The fifth Worcester Music Festival takes place on the Bank Holiday weekend in August, 24th-27th. Why should you consider going? You get the choice of over 300 local and unsigned acts across 30 different venues in a SXSW-setting with performances taking place in bars, cafes, halls and outdoor set-ups. Plus, the festival showcases a wide range of music from acoustic, pop and jazz to rock, punk and electronic acts – so there is something for everyone.

Not only are there live bands and artists, but there’s plenty of activities and workshops to take part in, ranging from “Mixtape Masterclass” and “Junk Percussion” to taking part in a “Worcestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra” and “Beginners’ Guitar” seminars. And for a family-orientated experience, there’s plenty of Glee clubs, children’s concerts and music workshops to take part in – perfect for a family weekend outing.

If that isn’t convincing enough, the whole festival donates to a charity, and this year it goes toward the New Hope centre. The non-profit care centre focuses on giving children and teenagers with disabilities an enjoyable and beneficial time with activities; such as artistic hobbies and day trips including canoeing and horse riding. Not only does this give the children a fun time, but also gives the families a well-deserved break. New Hope is completely self-sufficient, receiving no government funding, meaning that any support and donations (money will be raised via charity boxes) will be greatly appreciated.

So, you get the best of both worlds: discover new music, up-and-coming musicians, take part in a wide range of activities and show support for a great cause. And… it’s all free!

But, in the nature of this site, here are just some of the featured bands and artists that are really worth checking out over the weekend:

The Mourning Suns
When: Friday (24th)
Where: Horn & Trumpet

If you’re looking for some hauntingly beautiful acoustic sets, then The Mourning Suns is a worthwhile investment of your time. The duo, made up of guitarist/vocalist Anthony Williams and vocalist Rosemary Wilkes, sound like a soft-hearted mix of Kate Bush and Chelsea Wolfe. Emotional and poetic, these two are unmissable for acoustic, lyric-based music lovers.

Listen to some tracks via Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/the-mourning-suns

Small Engine Repair
When: Friday (24th)
Where: Swan With Two Nicks

A four-man band, Small Engine Repair offer a very laid back and sun toned soundtrack to the summer, sticking to the soft and twangy acoustic/folk approach – perfect for mellow moments when enjoying the sunshine with your friends. These guys can also boast Cerys Matthews of Catatonia as a fan, and have played for Princess Anne at St. James’s Palace. Just nice and smooth indie folk.

While you’re waiting for their debut album, you can listen to their EP here: http://soundcloud.com/smallenginerepair/sets/an-introduction-to-small-engine-repair/

Flesh Eating Foundation
When: Saturday (25th)
Where: Worcester Arts Workshop

If you’re looking for a mixture of digital hardcore and industrial rock along the lines of Atari Teenage Riot, Celldweller and Combichrist, then Flesh Eating Foundation are ideal. Mixing the ferocity of punk attitude with industrial ethics, this band injects energy through their heavy beats and thick synths.

Check the aggression here: http://www.flesheatingfoundation.co.uk/

Jon Gomm
When: Sunday (26th)
Where: The Marrs Bar

Jon Gomm is an incredibly talented acoustic guitar virtuoso, combining flamenco and folk music in spirit if not in style. The speed and technicality makes it hard to believe that one man could do so much on one guitar, which is surely a reason to go see him live to witness the melodies and mastery. He also has a great smooth voice, switching in languages. Also, this is expected to be a sell out show, so if you want to secure a place in the audience in case, you should email with your name/email address/phone number with “JON GOMM CONCERT AT MARR’S BAR” to workshops@worcestermusicfestival.co.uk

You can listen and buy tracks on his official website: http://www.jongomm.com/music

The Manic Shine
When: Sunday (26th)
Where: The Firefly

For something in the experimental rock direction, The Manic Shine comprise of four guys who seem to avoid musical constraints as much as they can.  Perhaps not as crazy as the likes of Pulled Apart By Horses or Blakfish, there are elements of unorthodox and unpredictable twists and turns while keeping those vital catchy moments – almost a hybrid of indie, progressive and math rock. And if the band has a fan in Pink Floyd (Nick Mason), well, what can you say?

The band enters the studio this month to record an album, so why not introduce yourself to their music: http://www.reverbnation.com/themanicshine

Columbus Giant
When: Monday (27th)
Where: Guildhall

Now if you want some feel good folk music from London, then Columbus Giant is a must. Along with a mixture of male and female vocals, and instruments including mandolins and the good ol’ double bass, the band tells tales with their lyrics of unbreakable friendship, lessons in love and reminiscing over childhood memories.

While we wait for their forthcoming “Climbing Trees” EP, why not venture onto their Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/columbusgiant

When: Sunday (26th) 
Where: The Firefly

Want something a bit louder and in your face? Then check the Arkhamists, a grunge and 90’s influenced rock band hailing from the Midlands. Combining elements of the unstable Butthole Surfers, The Jesus Lizard’s addictive quirkiness and Soundgarden-like grooves, the Arkhamists show some promise and individuality in the underground British rock circuit.

As the guys enter the studio to record their debut album, you can listen and download some tracks here: http://soundcloud.com/thearkhamists

Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Wierdos
When: Sunday (26th)
Where: Worcester Arts Workshop

When a band makes music as Johnny Kowalski and The Sexy Wierdos do, it would be hard to imagine the live setting to be anything but entertaining. Just imagine if Gorgol Bordello influenced The Clash, with members of The Specials too. The music is full of energy, drunken slur and gypsy folk elements all in one package, skipping between the streetlights at night.

Check out their single Klezmer Prayer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Esr6G2AbGpk

[Note: This is a new segment to the RichReviewz page, where I’ll be covering upcoming festivals, why you should consider going and which bands/artists to check out if you do.]

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