Youth festival gets under way with gig night and junior proms
A ROCK band made their live debut at the Henley Youth Festival gig night
A ROCK band made their live debut at the Henley Youth Festival gig night.
Castamere entertained a crowd of more than 30 people with a 15-minute set at Lovibonds brewery in Market Place on Saturday.
The three-piece group, which comprises Sahil Powell, Ollie Hatch and Alex Gray, all 15, have been together for two years after meeting at Reading Blue Coat School in Sonning.
They drew cheers from the audience as they played covers of songs by Busted and the Kinks.
Guitarist Ollie, of Fair Mile, Henley, said: “It was really good. The people seemed to like it and we really enjoyed playing.
“I found the Henley Youth Festival on Facebook and asked if we could perform.
“We’ve done a few sets at school but this was our first proper gig so it was great experience.”
Castamere were one of four acts to perform at the gig night, which is now in its fifth year.
The other acts included Left 11, another trio, and Reading four-piece Area 52, who performed twice. Henley DJ The Stepper, aka Ross Duncan, filled in between acts.
Left 11 is made up of bassist Tom Wheatley, 15, guitarist Alex Caballero, 14, and drummer Andre Christie, 15. The band write and perform their own songs, which are mostly punk numbers.
Tom said: “It’s more Green Day than Sex Pistols but it’s all our own stuff and we all to contribute to the songs.
“We became a three-piece in November when another band member left but it has improved us as we have a better stage presence now. We have six gigs this month.”
Rose Reymi, who fronts Area 52 and is a student at The Henley College, said: “We’ve played lots of gigs but this one was really nice and had a good vibe. The audience were good and the sound was great.” This was the first year that the gig night had been held at Lovibonds following the closure of Henley Youth Centre.
Organiser Jo Eddon said: “It was one of the best we’ve had. It was a relaxed event with a lot of people making new friends. Everyone was really happy with their performance.”
On Sunday, more than 70 primary school children took part in a junior proms event at Shiplake College.
The youngsters sang or played an instrument before being given feedback by the college’s director of music Paul Jones and singer Elinor Carter. Mr Jones said: “There were some really accomplished performances from some very young players, many of whom were performing for the first time.
“The format is brilliant because it gives them a chance to get experience in a supportive environment and we try to give them as much encouragement as possible.”
Among those to perform were nine-year-old Ella Dickson and her sister Martha, seven, of Greys Hill, Henley.
The girls, who attend Sacred Heart Primary School and play the piano, gave renditions of Indian Dance and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Ella, who has been playing for two years, said: “I had a good time. It was quite nerve-wracking but fun too. You are just standing up there and everyone is looking at you, so all the pressure is on you. My heart was beating really fast.”
The girls’ mother Jo, who organised the junior proms, said: “It’s such a nice event because it gives young players an opportunity and it’s an informal environment for them to play in. We had some amazing performances. They are on the ladder now to performing at the Kenton Theatre and beyond.”