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WHAT IS CHILFEST?
Its history - 9 years 71 artistes 68,000 attendees £30,000 raised for charity
The numbers speak for themselves – in just seven years, Chilfest has captured the hearts of thousands of music fans.
Set in the idyllic Chiltern Hills, the festival has grown in popularity year on year.
From original kids of the 70s and 80s to a younger generation of fans, a staggering 68,000 people have enjoyed our distinctive boutique festival experience.
The custom-built Chilfest arena comprises a top-quality stage and sound rig, a wide variety of food and drink outlets and plenty of toilet facilities, providing all the ingredients for a great weekend of live music.
A galaxy of music stars have graced our festival including The Human League, UB40, OMD, Sister Sledge, Tony Hadley, Rick Astley, Big Country, Boney M and Billy Ocean, to name but a few.
Chilfest, the brainchild of Tring businessman Steve Butcher, has also raised an incredible £30,000 for charity, demonstrating the positive power of music.
As Managing Director of Universal Event Productions (UEP), Steve has provided event staging and rigs for a wide variety of top live events throughout the country, including many music festivals.
REVIEW FROM 2018
A glorious summer heatwave, fantastic acts and World Cup England celebrations helped to make this year’s Chilfest a weekend to remember.
Nick Heyward, who was the first to perform after England’s victory over Sweden, summed up the magical atmosphere by starting his set with a rendition of ‘Three Lions’ (Football’s Coming Home), sparking a raucous reception.
Chilfest had gone out of its way to ensure that football-loving music fans were not disappointed by showing the match live on big screens (in silent mode), while the acts continued to perform on the Tring stage.
Ironically, England’s first goal was scored during Johnny Hates Jazz’s performance of ‘I Don’t Want to be a Hero’ – a moment lead singer Clark Datchler described as “fantastic and an incredible situation to be in”.
All of the other acts to perform that day paid homage to the England team and spoke of the day being an unforgettable and rare occasion.
Before the drama unfolded on Saturday, Chilfest 2018 opened with a chilled and sophisticated summer evening vibe, courtesy of the singing maestro himself – Tony Hadley.
Accompanied by the exquisite Sinfonia Orchestra, the ex-Spandau Ballet frontman looked as dashing as always as he regaled the audience and took them on an unforgettable musical journey.
Interspersed with his light-hearted banter and his trademark tumbler of Jack Daniels, Tony delighted the audience with a string of songs, including Spandau gems such as ‘Gold’, ‘Through the Barricades’ and ‘True’. He also performed from his successful new album ‘Talking to the Moon’, and delivered a great cover version of Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’.
Tony’s special guest singers were the incredibly talented female artists, Gabrielle, Mica Paris and Alison Limerick, who each rose to the occasion by performing a selection of their famous hits, including ‘Rise’, ‘My One Temptation’ and ‘Where Love Lives’. The combination of amazing female vocals, Tony’s velvet tones and a rousing orchestra made it a truly magical summer’s eve – what a great opener for Chilfest!
Saturday’s tropical summer conditions were crying out for a reggae vibe and this was delivered in style by Lovers Rock trio – Victor Romero, Janet Kay and Carroll Thompson.
Among their many memorable tunes were ‘I’m so Sorry’ ‘Hopelessly in Love’, ‘Silly Games’ and ‘Wishing on a Star’.
After suffering a microphone malfunction during half of their opening song ‘That’s Entertainment’, From the Jam were soon restored to full sound – to the cheers of an appreciative crowd who sounded like England had scored a goal.
Their energetic set was a highlight of the day’s show as they belted through Jam classics such as ‘Going Underground’, ‘Eton Rifles’, ‘When You’re Young’ and ‘Start’, with Russell Hasting’s Weller-like tones giving an authentic Jam feel.
Despite the England match coinciding with her set, Hazell O’Connor won over the crowd with a selection of her greatest hits including ‘Will You’, ‘Eighth Day’ and ‘Decadent Days’.
Matching From The Jam’s ‘two concerts in one day’ feat, were the boys from Go West who actually went from south to north after performing in Southampton earlier. They wowed the crowd with their all-time classics, ‘We Close our Eyes’, ‘Call Me’ and ‘King of Wishful Thinking’, as well as covers such as Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’.
The Beat were also in tune with the celebratory vibe of the day, praising the England score as they dived into their ska-tastic back catalogue of hits including ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’, ‘Too Nice to Talk to’ and ‘Can’t get Used to Losing You’. The Brummie band, featuring Ranking Roger and his son Ranking Junior, also performed songs from their hit album ‘Bounce’, which hit all the right notes and had the crowd bouncing, including their ever-faithful rude boys and girls.
