Lightly Toasted at Hillworth Park with Fantasy Radio

Images used with permission of Ruth Wordly of MoongypZy Music Photography


Turn me over, I’m lightly toasted on this side by the mid-afternoon sun in Hillworth Park. A young Evie Smith steps up to the navy blue marquee and though nervous, for despite being active on our local theatre scene with MACs, I’m sure this is her first solo singing performances on air, she rings out an acoustic version of the Alan Walker electronica tune “Faded” with conviction and passion. In good hands though, as proficient Devizes singer/songwriter Vince Bell comfortably accompanies her on guitar.


There’s a scattering of attendees across the vast lawn, picnicking, sunbathing, watching, or all three. There’s children and a few dogs playing too; a peaceful ambience and a typical Sunday scene in Hillworth Park, Devizes, where it’s nice on an average day, let alone when our own Fantasy Radio has set up to record a live mini-concert. The first of July marks the first in a series of their live music events at the park, subsequently followed by one each Sunday for the duration of the month.

Since 2pm Fantasy have switched over live to the event, and between playing their emblematic songs and usual gentle banter, they’ve introduced the first act, Tamsin Quin, who needs no introduction really. For this is archetypal Devizes, Tamsin illustrating my point by arriving on her bicycle. Our cosy town’s acoustic scene bursts through its seams with talent. You know Tamsin is the shining example; keen, entertaining, heck I’ve told you this enough times on Devizine already; summed it up just the other day by creating a hashtag: #tamsinquinfanclub!

So allow me to mention her comrade here today, the accomplished acoustic performer Vince Bell. Taking it in turns, both Tamsin and Vince played two songs each until the five o’clock target. Modest about his ability, Vince is a true hero of our acoustic scene and through word-of-mouth recommendations, one I’ve been meaning to catch the opportunity to see live. He did not disappoint, rather expert guitar-strumming fingers fused with emotionally delivered covers and inspiring originals, proved that Vince is the genuine article.

He kicked off with “We Come in Again,” a track taken from his forthcoming album, owned a version of Damien Rice’s “Cannonball,” and paid homage to his love with the beautifully executed “You Still Look Amazing.” But the most poignant was his chef-d’oeuvre, “Ship of Fools,” articulating a sublimely written song in an expressive, archaic fashion and lounging under sunhat afterwards to allow Tamsin to take over with one of her early outsets “Silver Smile.”

I was surprised upon catching up with Phil Dawson, Fantasy’s big chief, to hear they’ve been hosting the Month of Sundays at Hillworth for six years, and felt slightly ashamed not to have heard about it. Good reason to have started Devizine, it’s a learning curve for me too! So, with full intentions of making up for lost time, I intend to shake any Sunday blues away and drag myself down to Hillworth Park for each Sunday I can.

I can’t give you the line-up for each week as I really haven’t been told. I’m unsure if it’s all a secret, although I’m told it’s not, I’m still none the wiser! Perhaps though, the details for later weekends have yet to be ironed, but this coming Sunday, the 8th July, is the turn of our wonderfully original cover band People Like Us, who just have that knack of self-styling classic and contemporary songs which charm, and Trowbridge legend Mr Phil Cooper, the porkpie hat perfectionist we’ve mentioned plentifully here on Devizine.

This one will be interesting to see if Phil decides to duplicate the formula of a couple of songs each, as while Tamsin’s and Vince’s music amalgamates, Phil and PLUS may not so. But whatsoever the outcome, these mini-concerts are a blessing to this sun kissed month in Devizes, a great way to spend your Sunday afternoon. Sun hats off to the Fantasy Radio team, for showcasing local talent, and generally being around, as a small town like the Vizes should be proud to have this esteemed media outlet.

It’s not like you’ll even miss it if you cannot make it down the park, just tune in to 97FM or listen online, but to witness first-hand Vince’s finale of the David Gray classic “Babylon,” was bountiful good reason alone; here’s to the Month of Sundays.



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