Report on March Summer Festival 2006

Over 300 people turned up for the Friday ‘Young Bands’ section of the March Summer Festival in West End Park. Music for the evening was provided by six different acts playing a varied selection of music which would probably appeal more to those under the age of 30! The evening kicked off in the same way as last year with the talented singer/songwriter and guitarist Rob Paling performing a selection of original songs. He was followed by the youngest band at the event ‘Daquiri’ who, though inexperienced showed much potential, and Deliver Earth’s Angels To Heaven (DEATH) who, like last year performed an aggressive set of heavy metal numbers. The powerpop/pop punk band State of Freedom - by far the best band of the evening -  delighted the audience with some lively numbers, followed by Matter of Distance who were returning to the Festival for the first time since 2002. The evening ended with an enthusiastic set by local alternative rock band Spikestrip who interspersed their songs with some witty political commentary and also competently performed some extra numbers to carry us through to the end of the evening.
On Saturday morning the weather was glorious and a large number of people came out to enjoy the Car Boot Sale, Grand Parade (which also included a wedding party) and the March & Chatteris Lions Gala. Presentations were made to the Gala Princess and attendants and winners of the Best Float. After this came the arena events which included the local majorette troupe ‘March Militaires’ and the Fancy Dress Competition.
Lisa Dickinson’s ‘Dance Mania’ once again attracted a huge crowd in the afternoon when about 3000 people enjoyed the expertly choreographed performances by many of Lisa’s pupils. Lisa was followed by ‘Totally Tracey’, a new March band who really impressed many in the audience, including the sound engineers, with a superb set of brilliantly performed covers. The ever popular Sirico played next and kept the crowd happy playing covers that had the audience up and dancing. As the day ran into the evening Halagoogoo came on stage. Described by one member of the stage team as looking like ‘Glam rock without the glam’ with their heavy makeup they entertained the crowed with a very lively set and also demonstrated their love of good ‘shoes’. The evening was completed by Cover-up who kept the crowd happy until the end of the evening!

The ‘Picnic in the Park’ on Sunday filled the park with picnicking families enjoying the varied music and children’s activities. Matthew Fuller and Tom Harlock (AKA Mattie and Tom) kicked off the afternoon with a lively acoustic set which ranged from Paul Weller and the Jam, to Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene, and which demonstrated Matthews good vocal range and Tom’s musical ability. Ivan Garford’s Jazz Quintet, followed performing the perfect kind of mellow music for a Sunday afternoon in the Park. James Chadwick, a young singer/songwriter from Peterborough followed with an accomplished set which was rather spoiled by the onset of rain. Many families left the park as the temperature dropped but those who stayed enjoyed Mind the Gap’s popular set of covers from the last few decades. The weekend came to a grand finale when over 2000 people enjoyed the delights of the Alan Norris Big Band.
Maureen James, event manager said after the event “it has been an exhausting yet worthwhile weekend. We on the March Festival Committee work hard to provide a weekend of entertainment that will appeal to all ages. But we couldn’t manage without all the helpers and stewards, who do a marvellous job, and our sponsors and  funders without whom the festival could not take place”.