Duffield music festival lines up star names for 2017

The organiser of an Amber Valley music festival is hoping big name acts will bring in even bigger crowds this summer, as he looks to build on the event's early success.

Saturday, 25th February 2017, 10:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:43 am
New wave legends The Blockheads will reel off hits such as Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.

Simon Clark, 56, is gearing up for the third year of The Eyes Have It, taking place in Duffield on the weekend of July 7-9.

Already a festival which prides itself on rustic charms, a relaxed atmosphere and a beautiful setting on the banks of the Derwent, 2017 will add some classic Top 40 acts to the mix.

Simon said: “I’m really thrilled to say that we’ve got The Blockheads and Toyah headlining the first two nights.

Festival organiser Simon Clark has big plans for 2017.

“I want to take the festival to another level, and these household names are a good sign for that. It’s a dream come true.”

Both groups have well-honed festival chops, having been performing around the world since they first came to prominence in the late 1970s.

Simon said: “I went to see The Blockheads with their original singer Ian Dury back in 1979, and they blew me away. New Boots and Panties!! was one of the seminal albums of that era, it’s just absolutely brilliant.”

Completing the headline slots will be the Climax Blues Band, whose storied career stretches even further back and encompasses charting records on both sides of the Atlantic.

In her 30-year career, Toyah Willcox has had eight Top 40 singles and released more than 20 albums.

Simon found says the festival was an easy sell when trying to book the acts: “I sent them over a few photos of the Eye Meadow site and our carved oak stage, and got a really good reaction. Everyone was happy to be coming.”

Mainly a rock, pop and blues weekend, Simon is also keen to stretch the boundaries in new directions.

He said: “We’re attracting a huge diversity musicians from all over the country as we grow. One of the acts I’m most excited about is Esther Swift, a Scottish harp player. She has a fantastic voice and performs contemporary folk.

“She’ll be playing a set and also hosting an afternoon workshop for anyone who’s ever wanted to try playing the harp.”

Lincolnshire's Itchy Fingers will be playing their award-winning brand of country blues.

Returning country-blues and ragtime favourites Itchy Fingers will add to the roots feel, among a bill of more than 20 support acts.

Simon said: “We’ve got the cream of the local band circuit and others from further afield, alternating between our outdoor and beer marquee stages.

“The headliners might appeal first to people of a certain age, but we’ve got something for everyone, bands of all ages, for a real family weekend.”

The decision to try and grow the festival might carry risks, but they are ones Simon is willing to take now that he has made it his full-time job.

The festival's idyllic setting in Eyes Meadow features a beautiful wooden stage.

He said: “This is a business built out of passion for live music. There’s a lot to take on, but I just love doing it.

“There’s an ultimate sense of satisfaction that comes from seeing other people enjoy wonderful music, and Eyes Meadow is the perfect place to do it.”

As well as music, festival goers can expect good food and drink to flow through the day and a supply of non-musical entertainment too.

Simon said: “Last year was bigger than the first, and I’m already seeing the same people coming back for tickets.

“As word gets around, hopefully people will follow the Blockheads’ song and see that we have plenty of Reasons to Be Cheerful.”

Early bird tickets are on sale now, with a full weekend pass £35 or individual days for £15-£20. Under-18s can get in for half price, and accompanied under-10s go free. From April 1, the price of all paid tickets will rise by £5-£10.

The Climax Blues Band will close the festival on Sunday, July 9.

Camping is available on site for £10 per tent, with the rare festival luxury of a shower block too.

Find more details and book at www.tehi.co.uk.

Early bird ticket pricing runs through to March 31.
Festival organiser Simon Clark has big plans for 2017.
In her 30-year career, Toyah Willcox has had eight Top 40 singles and released more than 20 albums.
Lincolnshire's Itchy Fingers will be playing their award-winning brand of country blues.
The festival's idyllic setting in Eyes Meadow features a beautiful wooden stage.
The Climax Blues Band will close the festival on Sunday, July 9.
Early bird ticket pricing runs through to March 31.