Music at Bedgebury: Paloma Faith dazzles as Billy Bragg saves the day

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As the sun set over Bedgebury Pinetum on a sparkly metallic stage on Friday evening with a backing band turned out only in white, Paloma Faith launched forth in full technicolour. Wearing a rainbow dress with matching boots, the star joked that she had worn ‘something reasonably eye-catching so those of you at the back can see me’.

Showcasing many of the songs from her latest album The Architect, the set at Bedgebury was part of Faith’s summer tour. The tour includes four dates for the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live season which transforms their locations into music venues in order to celebrate the importance of woodlands and bring them to a new audience.

Discussing her one-woman mission to spread an ‘epidemic of kindness’, Faith described The Architect as an observation on the socio-political world and linked to her commitment to the environment and the reason for performing as part of Forest Live.

Following a selection of pop ballads, she implored the audience to ‘shake what your mama gave you and a little bit more’ as she moved into more of a dance groove including her latest release, a cover of 1960s classic ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’.

After telling the audience that there would be no encore as it is ‘hell to walk through the mud in these boots’ and it’s ‘all just theatre anyway’, she closed the evening with her earlier hits ‘Picking up the Pieces’ and ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’, to rounds of raucous applause.

Illness forces cancellation, but Billy Bragg saves the day

There was disappointment for fans of Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbot who had to cancel their concert at Bedgebury on Saturday [June16] due to illness. Unfortunately the concert cannot be rescheduled. Ticket holders will be contacted by their point of purchase to arrange a refund.�

In a statement issued on Saturday for the band, Paul Heaton said, ‘It is with great regret that we have to announce the cancellation of tonight’s Bedgebury show. Jacqui is suffering with severe back pain and, despite struggling through last night’s concert, has been advised by doctors that any further travel and performances will exacerbate the situation.’

But all was not lost for a few determined fans who turned up at the Bedgebury campsite.

Billy Bragg, who had been due to support the pair with an opening slot, had seen his show officially cancelled. But after a tweet exchange, he drove down anyway. �

The politically-charged performer was offered a sausage and a beer over the social media platform, and surprised fans by arriving on the site an hour later.

A small group of around 50 people gathered at the campsite to hear Billy perform seven or eight songs in a low-key acoustic set. Afterwards, a fan tweeted: ‘Thanks Bill for your impromptu gig. True Essex gent to take time out to do that after the gig got cancelled. Loved it.’

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