Wickham Festival 2023 Report, by Shaun O’Brien


On Sunday, 6 August 2023, three Outreach Radio presenters were sent on a mission, and the mission was to report back from the Wickham Festival. DJ Oz, Richard Lawrence, and Shaun O’Brien set off for the festival, with the knowledge that it had been raining – not just all week but for four weeks beforehand – so in view of the fact that the Wickham Festival is in the middle of a field, they went armed with their Wellington boots!

I say they, of course there is always one exception, and on this trip, it was Rich Lawrence, who decided that walking boots would be sufficient. Within minutes of arriving in the festival field, Rich realised how very wrong he was about the walking boots, and the grim realisation “sunk in” that he should have worn his wellies like the other two.

The first job of the day was to locate Graham from the Wickham Festival and arrange interviews with bands and to scrutinise the schedule to find out who was playing and where.

The call came through that the band “The South” were back-stage, and happy to give an interview to Outreach Radio. The male lead singer, Gary Birtles, (Gaz), was the lucky person from the band nominated to give the interview, and he definitely did not disappoint.

Gaz, Rich & ShaunThe interview was initially led by Shaun who passed over to Rich to ask further questions of Gaz and the band. After the interview, for which Gaz gave plenty of his time, it was time for a quick photograph before heading round to join the audience in the main stage to watch the band perform.

Getting quick interviews from other festival goers waiting for the band to come on, and the excitement and anticipation was clear to see on many people. The band came on stage and did a fantastic set delighting everyone with all the favourites – and they sounded brilliant, despite the fact that Gaz had an issue with his earpiece and could not hear himself. This didn’t get in the way of his professionalism and no one would have known.

Oz in MudAfter the South had performed, there was just time to catch a few people and get their thoughts on the performance before heading down to the tent called The Cave which was at the bottom of the hill. It is at this point that I must remind you of the mud on this field, and it was now sloshing around.

Up to this point the three had managed really well coping with the treacherous conditions in the field but it was not to last, on the way down Shaun almost slipped, but managed to save himself by doing what could only be described as a spray-stop on the ice, but of course this was not ice. This was mud and it landed all down the side of DJ Oz. Fortunately, Shaun had an unused napkin which managed to make the situation worse!

Daniel Eagle & ClanThe Outreach Radio team arrived at The Cave and were entertained by local artist Daniel Eagle and his band, regulars on Outreach Radio, who did a fantastic set, including a new song from their forthcoming album.

After completing their set DJ Oz conducted an interview with the whole band to find out what’s new and happening.

ToyahAt this point, a call came through that Toyah was happy to conduct an interview with us in two minutes time, so back up the mud flowing hill at rapid pace we went.

The three intrepid reporters arrived backstage where Rich conducted a superb interview with Toyah.

She was next up on the main stage to perform with her husband, Robert Fripp, not just her songs, but some fantastic covers – and the set was absolutely incredible!

Midge UreNext was our attempt to obtain an interview with Midge Ure, but sadly due to travel complications, he was running late and arrived just in time to take the stage with his fantastic band.

He treated the festival goers with 90 minutes of all the greatest songs from him and the early days of Ultravox. The expectation of Midge Ure being a great showman and fantastic guitarist did not disappoint any of the festival goers as they were waving, singing and clapping along to all the songs.

The team managed to get backstage, but sadly he had already left as he had an engagement to go to. All was not lost as the amazingly talented keyboard player Charlie Round-Turner was kind enough to give us a wonderful interview.

Midge Ure & band

Click on the Play button to listen again to the Outreach Radio special feature from Wickham Festival
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