Country rockers take the trophy at Horsham’s Battle of the Bands 2016

Horsham rock ’n’ roll fans were blessed with two days of great weather for the town’s 2016 Battle of the Bands final.

The event once again took the form of a weekend festival (Saturday to Sunday, August 13-14) with dozens of musicians competing live in Horsham Park’s Human Nature Garden.

The Farmboys. Pictures by Lawrence Smith

The Farmboys. Pictures by Lawrence Smith

A variety of musical tastes were catered for with the diverse groups offering pop, punk, blues, heavy metal, classic rock and acoustic folk.

But it was the high-energy, country-rock craziness of The Farmboys that won the judges’ hearts and saw them walking away with the Originals trophy.

Speaking to the County Times on Sunday Becky Thompson, a BotB organiser and co-owner of Sussex Soundhouse, said: “It’s been awesome. Yesterday everyone was having so much fun and people were constantly coming in when we looked at the door.

“It put all the bands on a real high and everyone that organised the event on a real high too.”

Last year's Originals winners Team New Band perform their headline set on Saturday

Last year's Originals winners Team New Band perform their headline set on Saturday

Saturday featured two competitions – Covers and Originals – as well as extended sets from last year’s winners, Catfish (Covers) and Team New Band (Originals).

Becky said: “Who can be unhappy when Team New Band are playing? It’s impossible.”

BotB organiser Jamie ‘Stan’ Stanley added: “Team New Band are great. They really killed it at the end. Everyone was dancing!”

This year’s Covers winners were: Flying Low (first place), Ichiro (second place and People’s Choice) and Unprovoked (third place).

Michael Gates from The Farmboys accepts the Originals trophy

Michael Gates from The Farmboys accepts the Originals trophy

The 2016 Originals winners were: The Farmboys (first place), One Click Malice (second place) and Unprovoked (third place and People’s Choice).

Sunday offered a more mellow Acoustic competition with a performance by last year’s winner Jodie Munday to bring the day to a close.

This year’s Acoustic winners were: Hollie Rogers (first place), Chuck S J Hay (second place), Trevor Clawson (third place) and Beacon (People’s Choice).

When asked about his favourite moment of the festival Jamie said: “I have to say The Farmboys when they had a comedy horse on stage with them, which was quite amusing.”

Acoustic winner Hollie Rogers

Acoustic winner Hollie Rogers

The real highlight for Becky though was when a bunch of musicians from different groups danced onstage with Team New Band during their headline gig. It showed the festival’s strong sense of community, she said.

The organisers thanked the sponsors and supporters of the event, which included Horsham District Council, the Horsham District Live Music Alliance, QM Studios, High Gain Event Services and, of course, everyone who came along.

Becky said: “It’s nice to see everyone out doing things in Horsham.”

“And this is a slightly different event to all the other music events in the park because you don’t know what you’re actually going to see,” she added.

“You might just see the next big band up on stage.”

To find out about the winning bands click on these links – The Farmboys, Flying Low, Hollie Rogers.

Some horsing around during The Farmboys' set

Some horsing around during The Farmboys' set

Our full review of the festival weekend will be online soon.

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Organisers from left: Becky Thompson (Sussex Soundhouse), Jamie Stanley, and Sam Albrow (High Gain)

Organisers from left: Becky Thompson (Sussex Soundhouse), Jamie Stanley, and Sam Albrow (High Gain)