There is a new kid on the UK festival scene !
Fort Fest made its debut on the first weekend of September 2016 in Bedfordshire this year.
Located on the gorgeous Scald End Farm, the festival brought rock music and homemade treats (from the farm shop ) to the punters.
Stretching over an entire weekend and offering a stunning line up of well known names and fresh talent from UK’s buzzing rock scene, it was all anyone could have ever asked for.
The organisation was on point, the Fort Fest team have outdone themselves by having cleverly curated a running order that left no room for any clashes which was well received from the festival goers.
Sadly the weather wasn’t in festival mood, leaving the festival goers facing several downpours over the first half of Fort Fest.
But, what would a festival be without some good old rain?
The fans at Fort Fest braved the rain and made sure to party with their favourite bands and fell in love with their future favourite band along the way.
Alright, let’s get into it now.
Below are the bands that I managed to catch at the festival and my personal Fort Fest highlights – enjoy!
First band of Fort Fest for me were Liberty Lies, but it couldn’t have been a better way to kick off the festival. The five piece from the Black Country took to the main stage with their clever and catchy rock sound. Leading the band was singer Shaun Richards who made sure to get the crowd involved. Those lads are pretty cool live and their sound is some proper good alternative rock!
If you’re lucky enough to see SOiL on their upcoming tour make sure to head down early and start the night with Liberty Lies!
Local band The Endeavour from Peterborough was up next on the main stage and mad sure to continue the good vibes. The rain had thankfully stopped and the punters made their way down to the main stage to witness a great live set of homemade proper rock music. The five piece fronted by Shawn Radley are the living proof that it pays off to support your local music scene and get behind bands while they are still unknown as judging by their Fort Fest live concert, The Endeavour have a great future ahead of them..
Bringing slightly more noise to Fort Fest, were four piece ‘ Black Peaks ‘ hailing from Brighton. Their infectious rough progressive rock sound drew quite the crowd in from of the stage.
Will Gardner, Joe Gosney, Andrew Gosden and Liam Kearley delivered an energetic live set and despite the lights cutting out during ‘Drones’ the band professionally pulled through the set and just kept on partying with the fans. Black Peaks finished their Fort Fest festival set on a high with their hit ‘ Glass Built Castles ‘ which drew a big sing along from the crowd.
Kicking the second day of Fort Fest of for me were four piece Max Raptor. It is fair to say that, Wil Ray, Ben Winnington, Matt Stevenson and Pete Reisner’s set the festival on fire. Despite the rain, their loyal fan base gathered in front of the stage , ready to go crazy to the sounds of ‘ England Breathes ‘ and ‘ Evangeline ‘.
The Fort Fest crowd was having a blast as front man Wil Ray asked the crowd if they’re up for some circle pit action. Needless to say the fans obliged and even initiated a proper wall of death to the sound of Max Raptor’s hymn ‘ The King Is Dead’.
Max Raptor are a force to be reckoned with in the future, they proofed that to the whole of Fort Fest on this festival weekend.
There seems to be a pattern for me when it comes to seeing Grumble Bee concerts.
At Fort Fest 2016, I got to catch the lovely Grumble Bee for the second time this year on the festival circuit and of course it was raining again!
However that didn’t stop Jack Bennett and his band mates to put on a great performance. Wowing the crowd with ‘ Skywriter ‘ , Grumble Bee already had the festival goers in the palm of his hand. And vice versa. The loyal fans put a massive smile on Grumble Bee’s face by singing the chorus on their own.
Highlight of the set was definitely an outstanding and emotional rendition of ‘ Francium’ which saw Grumble Bee performing on keys for the first half of the song while simultaneously singing his heart out. Halfway through the song the band joined in and together they took the song up to its full on rock ballad sound.
If you love a great singer songwriter that is blessed with a raspy yet gorgeous voice, make sure to catch Grumble Bee on his upcoming tour with Emarosa this September.
