15TH/16 AUGUST 2009


For those who live in or around Chelmsford, AT Music Group will be a familiar name, and for those that don’t, here’s the run-down. Just outside our lovely county town lies the base of AT Music Group, which offers a whole host of services to the musically minded or musically gifted people of Essex. This includes instrumental and vocal tuition, fully equipped recording studios, CD duplication….well you get the idea! They also arrange gigs, and this weekend decided to get out in the sunshine and share some great music with the people of Chelmsford.

Over the weekend, over twenty acts took to the stage, performing a variety of Pop, Rock, Folk, and Acoustic tunes. As the scorching sun beat down, there was something for all ages to tap their feet too, in some cases dance too, and yes there’s was a little sing-a-long going on at times too.

Acacia Road

I arrived on day one as covers band Acacia Road were performing, and immediately wished I’d got there earlier. The songs I heard them perform were really well done, and I enjoyed their unique take on the Rhianna Classic ‘Umbrella’, during which they invited guest vocalist Stacey to the stage. They were definitely a highlight of day one for me, as was the set by Matt Herbert and the Heavy Hitters. It’s always good to see someone do something a bit different, and their funky, innovative, and upbeat Blues/Folk numbers got a warm response from the crowd. They are certainly an act with a lot of charm and personality. Other acts came and went, while people enjoyed their meals and coffees nearby, and then it was time for something altogether surprising.

Matt Herbert and the Heavy Hitters
Matt Herbert and the Heavy Hitters

Kings Cross are a band that clearly like to put on a performance, and that much was clear from the minute they came on-stage in their nifty outfits, but what I wasn’t prepared for, was the spate of fire breathing that came during several of their punchy electro/rock tunes. It certainly added to the spectacle as they zoomed through their set, taking listeners on a lyrical journey through war and Russia among other subjects. This brought to a close day one for me, and I left to the sounds of the indomitable Sirens at Dawn.

Day Two was another sunny one, and although I was beginning to flag, I went to see what musical experiences were on offer on day two. There was a real mix of bands to see, of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Some like young act the Hype Theory, moved between melodic indie and pop/punk, while another young band The Fancy Dress Party, presented the crowd with rousing folk/Celtic style music. Their range of instruments was impressive, and they obviously impressed the crowd too as they sold a good number of C.D’s afterwards. Oh and I almost forgot to mention they did a song called ‘Egg and Spoon Race’, how delightfully quaint and quirky. All of this was pretty good, though not entirely to my tastes, so I was happier when Fire Bird took to the stage. They did some very good covers including Queen, Bon Jovi, Deep Purple, and my personal favourite ZZ Top’s ‘Give Me All Your Lovin’. Although I’m not really rating the band name (sorry guys), a mention also goes out to Wella Man, who quite impressed me with their surprisingly powerful vocals, guitar riffs, and general indie/pop/rock sounds.

Kings Cross
Kings Cross

There sped by two days, and quite a lot of live music. I’ve heard tell this was an experiment, and by all accounts a pretty good one, as I think everyone likes to get out into the sunshine and enjoy some live entertainment. Yes it would’ve been nice to see more promotion, and more people around the stage area at times, but it was all good fun, and something that I hope will be repeated.

A big shout to all the team at AT Music Group for what was a well organised event. To find out more about them, and all the activities they have going on in Essex visit www.atmusicgroup.co.uk.