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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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NEW PHOTOS: Sun shone on Sealy Spyatstock

Aspatria was alive with the sound of live music last weekend as the town hosted its first three-day music festival.

Sealy Spyatstock attracted more than 20 acts to perform over two stages at Aspatria Rugby Club.

The event was headlined by Toploader, and other bands included Five and Dangerous, Colt 45, Salvation, the Misfitz, Soul City Walkers, Lottery Winners, Secure Unit, iFoundation and Bite the Shark.

One of the stand-out performances came from Killer Queen, who are called Europe’s top Queen tribute band, who brought Freddie Mercury back to life on Friday night.

Despite frequent rain showers, more than 300 people attended each day of the event, which was sponsored by the town’s largest employer Sealy and supported by several local firms and Cumbria Festivals Group.

Laura Johnson, 23, of Crosby Villa, near Maryport, said: “We love coming to local festivals and this has been a great substitute to the likes of CockRock and Solfest which we normally go to.”

Gillian Wardle, 35, of St Mungo’s Park, Aspatria, said: “I’m here because I think people should come out and support events in their towns. This is a really good thing for Aspatria and it could really take off.”

Spyatstock was launched as a one-day event last year by local musician Damon McRea, 26, and Matthew Turnbull, 21, of Aspatria.

With Keith Harrison, Colin Rumney, Terry King and Fiona Pearson on board, they decided to expand the festival.

Mr Harrison said: “The festival went well. We’ve had no trouble and it has been a great way to showcase Aspatria and the talent we have in the county.”

  • More photos will be in the Times & Star on Friday

See below for a blog from the event:

SUNDAY 5.27PM: The amazing Secure Unit are just finishing off their set - I can't rate this band highly enough and the phrase "covers band" does not do them justice.

This is probably the last post from me, we're off to enjoy the Misfitz and then off home.

It's been a fantastic weekend and we are very grateful to everyone who has looked after us - from Fiona and her team in the bar to the ladies on the burger stand by the marquee and the security team.

If you missed it, you missed out - and I hope Sealy Spaytstock returns in 2015!

SUNDAY 3.53PM: Soul City Walkers are a perfect accompaniment for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Great soulful numbers and you can never beat a brass section as far as I'm concerned. The outside area has to be one of the best I've seen for a small festival and people are enjoying the sunshine.

Organisers have moved the acoustic stage into the marquee too, which is keeping the tempo up in there during main stage changeovers.

SUNDAY 2.48PM: 13 Stars doing their thing, really well to a tent that's filling up - bless them though, they're all hair and cowboy boots and it's boiling on stage.

They're going down really well. Soul City Walkers on next - we've never seen them, but I know they're incredibly well thought of. 

SUNDAY 1.58PM: More and more people are coming in and the tent is filling up nicely, with the outside picnic area catching the rays. Groove Breakers were brilliant - a mix of classics, including Peggy Lee's Fever. A superb cover. Jacksson Sedgwick's gran is here as well to see her boy perform with 13 Stars next.

She's just brilliant and always turns up to support him - it was nice to catch up! She must be the oldest festival-goer I know and she really enjoys it.

SUNDAY 12.35pm: There's a nice crowd in the marquee for the band Mayfair Suite's main set, fronted by Scott of Rucksacks fame, and the site has the laidback Sunday feel.

SUNDAY 12.16PM: Here we are, for the last day of Sealy Spyatstock. The sun is out and a band are on stage now soundchecking. It's going to be another good day at Aspatria Rugby Club!

today, we're looking forward to sets from Soul City Walkers, 13 Stars, Secure Unit and Misfitz. Come and join us! 

SUNDAY 12AM: Toploader went down a storm at the festival - although it was sad that the crowd wasn't bigger for them, or any of the other acts that had been on during the day. The major lessons I've learnt today is that you know more Toploader songs than you think (and they give an excellent performance) and anyone not from these parts cannot pronounce Aspatria.

Our media room is next door to the artists' dressing rooms and I've lost count of the amount of terms I've heard them rehearsing them say it (although my favourites were Killer Queen - lead singer Patrick/Freddie obviously gave it up and got on stage and said "hello Cumbria"!) 

SATURDAY 9.50pm:  Toploader are here and the marquee is rocking out to JoanovArc - a female band with a great line in proper rock - think Five and Dangerous in dresses but younger, more attractive and female. (Sorry guys!)

SATURDAY 8.50PM: Lottery Winners are on stage now and Thom, the lead singer, is having a great craic with the crowd- although he thought he was in Silloth and not Aspatria! Luckily guitarist Rob knew where they were.......

Usual top quality set from the quartet from Leigh!

SATURDAY 7.10PM: Colt 45 did a great set on the main stage - it was great to see the boys and they've lost none of their vigour on stage! The lovely Lottery Winners have arrived and are currently relaxing in the clubhouse before they perform on the main stage later. The sun's out too and loads more people have arrived.

SATURDAY 6.08PM: Classic moment on the acoustic stage - we walked in to get photos of the Rucksacks (Scott and Adam) and Scott's guitar string broke - he did an amazing job dealing with a camera in his face, singing Don't Look Back In Anger and restringing his guitar.

Acoustic stage is running about 40 minutes ahead so Bite the Shark have stepped in to do an impromptu acoustic set - and very good it is too!

