I have mentioned in a previous review as to how I came quite late to the Moseley family of Festivals, first discovering them in 2012 and then doing my level best to get to as many as possible since then. Luckily, I was again able to make it last weekend, this time to Mostly Jazz, Funk & Soul.
Again, I have mentioned before how the Moseley festivals have always impressed me, with both how intimate and safe they feel (in stark contrast to several other ‘big’ festivals I have been to of late) and how they seem to be able to attract some pretty heavy hitters, but also great up-and-coming underground artists in the UK music scene, and yet again I can confirm: Moseley you yet again punched well above your weight!
First though, let’s address the elephant in the room. Namely the Great British weather. Having hemmed and hawed as to which day to pick, Friday would have been best weather wise, with Saturday an obvious no go in the end. Having spoken to Security and staff (including rigging crew), not to mention having seen the footage, there was no way on earth the festival could go on after the horrendous flash floods on Saturday evening. It was absolutely the right call to evacuate.
..Moseley Festivals, you retain a special place in my heart as probably my favourite festivals. I have said it before, and I will say it again – in our opinion you have the best little festivals in the UK.
The miraculous part of it all though was how overnight the staff and crew worked tirelessly to put everything right ready to open on the Sunday morning, as planned. Fortunately for us, this was the day we chose. Whilst there was a temporary evacuation and site closure on Sunday afternoon, this only lasted for around 90 minutes, and again was absolutely the right call after what happened on Saturday.
Socials were kept updated, we all spilled out to bring some surprise and welcome trade to the hostelries of Moseley village, and in no time at all we were back in, listening to the strains of Incognito, who played an absolutely storming set! As is usually the way at Moseley, the vibe was understanding, if a little bemused but all taken in good spirit. Thankfully once back in, bar the odd rain shower the weather was kinder to us, and we were able to catch the rest of the festival acts.
As is often the way with a great festival, the biggest issue we had was who to see and who to miss between the various stages, but particular highlights on the Main Stage (in addition to Incognito) were Mica Millar, Craig Charles and for the crowd, KC & The Sunshine Band. Whilst not my cup of tea personally, they put on a great show and bought a fitting close to the Main Stage events.
..we NEED to talk about the Off Piste Stage. What a line-up! ..with the always excellent Left Foot DJs, followed by the legend that is Norman Jay MBE..
The Second Stage had some great acts too, such as The Soul Grenades and Huey Morgan (who played some absolutely classic belters) and the alternate Main/Second Stage set up worked very well yet again to provide a seamless programme of entertainment.
What we really wanted to see/hear though were the fantastic selection of more ‘underground’ DJs, and we enjoyed catching some of The Woods’ Hip Hop vibes, but more especially we NEED to talk about the Off Piste Stage.
What a line-up! Starting (for us when we arrived) with the always excellent Left Foot DJs, followed by the legend that is Norman Jay MBE, who despite a false start when initially just about to lift his first fade of the afternoon literally as the announcement was made to evacuate (with some very wet people even inside the tent!), soon got the crowd swelling, dancing and generally loving life once he was allowed to restart thanks to his awesome selection and skills.
On next was Jamz Supernova, who I have been a particular fan of for quite some time thanks to her regular Saturday afternoon BBC 6 Music slot where she live mixes, and Jamz was the act we were most excited to see. Imagine then, our delight when, as we were listening to the last few tracks of Norman Jay’s set, Jamz appeared to the side of the stage, mingling with the festival goers, and was having a bit of a dance and vibe to Norman. Having taken the opportunity to speak to Jamz, I can confirm she is a lovely, warm and friendly down to earth person who happily posed with us for selfies, which for someone with her talent and standing in certain parts of the UK music scene is a rare thing in my experience! As expected, she almost literally blew the roof off the tent, with a really eclectic, well selected set and had everyone dancing with big smiles on their faces! What a booking that was and again, well done Mostly Jazz!
Finally at the Off Piste stage it was the turn of Andre Roget, with the very difficult job of trying to compete with the pull of KC & The Sunshine Band. What a DJ he is. Played a great set, and managed to attract a fair number of people away from the Main Stage, much to his credit.
And so, with reluctance, we trudged out after another great festival to get our cab home, but not before of course having taken advantage of (probably too much) of many of the drink and street food offerings.
So, Moseley Festivals, you retain a special place in my heart as probably my favourite festivals. I have said it before, and I will say it again – in our opinion you have the best little festivals in the UK. I for one can’t wait to be back!
Words by Ken Byng for Grapevine Birmingham
Photo of Incognito by Dave Freak