The countdown to Midsomer Norton’s very own end-of-summer fiesta, Outfield Festival, is well underway. Double-headliners Dodgy and The Hoosiers were officially announced on local radio station Somer Valley FM back in January, with festival organisers Matt Dando and Kevin Messenger letting eager punters know that more acts would be revealed before the festival takes place. Adding to the line up once again, the festival recently announced the names of three more acts that would be gracing the stage at Midsomer Norton Cricket Club on 27th August.

Festival organisers started teasing their fans about their upcoming announcement on Facebook on the 29th April, posting an update stating:

“Three bands signed to play for us this year. Are they top quality? Are they Glastonbury standard? Hell yes”.

Potential attendees were then issued with a low ticket warning, before organisers started to roll out the names of the musicians who would be joining the double headliners on the big day.

The first of three announcements was posted to all of Outfield’s social media channels on 5th May.

First of their stellar triple-bill statement was a band that has just won the Pilton Stage competition to play Glastonbury Festival this June.

The Autumn Saints are an indie-Americana group based in Oxford. Their American influence comes courtesy of lead singer, Britt Strickland, who brings soulful sounds across the pond from his roots in North Carolina. Their Britishness can also be recognised in their music through melodic guitar riffs weaved under silvery Southern vocals.

The Journal reached out to the band ahead of their gig at the festival later on this summer, which they are pleased to be a part of.

“We really like the vibrancy of this festival and the people behind it. That’s why you get into live music in the first place - that shared experience”, say the band.

“We had heard really great things about it, and while playing the Glastonbury/Pilton Stage finals, we were approached to play. We are honoured to play Outfield Festival this year. It’s in a beautiful area and we have always wanted to play there.”

“We love making records, and are proud of what we have done, but for a band like us, live is where burning coals really come alight. The audience will hear The Autumn Saints explore our hybrid of Americana and indie rock: melodic and true. This is what gets our blood pumping.”

Extending the suspense and excitement surrounding their line up, Outfield festival decided to wait another day before announcing the next band on their list.

On 6th May, it was revealed that Chevy Chase Stole My Wife, Worcester-based pop rock band, would be another appearing at Midsomer Norton Cricket Club on the August bank holiday weekend.

Chevy Chase Stole My Wife are ready to bring the party with their pop rock anthems. (© 2023 B. A. Savell)

Packing a surreal sense of humour, the female-fronted trio are ready to win the audience over with catchy lyrics. Festival goers may be lucky enough to catch some new material from them, as they started recording their first full length album in April 2023.

When The Journal asked why they were looking forward to their set, the band answered with excitement, “Where to start! For one there’s a fantastic line up. It’s also one stage so the audience can just relax, claim their spot and be entertained for the whole day. I’ve been to similar festivals and it works super well. The organisers have been so lovely and very organised. The whole event has a great vibe!”

Chevy Chase Stole My Wife were another band scouted at the Glastonbury auditions. The band’s front woman, Emma, told us about how they made their way onto the line up for the Midsomer Norton shindig.

“We met the organisers while performing at the Pilton Stage competition and they came over after and said they had enjoyed our set and told us about Outfield Festival. We played a twenty minute performance in the final there and caught their eye.”

“We got in touch a few weeks after the finale and I saw the video of last years festival and thought it looked fantastic.”

The band are really looking forward to putting on a show in our local area, and gave us a rundown of what to expect from them.

“We perform all original music, catchy pop-rock songs with lots of energy, catchy choruses that will have you singing along, and humorous lyrics - have a listen to ‘I Fell In Love With A Tightrope Walker’, and ‘How’s Sheila’s Glass?’. People sometimes end up singing along even though they haven’t heard the song before.”

“We love performing and have a great time, and I think our enthusiasm rubs off on the audience. We’re too busy enjoying the music to play it cool!”

This will be their first time performing in the locality. The Pilton competition was the first time they’d ventured into our parts, and thanks to their experience there, the band are thrilled to see more of Somerset.

“We met so many lovely people there and spent a bit of time doing touristy things. It’s a beautiful part of the country! We’d love to do more gigs in this part of the world.”

The third and final recent line up announcement came on the 7th May, when indie rockers Galaxy Thief were locked in for the big day.

