Last year I had a great time at this festival despite the poor summer weather.

A little different this year, very warm, sunny and dusty!

As in the past the music was spread over 4 stages offering a wide and diverse range appealing to many. It runs for two days Friday night had featured Feeder and The Kaiser Chiefs and I’m told went down a storm with the fans.

I was here for the Saturday and although a running order was not made available beforehand, I’m not sure why as it had been heavily requested on social media. It ran well and culminated in the Manic Street Preachers as headliners.

As usual Pennfest features local bands as well as some of the bigger names, local band The Echo went down well, although one of the security staff had commented “where were the Bunnymen?” Glaswegian band Patersani followed, they played a good set but seemed unable to engage the afternoon crowd. Jesus Jones was playing over the Big Top Stage the other side of the field, he had the crowd worked up well and it was clear the band were enjoying it. The most engaging act of the day was The Sugar Hill Gang, not only on stage but from the photo pit barriers, they had the whole big top singing and dancing with them. Starsailor  seemed quite tame afterwards over the main stage afterwards, they were currently promoting recent album All This Life.

At 1855 Melanie C bounced excitedly onto the stage for her set, she had drawn a huge crowd in the big top, She told the crowd “ I have lots of new music and old music for you, would you like something spicy?” Hmm I wonder? Clearly, they did. She played Northen Star, the title track on her debut album that she dedicated “to her nine year old daughter and any others that were under 10” Being such a draw I was a little surprised she wasn’t on the main stage.

The penultimate band on the main stage were Leftfield playing an hour set that certainly gave the bass bins a good work out. They made a great impact to an enthusiastic and excited crowd that were getting ready for the Saturday headliners.

The Manic Street Preachers came out to rapturous applause, Despite, still being on the Restistance is Futile tour, they have tailored their festival set to include many of their well-known hits, opening with Motorcycle Emptiness. James Dean Bradfield was running around the stage, while Nicky Wire did his usual leaps as the set progressed with International Blue, their set tonight also included a cover of the Cure’s classics In-between Days. I’ve always enjoyed Kevin Carter and was not disappointed as this was in the set along with many of their other hits, including the classic Motown Junk. They were a great act to close this year’s Pennfest.

Will I be back for a third year, who knows? But this a great festival that runs like a well oiled machine from the team at UK Live.