By Rachael Grealish – pictures by robert haile
They promised the Boof would be back and it came back with a bang – Bad Nerves even declared ‘Whitehaven the new London’ due to the energy, crowds, and success of the festival.
After a six year hiatus – one more than intended by the organisers due to the COVID-19 pandemic – the legendary Whitehaven festival filled West Cumbria with the sound of live music once more.
Over the weekend of Friday 13 and Saturday 14, August, thousands flocked to Copeland Stadium to indulge in the likes of The Pigeon Detectives, The Sherlocks, Kyle Falconer, Bad Nerves and many local and national live bands once more.
Friday, August 14
The Snuts were the stars of the Friday night – playing tunes from their number one album ‘W.L’ the audience went wild for the Glaswegian lads.
Though their set was briefly commandeered by one West Cumbrian man as he popped the question to his girlfriend live on stage, in front of their favourite band.
The Lottery Winners not only had the audience moving, on the Friday afternoon, but also in hysterics with their hilarious wit.
A sure Friday crowd favourite were Whitehaven’s own homegrown lads, The Northern Threads.
One festival goer, Cameron McAlpine, from Whitehaven, said: “The Northern Threads were absolutely brilliant, it was just so great to be able to see them live again.”
Saturday, August 14
The Saturday kicked off with the Carlisle-based group, The Postcard Band.
Although it has been a couple of years off and they had the midday slot, the guys brought it to Whitehaven, really setting off the vibes and energy for the whole day – even if it did rain later on.
The Clockworks mixed a true indie feel with that Irish charm as the Galway guys, smartly dressed, brought the audience away from the brief sunshine and into the tent to move along to their sound.
Speaking to The Herdwick, they said: “What a great area this is, and it’s brilliant for us to be back on the road again.
“We were lucky we could rehearse together throughout the pandemic, but there’s nothing like being back on stage again and what a great place to be back at it.”
Although he was only confirmed to be playing the festival late on the game, it didn’t matter for fans of Jonny Brown who flooded the the front of the stage to get up close with the former Twisted Wheel frontman.
Jonny stripped back his Wheel songs, the way he wrote them, and captivated the audience completely, just one man and his guitar.
“It’s just great to be back,” Jonny said, “Not just for me, but for everyone to be able too get back out and enjoy live music again.
“I love coming back to Whitehaven, everyone is great, the fans are amazing and it’s just always a good show.”
It won’t be the last Whitehaven sees of Jonny and certainly not the last they’ll hear of him as his new music will be dropping in October, which is set to be ‘nothing like I’ve ever done before’ he said.
But no band raved about Cumbria and it’s audiences quite like Bad Nerves.
It had been 529 days since the Essex band had played live on stage – but where else to kick off their post-pandemic performances than Whitehaven.
Their frontman, Bobby, sure had that view anyway.
Speaking to The Herdwick News, he said: “Whitehaven is one of the most exciting places I’d never heard of.
“It’s amazing here, the whole place, the great audience – everything. Whitehaven is the new London. I just want to move here.”
The lads gave the ultimate modern day punk performance – from Bobby’s movements on stage to the audience suspense they held in their grasp, they truly gave it their all.
So, for anyone that missed them the lads will be returning to Whitehaven next month for a gig at The Yellow Earl – not one to miss.
Former The View lead vocalist, Kyle Falconer, may have had a thick Dundee accent when speaking, but no one could have missed a word of his songs – including a special performance of one he’d originally written for Liam Gallagher – when he took to the stage on Saturday 14.
His voice had done nothing but mature in the best way since his days of singing ‘Same Jeans’ back in 2007.
But, with all the amazing acts no one could have finished the festival like The Pigeon Detectives.
Is it possible anyone could perform with such energy as their frontman Matt Bowman?
He was jumping across the stage, on the speakers and even in the audience as he absolutely belted out the likes of ‘I’m not sorry’ and ‘Take her back’.
He had a tender moment during the set when he asked the audience to join him in singing ‘happy birthday’ for his lost friend ‘Fizzy’ who’s friends and family were in the crowd.
But it was pure, rebellious, live, action with the Yorkshire lads on stage and the perfect end to the best comeback festival.