Feel the music in Wokingham
02 June 2021
The Berkshire town of Wokingham, where our Renaissance Wokingham community is located, is well-known for its parks and green space, fantastic amenities and welcoming wider community. It’s also home to the Wokingham Music Club and annual Wokingham Festival, which takes place every summer.
We caught up with Stan Hetherington, founder of the Club and Festival, to find out more about both and what they’ve got planned this summer.
Hi Stan, can you tell us how Wokingham Music Club started?
Wokingham Music Club opened its doors in April 2012, so we’ll be celebrating our 10th anniversary next year. The inspiration for the Club came from a great club in Wokingham during the 1980s called Angie’s which hosted local rock bands which I was very fond of. When the club closed in 1986, I decided to recreate the spirit of Angie’s and started the Wokingham Music Club.
Our opening night was with a band called Never The Bride at Cantley Lodge Hotel and was a huge success. Unfortunately, the shows that followed had less interest, but I persevered and continued to book acts which I thought would appeal to our audience. Now, we put on three shows a month in three venues around Wokingham – Emmbrook Sports and Social Club, The Whitty Theatre and The Royal British Legion.
There’s a complete variety of music at the Club, from folk to rock and everything in between. We have a lot of people visit from Wokingham and beyond – the oldest guest we’ve had was 99 years old and came to watch a Beatles tribute band!
Who’s performing at the Club this year?
Our first post-lockdown gig will be Toyah on 16 July, performing some of her classic hits as well as a few acoustic numbers from her 40-year career. Tony Christie will be joining us on 29 October and Geno Washington on 3 December. We also have a lot of tribute bands performing including a Bruce Springsteen tribute, Bruce Juice, on 3 September. It’s fantastic to have lots of live shows to look forward to!
Can you tell us about Wokingham Festival and what visitors can expect this year?
I’ve been involved with organising events in Wokingham since 2003 – I started as a volunteer for the Wokingham Winter Carnival but was soon elected chairman! I got to know Wokingham Town Council very well and when they wanted to set up a music and food festival in 2007, I was enlisted to help. A couple of years later the council stopped their involvement so we changed the format to focus on music and renamed it the Wokingham Festival.
The Festival takes place every August bank holiday weekend and we have a mix of local and national bands perform across the three days. This year’s headliners include progressive rock band, Willie and the Bandits, and local ska band The Skangsters.
The team from Twyford Beer Festival run our bar and very much treat it like one at a beer festival! We get barrels from around 40 different local and national craft breweries, including Bond Brews and Elusive Brewing, both Berkshire-based.
Which local artists do you recommend?
It really depends on what mood I’m in! If I’m up for a dance, I love funk rock band Selina and the Howlin Dogs, or The Skangsters. If I want to sit back and chill, then Oli Silk is a great smooth jazz musician.
Early Bird tickets for Wokingham Festival are £8 each day. To find out more and book a ticket, visit www.wokinghamfestival.co.uk. For more information about Wokingham Music Club, visit www.wokinghammusicclub.co.uk.
Enjoy a thriving lifestyle at Renaissance Wokingham. Find out more by calling the team on 01183 150 808 or emailing [email protected].