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REWIND SOUTH 2023


Another year has flown by, so grab your neon leg warmers, Rubik's Cubes, Top Gun tee shirts and head to Rewind South where for one weekend of the year we get to step back in time.




The final Rewind festival of the year promised to be a memorable one, with some of the biggest names of the decade on the bill.


The South (comprised of former Beautiful South members) was first on Saturday afternoon. Gaz Birtles and Alison Wheeler have been embraced by fans as the torchbearers of songs that have been on the soundtrack to their lives. Today was no exception as the crowd sang along to 'Don't Marry Her' and 'Old Red Eyes is Back'. A terrific way to get the Rewinders in the mood.


Following The South were Derry Punks, The Undertones, while UB40 played their 'shortest ever set'. Many festival-goers appeared bemused that the Birmingham reggae band wasn't given a headline slot. Even though it was a truncated set, the band gave the crowd an amuse-bouche, for the main course. Fingers crossed, we'll get the full experience next year.


Synth-pop pioneers Art of Noise took us for another trip down memory lane by playing some of their hits 'Peter Gunn Theme' and 'Paranoimia' which featured the iconic 80s cyberpunk AI hero, Mmmmax Headroom.



Festival favourite, Nik Kershaw made a return and he's another act that many Rewinders wanted to see a longer set from. Nik put on one of the best performances from the weekend. Starting with 'Wide Boy' he sang more of his classic tracks including 'The Riddle' and 'Wouldn't it Be Good' alongside 'The One and Only'. In the first of many covers over the weekend, Nik did a stellar version of Yazoo's 'Only You': A song that he said he'd keep on performing until somebody told him to stop – I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon.




As the rain stayed away over the weekend, Heatwave brought some more sunshine with their disco style set. The other Nick on the bill – Mr Heyward – helped us enjoy this fantastic day with a selection of songs from across his solo and time with Haircut 100. 'Blue Hat for a Blue Day' and 'Love Plus One' were popular with the crowd down the front.


ABC brought some sophisti-pop to Saturday evening. Martin Fry's voice is still as distinctive as his sartorial style. The band wasted no time in their slot and jumped in with the dynamic 'When Smokey Sings' followed by 'Poison Arrow'. Of course, they couldn't leave the stage without performing 'The Look of Love (Part One).

Rounding up Saturday was Erasure's Andy Bell. Andy was a popular choice, with many coming to the festival just to see him. Sadly his set was blighted by sound issues and his performance wasn't up to his usual standard, which meant that many chose to have an early night, leaving only die-hard Erasure fans watching until the end.


Martin Kemp’s DJ set is always a popular slot, even with his dad dancing Martin still carries it off and played some banging tunes.


Sunday was a quieter day on site, so it had that lazy feel to it. Many Rewinders had gathered early to watch the Women’s World Cup Final and to watch our Lionesses fight for the title. Even if they didn’t bring it home this time, there was nothing but support and respect for them in the arena. Even The Doctor rallied the crowd in a supportive singalong or ‘Sweet Caroline’ to commemorate their achievement and their legacy for women in sport.


China Crisis and The Farm kicked off the music on Sunday. Big Country was superb and they never disappoint. 'Fields of Fire' and 'Look Away' were popular with those who wanted a bit of rock.




Nathan Moore from Brother Beyond and Red Box added some more nostalgia to Sunday ahead of Tony Hadley. The former Spandau Ballet front-man had hurt his knee a few days before, but luckily he was still able to attend despite being on crutches. Perched on a stool with a beer and whiskey beside him, he looked every bit the crooner and rivalled Martin Fry for one of the most suave vocalists of the weekend.

His vocal has been undiminished by time and he sang tracks such as 'Gold,' 'Through the Barricade' and even a cover of Queen's 'Hammer To Fall'. Not only was this friendly and appreciative crowd delighted that he made it to the festival, they had also witnessed one of the best acts of the weekend.


This weekend's lineup was very heavy on male artists – unlike last year which boasted Kim Wilde, Belinda Carlisle and others. Punk Queen and avant-garde performer, Toyah was here to mix up the set and bring some girl power to the party with an entertaining set featuring some of her biggest hits 'I Wanna Be Free' and 'Thunder in the Mountains'. Those familiar with her Sunday Lunch segments on You Tube alongside her husband Robert Fripp, will be pleased to know she is also on tour and it's certainly worth checking out her live show.




Go West followed Tony Hadley and Nik Kershaw by introducing some covers into their set. Sam Sparro's 'Black and Gold' and Duran Duran's 'Hungry Like The Wolf' were excellent choices to sit alongside their own tunes 'We Close Our Eyes', 'Faithful' and 'King of Wishful Thinking.'


Heaven 17 probably stole the show with an exceptional live version of 'Temptation' that featured some terrific female singers. No wonder they are Rewind regulars!



Marc Almond had been ill for his show at Rewind North, and had to cancel, but thankfully he was on top form for the show on Sunday. He performed a selection of Soft Cell and solo hits including 'Adored and Explored',' Jacky', dedicated 'Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart' to Gene Pitney and of course the closing song 'Say Hello Wave Goodbye.'


Sunday's headliners Squeeze wrapped up the festival with another blinding set. Wall to wall hits 'Cool for Cats', 'Hourglass' and 'Up The Junction' were great to hear played live as the band sounded amazing. They also played 'What Have They Done' from the 'Where the Wind Blow's soundtrack, which is rarely given a live outing.


And with an obligatory firework display, Rewind was done for another year.

There were a few justifiable gripes from people about how the site had gone cashless and the endless queues for overpriced festival food, and some access issues due to people putting chairs too close together in the arena. Despite those complaints, it's still a terrific and friendly festival.


One thing that was noticeable across the weekend was the amount of younger people, not just Gen Z and Xennials but very small kids, who had come along for some festival fun with the family. Perhaps it was Kate Bush that got the Stranger Things crowd hooked on 80s music or perhaps word has got around about what a great festival this is. However they got into their groove, they were all singing along and embracing this wonderful throwback and celebrating an incredible decade of music.


Check back soon to read some of our interviews with artists from the weekend and more Rewind content!



Review by Cathy Clark with contributions from Gerry Driver


Photos by Gerry Driver - no use without permission











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