Review: Tribfest 2023
To say they are glowing is an understatement.
Now in its 16th year, the consensus is that it gets better each time.
Before the opening act on Thursday afternoon, a team had been on site at Sledmere House near Driffield, East Yorkshire for the best part of a month and their hard work paid off.
For the first time the two-tier ticket system was scrapped with everyone free to enjoy the music on the main stage as well as the VIP big top.
After a mixed forecast the weather was relatively kind with two of the four days bathed in glorious sunshine.
It’s impossible to namecheck all the bands and acts - of which there were hundreds - nor to experience more than a handful. Spread across seven stages there was something for all musical tastes
There was a mixture of newly discovered tribute acts and Tribfest regulars and the 5,000 or so visitors gave them all plenty of encouragement.
Thursday, usually a day of making camp and relaxing with the first drink of the weekend, got off to a cracking start with Heart of Glass, Denise Danielle’s fuel-filled tribute to Blondie. Denise has been one of the festival regulars from the beginning.
Not the Rolling Stones who closed the main stage on Thursday were Tribfest first-timers.
Their frontman Mike Jagger looks and sounds so much like the great man he is impersonating it is uncanny and long-time Stones fans in our midst were more than a little impressed. I look forward to seeing them again.
Friday’s main stage had an eclectic mix with tributes to Green Day, Spandau Ballet, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC and Dolly Parton.
Glory Days rocked the crowd with a run through of many of Springsteen’s hits, the musicians, as is the norm at Tribfest, accomplished and note perfect.
Sarah Jayne as the Dolly Parton Experience (who has been endorsed by Dolly Parton) stayed in character throughout her sparkling set.
Totally Tina closed Saturday night. Justine Riddoch made around 10 costume changes - although it might have been more as I lost count - and gave a polished performance worthy of the memory of Tina Turner who died earlier this year.
I felt a bit sorry for Toni Lee as Karen Carpenter who was bumped off the main stage on Sunday morning so the World Cup final could be broadcast but she still had a healthy enough crowd for her gentle set in the VIP tent.
Tribfest stalwarts Abba Revival and then Queen tribute The Bohemians rounded off the festival on the main stage on Sunday accompanied by a firework display and then it was almost over for another year.
Other bands worthy of a mention were The Bends, a Radiohead tribute band. The lead singer had a fantastic voice and the whole band looked like they were just mates having a fantastic time playing together - it was very wholesome.
And Frankly, The Smiths sounded amazing and the frontman had Morrissey’s voice and mannerisms down to a tee.
Diehard music fans still had a couple of hours of music to enjoy with Bangra Smash Up and DJ starkey in the VIP tent until 1am.
Music aside, everything about Tribfest is first class. The toilets are spotless and cleaned out numerous times a day, the queues for food and drink short and the choices plentiful and very good value.
Sustainability is at the forefront of the Tribfest ethos. Plastic cups are sturdy and reusable and will last a lifetime. There are free water points in the arena and adult weekend tickets include a refundable £5 eco bond for a full bin liner of mixed recycling. The number of electric hook ups was reduced this year as so many of those with campervans are able to go off-grid for four days and don’t really need it
As festivals go, it is, in the words of Tina Turner ‘simply the best, better than all the rest’
Discounted tickets for 2024 are available for a limited time only head over to www.tribfest.co.uk