The sold out 6000 strong AmpRocks Festival was in full swing this year, after the small Bedfordshire town hosted its seventh annual gig. With food, music and beer flowing throughout the day, it was an event thoroughly enjoyed by friends and families; not to mention the bands themselves.
The day kicked off with a slightly unusual set from Fickle Friends. An up and coming band really looking to stamp their name on the indie music scene this year and looking forward to an appearance on the NME stage at Reading and Leeds festival.
After taking to the stage to warm applause, the band, inspired by acts such as Two Door Cinema Club and Bombay Bicycle Club, threw themselves into the first song. Unfortunately they couldn’t make it beyond the first ten seconds.
Sarcastic cheers echoed around the park, as the band were forced to bow and wave before exiting the stage to fix the problems with their equipment.
Fickle Friends returned, sang, stopped and exited another three times before they were forced to abandon their set altogether. The crowd seemed genuinely upset by this news, but also clearly felt sorry for the band themselves.
The guys on stage handled the news brilliantly, thanking their fans and laughing along with the situation, none more so than lead singer Natassja Shiner.
Despite disappointment, Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens stepped in to liven things up once again with a mix of club anthems and chart classics. Once spirits were raised again, Pigeon Detectives took their place on the stage.
After a great energetic, loud, indie rock start, lead singer Matt Bowman controversially made derogatory comments towards Fickle Friends, stating “that’s how you start a gig! None of that walking on and off stuff!”
Bowman, clearly not afraid to speak his mind carried on through the set with a mix of rock songs and banter with the crowd; heavily mixed with swear words along the way.
Whilst the band never really kicked on from their Reading and Leeds performances in 2006 and 2007, they certainly had the crowd jumping; who had so far been starved of live music.
With the crowd now buzzing, and kept going by another Huw Stephens set, cheers erupted and mosh pits formed when headliners The Fratellis took to the stage.
By this point, a sunny summers day had turned into a breezy and cold July evening, and The Fratellis set didn’t get off to a particularly lively start.
There was far less excitement and crowd participation that in the Pigeon Detectives set, and they struggled to live up to the band they had to follow. However, playing their classic hit Chelsea Dagger instantly picked up the crowd once more in a chorus of “NA NANANA NANANA NANANANANA NA”.
This small time festival is sure to grow in the coming years, and as it drew to a close for the 7th time, a tired but satisfied crowd made their way to the exit.
Words by Seb Jenkins
Photos by Kane Howie