‘It can be done!’ – Rick Astley and Kaiser Chiefs party in the park as live music returns to Knebworth
- Credit: Supplied by Pub in the Park
Live music in front of festival-goers returned to Knebworth House over the weekend as Pub in the Park’s drive in Garden Party entertained thousands of revellers.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Pub in the Park’s socially distanced drive-in music and food event was the first concert series to be held at the Hertfordshire stately home since last summer’s 2019 Cool Britannia Festival, although Little Mix did record a Compare the Market show at Knebworth.
There were PITP Garden Party headline performances from Basement Jaxx, Kaiser Chiefs and Rick Astley over the weekend.
Food was served up by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge and his Michelin-starred friends Atul Kochhar and Paul Ainsworth.
Ticket holders were assigned their own dedicated enclosures to adhere to social distancing guidelines, while food was delivered to people’s cars at the stately home of rock.
The event saw 6,000 visitors partying in a socially distanced and safe format.
Tom Kerridge said “It was fantastic to bring the party to Knebworth this weekend and continue doing what we love – giving people great food to enjoy whilst watching their favourite artists. You just can’t beat it!
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“Kaiser Chiefs are one of my favourites and they played another outstanding set this weekend.”
There was a dance flavour to the opening Friday night’s live entertainment.
DJ Judge Jules got the crowd going with a set before Connected hitmakers Stereo MC’s took to the stage.
Ahead of playing Knebworth, Stereo MC’s referenced the music venue’s illustrious rock heritage on Twitter by name-checking a Led Zeppelin song.
The band tweeted: “Arrived at Knebworth, can practically feel the opening bars of “the immigrant song” rising up out the turf. Looking forward to our show :)”
Basement Jaxx, who closed last summer’s 1990s inspired Cool Britannia bash, rounded off the Friday night proceedings at the Garden Party with another DJ set.
The electronic dance music duo mixed their own hits such as Where’s Your Head At, Red Alert and Do Your Thing with top tunes including Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) and Talking Heads’ Once In A Lifetime.
Saturday’s two sessions featured crowd-pleasing performances from chart-toppers Soul II Soul and Kaiser Chiefs.
Foley & The Fire, however, kicked off the day’s music.
The band later posted on their Facebook page: “Strangest show we’ve ever done but what a fantastic vibe Kaisers on stage!”
Soul II Soul main man Jazzie B was behind the decks for the collective’s set which featured Keep On Movin’, Ghetto Heaven and number one hit Back to Life (However Do You Want Me).
Like Basement Jaxx, Soul II Soul had also played Knebworth last summer at Cool Britannia.
Kaiser Chiefs played the first Pub in the Park event at Henley-on-Thames the previous weekend and The Angry Mob stars were back for Knebworth’s Saturday show.
Their Knebworth sets included Everyday I Love You Less and Less, the first track from chart-topping debut album Employment, number one single Ruby, Never Miss a Beat, and signature tunes I Predict A Riot and Oh My God.
The Yorkshire indie rock band fronted by Ricky Wilson posted on Instagram the following day: “What a wheelie great day out yesterday was! Thanks to everyone who came to our gigs @pubinthepark in Knebworth, as a motor of fact, you were all ace. #beepbeep #driveingardenparty #pubinthepark”
On Pub in the Park’s closing third day, Red Dwarf star Craig Charles played a funk and soul DJ set to warm up the crowd.
Toploader, another band returning to the venue having previously played Cool Britannia, had fans Dancing in the Moonlight in the glorious sunshine at Knebworth Park on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Scouting for Girls headlined Sunday’s first session and played their biggest hits, including She’s So Lovely.
It was left to chart-topping singers Gabrielle and Rick Astley to play the closing Sunday evening session at the second PITP drive in Garden Party weekend.
The Sunday line-up also included talented teenager Katie Kittermaster.
The One of a Kind singer posted on Instagram: “Today’s gig @scoutingforgirls @toploaderofficial @gabrielleuk @officialrickastley !!! soo good to be out gigging again especially when you’re on the lineup with these peeps too. Also to have played at Knebworth House - how was ur weekend xxxxxx”
Gabrielle later entertained party-goers with a set featuring Out of Reach and number one hit Dreams.
Rick Astley’s headline set opened with American number one single Together Forever.
The 80s chart star also played She Wants to Dance with Me, Angels on My Side and a cover of Calvin Harris & Rag’n’Bone Man hit Giant.
Predictably, he finished with number one smash Never Gonna Give You Up.
The day after the gig, Rick posted on his social media channels: “We had a fantastic time playing the @Pubinthepark_ Drive in Garden Party at Knebworth last night.
“So good to be there with you performing again and see everyone having a great time while still being socially distant. It can be done!”
Managers at the Knebworth estate were delighted to successfully welcome back live music.
Knebworth House posted on its Instagram page: “Thank you to everyone that attended Pub in the Park’s Drive-In Garden Party over the weekend. It was a fantastic event, and we are so pleased to have live music back at Knebworth Park! #CovidSafeEvent”