Full-Tone Festival Announce 2023 Line-up

The Full-Tone Orchestra have released details of the 2023 line-up for their annual extravaganza, The Full-Tone Festival on Devizes Green, August bank holiday. It’s all on a rather smashing looking poster, unalike darker past posters with neon text, this time with a fresh use of pastel colours on white background, all very Degas I must say. While rain drizzles down our windows, let’s have a nose at what it says on there, shall we, and think of summer?!

A couple of years ago I published one of many list-type articles on the topic of forthcoming local festivals. Ah, phooey, it sparked a debate on social media because I didn’t include Devizes-own Full-Tone Festival, though the event did receive a sovereign preview of its own. My argument at the time was my definition of a festival was of multiple activities happenings across multiple sectors, therefore classing Full-Tone Festival, despite being named Full-Tone Festival, more in line with the word concert.

A technicality I’ve since altered my perspective of, and aside pigeonholing, for recent similar articles I’ve adopted the more causal, universal, and a smidgen double-entendre tagline, “Big Ones,” to encompass largescale events without categories, precisely so we can include things like Pewsey Carnival, and of course, The Full-Tone Festival. And in this, here’s the thing, who wants their event to be typecast and categorised? The Full-Tone Festival is what it is, and that “is” is something spectacular, annually happening now on our very turf, but mostly for point of this argument, something totally unique.

And of my technicality, Full-Tone acts as both sides of the debate, yes it shows off the incredible talent and togetherness of the Full-Tone Orchestra, an ensemble which will voyage to impressive venues like Wells Cathedral and Bath Abbey this year, but also showcases diverse local and national acts. Their social media posts boast “it’s going to be SUCH an amazing weekend of music! 50 musicians and singers, over 100 rotating over the weekend, plus some pretty amazing guests!” If you got it, flaunt it, darling! But honestly, it’s a highly impressive weekend, and they’ve every right to show it off!

Full-Tone Festival opens on the Saturday, for example, showcasing a set of classical proms, and features Full-Tone chief organiser Jemma Brown with her new vocal quartet, The Four Sopranos, consisting of Lucia Pupilli, Tabitha Cox, and Teresa Isaacson too.

Local rock n roll legends and regulars at Full-Tone, Pete Lamb and The Heartbeats are the first guests, followed by the orchestra taking off again for the ever-popular “big TV and movie themes” section, of which I always look forward to Jurassic Park the most, don’t know why, just do. Any comments on social media suggesting it’s because I’m a dinosaur will be deleted!

If, so far critics could cough up the “samey” tosh, I’d argue possibly, but certain elements of this event have become welcomed stalwarts, and why change it just to please them? We love it just the way it is! Besides, here’s a totally new one on me, The House Iguanas promises “massive bonkers brilliant sax, DJ and bongos,” and with that, could you ask for anything more diverse?

Saturday night closes with the reappearance of the orchestra’s The Ultimate Dance Anthems, which being they only scootered around last year with nineties pop hits, for me, personally, and literally from the sheer eruption of enthusiasm of the crowd of previous years, I’m sure will be a very welcomed return, with glowsticks.

If Saturdays showcases the orchestra foremost, I must say it’s more diverse this year, and, Sunday tends to focus on other acts more, anyways. Though the orchestra opens the day with the “Big Sound” section of this remarkable concert manifold, North Wiltshire big band 41 Degrees take over straight after. They’re the wedding function band of the wedding you’d never forget, with a spanning repertoire from Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller, through Rat Pack and Weather Report, to the Killers and Oasis. There’s nothing like big band pop covers, often showing shame to the originals, and this sounds cool as.

A highlight of last year’s Devizes Street Festival, those funky mavericks of Mardi Gras and New Orleans jazz, The Brass Junkies revisit our soil, and remember; brass is class.

Time for the Full-Tone Orchestra to finish off their pizzas and get back onto that notable stage for a section of West End Musical hits. It must be exhausting, blowing into that brass, precisely plucking those strings and whatever else they need to do to create these massive sounds, not forgoing conductor Anthony Brown must be at risk of repetitive strain injury over the weekend.

Wowzers, and I’ve not got to the best bit, least what I think is the best bit, because this info was leaked to me by the band, but sworn to secrecy I couldn’t even blow my own trumpet and act all smarmy about, until now, so I will, thank you; Talk in Code play the finale guest set. A mighty local indie-pop band which, if you don’t know you must be new to Devizine, and I urge you pay more attention in future! Yes, forgive my plug, but they are coming to my birthday party at the Three Crowns on March 4th, and YOU are all welcome, but again, and in summary to the Full-Tone Festival as a whole, playing up on that breath-taking stage, with matchless acoustics is something else, and well worth the ticket stub. There’s nothing else quite like it in Devizes.

If Talk in Code have that stylised knack of capturing something decidedly eighties within their original material, Sunday aptly closes with the orchestra one final time, giving it whooping eighties bangers, which by then if you’re not completely satisfied, I suggest you urgently seek professional medical attention!

Early bird tickets are HERE, or at Devizes Books. Kids under 14 go free with a paying adult, £45 for the weekend (£35 before the 31st January), £35 for the day. And there it is, apologises for waffling, but it is all terribly exciting!


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