Forces Live Events (CSE) returned to RAF Marham for the fourth consecutive year to put on a banger of a night for their annual Friends and Families Day.
As the UK experienced travel chaos on the hottest recorded day ever, with people stuck at London's Kings Cross Station for hours, unable to reach their destinations. However, all those involved with the gig dug out blind to get to the venue so that the show could go ahead.
This included headliner Angie Brown (best known as the featured vocalist on Bizarre Inc’s dance floor classics ‘I’m Gonna Get You’, and ‘Took My Love’) alongside her percussionist and the DJ for the event.
The acts arrived at the station to find their train to Watlington in Norfolk was one of many cancelled services due to fear of the tracks buckling in the extreme heat.
Ever the professionals and not wanting to let the military down, the trio grappled their way through the crowds and managed to get on a train to Cambridge (where the highest temperature of 38.7C was measured), before making an onward connection and finally arriving at RAF Marham after a challenging journey with no air-conditioning.
CSE’s Event Manager on the day Sakina Bugge said:
"When I got the call to say some of the cast were stuck at Kings Cross, I set into action liaising with the artists and their agents to form a plan and do our best to still get them to to the gig. Against the odds everyone made it .
"despite panicking a little inside, on the outside I remained calm, re-jigged soundchecks and our point of contact was none the wiser which meant he didn’t have to worry."
Always on trend, the evening concert had a distinctively 90s flavour, with the entertainment booked by CSE embracing all the genres of this time.
Partway into the planning, serving band ACTUNG! Spitfire asked to join the bill. While not 90s, CSE couldn’t say no – ACTUNG! Spitfire are well established on the military circuit with a 14 year history and had previously performed with CSE at RAF Marham, RAF Odiham and RAF Akrotiri.
Drummer Wing Commander Stew Geary (OC Base Support Wing) leaves both RAF Marham and the military this summer, which made the event his perfect swansong.
The band itself will now take a short break as they are also losing Wing Commander Stu Gregory (guitar and bass) to an overseas posting. He is currently based at RAF Brize Norton with fellow band member Squadron Leader Graham Langfield (also guitar and bass). Completing the line-up was Squadron Leader Dom Wittering from RAF Wittering.
Following their performance Wing Commander Stu Gregory said:
"CSE are great and to be honest the amount of behind the scenes activity that CSE take off the Station so that they can run a big event like a families flying day and then also do an event like this in the evening is absolutely fantastic, so long live CSE.
"We’ve done CSE at Marham, we’ve also done CSE at RAF Odiham Families Day and then we went out to Cyprus for the Akrotiri Rugby 7s, so we’ve done quite a few CSE shows before.
"We always really enjoy it, we really enjoy the welcome, it’s great to get here on time nice and early, see everything really well organised, also see you’re being really cared for as a band, making sure you’re not rushing around and that someone’s there with a bottle of water telling you when your next timing is."
Rock The 90s played two very different sets, firstly rocking out with Britpop and Indie - so typical of the time, plus a little pop too. Their second set was a mix of classic floor fillers with some up-beat house, dance and rave.
Angie Brown wowed the audience, who chanted for more at the end. She was pure energy and her vocals were insane, with some unique touches including a little beatbox/human turntable.
DJ Liv held the show together spinning tunes between live acts and engaging with the crowd.
This year, CSE added children's entertainment to the evening event, with special appearances by 'Woody' and 'Buzz Lightyear' - who both managed to cope in their costumes during the hot weather (with a few backstage breaks and lots of water).
Not only were these two iconic Disney/Pixar legends born in the 90s, they were particularly popular due to the recent release of Toy Story 4, both had queues of children excited to meet and dance with them.
Reflecting on the event, Squadron Leader Karl Parfitt said:
"We’re very grateful to CSE for helping us put on such a great event, but our gratitude really goes to the service personnel, the families, the civil servants, the contractors, all of which play their part in making RAF Marham the station that it is."
CSE funded the appearances by DJ Liv, Angie Brown, 'Woody' and 'Buzz Lightyear' from the CSE Beneficiary Fund.
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