Fake Festivals launched in 2007, conceived by Jez Lee as a way to bring a festival experience right into the heart of the community, provide a platform for local bands and give local people a great day out on their doorstep at an affordable price. Saturday 28th May saw the festival take up residence in Winterton for the day with a stellar line-up of some of the biggest tribute bands around, including Kazabian, New2, and The Fillers.

Being a T In The Park regular, I arrived excited about the events that lay ahead, but skeptical that Fake Festivals would merely replicate the festival experience on a budget.

Cave Toads gave renditions of crowd-pleasers, including ‘Same Jeans’ by The View, and Amy Winehouse’s version of ‘Valerie’, whipping the crowd into semi-drunken dance mode. The Relics picked up where Cave Toads left off and cranked the energy up a further 1000 volts with their unique take on ‘Laid’ by James and ‘Dakota’ by The Stereophonics, rounding off with The Proclaimers’ ‘500 Miles (I’m Gonna Be)’ – ideal for me and the two Glasgow girlfriends I had dragged here.

Then things got serious – nothing shakes me to the core than the idea of a tribute band gone wrong. I took a deep breath.

Kazabian took to the stage and tore through some of the band’s biggest hits, among them ‘Shoot The Runner’, ‘LSF’, and ‘Fire’. Matthew Addison aka Tom Meighan quickly disintegrated my fears of a dodgy replica as he swaggered onstage and mimicked the mannerisms and semi-arrogance that made me fall in love with the original back in 2004. If nailing the look wasn’t enough, Kazabian sounded as much like the real thing that I was immediately transported to their mentors’ headline slot at last year’s T In The Park.

New2 are not only a tribute to Irish supergroup U2, they make a living replicating a band that I have followed most of my 25 years. Frank Farkas is Bono; in looks, styles, mannerism and even pretend Irish accent. Although the rest of the band aren’t twins to Adam, Larry, or The Edge, the band play U2 just as well as the real deal, so much so that the crowd was alive with goosebumps as they closed their set with ‘With Or Without You’.

Headline act, and the reason why I had stumbled on Jez Lee’s Fake Festival event initially, were The Fillers, a tribute band to one of the biggest bands of recent times. Trevor Hurley takes the stance of Brandon Flowers, a man I have listened to daily for the past seven years. He brought the charismatic, flamboyance of Flowers to Winterton with little effort. Their solid, confident set included some of the band’s biggest hits as well as stand-out tracks from their albums like ‘Glamorous Indie Rock ‘N’ Roll’, and ‘Bling (Confessions Of A King)’. By the time Hurley bowed out and flounced offstage in the way I thought only Flowers could, my apprehension from earlier in the day had melted away.

Fake Festivals captures the best bits of being at a festival for less money; you get reasonably priced food and drink, an array of the best tribute acts, a marquee to protect you from whatever the weather may bring, and CLEAN portaloos.

We can exclusively reveal that Jez and his team are bringing Fake Festivals up north next summer with events scheduled in both Glasgow and Edinburgh in 2012.

Check out my interview with the ‘fake frontmen’ here.

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