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Amplified's music review of the year
WITH a bumper harvest of outdoor festivals 2011 was a year of sun hats, and all too often, muddy wellington boots.
Despite the weather, virtually every weekend something was happening as Pulp once put it “somewhere in a field in Hampshire”.
It was only fitting then that Jarvis Cocker’s band was on the bill at the Isle of Wight Festival.
The line-up also included Kasabian, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, The Cult and Kaiser Chiefs.
Next year’s extravaganza will feature Southampton rockers Band of Skulls, who enjoyed a successful year.
And there was a generous helping of Hampshire talent at the Blissfields Festival in July.
Those taking part included I Am Arrows featuring Andy Burrows, Southampton quartet Delays, and Frank Turner.
The latter played a homecoming gig at the Railway Inn at Winchester in May which sold out in just 30 minutes.
In November it was revealed that he will headline a slightly larger venue in spring 2012 ... Wembley Arena.
Back at Woodmancott, Vicarage Farm also hosted the small but perfectly formed Good Weekend Festival featuring Art Brut and Mixed Bizness.
Another new event was Boomtown Fair at Matterley Bowl near Winchester, once the home of the Sanctuary, Homelands and Hi:Fi festivals.
Bad Manners, Ms Dynamite and Goldie Lookin’ Chain came to the venue, which was plagued by traffic chaos earlier in the year during a rain-lashed show by JLS.
Just down the road, the Alresford Music Festival returned for a second year and was headlined by Dodgy.
Also on the bill for the one-day event at the Perins School grounds was Southampton rock quartet Til Dusk.
Soon after they landed a slot that most musicians would sell their favourite guitar for – supporting Roger Daltrey.
The Who’s legendary frontman played to thousands on the lawns of Broadlands in Romsey with Til Dusk opening the show.
Other outdoor events included Ejector Seat in Southampton, Festibelly in Lymington, Butserfest near Petersfield and the Pulse Festival in Totton.
In August, the Wickham Festival returned to its traditional home with Jools Holland, Sandie Shaw and Rolf Harris on the bill.
The SXSC Festival also returned for a third outing, with a host of performers at the Railway Inn.
They included Richmond Fontaine, Danny George Wilson and the Peter Bruntnell Band.
Another highlight was the Eastleigh Music Festival, which had a folk-dominated bill including Eliza Carthy and Stornoway.
Folk fans were also treated to a three-day festival in St Mary Bourne near Stockbridge in June, organised by Valley Music.
And Winchester Folk Club enjoyed a successful year, with several sold out shows at the Railway Inn.
Other notable gigs there included Ed Sheeran, David McAlmont, Alejandro Escavado, Aynsley Lister, Chris T-T and The Selecter.
Some new venues were also pressed into service for shows including St John’s House in The Broadway, Winchester.
UK Pink Floyd and Marvin Ayres both performed there, following in the historic footsteps of Niccolò Paganini and Franz Liszt.
Winchester Cathedral also departed from classical music and opera to stage a concert by Laura Marling.
King’s Somborne Village Hall also started hosting gigs with Winchester-based Polly and the Billets Doux opening the schedule.
Eastleigh-based trio Broken Links continued their prolific output of EPs with another release, Prototypes Cause + Effect.
Meanwhile, Southampton quartet The Rebs, who won the national Road to V Festival contest, called it a day.
However, frontman Russell Edmonds struck out on a solo project entitled Martha’s Man.
Andy Burrows also tried something different by recording an album with Editors’ frontman Tom Smith.
The eyebrow-raising result of the collaboration was a Christmas album entitled Funny Looking Angels.
But as 2011 drew to a close, there was also a note of sadness with the death of Jackie Leven.
The 61-year-old Scottish songsmith, who had settled in Botley, passed away in November after battling cancer.