Shipston Proms 2015 first weekend opens with a Bang

The 17th Shipston Proms, was launched on Friday 19th June at Townsend Hall in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire with 3 local bands, The CopyCats, Average Wyatt Band and Kinky Farnham.
The Proms were setup in 1998 by a group of local Shipston residents who wanted to showcase local music in clubs, pubs and halls, using a 2 week festival format.
For this years event the organisers, in the smart green T-Shirts, had brought in a special Proms Ale brewed specially for the Proms in the Cat Brewery in Sugarswell, by the Cats Brewing Co. A nice pint it was too!
Also available for purchase were raffle tickets and limited edition Proms t-shirts.
After a final sound check the first group The CopyCats took to the stage, at the Townsend Hall in Shipston-on-Stour) with a line-up of Mark Newton (Keyboard/Guitar/singer), Matthew Wyatt (Bass Guitar), Adam Grey (Guitar) and Jon Bryan (Drums). The group has been playing gigs for over 20 years, but now just play for fun, and they had to thank guitarist Adam for stepping back in at the last-minute, after not playing with the group for 2 years (not the fact that you could tell as he was an excellent guitarist).
The group sang a range of songs from the 60s to 80s including Queen (Don’t Stop me Now), Elvis Presley (Suspicious Minds) and Bryan Adams (The Summer of 69).
Their set lasted an hour and was well received by the audience who were dancing to the numbers in increasing numbers.
Next up on the stage were Average Wyatt Band which was a name given to them at an early gig and has stuck, according to lead guitarist Robin Wyatt. The group are based near to Warmington, and their name was of more interest to me as that is my wife Sue’s maiden name (no relation).
The band line-up was Robin Wyatt (guitar/vocals), Neil Ions (vocals, percussion, flute). Leon ions (drums), Matthew Wyatt (bass guitar/vocals) and Ian Hattersley (trumpet).
As their band name does imply they did play an Average White Band number (Lets Go Round Again) along with songs by Santana (Smooth), Bob Marley (No Woman No Cry) and Dancin in the Moonlight (Thin Lizzy).
For a very appreciative audience for an encore they played a song by Paulo Nuttini.
Then space was made for the 9 piece headline act Kinky Farnham from Chipping Campden/Blockley, who are also headlining on the Saturday night at the 2015 Stratford River Festival. They have also played at the Cotswold Olimpicks after party in Chipping Campden.
The group plays a mixture of soul and funk music with horn section and multiple singers to give a very distinctive sound.
The band line-up is Tom Threadgill (lead vocals, conga, bongo), Mark Hanks (guitar and vocals), Toke Bennett (bass guitar), Teebs Bryan (keyboard and vocals), Leon Ions (drums), Meg Graham (saxophone and harmonica), Ben Bryan (guitar and vocals) and Chris Slatter (trumpet).
The group played a lot of funky music including Cosmic Girl (JAMIROQUAI), Freak Out (Chic) and Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder) and many other songs that had the crowds dancing in the hall.
The organisers wanted to thanks Holly End Luxury B&B for sponsoring the Proms Launch night and Clearsound Productions for the brilliant sound and lights.
A full set of images from this event can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/widerviewphoto/sets/72157654801141932
At separate local events a band from Shipston High School, Battered Soul were playing for the locals both at the Picnic on the Pitch (on a damp Saturday afternoon) and at a sunnier garden at the Gate Inn (Upper Brailes).
The group had been formed around 3 years ago by David Hunt the head of Music at Shipston High School (with himself joining the horn section on trumpet) with some year 8 students. The group won the Fame Contest at the 2013 Shipston Proms, as well as the Battle of the Bands at the Kineton Music Festival in 2014. They appeared at the recent Shipston Wool Fair in May 2015.
The band line-up is Ben Bryan (guitar and vocals), Gilbert Blocksidge (rhythm guitar), Harry Coupe (bass guitar), Will Packer (organ/piano), Tristan Hoff (drums), Sam Rawles (alto saxophone), Abel Wilson (cornet), Hector Banks (trombone), Charley Mack (vocals) and Artistic Director David Hunt (trumpet).
With several of the band leaving Shipston High after completing exams it will be interesting to see if the band can continue in some form, but exciting to see all the talent 16 or under in the group.
The set at the Gate Inn at Upper Brailes included many soul and blues numbers included in the Alan Parker film The Commitments, including In the Midnight Hour and Mustang Sally.
The audience enjoyed their two-part set in the pub garden, and the organiser Tim Porter wants to thank their sound man Alan Parker (no relation), event sponsors Simon Healey Paddocks and Grounds and Ian and Anne from The Gate Inn.
This act appeared on the third day of the 2015 Shipston Proms, which go on until Saturday 4th July with music of all tastes available every day at multiple venues.

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