A week before the Iwade Rock Music Festival

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Expect a bucket of guitar riffs at Iwade Rock.

The village music festival created by husband and wife team Keith and Nicola Reynolds returns on Saturday July 23, with a lineup of five bands and performers.

Vocalist Ed Austin and guitarist Louis Newell of Marylebone Jelly headline this year’s Iwade Rock

The couple, who have four children between them, have lived in Iwade near Sittingbourne since 2010.

Event manager Keith, 45, a site manager by day and DJ by weekends who also runs the Iwade Herons under-15 football team and Little Legz Parties, said: “Iwade Rock is our baby. There’s not a big group of people behind this event. It’s just us.

“I sort through bands, plans, applications, licenses, stage and lighting and Nicola takes care of the administration, graphics, illustrations and important sponsors.

“People think we must be crazy and they’re right. But somehow we get there.”

He added: “We don’t get paid, we just do it because we want to give something back to the community.”

Husband and wife team Nicola and Keith Reynolds are behind the Iwade <a class=Rock music festival” data-root=”/_media/img/” data-path=”4XV9WT6UZ3XSJSYG3ENC.jpg” data-ar=”1.43″/>
Husband and wife team Nicola and Keith Reynolds are behind the Iwade Rock music festival

Over the years, the couple and their group of friends and volunteers Team Tango have raised thousands of people for worthy causes, including Demelza Children’s Hospice, domestic violence charity Sateda, Iwade Primary School and Iwade Herons Football Club.

This year, one of the recipients will be Ellie’s Angels.

Nicola, 42, who runs a virtual sound company called Meraki, said: “Team Tango are our saviors. You’ll see them rocking their orange Team Tango shirts as they help out behind the scenes.”

This year, local band Marylebone Jelly headline.

Keith said: “They have been a strong supporter of each of the previous events but have never made headlines due to their busy schedules.”

The Choos featuring Iwade's Andy Benn and Sheppey's Sophie Tuck-Brown will be at Iwade Rock
The Choos featuring Iwade’s Andy Benn and Sheppey’s Sophie Tuck-Brown will be at Iwade Rock

Also on the bill, The Choos. Keith said: “Their lead singer Andy Benn lives in the village and his son plays on my football team. They’re a funk and soul band and will bring a different vibe to the festival.”

They feature Sheppey’s Sophie Tuck-Brown on vocals.

David Shepherd, singer guitarist from Herne Bay, makes his Iwade Rock debut. Keith said: “He was recommended by a friend, so I went to one of his gigs and was mesmerized by his voice and playing style.”

Opening the show will be Sonic Slaves featuring Keith’s former drum teacher. Keith said: “He plays in many bands including The Kickbacks who played at the Mote Park festival in Maidstone last year. They are great musicians.”

The band Sheppey Echo 90 promises a set of 90s indy bangers and Rainham’s original high-energy quartet The Lost Search Party completes the line-up.

The crowd starts dancing Oops Upside Your Head at Iwade Rock 2018
The crowd starts dancing Oops Upside Your Head at Iwade Rock 2018

Keith said: “I came into contact with them after seeing them perform at Dublin Castle in London. He’s a classy actor who is sure to do great things.”

The Reynolds have teamed up with Arriva Kent and Medway buses to run a free shuttle service for ticket holders from Sittingbourne station to ease parking issues around the Heron’s Park site.

It is part of Arriva’s Connecting Communities campaign to tackle loneliness and social isolation in collaboration with Mid Kent Mind and Kirstie George Fitness.

Iwade Rock was supposed to return last year with 10 bands but had to be canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former drummer Keith said: “When I lived in Folkestone 15 years ago I used to host an event in Capel Le Ferne called Capel Rock. Once I moved to Swale I wanted to continue the festival in my village.

Rock it at Iwade Rock 2018. Photo: John Westhrop
Rock it at Iwade Rock 2018. Photo: John Westhrop

“Iwade Rock was born in 2010 in the town hall park. At the time, it was more of a village party with three groups.

“The following year he moved more into music with bands playing out of the back of an articulated truck.

“In 2013 we had a proper stage and sound system, but we realized we needed a bigger venue because more people wanted to come.

“In 2014 we moved to the grounds of the school where he remained until 2016.”

In 2018, the Reynolds moved to School Lane Playgrounds. The last outing attracted 3,500 people.

Evie Whittingham, six, with her brother Harry, eight, play air guitar at Iwade Rock 2018. Photo: John Westhrop
Evie Whittingham, six, with her brother Harry, eight, play air guitar at Iwade Rock 2018. Photo: John Westhrop

Keith added: “We love seeing smiles on the faces of those who attend while showcasing the great musical talent Kent has to offer.”

Nicola said: “It’s all about having fun without jerking your bank balance. It’s great value for money right on your doorstep.

Once again, the staging will be provided by the firm Triple A Events of Sittingbourne. Tickets cost £15 (£8 children) from here.


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