Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990

Click here to go back to the Contents page.Tamworth Rock Festival : 1984

Sunday August 26th and Monday August 27th 1984 - Tamworth Castle Pleasure Grounds

Sunday August 26th and Monday August 27th 1984
Tamworth Castle Pleasure Grounds
Select Elect
Vin Rouge
Spirit of Water
The Elusive They
Talk Back
Mystic Hero
The Dream Factory
The Magnets
Childs Play
Breaking Point
Classified Ads
Love On Board
Sitting Pretty

Video Clips
A video was produced of the 1984 Festival by Sam Holliday, Musicbox Editor at the Tamworth Herald and Johnny Walker, photographer on the paper. These video clips have kindly been provided by John James. Video Clips>


Tamworth Herald – 17/08/84
Musicbox - Just nine days left before weekend of fun
Caption: SELECT ELECT…opening the festival – and in action tonight.MUSICBOX special festival preview by Sam Holliday

EXCITEMENT HAS NOW STARTED to build up for Tamworth’s greatest ever local rock event – the outdoor Bank Holiday Festival now just nine days away.

All the planning and organising has passed along smoothly and now the sixteen groups involved have turned their attention to the most important thing of all – making sure the music is right.

As a guide to what listeners can expect MUSICBOX is this week giving a short summary of all the groups who will be playing, in the order they will take to the Castle Grounds stage.

(Disco and other entertainments throughout the day)
12.30 – Select Elect – This electronic outfit have been drafted in as a late replacement for The Visitors and Western Block who both decided to opt out. Select Elect are a surprisingly experienced band despite their relative youth and they play synth-based songs with a distinct Human League feel. They should open the whole event in style.

1.15 – Vin Rouge – A lively, enthusiastic funk band who will be making their town debut at the show. The band have recently lost their guitarist and there is a chance that this could force them to pull out. If they decided to carry on they are assured of a sympathetic reaction from the Castle Grounds crowds.

2.00 – Spirit of Water – A new band whose recent line-up changes have made them harder to categorise. The effect they are aiming for is for a rock sound with feeling – a cross between Sprinsgteen and T-Rex. The band have been involved in the festival from the start and are eagerly awaiting the reaction of the Tamworth audiences.

2.45 – The Elusive They – A lively trio who are trying to bring a bit of fun to the occasionally po-faced synth side of music. The band are full of energy and commitments and believe in making well-structured, simple pop music with a biting edge.

3.30 – Wolfsbane – Without doubt the heaviest act on the two days. Wolfsbane go straight for the throat and don’t let go until blood starts to show. Visually exciting and musically enjoyable.

4.15 - Talk Back – A band who already have several gigs and a single under their belt and yet manage to show first-timers enthusiasm for everything they do. Their electronic pop sound owes as much to bands like The Police as to the synth movement and they are likely to make a lot of friends with their commercial sound.

5.00 – Mystic Hero – Another band who believe music should be fun. Mystic Hero only burst onto the scene a couple of months ago but already they have developed a reputation for playing entertaining and well-written original pop songs. Bound to go down well.

5.45 – The Dream Factory – Sunday’s headliners and without doubt the most eagerly awaited act over the two days. Their popularity outside Tamworth ahs meant that a lot of local people still haven’t seen them and this is a chance to really see what the band has to offer. The band play a mixed bag of sounds which has a touch of psychedelia, a touch of the sixties, a touch of the eighties and a healthy dose of soul. They will be out to make the event their own and are sure to guarantee a memorable end to the first day if the proceedings.

(Disco and other entertainments throughout the day)
12.30 – The Magnets – The second day kicks-off with a band whose roots go very deep in the town. Andy Baldwin is now the only remaining member of the original Those Attractive Magnets but he ahs made sure that the band has changed to fit its new line-up. Guitarist Simon Hewin has been drafted in to add meat to the sound and it will be his first appearance with the group at the show

1.15 – A5 – An intriguing outfit who are certain to appeal to a good percentage of the crowd. A5 play music that has been inspired by acts such as The Banshees but is far from being traditional new wave. They are very difficult to categorise – you will just have to wait and see.

2.00 - Child’s Play – Lively, entertaining rock outfit who boast ace busker Norman Yates on lead vocals. Childs Play perform a mixture of original and cover songs which go for the rock and rill end of the heavy scene and have more than a touch of the Stones.

