ROTW: One big tribe

PUBLISHED: 11:42 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:31 06 May 2010

Osibisa drew the largest crowd of the day at the  Portmill stage on Saturday evening

Osibisa drew the largest crowd of the day at the Portmill stage on Saturday evening

A PERSONAL VIEW By LAURA MCKAY Ok, so I didn t expect this ROTW to be any different to the ones I ve previously attended. Just some more bands, just some more sitting around on Windmill Hill, same old. But I was wrong. After arriving at the hill and greet

The powerful delivery of Molara and her band was a high point

A PERSONAL VIEW By LAURA MCKAY

Ok, so I didn't expect this ROTW to be any different to the ones I've previously attended.

Just some more bands, just some more sitting around on Windmill Hill, same old.

But I was wrong. After arriving at the hill and greeting my friends, I saw the dream catcher dominating the slope. It's always the sign that ROTW has officially begun.

Tabla meditations from the Saaz Ensemble

As I walked about, seeing a few of the bands, I realised how much better this ROTW was to any other. It may have been the weather, the bands, or even just the atmosphere of the people, but it certainly felt like a festival not to be missed.

With 160 performances and over 700 performers on 10 stages, there was something for everyone. Kicking off the stage acts on Saturday was the local Hitchin string group, Funky Strings. Performing on the Willow stage (where acoustic was in) the Funky Strings gave a moving start to the festival, using world music to integrate with the formula that is ROTW.

Near to the Willow stage, you could also find some of the artwork and stalls that were about.

Another band that really stuck out that day was Neuneneu, a group from the Amazonian rainforest. Using tribal beats, chants, and small pipes, they really showed the crowd what all the hype about them was. It gave a lot of variety, and the crowd really got going.

Now on the Sunday, there was a whole different variation of bands. My personal favourite was the band that kicked off the morning in the market square, The Rocketeers. Well known in the area for their hard rock with a twist of blues, the 45-minute set was something not to be missed. With some jaw dropping guitar solos from guitarist Robert Watson, the day began with a bang.

Later on in the day, on that same stage, was a group named Horace X. Combining dance/club beats with a violin, clarinet and a rapper, it gave a strong impression as to the diversity of 'world music'.

In the evening, in the town hall, the locally famous Frog Stupid played a hugely successful gig, even through the heat. Their ska/punk riffs and lyrics seemed to be sung by every person in the room, showing their impressive fan base.

And to draw the festival to a close, on the Portmill Stage was the number one swing/jive band in the UK, The Jive Aces.

Making their entrance with bright yellow suits, and slamming out some well known jive pieces, the crowd was swinging away. Some more impressive soloing by keyboardist Vince 'The Professor' Hurley showed what jiving is all about, bringing the night to a close with a swinging finish.

Just goes to show how much effort goes into a festival so big, and next year is set to be even bigger. Don't miss it!


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