In a stereotypical, traditional and almost predictable fashion Wheels & Fins Festival was greeted by a truly British weather forecast for the weekend. Rain, clouds and gale force winds amongst dry spells met the high flying flags erected next to the Mainstage that awaited patiently for its visitors.
This is the 5th Wheels & Fins Festival to be put on by the Melmoth duo, and they truly put their heart and soul into it. You can feel there is a sense of passion within the events that they put on whether it’s bringing artists like Twin Atlantic (a Scottish alternative rock band achieving worldwide success and signed to Red Bull Records), Reef (an alternative rock band from the UK boasting huge hits in the 1990’s) and Mike Vallely (a die hard Skate Pro, featured on many Tony Hawks video games) to the little Isle Of Thanet; or whether it’s booking a massive tent for DJ’s such as Wilkinson (releasing music on RAM Records and Virgin EMI) and Danny Howard (BBC Radio 1’s Dance Anthems).
Although the headline acts were a huge leap up for this year, the local talent that also set foot on the stage showed a real diversity to the type of acts that Wheels & Fins wants to welcome. When speaking with Dan Melmouth, he stated that “We want Wheels & Fins to be about the local acts who might not get these opportunities every day, to be around and get to network with the larger acts”. Sets from local newcomers Coldbones, originals and cover band Meister, and acoustic duo Milky Negro showed that this local scene is still buzzing and as vibrant as ever.
Photo Credit – Adam Dark. Used in association with The Isle of Thanet News.
Unfortunately due to the weather and perhaps the cost of £25 for a day ticket, Wheels & Fins this year was honestly somewhat lacking with any support from the local area. Whether the marketing was done in London, or just due to the bands and acts being booked, a festival that has the opportunity to be a hive of creativity, new talent, big bands and DJ’s and extreme sports was left cold and bare throughout most of each day.
The event was live streamed throughout the weekend and offered an opportunity for people to get involved if they liked what they saw. The skate and BMX competitions were rife with young talent and also offered the opportunity to watch skate pro and legend Mike Vallely hit the half pipes. The sound teams and stage management was incredible, (hats off to those involved with the execution of the set up) and the catering was top notch. However, the numbers of people that were there this year crammed into the vast DJ tent to escape the rain and to rave through to the early hours.
Amongst artists and DJ’s dropping out, the bad weather and the cost for the weekend perhaps this year’s Wheels & Fins Festival is a sign that Thanet is an area that cares more about it’s DJ and dance culture, or that the bands booked for the event weren’t the right choice to get an area so densely populated with talented musicians and fans, interested in all kinds of music to come along.
Whatever the future holds, I will continue to support this Festival as best I can, whether playing or attending and as a plea to the others in the local area. Support your scene.