From 7 – 9 July 2017, the picturesque City of Weert which is located in the Limburg region of The Netherlands, hosted BOSPOP under the expert guidance of Festival Director, Peter Verkennis whose vision for a music festival began 37 years ago – albeit on a slightly smaller scale.

Assisted by a mini-army of more-than-willing volunteers, this, my eighth consecutive BOSPOP, had its own identity, just like all the others and please don’t ask me how but, the team of directors that puts the programme together, always hits the spot with a diverse mixx of musical genres presenting names that come in straight off the world stage as well as some uber-excellent home-grown talent whose names are maybe not that well known beyond the borders of The Netherlands.  That particular aspect of BOSPOP is actually one of the big attractions for me as I really enjoy the opportunity of hearing some new sounds together with the fact that this truly is one of the friendliest and best organised outdoor events I’ve ever experienced.

So, what went on with this year’s programme?  Well, for starters, I had an official Fotopas although it has to be said that my somewhat petite stature, combined with my Canon PowerShot SX280 HS, did attract a few surprised looks from the front row fans, especially as I was surrounded by some serious photographic equipment and their owners.  Nevertheless, it was a fabulous experience and as a result, I’m happy to share some of my pictures here.

The BIG festival names for me included The Black Star Riders, The Pretenders, the Dropkick Murphys, fellow Scot, Stevie Nimmo, Madness and Sunday night second stage headliner, Roger Hodgson.  But of course, the programme included so much more and it really was a case of, come-in-and-find-out as the weekend developed.

As with previous years, Marc Tyley from Manx Radio was dipping in and out backstage @BOSPOP during the weekend, checking out the atmosphere and interviewing some of the performers for broadcast on his hugely popular, Greatest Hits radio show.  Marc also interviewed some of the artists ahead of the festival by telephone and you’ll find these as MP3s below.

The weekend kicked-off with the Friday night tribute band programme that totally rocked the tent stage while doubling-up as a welcome party for the many campers/non-campers alike and, as per last year, was a really great way to catch up with friends before the main event.

The Stevie Nimmo Trio had the honour of opening BOSPOP 2017 on the main stage and they did so in style, treating the early morning crowd that visibly swelled throughout their set, to a fabulous performance that was jam-packed with passion and stunning guitar solos featuring original music from Stevie Nimmo’s CDs, The Wynds of Life and Sky Won’t Fall.  Quite simply, the bar had been set and BOSPOP 2017 was officially up and running.

Stevie very graciously took some time out to speak to Marc Tyley after his set and while Scott Gorham from the Black Star Riders was literally walking past, Stevie and Marc had a great chinwag about the blues, motorbikes and how Stevie’s mum’s advice played a part in his musical influences:

It was an absolute pleasure to meet Stevie and here are some of miFavourite shots of The Stevie Nimmo Trio performing at BOSPOP 2017:

As The Stevie Nimmo Trio finished up their main stage set, Xander & The Peace Pirates were busy opening up on the second stage in the rock tent. This was a new name for me and I am seriously kicking myself for missing this act from Liverpool. Playing guitar with a pick attached to the hook on the end of his prosthetic arm, Keith Xander somehow achieves the impossible in spite of his handicap. Furthermore, the band has played alongside guitar heroes like Keith Richards, Albert Lee and even opened for Bon Jovi when they played at Old Trafford during their Bon Jovi Live Tour in 2011. So yes, I’m really sorry that I missed the set this time but I am happy to say that I met Keith briefly backstage @BOSPOP and that he gave me the loveliest of hugs.

The Black Star Riders were up next on the main stage and I was so ready to see this band again.  Featuring the vocal talents of frontman, Ricky Warwick, the guitar skills of Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson, bass guitarist Robbie Crane and latest band member, Chad Szeliga on drums, this set was always going to rock… and it did.  A blast of hits exploded one after the other from the band’s 2015 album, The Killer Instinct, as well as from their latest release, Heavy Fire aaaaand…. yessss, the Boys Are Back In Town was part of the set too.

