Sunday 6th August 2023
Review by Mick Sayce Photos by Glen Parkes
Once again, Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent, was the venue for our intrepid photography and review team to report on something that was completely different, namely a festival comprised solely of cover and tribute bands.
Although the festival was for two days, Saturday was a perfect storm of bad weather (sorry), and the rain was nothing if not persistent for the whole day. Despite this, the performers gamely plied their trade while the hardiest of fans dutifully watched under the cover of an umbrella, poncho or raincoat.
Sunday, like the Maid of Stone festival two weeks previous, was almost the opposite with the sun shining and only the occasional groups of grey clouds scudding across the sky.
The day started on the Heavy Rock Stage with Hellbent Forever, the tribute band for Judas Priest. Leather and studs -lots of leather and studs- were the order of the day and coupled with a repertoire of songs that were played and sung with a huge amount of enthusiasm. A great start.
Immediately following them was Sabbotage, a Black Sabbath tribute. Once the band had established themselves on the stage, the lead singer came out looking for all the world like Ozzy. He not only looked like him, sang like him, he even emulated all his stage mannerisms to perfection. Another great set.
Then came Rammlied, the tribute for Rammstein who have been perfecting their act for at least ten years…and it showed. The whole Industrial Metal vibe was brilliantly showcased and as expected, the crowd loved them.
Some Kind of Metallica were on next and as per the previous bands, they absolutely rocked the place.
Meanwhile, on the main Rock Stage, Renegade -Paramore- set the scene in the early afternoon sun. This five-piece really got the crowd buzzing and many fans were seen singing along. Stiff Bizkit (Limp Bizkit) and L1nkin_P4rk (Linkin Park) followed in succession, both very good, looking the part and playing the tunes the crowd knew and loved.
Then came the headliners, and it was easy to see why. Magic Queen -Queen- came onto the stage to a roar from the crowd. The lead singer in the iconic yellow, large buckled leather jacket and white trouser combo, so often seen worn by the great man himself, strutted around the stage with the obligatory half microphone stand with his voice powerful enough to be heard over the instruments.
All in all, another great success for the organisers and all the staff who made it so. This was actually the first tribute band festival I have reviewed and must say I was completely overwhelmed by the professionalism and passion for their respective heroes that each and every one of the performers showed. I even heard that some of the Pop Stage acts were also very good, but unfortunately never got a chance to see any of them…maybe next year.