Rockingham Fest, our top tips for the weekend



The genre of AOR has a unique position in the UK with regards to Festivals, after the sterling work carried out by the Firefest organisers over more than a decade and the more recent building of the HRH AOR Festival, the addition of the Rockingham Festival to the schedule was a great thing last year, again offering fans more variety with the bands on show and the fact there’s a 6 month gap between it and HRH is a good thing also. We know that the bands understand the passion that UK Fans have for their music and the amazing support that they continually provide to events.

So Rockingham II will take place in Nottingham Trent University, in the The Level  which is a recently renovated venue and looks terrific. around the corner from the established venue for AOR events in the area, Rock City so not a big transition for the patrons that have been attending shows there for many years. There is something different to look out for each day of the Festival, alongside a really great mixture of old favourites and young pups and maybe some bands we had never expected to see on a UK Stage. So lets have a run through of what’s to come next month.

Friday 21st

Rising Swedish rockers Art Nation are set to open the proceedings, these guys are are one of a bright new batch of Swedish AOR bands, with a little bit of a harder edge musically. Vocalist Alexander Strandell will be known to many from his previous band Diamond Dawn. With one extremely well received album under their belts these guys will be kicking things off in style, with high energy fist pumping anthems.

Valentine are no strangers to UK stages with Robby Valentine and the band having played last years Festival. Anytime you get to hear a track like “Over And Over Again” live you should take it. With an interesting an different mix of Rock and Pop music Robby and the guys are surely going to peek the interest of those unfamiliar with them and get raised arms from those that do.

It’s awesome to see the wonderful Lee Aaron back on a UK Stage, it’s been too way too long, especially as Lee has continued to work through the years, and has been back to Europe in recent years. Definitely a set to look forward to wether it’s made up of just Classics or a mix of old an new, the Canadian Metal Queen has returned. She still has a great voice and from any recent Interviews she’s really looking forward to playing Rockingham.

Headlining Friday night are Trixter, who will finally be making a visit to the UK after managing to get to Europe for the Frontiers Festival earlier in the year, this will be one of the most looked forward to sets at Rockingham. The band are still firing on all cylinders having released the excellent Human Era album last year there is just so much to look forward with Trixter, balls out party anthems old and new, tracks like “Rockin’ To The Edge Of The Night” are going to be so loud and roof repairs may well be needed before Saturdays kick off. Having had to cancel a UK appearance just thee years ago this will be one of the most looked forward to appearances of the whole weekend, bring it on.

Saturday 22nd

Set to kick off Saturdays proceedings are up and coming Midlands band Stone Broken who are probably the heaviest band on the weekend lineup, but get in early to check them out, they really rock, there’s something about them, that little bit special. Massive riffs and huge hooks with great vocals on top of it, definitely rising stars of the UK scene.

Without doubt Blood Red Saints have been working really hard since arriving on the UK scene last year, the wonderful vocal talents of Pete Godfrey (ex In Faith) are backed up by a great band including the excellent Lee Revill on guitar, Rob Naylor (ex Angels Or Kings) on bass, Irvin Parratt ( Rage Of Angels) Keyboards and the powerhouse that is Pete Newdeck on drums, quite a collection of top talent, and a terrific album in Speedway behind them, the future looks bright.

80’s British hard rockers Lionheart are definitely one of the biggest surprises on the Festival Lineup, having released one album “Hot Tonight” back in 1984 there has been quite a lot of talk about this return since the announcement, this is going to be one of those moments where it could be amazing or maybe not live up to the expectation, either way it will be interesting.

Sweden’s Crazy Lixx have released some high energy high class albums over almost 15 years, with ever present Vocalist Danny Rexon leading the charge, again this band has been no stranger to the UK having played Festivals and solo dates over the last 6 years, 2016 see’s a revamped lineup and the same attitude and anyone that witnessed them in Wales last year is sure to be excited to see these sleaze monsters grace the stage in October.

Ok, there are a lot of Swedish bands around the AOR/Rock scene, but there are a lot of top class Swedish bands around so it’s natural, next on the list are The Poodles who still put on one of the bast live shows out there, they always look and sound great. Jakob is one of the most enigmatic frontmen in Rock today, expect plenty of energy, showmanship and good rockin fun time. Tracks like “Night Of Passion” are still packing a massive punch live along with music from later albums like Tour De Force or Devil In The Details.

