Splendour Festival Bags Grammy-Winner Jess Glynne For 2016 Headline Spot
Jess Glynne’s health issues and throat surgery last year meant sadly she had to pull out of a slew of summer festival appearances, including the biggest annual open air music event in Nottingham’s live music calendar, The Splendour Festival. But she has stayed true to her promise to re-schedule a visit to Notts - now fighting fit and ready to headline the main stage at this years’ big bash.
Jess will do her mega-soulful thing to an expected crowd of up to 20,000 people at the one day festival on Saturday 23rd July. Joined by Birmingham’s finest exponents of reggae music, the evergreen and fabulous UB40 - and that’s the original band and not former lead singer Ali Campbell’s version, who faces High Court action for using the band’s name for his solo exploits.
Splendour always keeps it eclectic and classy, with a history of bringing international artists to Nottingham’s Wollaton Hall; past line ups featuring The Specials, James, Happy Mondays, Bananarama, Lawson, Jake Bugg, Madness, Pet Shop Boys, Calvin Harris, Dizzee Rascal, Paolo Nutini and many more, since it started in 2008. Last year, The Specials headlined, the line-up included Roots Manuva and Nottingham’s own Indiana. The festival organisers are hot on promoting local talent as well as the bigger names, and this year is no exception. More than 10 Nottingham artists and bands will appear on one of the six stages.
One local lad tipped for future success is poet and R&B artist Raphael Blake, who appears on the Acoustic Rooms stage. A Nottingham artist seemingly already on that ladder of success is Ady Suleiman, who is signed to Simon Cowell’s (boo, hiss, he’s behind you!!) record label Syco. Ady has just performed live on BBC TV at Glastonbury. He’s had a couple of EPs out and drops his debut album later this year. A class act.
Other Nottingham area folk getting their big chance at Splendour this year are Will Varley who headlines the acoustic stage, Bradd Dear, Tom McCartney, Bru-C, Ellie Keegan, Josh Wheatley, Lowrie, Eyre Llew, Super Furniture and These Your Children. The latter, a really superb young duo - Joe Baxter and Rebeka Prance- who have a full band with them for Splendour. Hope they do “Stronger” and “Set A Fire.” Check them out on You Tube. Gob-smacked they have not yet been picked up by a major label. Crafted song writing, commercial, rootsy and uber- soulful material, beautiful harmonies, commercial but credible. Think The Shires meets Lianne La Havas…… My tip for big things.
The other acoustic and roots performers on the Splendour line--up 2016 can learn a thing or two from Jamie Lawson, who graces the main stage. Signed to Ed Sheeran’s label, “Gingerbread Records,” Jamie had a number one Gold-selling album, with his self-titled release in 2015, which actually kept his label boss off of top spot with his album “X”. It was Jamie’s fourth solo album. He also had a smash hit single, “Wasn’t Expecting That.” Jamie gets his spot on the main stage directly before Brummie boys UB40.
The rest of the Splendour line-up looks like this: The Human League, Turin Brakes, Jeremy Loops, The Darkness, The Fratellis, The Rifles, Stiff Little Fingers and Louis Berry. On the Funhouse Comedy stage, acts include Patrick Monahan, John Ryan, Ivan Brackenbury, El Baldiniho, Tom Binns and Vince Atta. If magic, karaoke and comedy is your bag, the fringe stage is where it’s at.
The festival has a stunning setting; a spectacular Elizabethan mansion and deer park, standing on a natural hill three miles west of Nottingham City Centre. Wollaton Hall is set in five hundred acres of gardens and parkland. The hall was used as the setting for Wayne Manor in the 2012 Batman film, “Dark Knight Rises.”
A bit of history: Wollaton Hall was designed by Robert Smythson and built by Sir Francis Willoughby between 1580 and 1588 for his family. Now a prominent Grade One listed building, it houses the city's natural history collection, along with reconstructed room settings. The name of the family changed over the centuries, but the Hall remained in the ownership of the bloodline until 1926, when death duties forced its sale. Today it is owned by Nottingham City Council, noted as one of the most haunted buildings in Nottinghamshire. I’ll bet there’ll be a few spirits on site, but mainly bought from the bars! “Who you gonna call?”
The festival is organised by Nottingham-based promoters and venue owners DHP Family. They also stage the annual Dot To Dot Festival in Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham. DHP boss George Atkins is a happy bunny: “We’re delighted to bring bands to Splendour that have contributed so much to the musical heritage in this country. Once again, we’re confident that our mix of music legends along with some of the hottest artists of the moment will make it a winning day out for everyone, whatever their age or musical taste.” Radio station Gem and their breakfast presenters Sam & Amy will broadcast live from the festival.
Flame-haired star headliner Jess Glynne is red hot right now, after a sell out UK tour and smashing it across Europe and the USA. Following sensational features with Clean Bandit on the biggest selling single of 2014, “Rather Be,” (double platinum) and on Route 94’s, "My Love," (platinum), her debut single “Right Here,” made a big splash in her own right before the debut album “I Cry When I Laugh.” That amazing album broke records. Number one, sales of twice platinum and five, yes five number one singles lifted from it.
I was with Jess backstage at the V Festival sat on her tour bus before her debut album was quite finished. She told me all about it and I made a prediction then, it would be a massive hit and she would go on to fill arenas, top festival line-ups and have a stack of hits from said album. Was I wrong? Lovely humble girl too with an infectious personality. She told me she felt she had to earn the right to have her own album out there. I think she’s more than done that by now. Caught her live maybe three or four times now, and I can safely say; ‘Splendour, you guys are in for a real treat.’ Incredible voice and some great songs. Her energy levels on stage could power Nottinghamshire too.
As Jess says: "I’m Ready For This.” Me too…..see you there………….. • Tickets had sold out as of 3pm on Tuesday 19th July. www.splendourfestival.com
Jess Glynne & UB40 Photos copyright: Simon Redley
Words SIMON REDLEY