lytham festival

lytham festival

lytham festival

lytham festival

lytham festival

lytham festival

Lytham Festival began in 2010 as a one day picnic event but has grown to be one of the notable festivals in the country. By 2017 it was a five day event and last Friday I made my first visit to catch a day three line-up that comprised of Joe Sumner, Germein, Kaiser Chiefs, Blondie and Sting who is currently mid way through a UK tour.

Despite the inclement weather Friday was a sell-out with the festival’s highest ever one day attendance of 22,000.

Joe Sumner, son of headliner Sting, was a late addition to the line up. Formerly of Fiction Plane, Sumner delivered a short but well received set that included ‘Looking For Me Looking For You’, ‘Jellybean’ and his old band’s number ‘Two Sisters’.

Germein are a trio of Australian sisters – Georgia (Vocals/Guitar), Ella (Bass) and Clara Germein (Drums) and brought a touch of colour to what was quite a drab day weatherwise. The band has good pop sensibilities, and they are becoming regular visitors to these shores. I last saw them last year opening for Tom Jones on his tour last summer.

It was quite a surprise to learn that Kaiser Chiefs were on the bill but I’m never one to miss catching them. Ricky Wilson always puts plenty of effort in to working the audience and their Lytham set was no different. From opening number ‘Never Miss A Beat’ onwards they delivered enough of their hits to keep everyone interested including ‘Angry Mob’, ‘Na Na Na Na Naa’, ‘Ruby’, ‘I Predict A Riot’ and finished with ‘Oh My God’.

Earlier in the month I caught a great set by Blondie over at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre and it was great to see them again – all fresh from their triumphant Glastonbury appearance. With Clem Burke and Glen Matlock in the band they currently have a dynamite rhythm section alongside two talented young guitarists in Andee Blacksugar and Tommy Kessler plus Matt Katz-Bohen on keyboard.

They gave the crowd exactly what they wanted – plenty of classic radio hits including a first five songs that comprised of ‘One Way Or Another’, ‘Hanging On The Telephone’, ‘Call Me’, ‘Atomic’ and ‘Rapture’. Anyone not won over after that needed to check their pulse. They also included ‘Detroit 442’ from early in their career and ‘Long Time’ from their last studio album, 2017’s ‘Pollinator’. ‘Heart of Glass’ and the final number ‘Dreaming’ left the crowd on a high, ready for the headliner, Sting.

Sting last played in Blackpool forty years ago when The Police’s ‘Synchronicity’ tour was in town, so it had been a lengthy wait for his return. He wasted no time with an opening salvo of ‘Message In A Bottle’, ‘Englishman In New York’ and ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’ which certainly got the crowd warmed up quickly.

In his tight fitting grey t-shirt and white trousers the singer could pass for someone twenty years younger than his 71 years, and his headset microphone allowed him to move effortlessly about the stage.

His 1993 album ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’ contributed several tracks – ‘If I Ever Lose My Faith In You’, ‘Shape Of My Heart’ and ‘Fields Of Gold’.

The second half of the show was jammed with classic material. A couple of Police songs ‘Walking On The Moon’ and ‘So Lonely’ preceded his middle-eastern flavoured ‘Desert Rose’ and then he dipped into the ‘Synchronicity’ tunes with ‘King Of Pain’ on which he was joined by his son, Joe, who shared vocals with his father. The main set ended with ‘Every Breath You Take’ before the band took their bows.

The band returned for an encore with an extended run through ‘Roxanne’ which incorporated a generous helping of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’ as the rain picked up and was blown wildly across the stage, and then, seated and playing acoustic guitar the singer closed the evening with a beautiful version of ‘Fragile’.

Photos & Review by David Dunn