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Get ready The Waterboys, Travis and Feeder at Sign of the Times Festival





What better way to forget about politics than with three days of outstanding pop music from across the decades when Sign Of The Times Festival returns to Church End, near Little Hadham, this week for a fourth year.

For three days from Friday to Sunday (July 5-7) its two stages will host rock, indie, blues, new wave and folk-punk bands.

The Waterboys will top the main stage bill on Friday, with Travis headlining on Saturday and Feeder on Sunday.

The Waterboys
The Waterboys

The festival, with free parking, offers camping for those music fans who want to savour every moment

On Friday, The Waterboys, a British-Irish folk rock band best known for hits The Whole of the Moon and Fisherman’s Blues, will be supported by psychedelic rock band Kula Shaker, who climbed the charts with songs like Tattva and Govinda, inspired by Indian music.

The K’s, whose debut album was I Wonder If The World Knows?, will be performing a set inspired by The Clash, The Jam, Squeeze and The Libertines, and there will be spots by Echobelly, fronted by Sonya Madan, who hit the charts in the 90s, and English electronic duo Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt, better known as sampling stars Utah Saints.

Travis. Picture: Andrew Smith
Travis. Picture: Andrew Smith

Scottish rockers Travis are the main attraction on Saturday. The band, fronted by Fran Healy, is best known for second album The Man Who, which was released in 1999 and spent nine weeks at the top of the UK Albums Chart and 134 weeks in the top 100. The single Why Does It Always Rain on Me? was nominated as a Brit Award Single of the Year in 2000.

Travis will be supported by NME Award-winning and multi-Brit Award nominee Jake Bugg, whose self-titled debut album hit the top spot in 2012, Scottish indie band The View, best known for the 2007 single Same Jeans, and Irish rock band The Hothouse Flowers, whose first album People was the most successful debut LP in Irish history and included the hit single, Don’t Go.

Saturday’s main stage line-up will be completed by 1980s New Romantic star Toyah – who was a hit at last year’s Stone Valley South at Great Amwell when she appeared with her husband, iconic King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp – British electronic dance music group The Dutty Moonshine Big Band and Scottish singer-songwriter Sandi Thom, who scored a No 1 single with I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker in 2006.

On Sunday, Feeder will rock the main stage with a hit-packed set. The band, formed in Wales in 1994, have an impressive back catalogue with 11 studio albums, 12 compilations, four EPs and 43 singles including Comfort in Sound, Seven Days in the Sun, Buck Rogers, Pushing the Senses and Just a Day. They racked up 25 top 75 singles between 1997 and 2012.

Utah Saints
Utah Saints

The bill also includes Reverend and the Makers, from Sheffield, who scored a UK top 10 single with Heavyweight Champion of the World, and Starsailor, best known for their 2003 single Silence Is Easy.

Two standout acts from 2023’s Standon Calling will also be at Church End. Scouting for Girls will once again have the crowd jumping with hits including She’s So Lovely while indie pop band The Lottery Winners and their charismatic frontman Thom Rylance are sure to entertain.

Britpoppers Dodgy, best known for hits like Staying Out for the Summer, If You’re Thinking of Me and Good Enough, complete the main stage bill with Scotland’s ska godfathers, Bombskare.

Thom Rylance from The Lottery Winners
Thom Rylance from The Lottery Winners

If you’re looking for an alternative to the main stage acts, The Big Top - Sign of the Times’ canvas concert hall – also has three stellar line-ups.

On Friday, it will feature Manchester’s 808 State, best known for their hit Pacific State, English ragga DJ General Levy, ska, hip hop and breakbeat outfit The Dub Pistols, London four-piece ska punk band Buster Shuffle and Glastonbury veterans The Jacques.

Sign of the Times Festival
Sign of the Times Festival

Saturday’s line-up in the Big Top includes BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Craig Charles. The Red Dwarf actor, comedian and presenter is a funk and soul aficionado.

He will be joined by acid jazz and funk stars, The Brand New Heavies, whose hits include Midnight at the Oasis; Peat and Diesel who are a three-piece band from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis; Scouse stars of the 80s, The Christians; Scottish alternative band Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5; The Countess of Fife featuring Fay Fife of the Rezillos; and South London singer-songwriter James Bone.

The Big Top line-up for Sunday features Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, the band behind tracks including Trust; Intact; Until You Find Out and Kill Your Television; Turin Brakes who have sold more than a million records including the top 5 single Painkiller; The Alarm of Sixty Eight Guns fame; Dreadzone, the electronic music outfit founded by ex-Big Audio Dynamite drummer Greg Roberts; Then Jericho, whose 1988 hit Big Area featured in the 1989 sci fi film Slipstream; Northern Ireland rock and rollers Screaming Eagles; New Wave rockers Bowen and Marquis Drive, a seven-piece indie band hailing from the West Midlands.

As well as music from across the decades and genres, Sign of the Times features a wide range of food and drink, glamping options and a VIP area.



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