2.45 – Breaking Point – Regular readers of MUSICBOX will know exactly what I think of this band – they are superb. They play powerful U2/Alarm inspired rock music with an emphasis on musical and lyrical feeling. If they are on form they could steal the whole event.

3.30 – Classified Ads – Once again in the thick of the local action. The Ads play an original set with influences from The Doors and The Beatles to the Stranglers and T-Rex. Tamworth’s longest surviving band the group are regarding the Festival as perhaps the highlight of their career to date.

4.15 – Caprice - In contrast to The Ads this will be Caprice’s first ever show and one that has eagerly been anticipated by guitarist Mad Mike. The band say they have a light rock feel which allows influences like Nazareth to creep in. The recent loss of a drummer means Mystic Hero’s Adrian Goodman will step in to help.

5.00 – Love On Board – An exciting new find for Tamworth. Love On Board bring a fresh enthusiasm to the town which is as infectious as their catchy pop sound. Sure to be one of the biggest successes of the two days.

5.45 – Sitting Pretty – What a difference a year makes…this time last year Sitting Pretty opened the festival with their first real public performance. Now they are headlining the second day and are sure to bring masses of people along to watch their stylish, modern pop.

So there you have it – the sixteen bands who will be out to give the Tamworth music scene the biggest shot in the arm it ahs ever received. We will give all the final details of the event next week but in the meantime we hope that all Tamworth’s young – and not so young – rock fans will make a special entry in their diaries – it should read August 26/27 – Castle Grounds, Bank Holiday Rock Festival. DO NOT MISS!

Sam Holliday


Tamworth Herald – 24/08/84
Dream FactorySam Holliday makes a plea for bumper crowds at the two day event

THIS Sunday at 12.30pm electronic outfit Select Elect will strike the opening bars that will signal the official start of Tamworth’s biggest and boldest ever musical event – the Bank Holiday Rock Festival.

For the first time in its chequered, inconsistent history the festival will stretch over two days on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday and offers music listeners a veritable feast of musical variety and styles.

The festival is aimed at bringing the diverse Tamworth sound to as wide an audience as possible. Many local bands realise that playing at the town’s two premier concert venues – the Arts Centre and the Tavern in the Town – inevitably only reaches a small proportion of young people in the town. Now with a central slot (in the middle of the Castle Grounds) and with an entirely free entrance fee, the bands are hoping that many people who have never been to gigs before will feel interested enough to come along and see just what the town has to offer.

What they will see is a musical solidarity that is quite unique to this town. Unlike previous events that have been organised by one band who took all the credit and the billing, this event has been out together by all the musicians involved.

With the excellent co-operation from the police and Tamworth Borough Council the musicians have taken on the task of making this the best event of its kind Tamworth has ever seen – but now it needs your help.

To prove that all the work, organisation and expense were justified Tamworth people must show ‘like never before’ that they support the bands who are trying desperately to bring a bit of life back to the town.

Everyone who enjoys good pop and rock music and wants to see Tamworth bands do well must prove it by piling into the Castle Grounds on both days. Refreshments will be available and there will be a running disco (starts 11.30) between bands courtesy of the Tavern Roadshow – Rikk Quay, Buttercup and Booie.

There is music to please everyone, from synth and rock and roll to heavy and modern alternative music. It is all played by bands with spirit, enthusiasm and a genuine belief in trying to give Tamworth an air of musical respectability.

The bands need your support so bring some sandwiches, bring some cans, bring some friends and make a weekend of it.


Tamworth Herald – 31/08/84
Musicbox - Full Page
Holiday rock with sweet taste of goodwill

Musicbox Festival Special

Happy Day…
Happy Day…
A joyous day for a joyous Day, the bassist in Breaking Point, shows his delight at a hugely successful set – and the fact that he has just become a father. For on the eve of the gig, while most musicians were preparing to play and were enjoying a sleep, Steve was biting his nails at Nuneaton as his wide gave birth to a bouncing baby girl – named Lisa. “It has all been great and I am really happy,” said Steve.

TAMWORTH’S music lovers turned out in their thousands over the Bank Holiday weekend to enjoy the biggest and best ever local pop festival the area has ever seen. Organisers, spectators and the musicians themselves hailed the event as a glorious success with everyone treated to a feast of music covering all shades of modern sound.

