered by West Sussex’s own genius of the recording studio, Glyn Johns.
The Little Big Top, meanwhile, will host Chichester’s own Club Havana and Festival organisers are delighted to announce that Blues legend and world’ s greatest harmonica star Johnny Mars will be performing in the unique surroundings, along with other acts selected from Nic Saunders’ roster at the club, including Nic’s own piano trio.
Also taking to the Main Stage on Friday will be Soul of Santana, a seven piece jazz/rock combo who play the very best of the brilliant fusion music created by Carlos Santana. Much more than simply a tribute band, Soul of Santana play great blues hits such as Black Magic Woman and create a unique blend of excitement and pulsating rhythm.
One of West Sussex’s own, also headlining on the Friday will be the Deborah Bonham Band. Rock aristocracy, Deborah is the sister of the legendary Led Zep drummer John. Returning from a major tour with Free legend Paul Rogers, Deborah will bring her own special guest vocalist, the chart topping Chris Farlowe. Farlowe hit the Number One spot when England won the World Cup with Out of Time, and of course had a hit with the first recording of Handbags and Gladrags in 1966.
Topped off with performances from local bands from Nick Davidson’s Chichester Music Academy (CMA) and young jazz performers, Friday 7 July promises to deliver Blues and Jazz of the highest calibre.
Saturday 8 July
Combining amazing Rock and the sounds of Soul, CMA graduate Dan Coates will open proceedings with his band Station 47. Followed by Heath, one of the big hit bands from last year’s Festival, the three-strong mid-Sussex-based boys create intricate and mesmeric melodies to keep any party going strong. Meanwhile in The Little Big Top soul band Seeker and blues sensation Ruby Tyger will be strutting their stuff, along with some of the best young Chichester bands from CMA’s charity Ovation. Classical music is celebrated with a performance from superb vocal ensemble Nos Miseri Homines.
Prepare for plenty of satisfaction when The Bog Rolling Stones, one of the World’s finest tribute bands, gets the park jumpin’ to the hits of the Rolling Stones. Keeping the feel-good vibe pulsing, hit-makers Dodgy will follow. One of the enduring successes of Brit Pop, the power trio had huge hits with Staying Out for the Summer, If you’re Thinking of Me and Good Enough.
Headlining on the Saturday are two acts that have made a huge impression on the music charts. Supported by a great band, founder and chief songwriter of The Stranglers Hugh Cornwell will play all the hits he created from the 70s and 80s such as No More Heroes, Grip, Peaches, and of course Golden Brown, alongside classic versions of songs such as Walk on By. Grab a rare chance to see one of the real heroes of British music.
In their 30th anniversary year, The Christians are also coming to Priory Park for the Saturday evening. With a back catalogue of hits including Forgotten Town, Hooverville, When the Fingers Point, Ideal World, Born Again and Harvest for the World, The Christians were formed by three brothers with the surname of Christian and a fourth musician, Henry Priestman, whose middle name also happened to be Christian!
Sunday 9 July
Sunday is family fun day! As well as Festival fixtures of sideshow attractions, activities, body and face painting, real ale, fine wines, and O’Hagan’s sausages, the music will include terrific tribute band Abba Chique, who will roll out Abba’s greatest hits on the Main Stage. Following will be a rare performance from one of the most popular acts of recent decades – the amazing S Club. Featuring three of the original members, expect a hit-stuffed set featuring Reach, Natural and many more. Bring your dancing shoes for a retro party performance!
Next on the Main Stage will be another rock legend; Rod Stewart and Cockney Rebel guitarist, song writer and producer Jim Cregan, who together with his band Cregan & Co will be creating a ‘Rod reminiscent’ set, with all the big hits recorded over the years by Jim himself, when he was Rod’s creative partner, as well as the classic guitar solo he played from Come up and See Me.
Finally, star vocalist Tony Christie will ensure that everyone is on their feet and singing along. A singer whose popularity has endured across the decades, Tony’s voice, humour and incredible repertoire guarantees a stupendous finale! From I did what I did for Maria to Walk like a Panther and of course Is This the Way to Amarillo, this class act will close the Festival with laughter, great music and just a little bit of cheese on the side!
Robin Bextor, organiser and Festival Director said:
“I hope there is something for all tastes here. We are delighted with the list of artists we have managed to put together and there is a wealth of local talent, too. I wanted the Festival to reflect what local people wanted and we have worked hard to do that; not just with what is happening on stage, but also in terms of ambience, food and drink providers and of course in our support of two local charities, Children on the Edge and The Apuldram Centre, who both do amazing work right here in Chichester. We are also very pleased to continue our association with Nick Davidson’s brilliant Chichester Music Academy and Ovation, the charity he has created, and also to work with exciting local venue Club Havana, featuring Nic Saunders. Together with our media partners, the Friends of Priory Park and our audiences we hope to forge really strong local bonds that will take this Festival into the future.”
Still to come…
More names are to be announced soon, including some ‘back by popular demand’ from last year, as well as some exciting surprises and brilliant comics. Watch this space as we get closer to the festival!
Doors open at 17.00 on the Friday and 13.00 on the Saturday and Sunday. All music will conclude by 22.45, earlier on the Sunday. The Festival will also boast attractions like bouncy trampolines and children’s rides.
Tickets are available from £25 a day, or £75 for the weekend.
Book at www.prioryparkfestival.co.uk
The Priory Park Festival 2017 is proud to support two local charities in 2017
Children on the Edge is a charity that exists to help those living on the edge of their societies across the globe (www.childrenontheedge.org).
The Apuldram Centre (www.apuldram.org) provides meaningful daytime occupational activities to adults with learning disabilities, with the emphasis on having a training-orientated day and producing goods for sale to the public.