On a hot sunny day in Sandbach about 1,000 people enjoyed good music from local singers to tribute bands and soloists.
It is just under ten years since the first Fake Festival appeared at the Sandbach Rugby Club – on 10th August 2013 – and in 2018 the organisation was passed to Andy Milner and Simon Gregson, who found the cost of staging the event by outside organisers more expensive than the cost of staging the popular event themselves, (writes Stewart Green).
The move also allowed profits to be ploughed back into the community.
Since then it has become part of the yearly calendar in Sandbach and has seen a number of popular tribute acts appearing in the town as well as showcasing local bands and singers, something that was encouraged from the start.
This year the organisers had a main stage with an inside smaller stage for the Sandbach group Bored Adventures to play on during the breaks in music outside.
It didn’t quite work out – those outside only ventured inside to order drinks – but the group, made up of singer and bass player Ethan, drummer Leo, Harry on piano (not at the festival) and Connor and Ben on guitar and vocals, were well received. The group has released a studio EP called Hidden in Plain Sight.
The first act on the main stage was Congleton singer Ben Sproston, who appeared at the 2021 Cheshire Show and at Sandbach Rugby Club Christmas party.
Next it was Slug (a Sandbach group, aka Slug …. Follow the Trail), who had a very different set with the band on stage and lead singer Ray Jackson Zeke in front of the stage and touring around the tables in the main tent singing appropriate songs to various members of the audience.
Zeke can be seen at the D13 Irish Bar in Knutsford every Wednesday where he and Dunc host an open mic session. He related a number of stories about his school life in Sandbach and growing up in the town as introductions to various popular songs.
Jon Stevens a Manchester-born Sandbach resident is a singer who made his debut at the festival last year and has since played the Sandbach Transport Festival and has made appearances locally in Alsager and on Sky television . He has been singing for over 25 years and on 23rd May released his first EP on all digital platforms.
Frantic Fridays started playing at Sandbach School and have since played the Pop Festival, Sandbach Pride in 2022 a Remembrance Festival at Sandbach Cricket Club and the Sandbach Transport Festival, always drawing a big crowd with many asking for more at the end.
The band has also played at TK Max in Crewe for Comic Relief and at the 2022 Christmas lights switch-on at the Market Square, Sandbach. A mixture of brass, saxophones and drums, the band puts out a big band sound to pop classics.
The first of the tribute acts appeared next in the shape of Tom Morison as George Ezra singing the hits including Blame it on Me. Cheshire based Tokyo Misfires sang a variety of cover versions, having recently played to sell-out audiences at the Nantwich Jazz and Blues Festival.
DJ Jeppo (Marc Jepson) with Megan Lee (singer) and Jamie Gallacher (saxophone) were on stage for a long set of house music, with vocals by Megan and improvised playing by Jamie. DJ Jeppo is resident DJ at Level (Bolton), Fiction (Hanley), Zinc, House Party Radio and 2wisted Fusion U(whatever that all means).
An Elton John tribute (Tom Weston) was delayed by 30 minutes with a sight not seen very often – Robbie Williams helping Elton John build his piano on stage.
The Killers Kollective (a Killers tribute) from Stoke-on-Trent have been all around the world performing, but this year are staying closer to home with shows in Bridgewater, Leicester, Merthyr Tydfil, Halifax and Wigan and the audience at Sandbach appreciated their performance so much that there was no space left on the dance floor in-front of the stage.
This itself would have been a fitting end to the evening but the much-anticipated Robbie Williams tribute closed end the evening. Returning from his last appearance at the festival in 2018, Dan Budd as Robbie Williams brought the evening to an end, included the swearing and bad language used by the original Robbie in his act along with the hits of the pop star from Stoke.
Overall it was a successful event and local charity organiser Andrea Sheardown who raises money for the AMMF (a cancer charity) said it was the best fundraising stall they had had at the event, so far raising £1,918 for the fund.
(Photos: Stewart Green).