It’s been two years since we’ve been let loose in a field to dance in the elements under the stars. Something that was so incredibly ‘normal’ in the world of what we knew. The build up to this particular festival has been pretty exciting for many reasons. There are festivals and there are festivals. What I’m trying to say is this; Some want to simply pick a selection of the commercial kind of pop chart artists who will sell tickets and create a gathering that consists of a stage, some food stalls and a big fat bar. Then, there are others, who create a vibe. Now a vibe cannot be purchased. In other words, money cannot buy this. Set in the heart of nature, in the green fields of Winchester, one man had an ‘idea’. To create a festival, for the people. A festival for like minded folk. A gathering for adults. Camaraderie at it’s most humble and finest degree. This was a festival created by an artist for artists. There was no VIP, we were all as one, together, with one massive uniting force, “music”. His name? Barry Ashworth. Mostly known by his remarkable success with his band “Dub Pistols”. I couldn’t begin to list the exact running of events of what happened, as you see, if you didn’t go, you didn’t go. Those who made the effort, who trusted the process, they were there, and they loved it. We all loved it. I loved it.
You gotta love the M25 on a Friday. Sometimes in life you just have to tell yourself that when you arrive at your destination it will be the right time regardless of when you thought you would get there. On arrival, wondering where to camp, our paths crossed with a warm welcome by Dawn from “Tonic Music For Mental Health”. We have worked together on a few projects now raising awareness for the “Tonic Rider” & promoting good mental health in the music industry. Had we arrived earlier or later we simply would not have found each other the way that we did. As drummer Niall Power say’s, “Timing Is Everything”. Ain’t that the truth.
Entering the festival I decided to just let myself get led by sound. Following what I loved, I joined a load of festival party goers in the first tent I came to and it was all just perfect. Looking up to see who was on the decks, it was none other than Barry Ashworth himself. What a set that was! The drum and bass just went right through me. No need to think about anything, just dance. A great start to what turned out to be an incredibly memorable festival indeed. Moving from this stage to the next, Rodney P & Skitz in the zone. The party continued. The line up was excellent. Top class sets one after the other. There were three stages and it didn’t matter where you were in the festival, you were sure to be given the very best.
Festivals often have a ‘wild card’ moment when a band takes you by surprise. For me this was “Too Many T’s”. I actually saw Leon and Ross backstage before their set, but I just hadn’t the foggiest idea who they were. One with his shoulder length blonde hair, patterned green trousers and baggy t-shirt, the other in his baseball cap, baggy t-shirt and shorts. Their set? It was like a step back in time to Beastie Boy’s 90’s perfection hauled into 2021.
Absolutely relentless, full power, they owned that stage and were up in the air, left, right and centre. The crowd gathered for this set more and more and everyone applauded with genuine regard. Barry Ashworth at the front with so much appreciation to have these guys at his festival. Mr Switch on the decks is a 4x world DJ champion. Respect. Thank you “Too Many T’s”. We totally loved your set.
Seanie T took to the stage in the afternoon performing his debut solo album for the first time. The album was due to be released just before the pandemic arrived, so it was lovely to see this live. Such a strong performer, mainly known as the front man MC for his band the “Dub Pistols”. Seanie T’s solo album is heading back to the old school vibes of the 90’s hip hop scene. Sadly DJ Surro couldn’t be with us for this show so Terry Hooligan stepped in to perform with him. A great substitute. This was an awesome gig.
Plenty of live scratching on the decks while the sunshine lit up the crowd on the Saturday Autumnal afternoon. The Ragga Twins also joined the stage and took Seanie T by surprise enabling the guys to roll into some beautiful free styling musical fun. Rap and scratch with lyrical excellence and utter quality. We loved it and cannot wait to hear more of what Seanie T is releasing as he embarks upon his solo journey.
Seanie T joined by the Ragga Twins
While photographing Don Letts it was lovely to be given such a welcome by him on stage. It’s been so long since we’ve all been able to work at events. We may have been through a chaotic apocalypse, but the love and grace is strong, the music binds and the vibe and drive is stronger than ever. We have gained a higher perspective of what we lost, yet a driving force of gratitude for what we maintain.
I’ve had the pleasure of photographing a few live performances by the Dub Pistols throughout the years. The first time I ever saw them live was on the main stage at “The Secret Garden Party” festival in about 2014. Here, in 2021 this was a show unlike any other. The professionalism of this band and the communication they have on stage is perfection. To get this far in your musical career and to be this tight takes experience, dedication and discipline.
As the band got ready to go on stage, the love and the respect between them all was powerful and clear. Duty, grace and gratitude rises high along side the sheer excitement of being able to get on that stage and perform. This is their job and they’ve worked incredibly hard to get to this point. Loving every second.
Original Dub Pistols band member MC SirReal took to the stage to join the band and sing “Bad Card” with Seanie Tee. Such a high energy track and a particular favourite of mine.
The festival even has it’s own feature track; “Oh no here we go again, I’m off my face another Mucky Weekend…” The “Dub Pistols” rocking that party like nothing else. Joined by special guests & friends who warmed to the stage, Rodney P, Bez (Happy Monday’s), Ragga Twins, MC SirReal, Natty Campbell – (Reggae Roast Sound System), with a bouncing party. A lot of fun.
Tom Findlay (Groove Armada) followed after the Dub Pistols with a DJ set.
Bez’s Acid House Party closed the festival on the Saturday night bringing a relaxed ‘let your hair down’ atmosphere to the space.
If you don’t know who performed at this wonderful little festival, this was the line up…
Leeroy Thornhill (ex The Prodigy), Krafty Kutz, Ragga Twins, Tom Findlay (Groove Armada), Klaus Blatter, Traktor Girl, Lisa Loud.
The Cuban Brothers – he got down to his pants and socks. Wasn’t sure where to look! A lot of acrobatics going on in that show. Certainly was a wild performance that one.
Freestylers, Dr Meaker, Justin Robertson, A-Skilz, Zed Bias, Jon Carter, Terry Farley, Chopstick, Dubplate Ft King Yoof, 2 Bad Mice, Future Flex, Uncle Dugs, DJ Barrington, Nancy Noise, Lindy Layton, Jayne Winstanley, Carl Loben, Zero B, Tim Toil, Daddy Nature, Skata Tones, Hobbs, Dub Defenders, Soul of Man, Jonrah, DJ Ironing Board, Lulah Francs, Barefoot Bandit, Jay Rees, Feral Is Kinky, Cuba Libra, DJ Stix, Just A Couple of Mums, Von Adams, Danny Wav.
Barry Ashworth, Deano & Biff Mitchell, what a dream team. You couldn’t ask for more when putting on a party.
As the mist came rolling in over the fields and the lights sparkled through the trees, we made our way back to camp. Tired, but happy.
Thank you very much Mucky Weekender.
See you next year!
Some more photos for you to enjoy below…
Leeroy – The Prodigy
Big thank you to these guys who kept the festival looking clean and tidy. RESPECT
Flinty Badman (Ragga Twins)
Bez (Happy Monday’s) & Rob Smith (Classic & Custom Works)
A Mucky Weekender Raver.
Back Stage With DJ Krucial
Jean-Claude King (Dub Pistols)
Early bird tickets are already on sale for 2022.
Please go to: https://mucky-weekender.co.uk/tickets/
The festival is in association with Tonic Music For Mental Health. Donations welcome when you purchase your ticket.
Let Music Be Your Tribe
All Images © Gem Rey
If you wish to use any image(s) in this article, you will need permission for usage.
Thanks & Respect