Lonely The Brave
Closing Saturday night of Fort Fest festival were five piece Lonely The Brave from Cambridge. The rain had finally stopped and the fans hurried to the main stage. Gathering the biggest crowd of the day, Lonely The Brave treated Fort Fest to a stunning closing set.
Coming to the end of their busy festival schedule, Lonely The Brave surprised the fans with a hit filled headliner set.
Songs like ‘Black Mire’, ‘ Trick Of The Light’ and ‘ The Blue The Green’ had everyone singing from the top of their voices.
The Fort Fest set list included a lot of new songs from the recent Lonely The Brave album ‘ Things Will Matter ‘ very much to the liking of the fans. Front man David Jakes was on top form, every now and then talking to the crowd.
The atmosphere was buzzing and even some technical problems with Mark Trotters guitar wouldn’t bring the band not the fans down. Finishing off with ‘ Backroads ‘ has become an unwritten rule by now that both band and fans seem to enjoy a lot.
All in all Lonely The Brave have proven that they are tomorrow’s headliners for big festivals. So make sure to catch them on their October headline tour before it is too late!!!
THE CITY IS OURS
Turning it up a notch and bringing the noise to the Fort Fest main stage were London lads ‘ THE CITY IS OURS ‘! Bringing metal core to a rock festival can be tricky, however the five piece managed to win over the crowd instantly. Surely the very unlikely melodic metal core cover of Jessie J’s pop song ‘ Do It Like A Dude’ helped a lot. It was a hilarious performance that put that song into a total new perspective.
Besides doing great covers, the ‘ THE CITY IS OURS ‘ lads have a lot more to offer. Perfectly crafted metal core songs that combine guitarists Mikey’s melodic voice with front man Sam’s shouts on top of it which they managed to perfectly capture on their debut EP ‘Wildfire’!
If you like you’re music loud and a bit shouty make sure to check those guys out – it’s totally worth it!
Scottish trio ‘ The Xcerts ‘ brought their nice pop rock tunes to Fort Fest on the closing day of the festival. Fronted by Murray MacLeod the band treated the Fort Fest crowd with a hit filled concert. The likes of ‘ Kids On Drugs’ and ‘Live Like This’ went down an absolute treat with the Fort Fest festival goers. The Xcerts dedicated their last song ‘ There Is Only You’ to their friend Tom Searle from the Architects and used this emotional performance to pay him respect. The fans stood there in awe as Murray delivered a heartfelt rendition of the song and closed the set with meaning!
A somewhat underdog of Fort Fest were ‘ The Treatment‘!
The five piece from Cambridge came crashing like a hurricane and blew everyone at Fort Fest away!
Taking to stage on the closing night, the lads smashed it from the first seconds of their gig. Bashing out rock banger after rock banger you stand still! Channelling their inner AC/DC , The Treatment put on a rock show like your Dad’s favourite band might have in the early eighties!
The entire set was electric and saw the band jumping all over the place, climbing amps and speakers and generally causing mayhem while still performing like proper rock gods. Lead singer Mitchell Emms voice sounded electrifying on Scald End Farm as The Treatment rattled through their set, giving their newest album ‘Generation Me’ the live treatment.
Do yourself a favour for the sake of Rock n’ Roll and get down to one of their crazy live shows asap!
Closing the Fort Fest festival 2016 in style were London lads ‘Young Guns‘ who have just come back home from touring the US. During their first set on home terrain the band premiered a lot of new songs from their upcoming album ‘Echoes’, which was well received by the fans.
Gustav Wood, John Taylor ,Fraser Taylor ,Simon Mitchell and Ben Jolliffe also treated their loyal fans to some proper hits like ‘Bones’ and ‘Speaking In Tongues’ which resulted in sing alongs with the crowd. Wrapping up their Fort Fest set and closing the festival, Young Guns performed their newest single ‘Echoes’ which left the fans in anticipation for the new album.