‘THE BIG TRIBUTE FESTIVAL’ was a success, as the event saw thousands of people flock to the fields of Lovesgrove for a memorable Bank Holiday weekend.
The festival ran from Friday (Aug 26) until Sunday (Aug 28) and had the added bonus of fantastic weather in the area of Aberystwyth.
The three days were filled with the UK’s very best tribute acts. The Main Stage saw Nirvana UK, Manc Floyd, Money For Nothing, Kings Ov Leon, Guns 2 Roses and Musest play on the Friday.
On Saturday, the stage invited Endorphinmachine, Atomic Blondie, Vicky Jackson as Pink, Meet Loaf, Ohasis and The Bohemians to entertain the crowd.
The final day had the crowd dancing along to the likes of Bryan Adams Experience, Ed Sheeran Experience, The Beach Boys Band, Maybe Gaga, The Stones, Bon Jovi UK and Coldplay.
The Herald spoke to Vicky Jackson about her career and her tribute act as Pink at the Festival: “I have been singing for 18 years, I have been a tribute artist for nine years and I am also a recording artist. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world performing and I still love it!
“I loved the festival atmosphere over the weekend and the lovely people. It was well organised and a brilliant crowd too as I performed all of Pink’s huge hits crammed into an hour!”
“I have more tribute shows lined up this year, and hopefully more festivals next year. I also have more dance releases out, too! You can find out much more on my social media @vickyjacksonfanpage or Twitter @ vickyjackson.”
‘Maybe Gaga’ also told the Herald about her singing career and what songs she performed at the festival:
“I’ve been singing all my life really; coming from a showbiz family, it runs in the blood.
“I’ve performed with, and for, various people on stages as big as Wembley arena. Then I fell into the tribute world, starting off as a Kylie Minogue tribute, then Gaga came on the scene and I just knew that I had to do a tribute to her.
“Our voices are very similar so it was quite easy to impersonate her. Plus, I just fell in love with everything about her! She’s just crazy and outrageous and so fabulous on stage.
“I also do tributes to Katy Perry and Jessie J, plus sing as myself as much as I possibly can!
“At the festival, I had my band and dancers with me and we all had a ball on stage – it was so good to be back! I think the performance went really well, and I think by the crowd reaction, they loved it.
“It’s the best feeling in the world when everybody is singing along with you and whatever you tell them to do they do! The crew are just so amazing, it really is a pleasure to work with such amazing guys. From the sound and lighting, to the security, Steve Pickup really does have a fantastic team.
“This was my fourth time appearing on the main stage and I’ve loved every single one more than the last.
“At the festival, I performed ‘ARTPOP’, ‘Just Dance’, ‘Pokerface’, ‘Paparazzi’, ‘Telephone’, ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Born This Way’, ‘Edge of Glory’, ‘Applause’ and ‘Radio Gaga’.
“I’m back and forth from Corfu at the moment. In fact, I travelled back straight after the Big Tribute Festival and performed on Monday night. I am also travelling all over the country at home in England too.
“I do a fair few big corporate dos and private parties, and I have some coming up, plus I’ve just been booked for a wedding in 2018!
“I will perform for anyone (within reason) and absolutely love doing big festivals, as it gives me a chance to work with my band more. All of my upcoming events are on my Facebook page.”
The fun did not end there as the Other Stage, which showcases the best local acts from Aberystwyth and around Wales, introduced Gunpowder Factory, Stix, The Moonbirds, Henebion, Calum Duell, Sgarmes, Aber Jazz and many more.
As well as the Ale and Cider Festival, the festival goers had a wide variety of food stalls to choose from to keep their spirits up.
From a Backyard BBQ, succulent pork from the Bow Street Butchers Hog Roast stall, the Dixie Kitchen stall that served hot dogs, Event Eateries, pizzas from the Fratelli Brothers stall, homemade curries from Mama Singhs, Rustic Cooks Field Kitchen and even sweet treats from Sarah Bunton Chocolates.
