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Lytham Festival - Lytham Green, Lytham, 29/6/2023....2/7/2023

  by Shirley Procter

published: 30 / 8 / 2023

Lytham Festival - Lytham Green, Lytham, 29/6/2023....2/7/2023

WEDNESDAY I’m at the Lytham Festival for the first time ever. For those of you who don’t know about it, Lytham is a small seaside town not far from Blackpool, and the festival takes place in a public garden, Lytham Green, next to Ribble Estuary and the sea. It runs for five days, starting on the Wednesday evening, through to the Sunday evening. It’s a small festival, with great music. Jamiroquai is the Wednesday night headliner, and this night I’ve been given Garden (hospitality) tickets, as there’s no room for me on the accessible platform. It’s a large, fenced off area, with bars, food stalls, deckchairs and other seating. Around half the stage area is reserved for us. I managed to get very close to the front for Jamiroquai, and I'm surrounded by people who can't want for Jay Kay to appear on stage! A roar goes up as the band walk on stage and then another roar for his backing singers, and now he appears on stage to ever-ending cheers. Jay Kay is wearing a Native American headdress, and a Brasil zipped top. There are purple lights mixed with while lights, and the screen at the back of the stage is showing prisms in red, as he launches into ‘Main Vein’. The crowd are singing along with the song. It finishes, and Jay Kay tells us, “Ladies and gentlemen, you may not know this, but this is my home county! I spent time chasing the Grumbleweeds around town here!” Next up is ‘Little L’. This time the lights are blue and white, while the background screen is playing mechanised lights. It’s such an energetic performance! He tells us, “It’s the 30th anniversary this year, so we will do some of the oldies.” The crowd cheer as he starts to sing ‘Space Cowboy/. The lights change to blue all around the stage and the screen is showing a spaceship spinning in the sky, while pixilated aliens flash into the screens on either side. Well, I have to say his dad dancing is as entertaining Chris Martin's is! He moves all over the stage, clearly loving the crowd’s response! As the song finishes, all I can hear are people shouting to him about how much they love him! This next track is ‘Alright’. It has a good rhythm to it, and with a great guitar riff it is a slower song than Space Cowboy. The screen is showing waves with what look oil rigs in the background, and the lights are pulsating green lime and white. The song finishes, and Jay Kay tells us, “Thank you very much, thank you! So, I'm going to take you back to the beginning. I've a great idea for Saturday night entertainment, (even though it’s Wednesday night!). Let’s go all the way back to the beginning in 1993, when I was skinny and my brain worked! This track is ‘Emergency On Planet Earth’. Ooh, no, I'm sorry, it isn’t. It’s ‘When're You Gonna Learn’”. The crowd are singing along with all the lyrics, clearly loving it! He tells us, “Thank you! So somebody get some churros, will you, and a couple of donuts? (there’s a Churros and donut stand in sight at the back of the arena,). This next track takes the wind out of me, and is called ‘Time Won’t Wait””. The lighting is yellow, and white, with the screen showing people and pyramids. No wonder it takes the wind out of him, as he’s flying all over the stage! This is quickly followed by ‘Angeline’, which is great! He then talks about Lewis Capaldi's gig at Glastonbury and how he lost his voice and how terrifying it is to a singer. He speaks very supportively of Lewis, the crowd cheering along with his comments. Having been there and watched Lewis’s set, he was amazing and the crowd supported him through it all. I was so glad to see Jay Kay talk about it. Next up is “Emergency on Planet Earth” and the crowd roar its approval. The lights shine into the crowd brightly. They're bright pink, and the screens are showing DNA double helixes, and again the crowd issinging along. The screen is showing wildfires, firefighters putting them out, eyes, and then police walking with riot screens. The song finishes and the crowd goes wild. He shouts, “Thank you”, and starts to sing if ‘I Could Turn Back Time’ as a joke. The opening chords form start, and the crowds cheer as he starts to sing ‘Rock Dust Light Star’. This is a much more pared back song, with just a guitar and percussion with backing vocals. After it finishes, he tells us, “We'd better play some hits. This'll get you singing. Are you ready? This time, the screen shows something like the Roald Dahl ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ as he sings ‘Cosmic Girl’. The crowd go wild, singing and dancing along, and as that song ends he launches into ‘Canned Heat’. The next song is ‘Love Foolosophy’ and has magenta lights flashing into the stage, with binary code spinning on the the screen. I miss most of this, as I'm getting a bit fed up of a drunk woman bashing into my scooter. She’s so drunk that she can’t stand up straight, and now she’s sat on my arm :( Finally, she sits down on the grass, and leaves me alone! Jay Kay is incredibly energetic, and hasn’t stopped dancing once during his set. He tells us, “There's nothing left to do but play my last song, and it’s ‘Virtual Insanity’”. It’s brilliant, we all love it and him, and sing and dance along with him. He tells us, “Thank you so much Lytham, you've been fantastic. Thank you, God bless you, Lytham, and good night!” Well, that was an amazing introduction to the Lytham Festival, Jamiroquai was excellent, with a barnstorming performance from Jay Kay! I’m really looking forward to what the rest