There was something for everyone to enjoy over the three day festival of Forest Live gigs which saw indie favourites Foals, club crossover collective Haçienda Classical and the legendary Paul Weller all take to the stage in the picturesque wooded surroundings of Bedgebury Pinetum.
Forest Live concerts have been running every summer for the past 19 years by Forestry Commission England and have seen the likes of Elbow and Paloma Faith perform. Money raised from ticket sales helps to look after the nation’s forests for people to enjoy and wildlife to thrive.
Last Friday night saw headliners Foals deliver a magnificent set as the sun went down. Lead singer and guitarist Yannis Philippakis was on top form crowd surfing and belting out ‘bangers’ such as My Number and Inhaler. New material from Foals’ recent fifth record Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 was also showcased with singles Exits and On the Luna going down a storm with the Friday night crowd.
Despite the persistent rain on Saturday, fans of Manchester’s most famous club the Haçienda still flocked to see the city’s 90s dance mecca brought to life by one of its most famous DJs Graeme Park who, along with the Manchester Camerata orchestra and Happy Monday’s iconic dancer Bez and MC Tunes, pumped out a slew of dance favourites. Ride on Time and You Got The Love were just a few of the Haçienda Classical’s infectious set which also saw New Order’s former bassist and Haçienda Classical executive producer Peter Hook performing a brilliant version of his former band’s groundbreaking dance tune Blue Monday.
The final gig of the weekend was Paul Weller – AKA The Mod Father – who performed a string of his classic solo hits including the appropriately titled Wild Wood while the sun slowly set.
Although his onstage banter with the crowd was minimal, Weller was clearly enjoying himself, belting out tracks while hopping between keyboards and guitar. Many sonic gems from his Style Council days were given an airing and his former band The Jam’s back catalogue was also plundered with the Mod Father’s rousing rendition of That’s Entertainment perfectly summing up the spirit of Forest Live 2019.