With attendees gathering in their thousands to bask in the glorious sunshine, the annual festival easily lived up to its reputation as the most fun event of the summer. With many making the effort to dress up as icons from the era, the site was awash with colour, with the likes of Ivor the Engine, the Three Amigos, Freddie Mercury in his various guises, Captain Caveman, Yogi Bear, and E.T. brought to life once more.
While the crowd provided a feast for the eyes and a great source of retro amusement, the soundtrack was supplied by some of the era’s most recognisable names.
Kicking off on Saturday (20th August) following a welcome party featuring the ska and two-tone sounds of Neville Staple the night before, ABBA tribute Bjorn Again opened things up before rockabilly luminaire Slim Jim Phantom brought things right back to the start, with his 1950s’ rock ‘n’ roll show. Playing his own hits as well as those by Eddie Cochran – including a rousing ‘Summertime Blues’ and others, the the Stray Cats man thanked those who turned up early for his set and for; “forty years of taking me in over here!”
Gathering one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, Level 42’s afternoon slot easily proved one of the most popular of the weekend. Blasting through a number of their staples including an uproariously singalong ‘Running in the Family’ and ‘Lessons in Love’, band leader Mark King quipped; “you look fantastic Henley. We should pay to see YOU guys!”
More usually seen these days with her gardening gloves on, Kim Wilde quipped; “I’m so happy to be here tonight. Got me off the allotment!”, before firing through her catalogue, which concluded with a particularly nostalgia-inducing ‘Kids in America’.
With the night coming to a close, Holly Johnson played his solo hits including 1989 top 5 singles ‘Americanos’ and ‘Love Train’, as well as a few choice covers including a not so subtle take on Sylvester’s ‘Do You Want to Funk’. However it was of course the Frankie Goes to Hollywood songs that most had come to hear, and the closing trio of ‘Relax’, ‘Two Tribes’, and “my favourite song”, the epic ‘The Power of Love’ brought Rewind South, day one to a euphoric, and emotional end.
With the two-tone sounds of The Selecter delivering the perfect afternoon playlist, The Real Thing brought back the disco era before Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey delivered a set of pure pop perfection. “I think we’re gonna have fun this afternoon”, declared Bailey, before delving into the tracks that earned his former outfit a place on the Live Aid bill in 1985 including ‘Doctor Doctor’ and the always incredible ‘Hold Me Now’.
Going forward into 1990s’ territory, Tunde from The Lighthouse Family’s easy listening vibes soundtracked the sunset before the sassy Heather Small performed the M People and solo hits that made her name.
And so it fell to Sheffield’s finest electro-pop outfit to bring down the curtain on another incredible Rewind. “We're the Human League, nice to see you!”, declared a relaxed Phil Oaky following the opening ‘The Sound of the Crowd’.
Going on to cover all the classic tracks from across their career including the synth-pop staples ‘Love Action (I Believe in Love)’ and ‘Keep Feeling Fascination’, and the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced ‘Human’, it was a night simply packed with hits.
Celebrating over four decades together, singer Susan Ann Sulley said; “we couldn't do this without you lot. The only reason why we’re here is because of you, so from the bottom of our hearts thank you very much”.
Rewind Festival returns in 2023, with events in Perth, Scotland, Capesthorne Hall, Macclesfield, and Henley-Upon-Thames. For tickets, info, and more, visit the official Rewind site.
Stay tuned for our interviews with Chesney Hawkes, Tom Bailey, Johnny Hates Jazz, The Selecter and more from Rewind 2022.
With thanks to our friends at Photogroupie for the shots.