The Scene Column: Amp up for Ampthill Festival

Music reporter Vicki McCarthy previews the festival this month, which includes The Vamps as headliners.

At last, July is here!

Personally an exciting month, as it’s my birthday on the 11th, but I share my birthday month with the rather fabulous local music event AmpRocks, and this birthday is extra special, as AmpRocks hits the big one-zero.

That’s a decade of top-notch music, ten years to mark the hard work by the festival’s volunteers and 3,652 days to recognise the support of not only the local community, but visiting gig-goers alike.

So last month, it seemed an opportune time for me to catch up with Ampthill Festival’s Chairman Mark Tiana and volunteer Kevin Miller.

What’s in store this year? “So much!” laughed Mark, “AmpRocks is bigger and better for 2019!

“Besides the obvious draw of the main stage, with local battle of the bands winners Backpocket and our headliners The Cuban Brothers, The Vamps, Jo Whiley and Squeeze, we’ve got two brand new stages.”

“Yes!” Kevin agreed, “We’ve got The Golden Hare stage and BBC Introducing stage too, which not only gives a platform to upcoming, local talent, but it also gives music-lovers more choice and means they should always be entertained.”

Taking place 5-7 July, Ampthill Festival prides itself in offering something for everyone. With the eclectic AmpRocks line-up that caters to a huge demographic, to the more sedate, but equally uplifting AmpProms (headlined by Collabro) the next day, to the free AmpGala on Sunday, which is fun for all the family.

And this year there’s an extra option to buy a package ticket, for both the Friday and Saturday. Mark added: “Market research shows us that there is no one style, or era of music that people want to come and see. Punters who enjoyed Razorlight in 2015, were equally enthused to attend the Proms too. So we wanted to acknowledge that.”

The festival – with the support of its amazing sponsors – has also introduced a swanky new VIP area. With this upgrade, local public house The White Hart will be offering the VIPs food, a large array of drinks, seating, luxury loos and free-entry into the organisers’ private after-party.

Suiting those that love an outdoor concert, yet want to retain some of the home comforts! “We’ve also reworked the natural amphitheatre of Ampthill Great Park,” Mark said.

“It’s such a brilliant space and people at the back of the crowd get a decent view. But by redesigning the site, we’ve been able to fit in the new areas, play host to 50 acts and give the place even more of a festival-vibe.”

The festival is also part of a wider series of events that celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kit Williams’ picture-book ‘Masquerade’, an unlikely publishing phenomenon that sparked a national treasure hunt which ended in Ampthill!

But I think it’s safe to say, that with so much entertainment on our doorstep, we’ve already struck gold.

For tickets, visit ampthillfestival.com

This feature was published in the July 2019 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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