return to Butlins Bognor Regis in a long time I was surprised by the changes. I stayed at Wave, one of the three hotels they
have in the resort, and was amazed at its design and style. After booking in at 12:00pm I was seen by the reception who were
very friendly and helpful.
was modern with everything you'd want including a fridge.
thing negative was they had bins for smokers right outside the main hotel door, which meant you had to walk past many people
and if like me you don't smoke, it's not nice. It would be good if they were moved just away from the main doors as that's
all it would take.
was Festival of the 60's and I was presented with a nice pocket-sized book detailing the line up for the event.
that stood out was the way they've organized the concerts. In the past I'd often miss some bands because I'd be watching others
at another venue there, but now with only a slight exception most bands play twice once in each venue. This makes what could
be a hard decision of who to see into a win-win result. I decided the smaller venue Reds was my best bet for the Friday night
A major annoying
factor about this venue is waiting to get into the venue means waiting out in the cold, and if it rains there is no shelter.
This has been an ongoing issue for years with Butlins; it's fine in the summer but not in the cold winter or general bad-weather
days. It would be so easy for them to deal with this issue which I heard others in the line complain about.
band was Dave Berry and the Cruisers and as always Dave and his band brings the "wow" factor.
his hits as well as some rocking covers, Mr Berry is a master at his craft and with such talent should still be releasing
new songs via a record label.
a cover band called Kasuals who for me took a while to get going and I never really got into their show, though the crowd
in the venue seemed to enjoy them.
Animals and friends appeared on stage and to my surprise with a different lead singer. Although musicianship and the lead
singer could sing well, it lacked the powerhouse vocals I've come to expect when Peter Barton is with them. After about 40
minutes or so I'd had enough and left the venue.
What a difference
staying in hotel rather than a chalet is, not only is it nicer but you don't get the noise from people returning late.
I only booked
to have a breakfast meal but liked the new layout of the Deck. Also what was very noticeable was the friendly and informative
was very nice which is something I've come to expect from Butlins. The only major issue was again a lack of cover while waiting
to get into the eating venue which like Reds issue could easily be sorted. I like many others got wet while waiting to get
in thanks to the lack of any cover and of course the rain.
entertainment at Centre Stage
DJ from Centre stage lacked style; maybe he's normally better.
It's a shame
the DJ from Reds venue last night wasn't here this afternoon as he was a big hit with people and knew what he was doing and
talking about, very entertaining.
through the years
entertainment kicked off with an Elvis show and I'll make this review in real simple terms, the only way to get closer to
a real Elvis Presley concert would be to travel back in time.
and singers were very good and the Elvis himself was amazing. Not only did he sound like Elvis but he looked like him (has
he had surgery done?—who knows or cares). He took everyone back in time. This was a two-part show with the first being
focused on the early career and the second being the Vegas years. Just as with the first half of the show the energy level
was electric with what you'd expect if you watch a dvd of Elvis in concert.
this evening and once again found myself standing in the cold. But there's a twist this time as thanks to people power who
complained they opened a small area so at least some could be warm.
Butlins, deal with this and add cover outside; they did for smokers.
are one of the hardest working bands out there and you can tell by their showmanship, performing all the hits plus some of
their favorite songs by other artists. This band should still be recording new songs if record labels would look beyond their
noses. If you get a chance, go see The Merseybeats.
in Reds kept things going playing some fantastic tunes and his overall style is entertaining.
Next up was
Vanity Fare who not only played the big and minor hits but turned out some great California style sounds. They are one of the best harmony
bands out there and remain a big draw to their shows. They also know how to play the crowd and I could see the room getting
busier as they were about to come on the stage.
of the night were The Swinging Blue Jeans who I'd seen many times but this was only the second show I'd seen since Ray Ennis retired a few years ago from the band.
This concert unlike the first felt they'd regained some of the lost rock n Roll thunder they had had with Ray but they're
also still lacking. They're all good musicians and singers but the show didn't always flow with too-long gaps as they'd talk
to the crowd or tell bad jokes.
that shouts to me is that they have Pete Oakman who's not only a great bass player he can also sing very well. The writer
of "A Picture of You" (which he sang), he is very much under-used as a vocalist and I'd like to see him do more lead vocals.
That's not saying anything against Alan Lovell, who can indeed Rock and Roll. Personally, having heard that Ray Ennis is looking
to return to music again, I'd love to see the current Jeans invite him back; now that would make one hell of a band with all
those elements in place.
from the centre stage DJ this afternoon with less talk and more music.
Centre stage venue for two live acts starting with The Kinx—who, yes, as you may have guessed, are a tribute to The
Kinks. The band blasted through the greatest hits and were indeed very entertaining.
Next is one
of the original British Rock n Roll stars, Marty Wilde and The Wildecats. Having seen them before it was noticeable he had
added other rock n roll songs I'd not heard him sing before. This turned out to be one of the main highlights of the weekend
as Marty who has been in the business for 56 years shows no sign of stopping. He loves the crowds cheering him on as he blasted
through one song after another. As always came the heartfelt tribute to Billy Fury, whom he was friends with. Marty Wilde
is a star and still bundles so much talent.
a lady whose name I don't know, who works as resort safety person, must be given attention here. Not only did she do her job
but was very helpful to people, going out of her way to finds unused chairs and taking them to people looking for somewhere
noticed her keeping areas clear and safe for people and she was very friendly.
I don't know
her name but Butlins, if you read this, she's the only lady doing that job I've noticed, and wears glasses, so special mention
to her here.
Marmalade were the first on this evening and are a favorite of mine but sadly Sandy's lead vocals could hardly be heard for the first
20 minutes or so. Not happy about it and having no way to tell the band or speak to the sound person, I took to twitter to
let Butlins know and they got it sorted and contacted me back.
of a tweet.
was sorted I could hear why this band still enjoys continued success. Top musicians and vocals and an amazing version of "Norwegian
Wood" in their own style. This was except for technical issue a great concert.
was Edison Lighthouse who I've felt times seeing them in the past were more karaoke as they'd have the audience sing more
than the lead singer, but on this show I was pleasantly surprised as the lead singer sang more. Good mix of songs from Rock
n Roll and '60s tunes, not a personal favorite band of mine because of past shows, but better tonight and the crowed enjoyed
Corner finished off the weekend in style performing covers from the '60s as well as Amen Corner hits. The band are a big draw
with fans enjoying not only the music but the ladies also enjoyed what I can only think to call cheeky entertaining flirting
by the lead singer.
by the band.
now adds for extra money a VIP fast-pass type of thing which I noticed mainly people with disabilities and their family and/or
carers use. I personally think they should have priority to get into venues especially seeing how pushy people can be when
a venue opens to get to the seats they want with spending extra money on a pass. I'd like to people with major disabilities
be giving these VIP early access to venues for free; they shouldn't have to pay more to be able to have a chance to seat in
a better place.
on Butlins and the bands are my personal thoughts and I'm sure people will both agree and disagree with me which is expected.
shame Bognor Regis only has one '60s Festival a year now. Although there are some issues that I feel strongly needs dealing
with, I do overall feel this was a great event and that Butlins and its staff deserve praise.
Wayne Adderley—Official site featuring links to other related websites including news, film and other media projects, cover recordings
on You Tube and Twitter page
Wayne's writeup, The Swinging Sixties, on the British Beat page