As festivals go Prestfest is one of the cleanest I have ever been to. The festival itself is spread between multiple venues within Prestwick. The town made famous as the only place that Elvis laid foot on. But alas the king was not in attendance, but the talent on show was unbelievable.
Due to previous engagements I was only available to attend on the Sunday session at The Buf. I parked up the van and tried to enter the venue. The back gate was locked so I tried to make my way through the shop next door only to get lost and find myself back in the car park. So I walked round the long way and entered through the front door. Straight away I bumped into Scott Nicol who was performing an acoustic set in the front of the venue. I nodded my acknowledgment and heading through the venue to the beer garden which was mobbed with folks enjoying the good weather and tunes drifting from the stage just inside the back door.
One of the first guys I met was Pelikan Rogue bass player and all round good guy Andy Strachan. A broad smile was planted across his face as he told me his organising shifts were over and it was his day off. His son Tony was stage managing the event and was buzzing around making sure everybody had everything they needed to perform and (more importantly) got paid.
Anyway I fought my way back to the bar. Grabbed a shandy and found a spot close to the stage to indulge myself in a fix or two of live music.
First band I caught on stage were Memphis who tore through a set of crowd pleasing covers including she sells sanctuary which is a huge favourite of mine. Unfortunately I didn’t catch as much of their set as I would like but I loved what I heard. Got a function coming up you could do far worse than these guys.
Next to the stage were good pals of mine The Sectors. Fronted by Graham Smith along with Forry on guitar, Donnie on Bass and for his debut performance on drums Ewan Eadie. Now I have seen the band a good few times but there was an energy and drive in their performance. Rattling through tunes from Ocean colour scene, Small Faces and The Jam the boys attracted a good few new fans.
Now those of you who know about The Third Class Ticket Radio show will be familiar with the next band on stage BELTUR. I have tried (and failed ) to catch the 3 piece rock outfit on many occasions so I was buzzing when I got to finally catch them live. I was even joined in front of the stage by my good pal and front man from Seaside Sons Jason Skimming. I managed to sing along at one point but remembered quite quickly to save my voice for later on.
It was a day of catching up with good friends because next to do their bit was Ayrshire super-group The Whisky Bandits. With Tom Kerr on drums making sure their high octane rhythm n blues set ripped the roof off the place. Songs from Dr Feelgood and Free made for a brilliant sing a long and stamp your feet experience.
The Whisky Bandits
The great music just kept coming with James Kerr’s band Audiohaus blending 90’s female driven indie with some original compositions which really did not sound out of place in the set at all. I have met the band a couple of times in the rehearsal studios so was great to see them step up to the plate and really play like an group who had been gigging for years. (they have only been together in this form a few rehearsals) Huge plaudits must go to their drummer Gary Walker whom I was told was playing his first ever live performance. Drummers union fist bumps and high fives to him for sure.
Another band that listeners to the radio show will know is ZANG. Once again this is the first time I had managed to see the band live and i was far from disappointed. These guys will not be playing small stages like this for long.
Now ever there was a band who summed up living it large its has to be The Marauders. How do you describe them. Well a blend of 60’s and pub rock standards played with a rhythm n blues attitude. Geordie Kerr struts the stage blowing into his moothies and firing out lyrics with the passion that Lee Brilleaux would be proud of. The rest of the band play at a pace and intensity that makes it hard to stand still. What a performance!!!
Then the time came for me to hide in a cupboard and change into the famous red jacket and climb onto the stage. Luckily Geordie was still there cos there was no way I could climb onto that stage with the tight trousers I wear. Well I could but I would be doing my backing vocals in falsetto. A quick sound check and the rest of The Kinks Experience guys left to get ready. I stayed on stage because for one … the trousers and two… Arnie’s keyboard had blocked me in. I had some banter with the crowd and we were ready. The crowd took a breath I clicked my sticks together and away we went.
I must give a huge thank to Scott, Andy, Tony and all the other organisers of such a fantastic festival. Also big thanks go to Alex Young for the pictures used in this blog
See you all next year!!