of the festival brings! THURSDAY Today, we have General Admission tickets, as there’s space for me on the Accessible Platform. I’ve decided I’m not going to try to go to the front, after last night’s experience with the drunken woman, so I’m happy to be on the platform. Tonight, it’s George Ezra, someone I’ve not seen for a while, so I am looking forward to his gig. George Ezra comes onto the stage with Tom Jones' ‘It’s Not Unusual’ playing! He starts singing and playing the guitar with ‘Anyone for You (Tiger Lily)’. His band start clapping as he sings a capella for part of the song, then they all start playing again. The central screen is showing technicolour hills, mountains, sky and sun. The song finishes and the stage goes dark, then the drummer starts up, with the rest of the band joining in as George starts to sing ‘Cassy O’. I love this song. It’s so catchy and fun! One of the band is playing a guitar-shaped keyboard, and he and George play against each while jumping, as George tells us, "If at any point, you feel like singing along, please do!”. The song ends and the crowd cheers, and George continues to chat with us, saying, “Thank you so much ladies and gentlemen for being here. My name is George Ezra. This is my lovely band and this next song is called ‘Get Away and I hope you enjoy it.” The background is a twisting Typograph, as George plays his guitar and sings. He then tells us, “So, last year I released an album called ‘Gold Rush Kid’, and I'm going to play you the title track now”. The tour he's doing is called ‘The Gold Rush Kid Tour’, and all the band have denim jackets with ‘Gold Rush Kid’ on the back. What's really surprised me is the age range of the crowd - from children aged 6-7 to quite elderly people. “We're going to play a song now, ‘Pretty Shining People’, and you're going to join in partway through.” I love this song! It starts off quite slowly, but then the chorus picks up a little. It shows his vocal range well, as the verse is quite deep. He then teaches some lines to the song: “Don't we all need love?/The answer is easy.” We all sing along when he tells us to. As the song ends, he applauds us for our efforts and says, "That was amazing. Thank you very much." Next up is ‘Barcelona’.There's a single spotlight on George, and he's projected onto the side and near screens. Now there's pictures of the crowd showing on the rear screen, all in black and white. This song features a slide guitar to great effect. The stage is lit in red now with while flashing lights. The wind is picking up and its starting to get cold now. I've one layer left to put on - a big cape that I've currently got wrapped around my legs. I’m going to have to wear it properly soon. Next is ‘Saviour;, a faster number, with a strong guitar riff. As the song ends, the stage darkens, and most the band have left the stage leaving just George and James. The next song is ‘Hold My Girl’. This is more of a ballad than the previous few songs. It’s slower and more gentle. Everyone is singing along. James is on keyboard, George on guitar. The rest of the band return to the stage, and they play ‘In the Morning’. It’s off his last album, and is full of hope for the future, and really shows his vocal range. What a beautiful song this is! The stage goes dark between each song, then lights up as the next songs starts. It’s ‘Manila’, a song I don’t recognise - there's a sweet guitar solo, followed by a brass solo. The next song shows George as a stamp on the rear screen. This one has a good saxophone solo. He tells us, “Lytham, ladies and gentlemen please make as much noise as you can for the band!'" We comply, and the song ends. The stage goes dark again, as George starts ‘Green, Green Grass. Everyone is up and dancing. This is definitely a crowd pleaser. The song ends and the crowd roars its approval. He tells us. “We're going to play ‘Blame it On Me’, and everyone sings along. The band is in full swing and look pretty happy to be playing. The song ends, people cheer and then it starts again with brass taking the lead, then George joins in with the chorus, and everyone joins in. The drummer then has a long solo, I’m guessing this is just to honour him, as it wasn't part of a song. Next up, another hit starts – ‘Paradise’. Everyone claps and cheers as song ends. I love this song! “Ladies and gentlemen, how about we play ‘Budapest’”? Everyone roars yes! This is possibly my favourie. It shows his song writing skills, his vocal range and is such a lovely tune. He applauds us at the end for our brilliant singing! The show ends. Or has it? It was strange, with George just saying "Thank you, you've been brilliant!” People have started to leave, the arena is emptying, but then George and his band come back on stage and start to play ‘Dance All Over Me’! I’m glad we stayed, as we would have missed this - one advantage of being on the Accessible Platform and having to wait until the crowds dissipate before we can safely leave! George tells us, “Okay, we have one last song to play for you. Thank you for being amazing. This has been so much fun! Where we go, no matter where we go, we finish with this song. Let’s make the whole town hear us! This is ‘Shotgun’”. The brass start, and as soon as George starts singing, we all join in. George is grinning widely as he hears us singing as he’s stepped away from the miv. The song ends and he says goodbye and leaves the stage as the brass finish playing, and waves goodbye to all. What a gig! This was fantastic, the crowd were on their feet, singing and dancing the whole time! SATURDAY By now, the wind has increased, and it’s getting pretty cold. My cape is over my legs, my hat is pulled down over my