SATURDAY 5.30PM: We had to tear ourselves away from Five and Dangerous, who have to be one of our favourite local bands, to come up and see the Rucksacks on the acoustic stage.

SATURDAY 4.19PM: Bite the Shark are giving it some welly on the main stage. I keep referring to them as Jump the Shark, which Mark says is going to get me into trouble so I thought I may as well get it out in the open now.

It's never dull with these Manchester boys, as the bassist launched himself off the main stage and performed in the middle of the marquee for a while. Think it gave the sound crew from Fluid minor kittens!

Just seen Adam from Colt 45 who are performing later - it's been a while since we've seen the boys, who are without doubt on the verge of major stardom and play here after a recent performance at the Download festival.

I better give Dicky Clark Thompson a mention here too - just so his ego stays reasonably buoyed. He's playing with Five and Dangerous later - I have threatened that we'll be in the bar, but he knows that's not true.

And it's Abbie's birthday today - I have no idea who she is but the bar staff have just sang happy birthday to her, so it must be true!

SATURDAY 3.40PM: Getting ready for Bite the Shark to perform and Bobby Hollard is on the acoustic stage entertaining the good size crowd gathering in there.

SATURDAY 3.30PM: Very surreal moment - just met Toploader at their accommodation before they head out for a round of golf. Nice chaps and looking forward to their set later. 

There's a big black cloud overhead and it's drizzling but festival-goers will not be bowed by the weather and are enjoying themselves in the marquee and bar. 

SATURDAY 2.23PM: Crowds are building and the atmosphere is brilliant. Bite the Shark have just arrived.

SATURDAY 1.56PM: Rigsby opened today's festival with more than a little panache and a lot of punk rock - great start! The mighty Heartbreak Remedy are on stage now, (yes I do have more than a soft spot for the pint-sized rockers) and more people are coming in all the time -it's stopped raining, so now there's no excuse! I can see the sun peeping through the clouds and everything!

SATURDAY 12.49PM: Well, we're back at Aspatria Rugby Club and while it may be raining, it's going to be a good day. Potential festival-goers shouldn't be put off by the rain - the main stage is in a lovely marquee and the acoustic acts are playing in the nice and cosy bar in the clubhouse - so there's no excuse not to come out and enjoy some top tunes!

SATURDAY 12.04AM: Killer Queen were certainly under no pressure as they performed at Sealy Spyatstock. The band - dubbed Europe's best Queen tribute act -  delivered on every level - from Freddie's showmanship to almost note-perfect music, there was nothing not to like.

The crowd swelled to about 300, but it felt at times like you were in a stadium and Queen were there in front of you. Patrick, who performs as Freddie Mercury, had his mannerisms down to a tee and worked the crowd into a state of near-frenzy as the band worked through their hits. They obeyed his every whim.

You cannot underestimate a great tribute band and Spyatstock witnessed one of the best.

They were followed by Highly Strung, who kept the momentum going - I thought Killer Queen would be a tough act to follow (they were originally booked as headliners but had to shift spots) but Highly Strung showed why they are so highly thought of and not only rose to the challenge but exceeded it.

A great night, great bands and here's to tomorrow! (okay, today). See you there?

8.52PM: Red Spider held the now sizeable crowd in the marquee in the palm of their hands - there must have been about 200 in there dancing away and listening to their tunes - from the Beatles to the blues, they've got the rhythm and the lead singer has charisma for a great set.

We also bumped into Matty Penn from Maryport. The rock god (only shorter) is looking forward to playing tomorrow with Heartbreak Remedy - although he won't be with his partner-in-crime Stephen Jackson, who is not here due to an accident with Giant Jenga/away on holiday in America. (you decide which is true!)

7.30PM: An absolutely stonking set from Salvation - what a way to open a festival! It's a shame there's not many people here to appreciate it! They've done everything from Bon Jovi to Katrina and the Waves - a real feelgood kick off and they gave it their all - attracting more people into the tent all the time.

Meanwhile, the acoustic stage is going great guns in the bar, it makes you appreciate the local young musical talent West Cumbria.

6.38PM Well, where does the time go? Callie Morris is on stage now at the club and Salvation have just finished their soundcheck in the main tent - both venues are filling up nicely as people take advantage of the summer's evening to enjoy a pint and good music.

Can't wait for Salvation's main set - it promises to rock the joint!

5.39PM: Euphonix are opening the festival in Aspatria Rugby Club's clubhouse - it is an acoustic stage and the band, from West Cumbria, are playing and singing their hearts out - heard a rumour that the lead singer has auditioned for the Voice - so we can say, when she gets famous, we saw her here first!

5.15PM: Just heard Killer Queen do a quick soundcheck on the main stage - and if you're a Queen fan, they are a band not be missed. Can't wait to see them later all dressed up!

They have swapped slots with the equally brilliant Highly Strung, so if you want to see Killer Queen, or indeed, Highly Strung, you need to be heading to Aspatria Rugby Club for about 8pm (although you'll probably miss the rest of tonight's line-up!)

The first festival-goers are making their way onto the  site so it's all systems go......

3PM: The doors will open at 4pm and organisers are beavering away to make sure the inaugural three-day fest, is the best it can be.

Today's acts include Killer Queen and the weekend promises bands including the Lottery Winners, Heartbreak Remedy and headliners Toploader.

Weather is looking great for tonight and the weekend so get yourself #down the club for the best of music and the best of times! 

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