Amongst many other topics, “A great hang…” was what Ricky Warwick said about the backstage @BOSPOP area when he spoke to Marc Tyley ahead of the festival – you can enjoy the rest of the exchange between Ricky and Marc below together with some of miFavourite shots of The Black Star Riders during their main stage set.

Ricky Warwick talks to Marc Tyley:

A quick dash across the field to see British blues artist, Laurence Jones perform in the rock tent was next on the agenda.  Although Laurence has a string of music awards to his credit that includes winning the Best European Guitarist category in the European Music Awards, this was another new name for me but after watching Laurence’s electrifying performance, he is most definitely on my must-see-again list… I just love it when I come away from BOSPOP with that once-is-not-enough feeling.

Laurence is an incredibly talented musician, very exciting to watch and to date, has released four albums, the latest of which, Take Me High, came out in 2016.  Laurence’s band features the collective outstanding talents of Bennett Holland on keys, Greg Smith on bass and Phil Wilson on drums.  During his BOSPOP set, Laurence performed a song called, Thunder In the Sky which he dedicated to the victims of the recent Manchester Arena attack.  The song has a break in the middle and when it happened, it took the packed tent crowd a couple of nanoseconds before they picked it up, cheering loudly for about a minute and creating a classic BOSPOP uproar in the tent by the time the band kicked in again.  A totally stunning performance and even though it was the middle of the afternoon, it could have been Saturday night anywhere/anyclub such was the response from the BOSPOP crowd.

Laurence very kindly took time to speak to Marc Tyley after his set…:

…this is such a great listen, and a wonderful insight into Laurence’s career path so far.  And just to add another dimension, here are some of miFavourite pictures from Laurence’s fantastic set on the rock tent stage:

Oh yes… and it was a real pleasure meeting Laurence backstage @BOSPOP.

Blof (The Netherlands), The Black Sorrows (Australia), Vintage Trouble (USA) and Delvis (Belgium) were next on the programme and from this collection of international talent, Vintage Trouble was the band that had caught my attention mainly because they had sold out a recent gig at my favourite local music haunt, The Blues Garage in Isernhagen, Hannover and I was slightly more than curious to know why.

Genre-wise, Vintage Trouble describe themselves as being an American rhythm and blues band and with three album releases behind them as well as a track that was picked up by Honda for a commercial video, they are certainly not newcomers to the music scene.

To say that the performance was energy-charged would be an understatement as frontman, Ty Taylor dashed hither and thither across the stage gathering pace as he went.  His acrobatic moves that included a side-jump shot that transformed his microphone stand into a gymnastic pommel horse, drove the crowd wild.  I missed Ty’s mosh dive into the crowd unfortunately but there are photos out there that will testify to that! In the meantime, here are some of miFavourite photographs from the Vintage Trouble set:

The Pretenders were up next on the main stage and this was one of the BOSPOP 2017 highlights for me.  Frontwoman, Chrissie Hynde, wearing a Motörhead shirt, skinny low-cuts, boots and still sporting that iconic signature fringe hairstyle that kinda reminds me of a blonde version of the oculus rift headgear that gamers wear these days, took us on a journey of the band’s greatest hits and so much more. Supporting Chrissie on lead guitar was the hugely talented, James Walbourne and as the band tore through their set which included: Brass In Pocket, Stop Your Sobbing, Chain Gang, Don’t Get Me Wrong, Kid and I’ll Stand By You it was o-so clear that Chrissie’s vocal prowess together with her stage persona, had more than stood the test of time.  Currently the band is doing a round of festival appearances that have included, Glastonbury but they have a list of UK tour dates planned for the autumn in support of their new album, Alone.

Here are some of miFavourite pictures from The Pretenders’ totally fabulous BOSPOP main stage set:

So look who I ran into…

… yep, I had to look twice but his name really is, Luc, not Ed… at least, that’s what his media pass said…?!

Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown (Nashville, TN) as in, support act for AC/DC’s , Rock Or Bust World Tour 2016, were busy bringing their rocking set on the second stage to a close as Beth Hart was busy making her way onto the main stage to start hers.  Powerful, emotional and totally in command spring to mind when I think about any of Beth’s performances that I’ve seen and yet, in her telephone interview with Marc Tyley a couple of weeks prior to the festival, Beth confessed that she always felt a little bit nervous before her BOSPOP performances and with that, she sent out a message asking for prayers via the airwaves, to help her through and actually enjoy the experience.  Directly after her opening song, Baby Shot Me Down, Beth made a stark reference to the call with Marc as she thanked everyone who had prayed for her saying that she felt really, really great – 3:25 into the video link will take you there and in addition, here is an MP3 of Beth’s call with Marc Tyley:

As you can see from miFavourite photographs below, Beth’s set was dynamic from beginning to end and she still holds the “one of rock’s most accomplished female artists” title, for me… hell yeah, anyone who has played the lead role of “Janis”, in the off-Broadway stage show, “Love, Janis” is more than worthy of that accolade.

The Magpie Salute – all 10 of them – featuring three original members of The Black Crowes, brought Day 1 to an end on the tent stage as did Dutch veteran rockers, Doe Maar on the main stage.  I didn’t actually see either set but I’m reliably informed that both of them were really great.

“Time for bed.” said Zebedee as Day 1 drew to a close and a few short hours later, as the warm sun came up, it was good morning, Day 2.

BOSPOP 2017 showcased its own smartphone app this year and I have to say, it’s really well designed… everything you ever wanted to know about the programme and bands is there as well as a function to “star” your favourites that will send a reminder 15 minutes ahead of the set to your mobile device so you don’t miss anything.  Very cool.  BOSPOP 2017 also showcased the “Cocktail Bus” which attracted a phenomenal amount of custom while simultaneously providing a great view of the festival field.  The VIP Skydeck was another new addition this year that offered an all-inclusive package for anyone who wanted to have that particular type of festival experience and whilst the Crossroads chill-out area has been part of the festival layout for a couple of years now, the hammocks were definitely a new addition.  So yes, basically, there is something for everyone.

Musically, Day 2 was a little bit quieter for me and while The Sore Losers (Belgium), Mr Sipp (USA), Therapy? (UK) were rocking their respective socks off, I was indulging in some much-needed, cappuccino and Dutch home baking therapy of my own but after that, I was ready to catch some of The Lachy Doley Group‘s tent stage set – FYI, there was no lead guitar per se… just a mega-power Australian trio comprising bass, drums  an organ – or maybe even two – one of which I believe was the 70-stringed Hohner D6 Whammy Clavinet referred to on the band’s website… in simple terms, this is a 70 stringed keyboard that has an integrated Whammy Bar of considerable size.  I’m not exactly sure… but it was certainly an unusual instrument not to mention the sound which has been attracting the attention of some of the biggest names in blues today including Steve Vai and Joe Bonamassa.

Wolfmother (Australia) got the loudest-band-of-the-festival award from me… but here’s the thing… some people I spoke to absolutely loved this set and that’s how it should be, something for everyone.  My Baby (The Netherlands) presented their own unique blend of music that featured some amazing guitar work and from what I can gather, this style has earned the band a reputation for being a must-see festival act currently and yep, they certainly rocked the rock stage.

While I was making my way to the FOS photography area for the Anastacia set, I met Willem.  Willem caught my attention mainly because of his age – I estimated around 10 years old and there he was, standing at the front waiting patiently for his favourite band, Madness.  Btw, it was 16:45 and the Madness set wasn’t due to start until 23:00… so here was me thinking it was only Springsteen fans that had this kind of stamina and clearly I was wrong!

Anastacia‘s set filled the dance/rock/pop afternoon slot and featured some of her biggest international hits.  Accompanied by a stellar band that featured a couple of hooded lady-drummers/dancers, this was a high-energy set from one of America’s finest rock pop/funk/dance/soul/R&B female artists and a clear favourite with the BOSPOP crowd.