ears, and I’m being plied with hot chocolate to keep me warm. Lionel Ritchie is next up. The arena is fuller than it has been for the previous rights. There's barely any room left. The accessible platform is completelyfull, as well. I last saw Lionel Richie as the Legend Slot at Glastonbury pre-Covid, and am looking forward to tonight’s performance. The stage light up as the band starts to play, and Lionel comes on stage. He calls out “Lytham!” and immediately starts singing ‘Running in the Night’. He's wearing a fabulous orange sequin jacket. As the song ends, he spots the Lionel Richie impersonators at the front of the stage, down near the cameras. He demands we all join in with him, and everyone does. “Lytham X4, I've got some songs for you tonight!” He then starts ‘Easy’, a Commodores hit, whilst playing keyboards. The crowd are in really good voice and sing along. He stops the song and tells us, "That was too little for a crowd who are freezing to death." So the saxophonist tries again and does much better! He tells us, “Let's get some movement, get some blood flowing, We’re going to sing together,” and starts ‘Penny Lover’. He calls out to two people in the crows, telling them the song is for them. The crowd are singing and dancing along with the songs, clearly loving what they’re hearing. Lionel is really on top form, as well, and seems to be loving performing! The next song starts and it’s ‘You Are’. The main screen is split into six with the band, and the side screens have Lionel on them. What a great tune! He tells us this crowd is out of control, and that we need to sing a little ‘Stuck on You’. He tells us to come in when he tells us to, so we do. He serenades one woman in the crowd, pointing to her as he sings. The back of his jacket has ‘All Night Long’ in silver sequins! He says to us, “Let's do some Commodores.” Fingers crossed from me, and yes! It’s ‘Brick House’! This is my favourite Commodores song! There's a brilliant sax solo in the middle of this. It’s excellent! Not heard this song for some time. Iit takes me back to my university days when it was released! I’m bopping and singing along, as is the whole crowd. The song ends, and he moves back to the piano. He tells us he's been given a local drink. It’s the favourite drink of people in Lytham. I have no idea what that is! Next up is Three Times a Lady’. A couple on the accessible platform get up to dance together. It’s so lovely to see them enjoy themselves so much. The stage is filled with purple lighting, and the back screen has clouds. The side screens show Lionel at the piano. He holds the final note for ages and ages. His performance tonight is apparently way better than it was for the Coronation! He looks so happy to be performing, but does not like the cold wind! He plays ‘Sail On’, another Commodores hit tune. The whole crowd are waving their hands in the air as Lionel disappears from the stage. He comes back wearing a different jacket, and tells us he's going to do some more Commodores songs, and sings ‘Lady, You Bring Me Up’, quickly followed by ‘You Are My Destiny’. People are loving this set! The song finishes and the crowd roar their approval! Lionel then tells us,“They advertised this as a summer tour. I don't want what winter is like here! I've been trying to get Diana Ross to come here, but, no, she isn't coming. You're going to be Diana, I'm going to be me”. And he sings ‘My Endless Love’ beautifully. We do our best as Diana, but I’m not sure how well we succeeded! He tells us, “There’s only two ways to do the next song, you’re either going to dance on the floor, or you're going to dance on the ceiling”. And we sing ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ together. There's an electric guitar solo, followed a great sax solo. The crowd go wild at the end of the song The song ends, and he says. “I'm loving tonight, and when they ask me to tell a story about rock an.d roll, I'm going to tell them about Lytham. I'm going to tell them about the gale. This is the greatest discovery of my life. I've discovered a drink that brings you back to life. The next thing we need to do is sing a song,” And he starts ‘Hello’. “I love you so much, everybody. Thank God bless you all”. ‘Say You, Say Me’ is next, and everyone sings along as he's plays it on a grand piano., He finishes the song and takes a bow. The crowd whistle, cheer and demand more. “I want to tell you how grateful I am. We’ve been away for five years, and you don't think that people remember. I’m humbled by your presence tonight. I want to make a statement. I’m a person who travels the world, and I've done a study about human beings, and they come with titles and words that all fall under the title mankind and I hear people use the phrase ‘those people’. Tonight, I'm looking. We are all human, a melting pot of people, human beings I wrote this song with Michael Jackson, and I wait to sing it to you now. And he sings ‘We Are the World’, and the words appear on the back screen so that everyone can sing them. The stage goes dark and the band leave. The crowd call for more, and he returns, wearing a different jacket and asks us is we want to be here ‘All Night Long’, and starts to sing it. He's wearing a turquoise sequin jacket too, and complains it’s not as warm as his other jacket. The whole band look like they are having a brilliant time, I know the crowd are! This was his final song, and was the perfect end to a very cold evening!

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Lytham Festival - Lytham Green, Lytham, 29/6/2023....2/7/2023

Lytham Festival - Lytham Green, Lytham, 29/6/2023....2/7/2023

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