Thousands descend on Norfolk’s Play Fest

Norfolk's newest festival on the block is gearing up for a triumphant return with big headline acts and a right royal line-up of Jubilee weekend entertainment. ADAM GRETTON reports.

Jewell in the music crown this Jubilee weekend will see thousands of revellers descend on the grounds of a south Norfolk school for the return of Play Fest.

Shortlisted in 2011 by the UK Festival Awards, Play Fest, held at New Eccles Hall near Quidenham from tonight until Sunday, boasts seven stages set in seven acres of glorious countryside in Norfolk, an impressive array of headline acts, top DJ crews and up-and-coming regional talent.

More than 2,500 advance tickets have been sold for the event, which includes headline acts Ash on Saturday night and Feeder on Sunday night. However, organisers are expecting another 4,000 people to turn up for the event over the weekend.

The festival is the second Play Fest to be held at Eccles. The inaugural two-day festival last year featured The Futureheads, Darwin Deez, Little Comets, Kill it Kid and attracted about 2,500 people.

Music kicks-off tonight in the Big Top, dance arena and Asylum stage with the main stage entertainment taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

Bands playing tomorrow include Ash, The Pigeon Detectives, Reverend and the Makers, The Big Pink, and Little Comets and the main stage acts on Sunday include Feeder, Delilah, Scroobius Pip, Natty, Spector, and Lonsdale Boys Club.

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Norwich favourites The Kabeedies headline the Big Top stage tonight, veteran UK hip hop favourite Roots Manuva on Saturday and The Correspondents on Sunday.

Others pencilled in include Sonic Boom Six, Eyes, Kamilla Lovett, Alloy Ark as well as Norwich funky favourites Killamonjambo.

Meanwhile the Dance Arena is being curated by Norwich's leading electronic club night brand POW! and will showcase the best in electronic music from some of the biggest names in the industry alongside some world-famous party starters.

Spinning the desks will be headline sets from Toddla T, Zinc, Shy FX and Mele, together with DJ EZ, DJ Cable, Get Low Cartel and Urban Nerds.

Following on from the success of last year's interactive venue at Glade Festival, Full Colour will also be sinking their interactive pressure pad system into the Play Fest grounds to create a giant drum machine where 'Play Mates' will be able to jam together and create musical masterpieces.

At night, the Full Colour Arcade dome will transform into an intimate venue hosting the region's hottest local DJs, producers and performers.

In the Rebel Lion Reggae Tent, Rebel Lion are hosting the Roots and Culture Arena featuring Free King, Foundation Sound, Instrument of Jah, MC Chanter and Principal. You can also pick up supplies at the Rasta Culture Stores.

The Asylum Stage will welcome a great mix of solo artists and bands during daylight hours and cabaret and music at night, while the Tipi Tent will be hosted by some of Play Fest's favourite house music promoters and DJs.

There will also be fun for all the family at The Play Area where, working in collaboration with Culture Works East, Play Fest will host a mini festival within a festival in an area dedicated to families.

There are also four themed bars – from a Daisy Duke Western Saloon to a VIP bar and a Thai Full Moon Party bar to the Cirque du Freak bar – a mini-mart and plenty of food on offer.

Olly Sear, co-founder and co-director of the music festival, who organises the Norwich Rocks nights in the city, said: 'It is going well and it is exciting times watching the build come together. I'm looking forward to special guests Roots Manuva in the Big Top on Saturday.'

Brita Young, marketing and production manager, added: 'One of the highlights of the weekend will be Mr Bruce and Chucks — aka The Correspondents, with their infectious music and divine styles headlining Sunday night in the Big Top'

The event is also in a good cause, supporting EACH and will be raising money for the charity which supports and cares for children and young people with life-limiting conditions and which has a hospice in nearby Quidenham.

? Play Fest 2012, Eccles Hall, Quidenham, June 1-3, �80 weekend camping tickets, �35 day tickets. More information visit: