Powderham Castle ready to rock back to the 80s in July
Harry Craig writes about the upcoming Let’s Rock festival taking place at Powderham Castle.
Although the 1980s are now the best part of four decades ago, its music is still very much alive and finding new young fans. The Let’s Rock Festival will bring this neon-infused spirit of the eighties to Exeter’s Powderham Castle this year on Saturday 1 July, with acts including Soft Cell, Bananarama and Tony Hadley.
The one-day festival is part of a run of UK dates that also takes in Leeds, Scotland, Southampton, Berkshire, Shrewsbury and Northern Ireland. The self-described retro festival drew over 150,000 fans to its 13 dates in 2022, and hopes to attract even more in 2023, with a new partnership with radio station Absolute 80s.
Exeter’s festival will be headlined by electronic music duo Soft Cell, best known for their 1981 hit and UK number one single “Tainted Love”, in their first outdoor festival shows in twenty years. Marc Almond and Dave Bell, the pair that make up the band, said they were “delighted” to headline the festival, having released their first new material since 2003 last year.
Soft Cell will be joined as headliners by pop band Bananarama and their extensive catalogue of UK top 10s that includes classic singles “Venus” and “Robert De Niro’s Waiting…”. Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward are trailblazers for women in pop music, having been listed in the Guinness World Records for most chart entries by a female group.
The rest of the line-up is led by former Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley, regarded as one of the most iconic voices of 80s pop music. His discography includes UK number one “True” and the single “Gold”, best known as the unofficial anthem of the 2012 Olympics.
Exeter’s festival will be headlined by electronic music duo Soft Cell, best known for their 1981 hit and UK number one single “Tainted Love”, in their first outdoor festival shows in twenty years.
Indeed, Let’s Rock reads as a who’s who of iconic 80s pop acts, including electronic band OMD, pop duo Go West, and electro-pop pioneer Midge Ure, who produced and co-wrote “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in 1984. The full line-up is available here, with more acts still to be announced.
In announcing the headliners last September, festival organisers and founders Nick Billinghurst and Matt Smith reflected on the success of the 2022 edition after two difficult, COVID-affected years, and stated that “we’re already looking forward to 2023”.
Although the festival’s main attraction is of course a celebration of 80s pop music, the organisers emphasise its family-friendly credentials, featuring its ‘Kids’ Kingdom’ area. Let’s Rock’s party atmosphere is also aided by the numerous bars and ‘Club Tropicana’ VIP area, in which the organisers highlight the “all-important posh loos”!
Let’s Rock Exeter will form the first part of an unmissable weekend of music at Powderham Castle, followed by a headline show by pop rock band Bastille on Sunday 2 July.
Tickets are on sale for the festival here.