Among the other entertainment stalls that kept that crowds energised throughout the weekend were stalls from Spellbound Balloon and Party Shop, Isaacs Sweet Shop and Dress Rail X.
Talking about their support to the festival and the party atmosphere they provided, the owner of ‘Spellbound Balloon and Party Shop’, Alison Richards, told The Herald: “On Saturday, Spellbound Balloon and Party Shop sponsored the fancy dress day at The Big Tribute Festival.
There were five categories and if people wanted to get involved, they would just turn up in fancy dress. “There were a few judges walking around the festival throughout the day looking for good ideas and combinations. For example, the people who won ‘the best group’ made a cardboard rollercoaster with fake legs hanging over and went around the fields with their hands up shouting things like ‘to the left’. They made it look like they were going up and down like a real rollercoaster, which was great.
“The prizes were brilliant. In each group, there were drinks tokens from The Big Tribute bar for the adults, tickets for next year’s festival and also we gave a £25 gift voucher.
“The opportunity to be present at the festival was a good chance to promote the shop. We’re quite well known in Aberystwyth anyway which is good, and we liked the idea of being involved when they approached us about it. The festival organisers wanted to get a really good party atmosphere going and it was good to see what ideas people came up with.
“This year was our third year at The Big Tribute Festival. We attended about four years ago just for the Saturday and had a brilliant time. It is a good family festival and all of the other stall holders helped each other out for change and were really nice and friendly.”
One of the many great things about The Big Tribute Festival is that it caters not just to the adult festival goers, but the younger festival goers too.
The expanded Little Rockers Stage dedicated entertainment for the younger generation this year with live performances from pop tributes, puppet shows, circus skills, magicians, a disco and much more. In addition to this, the children had the opportunity to enjoy the bouncy castles, trampolines and the joys of having their face painted by The Funtastic Nets Team.
Emma’s Crafty Kids tent made another appearance this year to provide the Little Rockers with a range of children’s drop-in craft activities and workshops.
If that wasn’t enough, the Little Rockers under five years were occupied with toys and games throughout the festivities at the Mini-Moshers Marquee.
One of the supporters of The Big Tribute Festival, Radio Ceredigion, talked to The Herald about their role and involvement with the festival: “Radio Ceredigion, for the third year in a row, were proud to support The Big Tribute Festival, Lovesgrove Aberystwyth. We wanted to work with them to not only show our support of such a great feel-good family event, being organised by local people, but because we saw the potential this event has to grow and wanted to back it 100%.
“Event organisers Laura and Steve have done an amazing job and we look forward to working with them again in all future events.”
Taking the time to talk to The Herald about the inspiration behind the event and their thoughts on this year’s festival, organisers Steve Pickup and wife Laura Dodds said: “Myself and my wife Laura are festival goers and always wanted to do something in Mid Wales but knew it wouldn’t be possible to do something with real bands due to the cost.
“We knew we could recreate the fun aspect of a festival and that’s what we’ve done really with tribute bands. We have a beautiful location, camping facilities and all of the production settings that you would expect to find at a mainstream festival.
“This year, the turn out at the festival has been fantastic and we were very fortunate with the weather for the whole three days. We’ve been organising the festival every year and this year it felt like we were up on the numbers. We’ve yet to know the exact figure but the feedback that we received there, from acts to the festival goers, was absolutely superb.
“Both Laura and I organise The Big Tribute Festival alongside our full time jobs and it’s a year long timing thing. We do it with the support of a group of local people in Aberystwyth who are an incredible bunch of people. They help us with all aspects of the logistics, from the site team to the security.
“We are just fortunate that, in a place like Aberystwyth, we have people that we can turn to in order to make things happen. It’s quite incredible what we can achieve within the timeframe we have.
“We would love to bring the festival back again next year and we hope we can. There are always things you need to sort out first before organising a festival but we are hopeful we will be back again.
