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Godiva's top ska fest was simply the best.

Byline: Pete Chambers Music correspondent

NO doubt many will have their own take on Coventry's Godiva Festival 2014, but here's my particular black and white look at a ska-tastic festival.

I'm proud to play a minute part in Godiva, sitting on the advisory panel, and suggesting certain artists. Whether it was down to me or not, who cares, but a few on that list got through.

but a few on that list got through.

the nest new bands around, Yes Sunshine Friday began with one of the nest new bands around, Yes Sunshine (ironic as the rain began as they came on stage), who knew how to hold a big stage. I'm happy to say I have yet to hear a bad word about this band, so keep your eye on them.

Speaking of ne bands, Stone Foundation pleased the growing crowds with their brass driven blue eyed soul. en it was the turn of e Selecter. It's still astounding to hear how tight this band play together. Each phrase, each beat all working perfectly, with Pauline and Gapps at the helm, ring shots of well directed ska at a waiting audience.

Friday night on the main stage ended with e Buzzcocks, and their hugely inuential jangle pop punk sound. Pete Shelley, sporting a long grey beard, looked far from the angry young man he was back in the Spiral Scratch days. But they hit the spot and we all went home to get ready for 'Ska Day'.

So it came. Saturday lunch time and the ground opened, and myself and all the other members of the ska family headed to the Rhythm Tent, ready for over ve hours of the kind of music that put this ne city on the music map. e Activators from Lincoln kicked proceedings o and their combination of violin and brass plus their wildly eccentric Derby supporting keyboard player made them denitely one for the future.

ey were followed by one of my suggestions, Barb'd Wire, who are lled with huge belief in themselves. Little wonder then that they are working with a top producer, who also believes in the band. Barb'd Wire are on re.

en it was time for King Hammond, or Nick Welsh to his friends. Nick has an envious pedigree in the ska/reggae world, having been a member of Bad Manners and Selecter and he's also worked with and produced A-list artists. He never ever disappoints, he's the ultimate showman and the stage belonged to King Hammond and his frighteningly catchy original reggae songs.

Roddy and his Skabilly Rebels were next. Rodd has recently left e Specials, (although he couldn't resist making a few tongue-incheek comments at the expense of his old band). He seems to be in a much happier place and it's very much evident in his stage presence and indeed musically the Skabs are as good as it gets.

e Rhythm Tent was now lled up to near full capacity, and tracks like Rat Race, Blues Attack and Concrete Jungle were greeted with wild applause. e audience - a mixture of young and old, families, ska and rock fans - loved this powerhouse of a set.

By the time Neville Staple hit the stage the audience were ska crazy (that also happens to be the title of his superb new album). e Rhythm Tent became skanking central, black and white clothes preferred, but denitely not essential. A glorious homecoming.

e Coventry Music Museum were proudly in association with e Radio Plus Community stage this year, and I had the pleasure to put forward some bands as well as introduce the Rena and e Renegades on stage, and check out young Rugby four piece Tan. Trum., Rooted and Booted, e Kontours and Cabstar and lots more really shone in the family eld. Well done Paul France, Tim Coleman and Rob Halligan for keeping it all together.

On Sunday I arrived to catch Horace Panter and his Uptown Ska Collective chill the crowd in the summer sunshine, with real festival music. is is just the third outing for this supergroup, but once again musicianship shone throughout. I think we shall be hearing a lot more of this band.

ey were followed by e Ordinary Boys, who make no secret of being inuenced by the 2-Tone movement. I asked them out of Madness or e Specials, who was the bigger inuence; no contest, it was e Specials because of their punk edge. Godiva main stage closed with one of my favourite bands, the Lightning Seeds. I got the chance to talk to one of my heroes, Ian Broudie, asking if we would be hearing ree Lions. "Not after that shower," he replied. Hit followed hit, and by the time Pure began I had decided that this was the best Godiva ever.

I would personally like to thank Lee House, Carl Bainbridge and all the team, sta, musicians, crew, techs and Coventry City Council for doing this, something us Cov folks can be proud of and for making ska a big part of it.

Maybe a whole 2-Tone day for next year? We had visitors at the music museum coming to Godiva from all over, including Felice and Andrea from Bologna in Italy, who had travelled over just to see the museum and attend the festival. at's the draw Godiva has, can't wait until next year.


Ian Broudie from |The Lightning Seeds

Barb'd Wire

The Activators

Neville Staple |and, right, his adoring fans

Roddy 'Radiation' Byers

King Hammond
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 12, 2014
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