Galaxy Thief recently made it to the semi finals of the Pilton Stage competition, and have played a multitude of stages across the UK. They look forward to playing at Outfield later this summer. (Ben Ingram)

Back in 2021, the band were hand-picked to become the first Yamaha Music London Ambassadors, meaning they were marked for success by industry powerhouses. The purpose of the scheme is to support incredible young talent that often goes undiscovered, but the band were making impressive headway even before this.

Pre-covid the band had already racked up commendable accolades, such as performing at the Silverstone Grand Prix and headlining Southampton’s Music In The City - a celebration which involves more than a thousand artists each year.

Since then, the band have welcomed a new singer-songwriter and their sound has matured as a result. Most recently, the band made it to the semi finals of the Pilton Stage competition to play Glastonbury 2023, where they crossed paths with Outfield organisers.

The band spoke gleefully about their upcoming slot at Outfield, “Having played in the heats for the Pilton Stage 2023 and been selected for the final heats of the Pilton Party too, we were really excited to be asked to play at Outfield Festival 2023. Any chance to share our original sound live, especially at a summer festival, is what we love most!”

“We spotted Outfield Festival on social media and gave it a follow; meantime, the festival organisers had spotted us at the Pilton Stage competition and got in touch to invite us. Needless to say we jumped at the chance to play at Outfield Festival 2023 alongside some great new and established musicians.”

“We are planning to play our latest originals alongside some carefully selected covers to keep everyone entertained. Be sure to get in touch and share any suggestions for any favourite tunes - we love to hear from new followers!”

“We’ve not actually been to Midsomer Norton but we have played at the Bath and West Show and will be there again on 31st May this year. Also a few years back we played at a small private festival EnFest and did some school tours so hopefully a few Somerset people have heard of us!”

With three exciting new names on the bill, The Journal caught up with festival organiser Matt Dando once again to find out how Outfield pulled this one off. He explained, “When we did our first festival in 2019, I was briefly introduced to Neil Templar who runs The Pilton Stage. I think he appreciated what we are trying to achieve with Outfield and liked the fact that we had similar ideas and beliefs that aligned with the ethos of Glastonbury Festival.”

“Our relationship grew to Neil helping us with booking bands and then onto us becoming judges for The Pilton Stage Auditions to play Glastonbury Festival. This started with us being part of a larger judging panel and then moved to us being main judges this year. We work with Neil to shortlist the hundreds of bands who enter and then judge the live heats to put the artists into finals.”

“From our Outfield team, it’s myself and Kevin Messenger who judge the acts and we take feedback from all our committee members who attend the live music nights.”

“The benefit to Outfield from our involvement is the ability to see some of the best unsigned artists and bands from across Europe. The three bands recently announced were all in this process. The Autumn Saints won the final and will be playing Glastonbury. Chevy Chase Stole My Wife was awesome both in the heats and the final and felt would be perfect for our crowd at Withies Lane. Galaxy Thief is a superb band and were unfortunate to be in probably the strongest heat. We were so impressed with them that we have included them in the audition process to play this year’s Pilton Party in September. The Pilton Stage has recently been asked by Michael Eavis to take over the Pilton Party auditions so we are very proud that Neil has given us the responsibility of helping him out again.”

“We are very proud of the quality of music we put on at our festival and it is very rewarding when people who attend give us that feedback. Outfield Festival is run to give people as much value for money during the day as possible. Quality bands are the first step to achieve this. It is important to us to try and cover different genres and trying to show bands who are local to us is important. The three bands we chose give us the diversity of music that hopefully gives everyone something that they will like.”

“I am looking forward to seeing how each band grows since Pilton. So many bands we watched from a heat to a final improved massively so we are expecting to see that progression again in August. The exciting thing for us is seeing where these bands end up in the future. We could be watching bands who end up selling out stadiums around the world. Hopefully if they do we can get them back one day.”

Matt also disclosed that there would be further announcements about the festival very soon. Punters are told to keep their eye on Outfield’s social media channels in the coming weeks and months.

Great ideas are flowing for the future, and with the way that Outfield continues to provide excellent entertainment in a variety of genres, all that’s left to do is look forward to what’s next.

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