The penultimate act was 80s pin-up Kim Wilde who has enjoyed one of her most successful years since back in the day, with a smash hit album ‘Here Come the Aliens’ and accompanying tour under her belt.
As well as singing her latest releases ‘Birthday’ and ‘Pop Don’t Stop’, Kim’s energy was relentless as she performed hit after hit such as ‘Kids in America’, ‘Chequered Love’ and ‘You Keep me Hanging on’. Her band, which includes her brother Ricky and niece Scarlett, were as dynamic as their leading lady.
Bringing a touch of theatrical class to close Chilfest was the enigmatic and dramatic, Marc Almond. Ending a truly fantastic day, Marc took the audience on a whistle-stop tour of pure theatre and pop. Waving their pink flamingoes, the crowd were thrilled by hits such as Gene Pitney’s duo ‘Something’s Gotten Hold of my Heart’, ‘Tainted Love’ and “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’.
This was a Chilfest as memorable as it gets, with a winning combination of shining sun, songs and soccer – a match made in heaven!
Those endless summer days and nights of the 80s were brought back to life and back to reality by a Chilfest line-up as hot as the weather.
A heady mixture of soul, disco and R&B fused with the electro-beat which typified the 80s new wave, was performed by acts such as Soul II Soul, OMD, Midge Ure, and Alexander O'Neal.
Heading the eclectic lineup was the electric duo OMD who showed their true spark of genius with their orchestral manoeuvres in the dark.
There can't be many more 80s pop stars with more energy than the ever-exuberant lead singer Andy McCluskey whose dance moves across the stage would put athletes to shame.
Set against a high-voltage stage of lights and flashing images, the band performed a huge catalogue of hits such as Tesla Girls, Enola Gay, Electricity, Sailing on Seven Seas, Locomotion and Joan of Arc.
OMD are one of those bands where you don't quite realise just how many hit singles they had until they perform them one after the other, showcasing their incredible musical repertoire.
The festival, held in the idyllic setting of Tring, also featured a musical heavyweight in the world of pop, the legendary Midge Ure.
As well as performing unforgettable hits such as Fade to Grey, Vienna and Dancing With Tears in My Eyes, Midge paid homage to the late great David Bowie with a rendition of Boys.
To see such a legend of British pop culture standing just metres infront of us was a real privilege and the crowd showed their appreciation to hits such as If I Was, reminding them of how great the 80s were for lyrics and songwriting.
The day took a soulful turn as Soul II Soul produced a real summer vibe as Caron Wheeler and Jazzie B performed their classic hits including Back to Life and Keep on Moving.
And R&B legend Alexander O'Neal gave the crowd a memorable sundowner with his smooth renditions of Criticise and Saturday Love.
These club classics proved to be instant hits with the Chilfest crowd, taking them back to their clubbing years of the late 80s.
Rewinding back to the early 80s was new wave and synth pop legends Heaven 17 courtesy of keyboard maestro Martyn Ware and ever-smiling leadsinger Glenn Gregory. The duo treated the crowd to an electronic version of the Righteous Brothers' classic Unchained Melody, a version that Martyn used to play with his former band The Human League.
Their biggest hit Temptation really took the crowd up a notch, with some fantastic backing vocals and a real high-energy as the sun belted down.
Fine Young Cannibal's Roland Gift, who had one of the most distinctive voices in the 80s, showed that the passing of time has not affected his great vocals, performing his numerous hits from Suspicious Minds to Johnny Come Home and She Drives Me Crazy.
Her beehive may have gone but Mari Wilson still created a buzz as she opened the festival, getting the crowd in a mood to party with her hit Just What I've Always Wanted.
The Real Thing proved to be a real crowd pleaser as they pumped up the audience with a string of disco hits, and were so interactive with the audience, it was almost like an aerobic workout.
From jumping and pumping to swaying and singing, the Liverpudian band made the crowd work for their hits. From Can You Feel the Force, to Can't Get By Without You, and You to Me are Everything, the band took Chilfest on a magical trip back to the disco era.
There really was something for everyone at this year's Chilfest, and crowds were even treated to aerial views on the main screens, with drones transmitting a birds-eye view of this ever-popular concert.
This is a real gem of a festival, as it always has such a friendly intimate vibe, where you can get up close and personal with some legends of the 80s, or relax in the beautiful surroundings for a more laid-back vibe.