Day one of Rhythms of the World 2015 has come to a spectacular close with a hit packed headlining set from Neville Staple Band forming a fitting climax to an incredible and eclectic day of music at Hitchin Priory.
Specials front man and ska legend Staple wowed the Hitchin crowd with a set featuring hit after hit from his back catalogue, including the infectious Gangsters, crowd pleasing A Message to You Rudy and a barnstorming rendition of Ghost Town which had the whole festival singing and skanking as one.
Some of the highlights from earlier in the day on the main stage also saw hugely popular sets from local band CC Smugglers, who’s foot stomping folk inspired tunes got the whole field on its feet, and top 10 charting country and western duo The Shires who brought a taste of Nashville to North Herts. (despite the fact they actually hail from neighbouring Bedfordshire!)
Things were no less eclectic and explosive over on the BBC Stage, where hotly tipped indie band Coasts showed with their headline slot why they are already firm favourites of BBC Radio 1 and XFM, packing their set with epic tunes that are sure to be global hits when their debut album drops later in the year. Earlier in the day the BBC Stage featured a diverse mix of performers, from the 80’s inspired sounds of New Motion who were a popular draw, to the fantastic singer-song writing of Hitchin’s own Alex Bay, who performed with his band The Blackbirds. Alex’s brother may have had a number 1 album earlier in the year, but if today’s set is anything to go by watch this space as there is another Bay boy from Hitchin set to take over the world.
Across the festival site other highlights of day 1 included back to back grooves and partying at the Priory Park stage with a crowd pleasing set from Pablo Contraband which brought the funk to the field, fantastic sets from The Shee and Kelly Oliver in the big top at the St Mary’s Stage, Stevenage punk heroes Scum of Toytown ripping it up over at the Arcadeclectic Stage, and incredible performances from young local acts Rain The Cult and Skyla on the Icehouse Stage proving the musical future is bright in the region.
And in addition to all the listed performers, eagle eyed party animals on site were also lucky enough to discover a new addition to the festival this year, a secret pop up disco. Of course, we can’t tell you where it was, but we have been assured it will be popping up again tomorrow night… So keep your ears and eyes open!
But as ever with ROTW it was not only about the music, with the family area packing in the crowds with its Wild West themed activities, hundreds getting involved at the community Arts area, and group yoga, healing and meditation sessions in the Garden proving ever popular as festival goes found a moment of calm amid the excitement.
So, as we celebrate the summer solstice, it’s time to get some sleep after a packed day, as Day two is poised to be even more of a party and we need to rest as there is sure to be a lot more dancing to do.