This Sunday I got a last-minute invitation to the closing night of the Upton International Music Festival at the tiny village of Upton-upon-Severn in Worcestershire. I’ve visited the charming riverside spot a few times when I was younger as have family in the area, so was really surprised to turn up to a huge site with a buzzing festival atmosphere, as it’s usually a really quiet and picturesque location.
The three day event had apparently drawn in crowds from all over the West Midlands who’d flocked to see the eclectic range of music acts which included Britain’s Got Talent Finalists, The Luminites, 80s soul singer Alexander O’Neal, and West Country favourites, the Wurzels. A skim read of Sunday’s line up was a blur of names I didn’t really recognise but there was one name that stood out. I saw the word Slade and Noddy Holder’s legendary screeching “It’s Christmas!” rang in my ears and I was genuinely a little bit excited to see them on stage!
After a whirl on the waltzers and a few plastic cups of locally brewed cider it was time for glam-rock legends Slade to come on. I quickly realized that Noddy was no longer part of the line-up, but was told that the drummer (Don Powell) and guitarist (Dave Hill) were part of the original band. I was pleasantly surprised by how good they were; they really got the crowd going and the new front man was brilliant (Mal McNulty). I was also surprised that I recognized a few of their songs other than the Christmas classic. I was soon singing along to ‘Coz I Luv You’, ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ and ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ in unison with the rest of the crowd.
They couldn’t not do ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’, so to close their set the band donned Santa hats and belted out their legendary track. I didn’t really think that I’d be dancing around in a field wearing wellies singing a Slade Christmas song at the top of my lungs this Bank Holiday, but I’m glad it ended up that way! What better way to kick off the countdown to Christmas now that summer is over?
Has anything got you in the Christmas spirit yet? Let us know in the comments below.