What made the event such a unique success was that the idea, organisation and all the funding had come from the musicians who were determined to make the event a free one.

The bands had clubbed together to provide a powerful public address system and also did all the moving, lifting and litter clearing to ensure the event ran as smoothly as possible.

The festival officially kicked off at 1.30pm on Sunday afternoon when scorching August sunshine and an already healthy-sized crowd greeted the first band Select elect.

Like all the 14 bands that were to follow over the two days, Select Elect were treated to a superb sound system and a generous reaction from the sprawling crowd of spectators who seemed as eager to lap up the music as they did the sunshine.

Crowd numbers were difficult to predict as the open nature of the event meant people drifted in and out of the Castle Grounds over the two days. What is certain is that the organisers achieved their aim of a rolling crowd more than 1,000 on each day with a ‘hardcore’ of several hundred who stayed the full 17 hours.

Family groups to children alike enjoyed the event, but it was dominated – as expected – by young people who were keen to show that when they are given the opportunity to do something, they will always respond.

Sunday’s line-up consisted of seven very different bands all of whom did well enough to win over at least a percentage of the audience.


Rikk salutes scorcher of a success
Rikk salutes scorcher of a success
“We did it!” That’s the defiant message from compere DJ and festival treasurer Rikk Quay who along with the chirpy Buttercup and Booie, kept the event running smoothly.

Special credit on Sunday must go to the outrageous Wolfsbane who raised the temperature even higher with a steamy, confident set that earned them the best reception of the day.

Talk Back also recorded one of their best-ever sets and congratulations are in order to the Dream factory who, despite not hearing a note they played because of technical problems, pushed out a superb sound which won over not only their own loyal contingent of followers but also many people who had never seen the band before.

Monday kicked off in similar style with the same ingredients of good weather, an excellent crowd and a running time that bore no resemblance whatsoever to the printed schedule!

Once again it was the more rock-orientated bands who received the better reactions with the endearing, enthusiastic Childs Play gaining a much deserved encore and the sizzling Breaking Point turning in another dynamic set to universal acclaim.

On route to a good set...A5, one of the top bands on Sunday, get into the swing of things
On route to a good set...A5, one of the top bands on Sunday, get into the swing of things

For Breaking Point, the day was even more memorable as bassist Steve ‘Daydo’ Day had become the proud father of a bouncing baby girl just ten hours before he took to the stage – clearly a day he will never forget.

Towards the end of Monday as the light began to fade, Sitting Pretty stepped up and emphasised the whole spirit of the event. They were due to start their set at 5.45 but because of a number of problems, throughout the day, the schedule ran later and they didn’t start until 8.10.

New band Spirit of Water, another outfit who embodied the spirit of the festival.
New band Spirit of Water, another outfit who embodied the spirit of the festival.

Crowds still stayed to cheer them on and with a touch of professionalism and spirit they carried on regardless of the sinking sun to show everyone just what the festival was all about.

Cars came forward and put on their headlamps so the band could play on and as they did so, people from all round the grounds joined in a big litter clearance operation.

Afterwards the police, who had done such a splendid job over the two days, were almost as enthusiastic as the people involved.

“It was a great success and there was no trouble at all. There is no doubt that this is a good form of entertainment for the young people of this town,” said Inspector Brian Bromley from Tamworth police.

The musicians’ equipment over the two days was housed in a lorry given free for the event by Aucotts of Fazeley.

What is clear is that everyone involved in the event now want a similar two-day bonanza of music every year. Despite the hiccups along the way, the sheer spirit of the event – and the varied excellence of the 15 Tamworth bands who dished out the music – means Tamworth’s 1984 rock and pop festival will be remembered with affection by everyone involved.

Keep it in the family…Alan Watkins (left at the front) the keyboard player of Talk Back, shows off some of the band’s biggest fans – his family. They sit a long way from the stage thinking, no doubt, that seeing Alan was one thing but bursting their eardrums was something totally different.


Special Video captures the day
A SPECIAL video – an hour in the life of the pop festival – made by Herald reporter Sam Holliday and photographer Johnny Walker will receive its premiere show at the weekend at the Tavern in the Town. The video, made on Sunday, features interviews with band members, organisers and people in the crowd and will hopefully be shown on Sunday night at the Tavern.


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