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Picnics, poetry and rock 'n' roll as 'Stockfest' returns

Stockcross residents treated to nine days of entertainment

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

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01635 886632

Picnics, poetry and rock 'n' roll as 'Stockfest' returns

PUB quizzes, rock ’n’ roll, silent films, opera, dancing, flower displays, poetry and classic cars – it has been a busy nine days for the festival-going residents of Stockcross.

The hugely popular Stockfest returned with a bang and some top entertainment, including a series of events, workshops and a whole load of community spirit.

Lovers of early 50s music were in their element at the festival’s opening retro weekend.

Johnny Gunner and the Raiders, supported by DJ West End Pete, provided authentic early rock ’n’ roll and rockabilly, with their classic line-up of guitar, double bass and drums.

After a free, hour-long jive workshop, the audience took to the dance floor with gusto, many dressed 1950s-style in swing skirts and bobby sox.

Despite the unkind weather on the Sunday evening, a day of music ended with a barn-storming performance of rhythmn and blues by Southampton-based Chi-cago 9.

Fans of Buster Keaton, some in 20s-style dress, enjoyed his silent comedy film The General, which was accompanied by live piano music.

Over the course of the film, pianist James Harpham played a total of 97 tunes, which ranged from Teddy Bears’ Picnic to Mussorgsky’s Night on the Bare Mountain, which kept the audience smiling all the way home.

Classic cars filled The Glebe on Sunday and, under glorious sunshine, the large crowd was entertained by the mellow sounds of Newbury Ukelele Town Strummers, Mynott’s Wing, and Jennifer Wren & the Songbirds.

Ironically, the weather took a turn for the worse just as electric pop duo Eternal Sunshine took to the stage.

They were followed by Dub Side of the Bed, who performed some upbeat, quirky reggae.

Other highlights of the festival included Ken Rich’s poetry workshop, a mixed-media art class with Max Hale and a jazz and blues concert at St John’s Church by Richard Cox Smith, Jon Walsh and Brian Throup.

The week ended with a performance by Kennet Opera and a safari around the village’s arts and crafts exhibitions.

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