Star Shaped Festival…9 Reasons Why


Star Shaped Festival 2019 is a lot closer than you think.

You may not have bought your tickets yet.

Don’t worry.

I understand.

Auntie Mabel has her birthday coming up.

Father’s Day is just around the corner.

You’re saving up for that lamp from IKEA.

MOT looming.

I hear you.


Life is cruel and miserable and…short.

To battle the cruelty and the misery you have to find joy somewhere along the road.

Few things can guarantee you that.

Star Shaped Festival can.

I was there in 2017 in Glasgow…stood on me own, bit awkward and a bit nervous too.

How did I feel at the end of the day?

Better than I had at the start.

Last year in London I wasn’t on my own…I arrived on my own but by the end of the day I had met more genuinely lovely people than I could count.  Some of those people have since become my friends.


Still need persuading?

Alright…here are another eight reasons to get your tickets.


Brian Cannon is responsible for…the first piece of Oasis merchandise, iconic record sleeves from the Britpop era, appearing on Oasis sleeves, working with The Verve, Suede, Ash, Cast and, in a very real sense, shaping the look of Britpop.

At this years festival he will be bringing his Microdot exhibition which will let you see some of the most iconic images you know and many that you don’t know as well as giving you the chance to take home some of those images to hang in your sitting room.


“Do It Yourself” by The Seahorses is one of the best albums of the Britpop era.

Yes it is.

Here is what I had to say about it…

“After the mucky and undignified end of the Roses some people, mainly me, were worried about where John Squires’ next project might take us…if he couldn’t curb his enthusiasm for the most over the top and overblown aspects of Led Zeppelin then there was a chance that this new endeavour may not be anything other than more of the same.

I didn’t want more of the same.

Two things stop “Do It Yourself” from being just that; firstly Squire seemed to have ditched the “excesses” and was a leaner, fitter and more focused musician and secondly…Chris Helme.

Chris Helme.

A voice.

More than a voice.

Arguably the voice.

A singer who could elevate the most mundane musical effort to something glorious.

On record he is good but live…he’ll bring a tear to your eye.

“Do It Yourself” then is an album filled to the brim with instantly recognisable Squire guitar magic for sure but it is also a magnificent introduction to a singer and songwriter who deserves much more success than he has enjoyed thus far in his career.”

The thing is though, seeing Chris Helme live isn’t just about hearing some of those songs you know, it’s about hearing him sing anything and being left breathless on the floor because of the beauty, heart and soul of his voice.


Mark Morriss has written more great songs than Spotify could reasonably be expected to home.

As a live performer he is not to be missed; he is funny, engaging, warm and, occasionally, a bit of a cheeky monkey.

It’s difficult for me to write much more about Mark just now but I’ll point you in the direction of the last live review I posted on him to give you a flavour of what to expect…



Have you seen Salad live?

You have?

Great then you can confirm that their eccentric, exhilarating, electrifying take on pop is not to be missed.  In Marijne they have a singer and focal point who commands and demands your attention, in Paul they have a songwriter and guitarist of exceptional ability and quality.  Together it is a heady, intoxicating mess of a mix.

The fact that they have a bundle of new material should be viewed as a treat, and not a threat as it so often is when bands play live at events like this, because the key word in the Salad world is quality…they don’t do things with anything less than absolute conviction.



One of the highlights of Star Shaped in 2018 was the return to the stage of Andrew Montgomery who played a heady mix of Geneva classics and one or two of his songs post-Britpop.  The voice of an angel and a personality to match.

Earlier this year Montgomery and the rest of Geneva returned to the stage for two very intimate live performances.  When I caught them at the Wee Red Bar at the Edinburgh College of Art in February they had had one rehearsal.  When they took to the “stage” (a space at the front of the tiny venue which didn’t even elevate them) their was a tension in the crowd…could this be as good as we remember?

The answer was no…it was even better.

That might sound a bit Simon Cowell but it’s the truth.

It was a near religious experience.

More rehearsals have taken place since…there may even have been some new material written…and the prospect of seeing them in a proper venue and on a real stage is thrilling.  As with the return of Sleeper we have much to thank the organisers of Star Shaped for here…and, hopefully, as with Sleeper this will act as the starting point to new glories.



Space will, possibly literally, knock you off of your feet.

When they played Star Shaped in 2017 I hadn’t had any real expectations or, if I’m being honest, interest.

I knew “Neighbourhood” and “The Ballad of Tom Jones” but I hadn’t ever loved them or paid them any attention since the nineties.

After they finished that set I dropped to my knees and begged a God I no longer believe in to forgive me for my sins.  He appeared to me in response to my sincere request for forgiveness and told me that I could be washed clean by spreading the good word wherever possible and by listening to Space more often.

I vowed to follow these commandments.

So here I am.

Live Space are something very special indeed.

A fierce blend of pop hooks, psychedelic wonderment and a volume that can only be described as furious.

You.  Will.  Love.  It.


One of the definitive Britpop albums being played in its entirety by one of the most joyous, upbeat, hopeful and melodic bands of the era.

How perfect does that sound?

“Staying out for the Summer” will have you grinning from ear to ear, “So Let me Go Far” will have you swaying and swooning and “Whole Lot Easier” will grab all your worries and concerns, pop them in a rubbish bag and drop kick them into the bin, leaving you free to focus on the things that really matter…singing, dancing, laughing, loving and living.


Cast are going to play a set full of hits.

That means they could be on stage for a long time.

As a live band there are few who can hold a candle to John and the boys…and you would be hard pushed to find another band with more hit records, more top tunes and more ability to lift your spirits.

You could probably put together your own set list for the night…I could too…and Mike in marketing…and your mum…everybody knows some Cast songs.  What’s interesting is that none of the lists would be the same.  That’s because Cast have written more big hitting pop wonders than almost anyone else you could name.

It’s going to be an epic end to the day.

I promise.



I’ve thought of a tenth reason to get a ticket…

If you are on your own you can come and say hello to me.



Just focus on the first nine.

You can book your tickets for Star Shaped NOW…HERE.