Here are some of miFavourite photographs from Anastacia‘s set:

Airbourne was another Australian band making a BOSPOP 2017 performance and they were rocking the tent stage directly before the Dropkick Murphys (USA) hit the main stage running and I do mean, running. The Dropkick Murphys came to my attention via the Bruce Springsteen network as it would appear that the band’s Celtic punk/rock musical direction caught Bruce’s attention sufficiently for him to join them on stage. Springsteen also joined the band on a 3-song charity EP that was released to help the victims of the Boston Marathon attack back in 2013 and featured the Dropkick Murphys’ song, “Rose Tattoo“.  I’m guessing that the international popularity of the Dropkick Murphys has something to do with the success of the Woody Guthrie penned, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston“, a song that the band wrote the music for and which featured in the movie, The Departed.  Hopefully the pictures I have selected below from miFavourites give some indication of the energy this set had:

And just when I thought the energy levels had gone through the roof, Gogol Bordello (USA) blew that theory out of the water when they hit the tent stage with their unique blend of gypsy rock that featured a cross-mix of guitars, balilaika, percussion, vocals and copius lashings of adrenalin.

I wasn’t really sure what to make of “gypsy rock” but I have included the shot below from miFavourites because I think it has captured the speed at which this set ran!

Talking of speed, BOSPOP 2017 was but three sets from the end by this time and one of these remaining sets was allocated to the Dutch rock singer, Anouk who is a huge name in The Netherlands. Anouk was virtually playing in her own backyard and from what I saw of her set, she kicked more than a little ass with her choice of material to the absolute delight of her BOSPOP fans.

While Anouk was busy rocking the the main stage,  there was another crowd that was standing 10-people deep outside the second stage tent trying to secure a place to see Roger Hodgson and his band.

Roger Hodgson is a true BOSPOP favourite and as he blasted out his repertoire that included many of Supertramp’s hits, his audience literally became one voice as they provided him with back-up vocals like only a BOSPOP crowd can deliver.  Absolute goosebumps stuff!

Madness, meanwhile were revving up backstage @BOSPOP, getting ready to headline and bring the 2017 festival to a close – I do hope Willem, mentioned above earlier, managed to hang in there to see his favourite band!  From what I can remember of the Madness heyday, this was one tight outfit that featured a fabulous horn section, had stellar bass lines, mixed reggae with pop, told quirky stories through their songs with bits of French thrown in here and there for good measure, that always looked the part and were Burtoned-up right down to their brothel creepers… fast forward to now, add lots of different coloured lights, a bit of retro-esque stage equipment and it was like we were back in the good old days. It’s only when you click on the Madness website that you can see times have really changed and that the band are making use of all the modern day social media technology to promote themselves.  Nevertheless, hits like Baggy Trousers, Our House, One Step Beyond and Madness filled the Weert air with that distinctive sound that could only be, Madness. Mike Barton, the band’s keyboardist, spoke to Marc Tyley before the festival and said, “We’re potty about the Dutch!” Well, it certainly looked and sounded to me like the Dutch were potty about Madness too and you can catch the rest of Mike’s conversation with Marc below together with some of miFavourite shots from the band’s set:

So that was BOSPOP 2017… two and a half days of festival fun in the sun or, in other words… two and a half days of stepping off proverbial hamster wheels and escaping into another world where rocking out to your favourite sounds with really great people was the order of the day.

Thank you so much Peter Verkennis, Koen Klomp and everyone who was a part of Team BOSPOP 2017 for such a wonderful weekend of great music and weather – I guess that means my Hard Rock Cafe plastic poncho will have to wait for another year!

Thank you so much Marc Tyley at Manx Radio for continuing to support the BOSPOP cause and also for giving me your exclusive interviews to publish here.


BOSPOP 2017?

It.  Was.  Fab.

BOSPOP 2018 – 14th to 15th July – don’t miss it!

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