Sunday, 22 September 2019

Festival lines up fitting tribute to late founder

THE summer festival season will go out with a bang in Wallingford this weekend — where a host of top musicians are lined up to perform over the three days.

Among the artists playing the main stage is folk singer Jody Wyatt — the nephew of the festival’s
co-founder Bob Wyatt, who died in May aged 66 following a nine-year battle with cancer.

Jody is performing tomorrow (Saturday) from 1.45pm. Then on Sunday at 3.30pm he will compere an hour-long tribute to his uncle, a former pub landlord and plumber whose catchphrase was famously “stay jammy”.

A spokesman for the festival, which was founded in 2002 and is now in its 18th year, said: “Bob Wyatt had a wonderful soul and he strived to make people happy. He was also an exceptional landlord who reached out to many.

“He was passionate about music and wrote and performed his own songs, encouraged others to play and gave local musicians a place to house their sessions. He kept an award-winning cellar and could chat the hind legs off a donkey! He was much-loved and is sorely missed.

“After co-founding BunkFest he fought to maintain the festival’s fundamental principles — that it should support our local artists and businesses and that essentially it remain free for everyone to enjoy.

“These values have been proudly maintained and BunkFest has now grown to become one of the largest free festivals in Europe, thanks to all of those who volunteer.

“Please then join us for free for an hour of fantastic music and dance performed by some very talented local musicians and hosted by Bob’s nephew Jody Wyatt.

“This will be a celebration of the life of a man whose positive outlook and drive left positive energy and vibes in the heart of our community. Most importantly with respect to Bob, please remember to have fun and stay jammy!”

Wallingford mayor Lee Upcraft will formally declare the festival open at 5.50pm tonight (Friday), prior to which the Kinecroft Beer Tent will be open from noon to 5pm. The first act on the main stage will be folk guitarist Sarah McQuaid at 6pm, followed by Noble Jacks at 7.30pm. The duo, who are known for their high-energy foot-stomping rhythms, are currently touring the UK in support of their second album, Stay Awake.

Tonight’s headliners Tankus the Henge will take to the stage at 9pm for a set lasting an hour and a half.

Jody Wyatt will open proceedings tomorrow with an hour-long set, followed by Wallingford resident and Nettlebed Folk Club regular Jackie Oates at 3.15pm.

Accompanied by Jack Rutter, she will be followed at 4.45pm by singer-songwriter Steve Morano, whose influences include the likes of Paul Weller, Grant Lee Phillips, Ryan Adams and Bob Dylan.

RSVP Bhangra will play from 6.15pm to 7.15pm, followed by Berkshire native and Henley Festival alumnus Cecil at 7.45pm.

Saturday’s headliners are seven-piece folk-rockers Merry Hell, who take to the stage at 9.15pm.

As well as the tribute to Bob Wyatt, Sunday’s main stage line-up includes Sam Brown, Madness tribute One Step Behind, The Grahams and the Roving Crows.

For more information, including full details of all festival events and times, visit

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