The sun was shining, the goat curry was simmering, the beer and cider was flowing and the good people of Folkestone had dutifully turned out for the second day of the Folkestone Harbour Festival.
Held in the Old SeaCat Terminal right on the harbour, cheek by jowl with the lorry park, there was entertainment for the young and the young at heart. Folkestone Owl Rescue had brought some of their finest residents along; they basked in the summer sunshine, quite happy to be stroked and fussed over, and there were also some vintage vehicles on display, courtesy of the Kent Classic and Sports Car Club.
There were rides for the little ones, the obligatory fire engine was present (which the kids were loving) and of course, a lovely, large marquee bar. Not to be outdone by the array of local ales on offer at just £1.50 a pint, the food stalls were vying for business; those who had worked up an appetite could choose from curried goat, chocolate churros, burgers, ice creams, hotdogs and more. The focal point of the circle of entertainment was the music stage, sponsored by Pentland Homes and Academy FM.
My primary reason for standing in the sun with a Summer Fruits Strongbow (it’s a dirty job, but someone had to do it) was to see local Thanet band, ASP. A four piece classic rock and contemporary covers band, ASP have recently been taking the area by storm, playing such great venues as the Churchill Tavern in Ramsgate, and the most excellent Globe in Hythe.
Following the fantastic 80’s cover band, the A-Tees (which might have seen me and my girls dancing behind the beer tent!), ASP took to the stage with the ever popular Status Quo track ‘Softer Ride’, a crowd pleaser if ever there was one. They romped through cover after infectious cover, including the beautifully executed ‘Coming Back to Life’ by Pink Floyd. When the smoke machine obliterated the band during the Quo’s infamous ‘Rocking All Over The World’, they played bravely on, eventually emerging back out into the sunlight with not a note missed.
The iconic Free track ‘Wishing Well’ went down a storm with the diverse crowd before penultimate track ‘Sweet Child ‘O Mine’ segued neatly into a finale of Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine’.
Much fun can be poked at covers bands these days, but ASP are a rare breed indeed; they cover songs from many different decades, including tracks by bands like Snow Patrol and even the much lauded guitarist, Rory Gallagher. Their style is all their own though, and they marked a triumphant ASP stamp on their 45 minute set.
ASP’s next gig is on 21 August at the Ypres Tavern, Sittingbourne. Check them out, they really do rock!
All in all, the Festival was everything that the organisers could have hoped for – I would have liked to have seen it maybe a little bigger but with the proceeds going to the very worthwhile cause of the RNLI, you can’t ask for a better way to while away a weekend in the sun and the organisers of the fest are to be congratulated on a job well done.