Review - Tribfest, Sledmere, August 19-22, 2021
Tribfest, the world's biggest tribute act festival, was back with a bang last weekend at Sledmere, East Yorkshire.
And this, despite the problems organisers Ed Entertainments faced with logistics and last-minute band cancellations due to Covid.
Bigger and - due to the sheer elation of the crowd - probably better than ever, not even a deluge on Saturday night failed to dampen spirits.
More than 4,500 people danced and sang themselves hoarse - making up for the fact that, like most everything else last year, the festival was cancelled.
With seven stages catering for all musical tastes there were some surprisingly good bands to be heard in the smaller venues.
The first act we caught on Thursday night in the Unsigned Marquee, The Swamp Dogs, were a foot stomping outfit from Hull who played acoustic/bluegrass covers of rock anthems and really set the tone for the whole weekend.
As the crowd danced and sang with unbridled joy it brought a real lump to my throat and made me realise just how much I’d missed live music these past 18 months.
Headlining on the main stage that first night was Oasis cover band Oasis Maybe who delivered 90 minutes of pure magic to an enthusiastic crowd.
Friday highlights were the Ed Sheeran Experience, and Gary Ryan as Neil Diamond - my personal favourite of the whole weekend. Ryan was in the final of the Stars in Their Eyes TV show in the 1990s, coming second, and his life changed. He not only sounds like Neil Diamond but has an uncanny resemblance to him.
Saturday got off to a fine start with Bye, Bye Baby a tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The four-part harmonies and slick choreography were perfectly orchestrated and had everyone in the arena dancing and singing along with them.
It’s acts like this that really sum up the magic of the Tribfest experience. Mums and daughters, dads and sons of all generations sharing music together from eras they would not normally listen to.
After the storm on Saturday night, the programme got off to a late start on Sunday morning as staff put down straw to soak up the mud.
The arena show kicked off with family band Jax and Co, a tribute to Johnny Cash and June Carter, followed by Definitely Dolly. The diminutive Dani Graham delivered a faultless performance, belting out Dolly Parton’s best-loved songs and taking her roving mike into the crowd.
The Bowie Contingent, due to play the VIP tent was bumped up to the main stage after a cancellation and, though the lead singer looked nothing like Bowie, his mannerisms and delivery were incredibly realistic.
Tribest favorites Revival, a tribute to Abba and The Bohemians (Queen) rounded off the action on the main stage and a firework display lit up the sky.
There was one more treat in store for anyone venturing into the VIP tent.
The Sons of the North, a young band of talented musicians (the drummer only 15-years-old) delivered an amazing set of rock anthem covers. They had played earlier in the dayat one of the smaller marquees and were so well received they were asked to close the festival.
Discounted tickets for 2022 are available for a limited time only head over to www.tribfest.co.uk