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Rewind Festival - Interview with Paul Carey

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 30 / 6 / 2017

Rewind Festival - Interview with Paul Carey


Nick Dent-Robinson talks to festival chief Paul Carey about 80's festival Rewind South which will take place this year between the 18th and 20th August

The line-up for Henley’s 2017 Rewind South event is especially impressive. For music lovers of a certain age, the names will sound like the perfect playlist. Gloria Gaynor, The Wailers, Tom Robinson, Village People, the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock, Rozalla, Midge Ure, Level 42 and Status Quo. All of these and more are gathering in person to play what is now one of the country’s most popular mid-sized festivals. The event takes place on a beautiful Oxfordshire meadow beside the River Thames in picturesque Henley. In fact, Rewind South is a solid gold success story. It sells out year after year and has spawned a series of spin-off events. In addition to the headliners mentioned above, this year will also feature sets by Kim Wilde, Nick Hayward, The Beautiful South, Musical Youth, Big Country, Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory, British Electric Foundation, Imagination, Nik Kershaw, Dr & The Medics, Belinda Carlisle, Go West, The Christians and Katrina (of The Waves fame). Also making a special appearance will be Kim Appleby of Mel and Kim, who is marking the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the duo’s 1987 chart-topping hit ‘Respectable’. Sadly, Kim’s sister Mel died in 1990. Plus there will be performances from the sell-out West End show ‘Thriller Live’. Festival chief Paul Carey says, “This year there is a fantastic Friday party night lined up with New York’s finest Village People as well as Gloria Gaynor on the Saturday, and then on the Sunday we have rock legends Status Quo.” Paul Carey goes on to explain that work on the festival’s line-up starts almost immediately the last year's festival is over. “It takes half a year to put together a good show and it is a very complicated juggling act. Rewind now takes place in Henley (Rewind South) as well as in Cheshire and in Scotland – so all the pieces have to be fitted together carefully to create three fantastic line-ups at once.” Whilst some festivals are now struggling to sell tickets and one or two – like Cornbury in Oxfordshire – will not happen after 2017, Rewind continues to grow. So far it has never failed to sell out well in advance. “You see, the beauty of Rewind is that we have the most stunning locations,” Paul Carey tells me. “Henley is right on the Thames, on Temple Island Meadows – and on a summer’s night this venue is simply magical. It cannot be beaten. Though, admittedly, I am just a little biased as I do live in Henley. The event itself is about as much fun as a music festival can ever get. People let their hair down and know they’re going to see some great acts and hear some brilliant music from a fantastic era.” So, who actually goes to Rewind? “Actually, the crowd, like the music, is pretty eclectic,” Paul Carey says. “And I am not just talking about the fancy dress that quite a few people come in, either. Interestingly, the age of the festival-goer at Rewind has actually become younger in recent years and we are now seeing adults coming along and bringing their 20-year-old young adult children with them. Indeed, some are even bringing very young grandchildren, too. For quite a few people Rewind will be their first-ever taste of a festival and that is why we are always so intent on ensuring it is a safe and relaxed, family-friendly environment.” The event is surely all about shameless nostalgia, though? “The funny thing is that the younger people who now come along also have a nostalgia for the 1980s, even though they weren’t actually born then,” Paul Carey laughs. “To a certain degree the music they are now into has its roots back in the 1980s. For example, there is a current trend for synth-led bands. It is great that so many of the millennial generation look back at the 1980s sounds so fondly. Of course, for the older people like me, it is wonderful to reflect on that fantastic decade as I’m sipping my glass of cider and grinning broadly as I listen to fantastic live music from my heroes of yesteryear. What better way to spend a weekend?” Some 1980s stars are having significant success second time around. Rick Astley is an example of this. He has appeared at Henley’s Rewind in the past. He has now had a recent No. 1 album and is touring and playing to big crowds on his own. “Yes, Rick Astley is certainly enjoying new success – and deservedly so,” Paul Carey agrees. “But the 1980s produced a raft of acts that have stood the test of time very well and many of these are now starting to reach a new audience. And Rewind can help that happen.”

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Rewind Festival - Profile
Nick Dent-Robinson previews this year's Rewind South Festival which will take this year at Henley-on-Thames from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th August.

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