There was a sense of anticipation among the thousands of music lovers who attended the Cusworth Festival on Sunday, as they waited to see legendary rhythm and blues guitarist Wilko Johnson strut his stuff in what could be one of his final gigs.
guitarist Wilko Johnson strut his stuff in what could be one of his final gigs.
The veteran former Dr Feelgood guitarist who has terminal cancer, is known one of music’s good guys and has bravely continued performing as only he knows how until his condition stops him.
The day was sunny which also helps, as rocking revellers enjoyed a top line up of bands from glam, heavy rock and prog to Wilko’s pub rock roots.
Following earlier sets from Mostly Autumn, Stafford Galli and Micky Finn’s T Rex, South Yorkshire singer and guitarist Chantelle McGregor delighted the audience. Chantelle, fresh from winning the Colne Blues festival best guitarist and singer categories put on a display of virtuosity coupled with emotive vocals. Fresh from a European tour, The Brew UK delivered an explosive set of their own material delving deep into influences from Hendrix, Zeppelin and Floyd, with multi-textured guitar work and a John Bonnham-esque drum solo at the end.
Wilko took to the stage as the dusk gathered radiating bonhomie and pulling his trademark thousand yard stare he launched into a two hour set of classics including Feelgood classics Roxette, Roxette and the old standard Woolly Bully. As well as prowling the stage and throwing poses, Wilko showed off his effortless blues style with his economic picking contrasting with the earlier displays of bombast from the heavy metal contingency. It was an emotional evening for his followers, some of whom had travelled hundreds of miles to catch a final glimpse of him onstage.
Organiser Stephen Stanley, of Solid Entertainments said:We are really pleased with the turnout and it has gone very well. The warm weather and sunshine we have been blessed with has helped tremendously, afte we had a very rainy night setting everything up.
Fans enjoyed the sunshine, perched around picnic tables and sitting on camping chairs.
Settled down for the day , 42 of Sprotbrough, said: ”I have thoroughly enjoyed myself - you can’t fault it. I live locally and I come here to see the bands and meet old friends. It’s a good occasion and good to see rock music being given a platform. It is well organised and the food and beer is good.”
Frank Lewis, 56 of Retford enjoying the sunshine with friends Audrey Hopkin, 54 and Sue Cogger 52, of Sheffield said; “We have come to see Wilko Johnson. The festival is good - I’ll come again if there is a decent line up.”