Sometimes the word legend is bandied about a bit too easily, but when it comes to Jean Beauvoir there is no other word to use as a musician, singer, songwriter, producer the man can and has done it all. Promising a set from across his career with the amazing Crown Of Thorns, Voodoo X, his Solo material and some of the songs that Jean has written for other bands like KISS and The Ramones, this is one not to be missed, having Tommy Lafferty in the building always helps, but seriously this is going to be amazing.

As soon as the announcement was made that Steelheart were set to appear at Rockingham 2016 a state of almost disbelief came over me, seriously this is a band I’ve wanted to see live since their debut album hit the streets in 1990, the sublime talent that is Miljenko Matijevic on vocals, tracks like “She’s Gone” (which will bring a tear to the eye) and “I’ll Never Let You Go” from the brilliant self-titled debut, or the different but nonetheless excellent “Wait” and “We All Die Young” from 1996’s Wait album, wonderful ballads, screaming soaring solos and an almost 25 year gap since their last UK appearance, a bucket list item for sure.

Sunday 23rd

Another wonderful female vocalist from Sweden is Martina Edoff who is set to kick the day off in style. Having released her debut self-titled album in 2014 and quickly followed by the Unity release last year and a Tour in the US with female fronted bands The Agonist, Eluveitie and headliners Epica, always great to see an artist playing the music they were born to play and there should be familiar faces in her band too..

There aren’t many band anywhere that have a story like Angels Or Kings, having been in the wrong place at the wrong time first time around to finally get their first album together and released in 2014, and that album being deservedly so well received it’s great that they have been able to play all of the major AOR Festivals in the UK over the last few years, and it’s great to have them at Rockingham with a brand new album about to drop. This band plays terrific AOR with an edge.

The Alessandro Delvecchio Band are sure to be an interesting addition to this years Festival, with Alessandro singing (and he has an awesome voice) songs that he has written either for his own projects or others in the past, should be a very varied mix of some different styles of rock and maybe some that sound a little different to how we have heard them in the past.

One of those bands that may have been forgotten about over time and certainly one that you wouldn’t be one of the expected additions to this years line up are Fortune, and it’s a really nice surprise. The band consists of the Fortune brothers, with Richard on Guitar/Vocals and Mick on Drums/Vocals and additionally Dave de Leon on Bass, the band were due to release some new music at the end of 2015, so they have been working on new material, so something brand new may be showcased, there’s some great tracks from the debut like “Thrill Of It All” that should definitely be getting an airing.

Another band that literally rose From The Fire a couple of years ago, J.D. Kelly, Tommy Lafferty and Michael Sciotto have not only gotten the band back together but have managed to quickly reconnect with their fanbase, release a really good album in “Evil Men Do” and are about to release another monster in Octopus, with some lineup changes this year the band is now a 5 piece and it should be really interesting to hear the additional Vocals/Keyboards of Jenni Cue. There should be a nice mix from Thirty Days And Dirty Nights, Evil Men Do and the brand new album.

When you mix different elements of a band like Danger Danger together and create a new entity The Defiants it’s always going to go one of two ways, car crash or a new amazing band – well thankfully with The Defiants it’s most definitely the later, with Paul Laine on Vocals/Guitar, Rob Marcello on Guitar and Bruno Ravel on Bass they have released one of the albums of 2016 in their self-titled debut, this really could be one of the weekend highlights, and the opportunity to see a great band that have rarely played live to date.

Headlinging the final night of Rockingham 2015 is the wonderful voice of Kevin Chalfant (The Storm, Two Fires, Shooting Star) is one of the most recognisable voices in Hard Rock. This performance will definitely be a big deal, getting the chance to hear tracks by The Storm live will be amazing. Peronally I’d love to hear some of the Two Fires  songs in there too, we will have to wait and see, either wait we can be assured of some top class AOR and one of the best voices out there. Should be a fitting way to end what’s looking like one hell of a weekend.

honestly just can’t wait, even if every band on the bill doesn’t float your boat there’s always going to be the other element to a Festival like Rockingham, meeting up with Friends that are more like Family, and enjoying an atmosphere that’s always going to have something a bit magical, roll on Oct 21st the excitement really is starting to build now..

All the information you need is over at the Rockingham HQ