“We think The Big Tribute Festival is probably as big as we want it to get in order to maintain that family friendly feel. It was so enjoyable this year; the audiences came from the local area and further afield. It’s also amazing to get the feedback from people who travel from all around the UK to Lovesgrove in order to attend the festival. They all put in their diaries where they spent that Bank Holiday weekend and it’s great.
“The feedback that we have received so far this year was probably the best we’ve had. After all of the work and planning, you always hope it pays off, so this year it seems to be that it’s been great all round.”
Man denies £7,000 burglary
A MAN from West Sussex has today denied carrying out a £7,000 burglary in Lampeter.
Kurtis Poat, aged 23, appeared at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Paul Thomas.
Poat, of Osborne Crescent, Chichester, denied breaking into a house in Nantyglyn, Cwmann, in May, 2017, and stealing a tin containing £7,000 in cash.
Poat faces a two day trial scheduled to begin on April 11 and was granted bail until then.
Campaigners urge air gun licensing following cat shootings
CATS PROTECTION is urging the UK’s cat lovers to join a call on the Westminster government to introduce air gun licensing in Wales and England, following in the footsteps of Scotland and Northern Ireland where it is illegal to own air weapons without licence.
The government is currently holding a public consultation into air weapon regulation, including licensing, which closes on February 6, making this the ideal time for cat lovers to make their voices heard by sending an e-mail to the Home Office.
To take part people should visit www.cats.org.uk/airgunsconsult
Victims of air gun shootings include Jalapeno, a black-and-white cat from Bridgend who was shot in the eye, and Chaos, a black-and-white cat from South Wales who was shot between her eyes, shattering the bones in her nose.
Luckily both Jalapeno and Chaos survived their injuries after receiving emergency veterinary care.
However, in March 2017, a cat from Barry was fatally shot, as was a cat from Llanell in August 2017.
“Shocking air gun attacks like the ones on Jalapeno and Chaos are by no means rare,” explains Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations.
“Our monitoring of UK press reports shows that three cats are killed or injured by an air gun each week and this is likely to be an underestimate because most attacks are never witnessed or reported. Worse still, over 90% of these shootings take place in Wales and England where it is legal for anyone over 18 to purchase an air gun and ammunition without the need for a licence.
“These attacks cause immense pain and suffering to cats as well as anguish for their owners and fear in their local communities for the safety of people and pets.”
Cats Protection believes that if licensing were introduced, it would be easier to track down culprits who use these weapons to inflict harm on cats.
The charity wants to ensure that cats in Wales and England are fully protected. Those who have a legitimate reason to purchase, possess and use an air gun will be able to retain ownership and would simply need to apply for a licence.
Jacqui added: “Last year over 90,000 people signed an online and paper Cats Protection petition calling for the licensing of air guns in Wales and England, showing the depth of public feeling on the issue. Our hope is that as many people as possible email the government in support of air gun licensing so that we can make the whole of the UK a safer place for cats, animals and human beings.”
Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps around 190,000 cats each year through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.
Police crack down on drink and drug driving
NEARLY 100 people were arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police for drink and drug driving in December, as a result of the All Wales Christmas Anti Drink and Drug Drive Campaign.
The month-long operation against driving under the influence ran from Friday, December 1, and police forces across the country used intelligence-led tactics and local knowledge of hotspots to detect people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the festive period.
98 people were arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police.
Supt. Huw Meredith, Specialist Operations, said: “We adopt a proactive, targeted and intelligence-led approach to drink and drug driving, using specialist Roads Policing resources and response officers.
“The number of arrests indicates that sadly some are prepared to risk the lives of others and themselves by driving under the influence of drink or drugs.
“Our message is the same all year round – don’t drink/take drugs and drive.”
In 2017 Dyfed-Powys Police arrested 452 people for drink and drug driving.
Operation Snap also launched in December, allowing members of the public throughout Wales to submit footage and images showing traffic offences being committed – from driving dangerously or carelessly to contravening solid white lines, using a mobile phone while driving or ignoring traffic lights.
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