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Texas and Sam Ryder star as Forest Live concerts return at Cannock Chase

The sounds of live music once again filled the air at Cannock Chase as the popular Forest Live concerts returned.

Texas on stage. Photo: Dave Cox
Texas on stage. Photo: Dave Cox

The natural bowl in the centre of Cannock Chase Forest was the setting for the first of a four-day series of concerts as part of Forestry England’s ‘Forest Live’ concert series.

Texas put on a show of their best hits

It was the first time the popular concert series had been able to take place since 2019 and after two missed years due to Covid-19 restrictions, people came in their droves to enjoy live music and the unique setting.

The first night on Thursday, June 9 saw a lively set from Eurovision superstar Sam Ryder before Scottish alternative rockers Texas played a set of their greatest hits to a large and appreciative audience.

Sam Ryder blasts out Spaceman as he support Texas

Texas had last played at Forest Live in 2011 and there were plenty of people attending who had specifically booked their tickets to see the Scottish band in action.

People set up camping chairs and brought packed lunches and drinks to make an evening of it, lining up either side of the control tower in the middle of the bowl.

Doug and Lorraine Haigh from Lichfield were among those who had bought their tickets early to come and see Texas, with Doug saying it was a great setting to see the band in.

Doug and Lorraine Haigh were excited to see Texas

He said: "We're here as we really wanted to see Texas because they are a great band and the singer Sharleen is very talented, plus it's nice to see Sam Ryder as he looks so happy and cheerful.

"I haven't been here before and I'm very impressed as the bowl is lovely to sit in and it feels like you're in a natural seat, plus the view of the trees around the stage is really good as well.

"I'm also looking forward to trying the food and I think it's been really good getting here and getting tickets, so it's a great event."

Sarah Reece from Cannock was also excited about seeing Texas, having been bought a ticket by her husband Mike, and said it was 30 years in the making for her.

Mike and Sarah Reece get ready to see a band Sarah said she'd waited 30 years to see live

She said: "I've waited 30 years to be able to see them and the fact that it's so close to where we live makes it really good as well.

"They are such a great band, with Sharleen Spiteri having such an outstanding voice, and even our kids love them, so it's great to be here to see this.

"I also love the setting, as we're in the middle of beautiful surroundings and it's nice and relaxed and chilled and while you'd never expect to see a gig in the forest, it's absolutely amazing to be sat here."

Chris Howell and Lisa Livingstone from Walsall said they liked being able to sit in the open air and watch a gig as it was something unique.

Lisa Livingstone and Chris Howell thought the facilities were great

Chris said: "I think having gigs here is really good as it's got nice scenery, lots of fresh air, great facilities and it's just nice to be able to do things like this after everything that's gone on.

"I would definitely come back here for this and I think it's great as it helps the local economy and supports a lot of businesses."

Rebecca Gledhill had been surprised with a ticket from her father in law and was there with her husband Chris and family to watch a band she said she had spent a lot of time listening to.

Rebecca Gledhill said she and her family were regular visitors to the Forest Live events

She said: "I got their greatest hits when I was 16 and listened to it all the way through my GCSEs, so I do like Texas and I'm looking forward to seeing them.

"This venue is great as well as we've been here several times before and were actually first at the gate because it's such a great venue, with the amphitheatre feel, which gives it a great sound quality."

The concert series runs on until Sunday, with Keane headling on Saturday night and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds on Sunday, with Rag‘n’Bone Man putting on a headline show on Friday.

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