Jack Up The 80’s Review

Jack Up The 80’s returned last weekend, this time in a brand-new venue and a stellar line-up to match. Sarah Lawn went along to check out the action from volume 5 of Jack Up The 80’s… 

After the last 4 superb years of Jack Up the 80’s in its previous location, volume 5 had a lot to live up to in its new location at Smallbrook Stadium. This 2 day event was not only at a new site, but it had the new addition of the Friday Night Disco Party, the new Platform 1 stage and an even bigger line up.

As with tradition, the good old British weather always seems to shine for this family-friendly event, so this year thankfully was no exception. With a lot of festival goers in 8o’s fancy dress, the crowd were ready and excited to enjoy another bumper 80’s weekend.

Saturday’s build up for the main 80’s acts started off with Island favourites Ska’d For Life
followed by The Derek Sandy Band and Wave 105’s very own Steve Power doing a DJ set
to get the crowd in an 80’s party mood for a great day ahead.

The Real Thing kicked it off in the late afternoon with some of their great catalogue of disco favourites, which included You to Me Are Everything, Can’t Get by Without You and Can You Feel the Force, and covers of Kool and The Gang’s Ladies Night and Celebration, to the delight of the crowd, who were on their feet throughout. The guys even
dedicated one of their songs to the victims of the Grenfell Tower.

Right Said Fred, which entails of brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass, then got the crowd singing along to their songs of Deeply Dippy, Don’t Talk just Kiss and finishing off with I’m Too Sexy.

This was then followed by the still ever so popular 80’s heartthrob Jason Donovan returning again for his second time playing on the Island, where he first played at Ryde Ice Rink at the height of his stardom. You just can’t help but love the songs that Stock Aitken Waterman wrote and produced for Jason, many which he performed throughout his set. They included his first 1988 single Nothing Can Divide Us, R.S.V.P, an acoustic version of Sealed with a Kiss, and from his role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Any Dream will Do. He did a couple of great covers from Tears for Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World and The Communards’ Don’t Leave Me This Way.
Jason sang what we all thought was his final song Especially For You in his hour-long set,
before leaving the stage, then there was a loud chant of ‘Jason, Jason’ coming from the
crowd and cheering before he reappeared to sing Too Many Broken Hearts. If you were a
fan of Jason or not, everyone seemed to really enjoy him and didn’t want him to finish.

Due to their popularity, From The Jam hit the stage once again this year, back for their 3rd appearance, but this time headlining, with the great Jam bass guitarist Bruce Foxton. There was immense appreciation from the crowd when great Jam favourites were played, which included That’s Entertainment, Eton Rifles, Going Underground and Town Called Malice to name but a few. It looked like the crowd certainly went home well entertained after a truly great day, and looking forward to Sunday.

Like Saturday, Sunday started off again with Ska’d For Life, everybody’s favourite, the
legendary DJ Pat Sharp doing a DJ set and the return of another Jack Up favourite, Bootleg Blondie.

To continue on with the party feeling, 90’s group S Club 7, now called S Club looked like
they were determined to bring their S Club Party to the IOW, with the group’s original
members Jo, Bradley and Tina gracing the stage with all their hits, including Never Had A Dream Come True, Reach and Don’t Stop Movin. They had everyone up on their feet really
enjoying themselves.

You can catch S Club again when they will be playing the Throwback Party on the 2nd
December at The Engine Rooms Southampton, check out Atmos Music on Facebook for more details.

Then came on the legendary R&B and Soul singer Alexander O’Neal, with a music career
spanning more than 30 years there were no shortage of hits, which included If You Were
Here Tonight and Criticize.

It was great to see the very talented Nick Kershaw at Jack Up this year. I’ve been lucky to
see Nick at other 80’s Festivals throughout the years, and he always puts on such a great
performance, with the crowd always loving him. Tonight was no exception, with hits such as Wouldn’t It Be Good, The Riddle and I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me. I’m sure he will go down as another one of Jack Up’s favourite artists.

To finish off this great weekend, Jack Up the 80’s just wouldn’t be the same without
Cheryl, Mike and Jay, Formerly of Bucks Fizz, which also includes Bobby McVay. They were back for a 3rd time due to being such a big favourite with the crowds each time. They always put on such a fantastic performance as they showed again tonight and definitely deserved their headliner slot. Their hits performed included The Land of Make Believe, My Camera Never Lies, If You Can’t Stand the Heat, New Beginning (Mamba Seyra), a mix of great 80’s medleys and to finish off 1981 Eurovision winner Making Your Mind Up, all performed with such abundant dance routines.

All in all Jack Up the 80’s once again proved to be another fantastic weekend of brilliant
music for all the family. It showed a lot of hard work had gone on behind the scenes to make this possible once again and at a new venue. Well done to all involved, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself once again and look forward to next year’s volume 6.

Words: Sarah Lawn

Photo: Bucks Fizz