The Drunken Monkey Rock Festival is an annual charity festival which raises funds for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. It is held in memory of local man Ian Downton, who died in 2009 following a car accident.
The event is managed and run by a dedicated team of volunteers (most of whom knew Ian personally), and through the festival have helped raise over £25,000 already for the charity (each Air Ambulance mission costs £2,500).
It is set out on 10 acres at Welland, just a mile out the town of Upton on Severn, Worcestershire, which hosts music festivals throughout the year. I cannot imagine a more picturesque setting, than Malvern Hills as a backdrop to this festival (the sunsets are spectacular).
Many people flock to this town on the banks of the River Seven for the festivals, and The Drunken Monkey is a festival that I personally look forward to every year!
The Drunken Monkey Rock Festival, 2018, saw over 50 bands performing on two stages over the weekend, from tribute bands, cover bands and bands playing original music.
Tent and fashions packed, we headed off Friday mid-morning, blue skies and 27 degree’s letting us know that we were going to be in for a warm three-day weekend at the festival. Although by the end of it we were praying for rain or even the slightest relief of cloud cover.
Tent pitched, beers on chill we could hear the bands setting up and doing their sound checks from our tent, the excitement mounting among the campers, of which bands they were looking forward to seeing play, and soon the time came to check out the arena.
People had started to fill the bar, which was placed in-between the stages and the only shade in the field, so you had a great view of both stages while enjoying a nice cold drink, and a chat with old and new friends alike. There was also time for a quick walk around the many stalls that were selling festival wares before the bands started playing.
The first band, Ranstone, opened The Tower Stage (run by Chris Harvey, from Tower Studios Pershore), Great start to the festival. The Tower Stage itself, was impressively run like clockwork throughout the weekend by the stage crew, and hosted original bands, bands such as Grizzleroot, London Black, BroodMother, Digital Criminals, Lilith and The Knight, (Friday night headliners) Reece, This Elegant Chaos, (Sunday night headliners) , Burnt out Wreck to name but a few.
London Black, and Digitial Criminals delivered excellent sets to an appreciative audience; it was good to also hear some new bands such as Skora and Surrge, who also played great sets.
Many local bands played the festival as with past years and further afield such as London, a band called Gage who had travelled from South Africa to headline Saturday night on The Tower Stage, and who put on a magnificent one and half hour set.
The Main Stage hosted many of the tribute bands such as Electric Circus (W.A.S.P tribute), Dizzy Lizzy, Motorheadache, Saxonized, Surreal Panther, Floyd In The Flesh (Sunday night headliners), Soul Stripper, Higher On Maiden and Pearl Jamm (Saturday night headliners). Plus a few original bands this year, such as Ethyrfield, Kinstrife, 3Sixty and The Delray Rockets to name just a few.
All these bands played their heart out in the blistering heat, again, to a very appreciative crowd.
The legendary Krusher Joule, compered the main stage.
“Krusher”, known for his work with AC/DC, Robert Plant, Deep Purple, Motorhead, Anthrax, Sammy Hagar, Uriah Heep, Hawkwind, Gamma, Girlschool, Gary Moore, Blondie, Japan, Magnum, Praying Mantis and The Sex Pistols. He has designed album sleeves for Iron Maiden ‘Live After Death‘, Ozzy Osbourne ‘Diary of a Madman‘, ‘Speak of the Devil’ and ‘Bark at the Moon’, Hawkwind ‘Live ’79′, Gary Moore ‘Dirty Fingers’ and ‘Live at the Marquee’, Japan ‘Tin Drum’ and Black Sabbath ‘Born Again’ . “Krusher” also designed a series of official biography books including Iron Maiden’s ‘Running Free’, Motley Crue’s ‘The First Five Years’ and Twisted Sister’s ‘The First Official Book’ and not forgetting tour programme’s for AC/DC, Deep Purple, Robert Plant, Anthrax, Accept and Europe.
Overall, this festival continues to shine and grow each year as people flock to the Drunken Monkey. Also each year the bands are coming from further afield to play; 2019 is showing that The Drunken Monkey Rock Festival will shine ever brighter and you will find that bigger bands will want to play. You can see it is run by a very well organised, dedicated team.
The sun may have set on The Drunken Monkey Rock Festival 2018, but I dare say that 2019 Festival is already in progress by the organisers. I am looking forward to the band announcements!