The Planet Rock WINTER’S END Festival took place this weekend at Sandford Holiday Park in Poole, Dorset UK.

The three-day rock extravaganza was a showcase for some of the finest bands from all corners of the realm —including headlines The Answer, Toseland and Inglorious, As well as special guests Bernie Marsden, Gun and Dare.

We attended the weekend of Friday 24 to Sunday 26 February 2017.

Southern inspired heavy music-bandits WESTERN SAND. Photo: @neilmach 2017 ©
Southern inspired heavy music-bandits WESTERN SAND. Photo: @neilmach 2017 ©

There were a few minor hiccups over the weekend: For example the Trooper Beer ran-out on the very first night, the sound for Toseland was “Unhelpful” and plus the weather — by Sunday — had got a bit soggy. But nobody really cared  about these snags… because the line-up was damn near-perfect, the timetable run like a well-oiled hoodoo machine. And of course the crowd were simply f***in amazing.

BERNIE MARSDEN and INGLORIOUS were, of course, fantastic. As were all the headliners.

But standout performances of the weekend were — for us — the astonishing boozy-woozie heavy-gunned rocket rock attack from MASSIVE WAGONS [see them at Legends of Rock — or at Stone Free, London… You won’t be disappointed.]

And also the Southern inspired heavy music-bandits WESTERN SAND. They performed such an incredible show. They had been given an awkward slot and yet they made it all their own.

On Friday night we enjoyed the phenomenal guitar-work of AARON KEYLOCK [main picture] whose output we described as “fuzz-toned magic.”

The young blues prodigy played an effervescent set with vocal-work that recalled Ray Davies and spangled virtuosity that was reminiscent of Johnny Winter.

Sugarman Sam, "luxury riffs" Photo: @neilmach 2017 ©
Sugarman Sam, “luxury riffs” Photo: @neilmach 2017 ©

Saturday the excellent concert-space started to fill-up early for SUGARMAN SAM and THE VOODOO MEN on stage at 11 am. Their blues-derived heavy rock numbers were a treat. With tumbling keys [Paul McCormick] and SAM’s own luxury riffs.

After SAM we enjoyed more VOODOO wonder — this time from local band VOODOO VEGAS whose speed and vehemence was breathtaking. Followed by the energetic rock and roll clout of KING CREATURE.

We were looking forward to seeing the new TOUCHSTONE vocalist, Aggie.

And although we recognize that she is easy-on-the-eyes — starry-eyed and swaying innocence — we weren’t entirely sure her voice was powerfully dramatic enough  to extend over the sweeping majestic instrumentality.

Touchstone - "starry-eyed and swaying innocence" Photo: @neilmach 2017 ©
Touchstone – “starry-eyed and swaying innocence” Photo: @neilmach 2017 ©

Getting to stage with the SWEENEY theme was a great idea for CATS IN SPACE.

This band were not everyone’s cup of tea but having said that, their performance was sleek and ostentatious. If you can imagine something that sits somewhere between Out of the Blue era ELO and 1973 Mott the Hoople [perhaps with a soupçon of The Rubettes, yeah it sounds crazy, we know it does, but it works] that’s what you get with CATS. Theatrical exuberance and incredible harmonies.



Voodoo Vegas "speed and vehemence ..." Photo @neilmach 2017 ©
Voodoo Vegas “speed and vehemence …” Photo @neilmach 2017 ©

RAW RAMP has supported CHANTEL for years.

Did you know that this ultra-feminine blues-guitarist and singer/songwriter is inspired by Soundgarden? [Steven Wilson too, by all accounts]

So we weren’t surprised by her heavy riffs, scorching blues indulgences and celebrations of an elemental kind that put us in mind of “Third Stone from the Sun.” [Hendrix]

Then on a damp Sunday we enjoyed the Welsh FIREROAD who were sexy and poppy. They had travelled down from York overnight and didn’t know where the f** they were…

The SAIICHI SUGIYAMA BAND were a surprise for some, though RAW RAMP has seen prog-rock band before.

There was some concern, from the audience, that singer Artze Monica had to have a “book of words and music” on stage to help her.

But, actually, their forward-looking funk / soul sounds were richly adorned with fluid guitar work from SUGIYAMA while the band boasted some extraordinarily talented musicians.


Thanks to everyone at PLANET ROCK for putting on such a howling suceess.

And for the staff at Sandford Holiday Park, Dorset for making our stay comfortable and ensuring we felt welcome.

And biggest thanks of all to al you WINTERS END revellers — you were a joy to be with. We cannot wait to rock with ya’ll again

Words & Pictures @neilmach 2017 ©

FIREROAD were sexy and poppy but didn't know “where the f** they were” Photo: @neilmach 2017 ©
FIREROAD were sexy and poppy but didn’t know “where the f** they were
Photo: @neilmach 2017 ©












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