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Stone Valley Festival South: Sham 69, Ash and Ocean Colour Scene to headline





Stone Valley Festival South is returning to East Herts with headline performances from Sham 69, Ash and Ocean Colour Scene.

The three-day event, now in its fifth year, takes place at Pepper Hill Farm, Great Amwell, near Ware, on the last weekend in May.

The Stone Valley brand was established in Stanhope, County Durham, where it has grown into a sell-out annual celebration of mod, ska, indie, punk, Northern soul, soul and '60s music.

Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69 at Stone Valley South in 2021. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69 at Stone Valley South in 2021. Picture: Gerred Gilronan

Rolling back the decades on Friday May 28 will be crowd-pleaser Jimmy Pursey and Sham 69. The 68-year-old original Hersham Boy and his band, who scored five top 20 singles, will be performing anthems including If the Kids Are United and Hurry Up Harry.

Joining them on the opening night's bill will be fellow festival stalwart and 2 Tone ska legend Neville Staple, best known for his work with The Specials and Fun Boy Three.

Secret Affair will be making their annual pilgrimage to Stone Valley South to perform hits like 1979's Time for Action. There will also be appearances by Leeds indie rockers The Wedding Present – whose 12 UK top 40 singles in 1992, one for each month, tied Elvis Presley's record for most top 40 hits in a single year – and UK Subs, who were in the vanguard of punk rock, led by vocalist Charlie Harper.

Ash at the Sign of the Times music festival at Church End, Little Hadham. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Ash at the Sign of the Times music festival at Church End, Little Hadham. Picture: Gerred Gilronan

On Saturday May 27, there will be early sets by IDestroy, a three-piece, all-female outfit known for their riotous performances, London four-piece Buster Shuffle, who played Bishop's Stortford's Bish Bash festival in 2022, and Lancaster's lo-fi psychedelic punk rock band The Lovely Eggs.

Richard Jobson and Skids return to the Stone Valley stage for more dad-dancing and political commentary before Buster Bloodvessel can-cans onto the stage to introduce another rabble-rousing appearance by Bad Manners.

Sleeper, fronted by Louise Wener, chalked up eight UK top 40 singles and three UK top 10 albums in the 1990s and will be bringing their brand of Britpop to East Herts.

Ska stars Death of Guitar Pop have become a Stone Valley South institution and this year is no different.

The Undertones lead singer Paul McLoone. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
The Undertones lead singer Paul McLoone. Picture: Gerred Gilronan

The same could be said for The Undertones, making a welcome return to the Saturday night line-up with hits including Teenage Kicks, Jimmy Jimmy, My Perfect Cousin and Here Comes the Summer.

Topping the bill are fellow Northern Irish legends Ash. Formed in Downpatrick in 1992 by vocalist and guitarist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton and drummer Rick McMurray, the band went on to achieve 18 top 40 UK hit singles, including Girl from Mars, Burn Baby Burn and Shining Light.

The line-up for Sunday May 28 also includes festival stalwarts and new additions.

The Subways' Billy Lunn at Standon Calling in 2022. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
The Subways' Billy Lunn at Standon Calling in 2022. Picture: Gerred Gilronan

Chingford indie rockers The Rifles will make an early appearance with The Primitives, best-known for their 1988 single Crash, and Hertfordshire's finest The Subways. After making their Standon Calling debut last year, Charlotte Cooper and Billy Lunn will be back in East Herts to introduce their guitar-based rock to Stone Valley South.

Toyah Willcox will also be appearing. The actress, presenter and singer was an 80s figurehead with anthems including Thunder in the Mountains, I Want to Be Free and It's a Mystery.

The Beat. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
The Beat. Picture: Gerred Gilronan

Dave Wakeling's The Beat appeared at Stone Valley's sister festival Sign of the Times in Little Hadham last summer, and will be bringing their unique fusion of Latin, ska, pop, soul, reggae and punk rock to Pepper Hill Farm. Fans will be waiting for Mirror in the Bathroom, Too Nice to Talk To and Hands Off...She's Mine.

After a health scare stopped From The Jam from performing last year, Bruce Foxton and Russell Hastings will return with a set packed with hits and scissor jumps. The faithful will be waiting for a high-speed journey through The Jam's back catalogue including Eton Rifles, In the City, The Modern World, David Watts and Down in the Tube Station at Midnight.

Pauline Black is the undisputed queen of Stone Valley South and will be appearing once again with The Selecter. Coventry's finest are sure to perform On My Radio, Three Minute Hero and Missing Words as part of a 2 Tone masterclass.

Pauline Black of The Selecter at Stone Valley South in 2021. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Pauline Black of The Selecter at Stone Valley South in 2021. Picture: Gerred Gilronan

The Enemy, formed in 2006, are also from Coventry. The indie rockers' debut album We'll Live and Die in These Towns went straight to No 1 in the UK albums chart in 2007.

Ocean Colour Scene will close the festival. The Solihull rock band launched in 1989 and have clocked up five top 10 albums, 17 top 40 singles and six top 10 singles including The Day We Caught the Train, The Riverboat Song and Hundred Mile High City.

As well as a nostalgia-fest of tunes, Stone Valley once again promises "friendly staff and security, plenty of room to dance, loads of trade stalls, top DJs, drink at very sensible prices and a guaranteed value-for-money, wide range of food".

Ocean Colour Scene's Simon Fowler, left, and Oscar Harrison
Ocean Colour Scene's Simon Fowler, left, and Oscar Harrison

The organisers promise: "Unlike your average festival, Stone Valley Festival won't empty your wallet."

Weekend, day and camping tickets are available as well as VIP and glamping options.

Stone Valley South (63124440)
Stone Valley South (63124440)
Sleeper at SIgn of the Times Picture: Gerred Gilronan (63171357)
Sleeper at SIgn of the Times Picture: Gerred Gilronan (63171357)
Bad Manners frontman Buster Bloodvessel. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Bad Manners frontman Buster Bloodvessel. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
The Subways' Charlotte Cooper at Standon Calling 2022. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
The Subways' Charlotte Cooper at Standon Calling 2022. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Neville Staple at Stone Valley South. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Neville Staple at Stone Valley South. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Russell Hastings and Bruce Foxton in From the Jam. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Russell Hastings and Bruce Foxton in From the Jam. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Death of Guitar Pop frontman Silky. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Death of Guitar Pop frontman Silky. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Richard Jobson with Skids. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Richard Jobson with Skids. Picture: Gerred Gilronan
Stone Valley South festival (63124519)
Stone Valley South festival (63124519)
Toyah Willcox (63171380)
Toyah Willcox (63171380)

For more details see https://www.stonevalleyfestival.co.uk/stone-valley-south-home/



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