Biggles Wartime Band have been around a long time and are undoubtedly the leading exponents of jug band music in the UK.

"Biggles Wartime Band astounded the passers by at the bandstand in the Green Fields last summer so much so that I had loads of phone calls about them.
As a consequence I then booked them to open the new working men's club building in our village of Pilton and was equally amazed - they're such good fun"

- Michael Eavis, Glastonbury Festival Supremo

Sound Bites

Mentioned in dispatches - Observer Magazine 15/06/08 page 64 - Interview with Emily Eavis
Scene - a picture of the barn interior where the Glasto lot have meetings and parties - there is a picture of John Peel with the caption -
JOHN PEEL PRINT - "a local artist made this for my dad. John was a big Glastonbury goer and he always did the right thing which is to check out the peripheral stages and find obscure bands like Biggles Wartime Band. The new music tent is now named after him."

"Biggles Wartime Band - Thursday early birds must've thought that all of their Christmas' came at once if they managed to catch these Glasto regulars on the Croissant Neuf stage. The six-piece all donned Santa hats before performed a medley of festive tracks – ideal for the height of summer!" (Glastonbury Festival 2008)

"I was crying so much that I ran out of tissues and had to go and plunder the toilets" (Glossop Golf Club)

"Slick crapness"

"They take every kind of music and slaughter it. None of it stands a chance"

"Biggles skip through musical idioms like a Viking on acid skips through a girl school"

"There were Bands from Dylan to REM, but the band of the festival has got to be Biggles" - Glastonbury Festival official on-site newspaper.

"Not only is your band excellent, but its real good fun too. The way music should be."

"It's a long time since I've seen a whole audience beaming with pleasure while a band does it's thing."

"Biggles Wartime Band". The Guardian mini-Guide, Other Highlights Section, Glastonbury Festival 2002.

virtualfestivals msg board:-

Posted by HACK49

The problem with this year's line up is that none of them is a worthy festival closer. They are all good bill toppers for 'ordinary' events but Glasto should be something special and extraordinary.

Kylie's problems have let Emily off the hook. Now's her chance to try to get in someone who really could close the festival in true style.

Topping Glasto is a a bit like being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; it's an honour that you earn by serving your time, by being an exceptionally good and talented musician and a great performer.

Van Morrison meets the first three but his performances are unpredictable and he'd be risky as a finisher.

In my dreams it would be Springsteen or The Stones but realistically I'd settle for Cream, U2, The Who, Pink Floyd or someone of that level.

If they can't manage that and I have to choose somone from the present line up then Biggles Wartime Band. Make it a festival end with a difference.

The Other Festival 2006...

"Hold onto something and prepare yourself for the hilarious onslaught of one of the funniest cabaret bands in the UK today!
Glastonbury regulars and complete maniacs, the Biggles Wartime Band will make your day!

The Biggles Wartime band have at last been confirmed to appear at the festival.

An unforgettable experience....no matter how hard you might try! These guys are exponents of unavoidable laughs and pure entertainment, dlivered through the mediums of musical musical mayhem, comedy and improvised madness, you are guaranteed a very memorable performance.

Using pipes, funnels, banjos, pianos, drums, kazoos and anything else they can lay their hands on, these guys will reshape the music you love in a way you will never forget!"
www.veedubya.com/

Glastonbury Festival #1,
Croissant-Neuf Stage

Away from the hustle and bustle of the main drag, Sunday afternoon saw us suitably chilled up the Green Fields. But Glastonbury, with its wonderful knack of never letting you forget where you are (but never quite letting you know either), inevitably sprung an insane surprise in the shape of Biggles.

Through the mellowness there came a call to madness, in the shape of an enormously rotund figure dressed in a kilt and "Dr Livingstone" style helmet, parping through a rubber tube and plastic funnel. Biggles. Game on.

"Could everybody please take 5 steps forward? People are getting crushed at the back" suggested the manically cheerful lead singer (more manic than any Street Preacher, anyhow). He clearly took enormous delight from the slick crapness of their act; a six piece band, including a vicar on percussion (Father Green, or Pere Vert in French), a fellow dressed in lederhosen on one of those big oompah poompah horns, himself dressed in Country and Western attire and the aforementioned man-mountain on banjo. Poor chap. Apparently he suffered from Bulemia Amnesia, eating loads and then forgetting to throw up.

Phew, what a set! They skipped through musical idioms like a Viking on acid skips through a girl school, from a lyrical and moving rendition of "Gordon is a Moron" (complete with tearful reference to life as a North Atlantic Whaler), through Elvis and the Jungle Book, to name but a few highlights. "We are the Shake 'n' Vac on the shag pile of life!" came the reassuring explanation.

I did actually manage to catch quite a few acts this year, but when I was asked at work this morning who I saw my mind went blank for a few seconds, I smiled and replied rhetorically "Don't 'spose you've heard of Biggles have you?". Edward Feil.

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Glastonbury Festival #2,
Green Roadshow Bandstand / Croissant-Neuf Stage

After a night of guarding a back gate, I was wandering round the Green Fields in a daze when I heard this crazy version of Salty Dog coming from the bandstand. I wandered over to be greeted by the bizarre spectacle of the Biggles Band.

To take a bunch of acid heads from the home for deranged bit part actors, dress them up from the shelves of an 'Age Concern' charity shop, give them instruments and let them loose at Glastonbury sort of gives the first impression.

Two things quickly stood out, one was that was actually some decent music underneath the outfits and fooling around, and secondly, there was quite a crowd forming, who really seemed to be enjoying the act.

The band worked their way through some jolly numbers like 'Jollity Farm' and a punk masterpiece, 'I Like My Auntie May.' Things turned a bit surreal when by chance half way through a very uncomplimentary version of 'The Laughing Policeman,' three, nine foot tall policemen on stilts walked up to the bandstand, and joined in.

Several more numbers followed, including what must be the world's worst cajun song. The music was in the vein of Bonzo Dog, but it seemed a lot more light-hearted and inspired.

They finished the set to hearty applause from a good-sized crowd that had gathered. Despite a modest PA system and a lot of noise, Biggles had put on a good show, proving themselves masters of the corny gag, and that they were half decent musicians as well.

On Sunday, a friend and I arrived early at the Croissant Neuf tent to get a good seat for the Biggles Band, only to find it empty. A few people wandered in as the band finished getting ready, and then it started.

The first we knew of it was the sight and sound of a madman playing a sort of tune on a hose pipe followed by an enormous guy wearing a kilt and pith hat clashing cymbals while they walked round the Greenfield outside the tent. This sort of set the scene for the rest of the act.

I had seen them on the bandstand the day before and enjoyed the act, but on a proper stage with decent sound gear, they were superb.

Nothing was sacred. Every type of music that I revered from my long gone teenage past was duly slaughtered by them. Ones that stood out were 'The Whaling Song, an OTT version of the Jilted John type folk song that made my eyes sting with laughing, and two unbelievable punk numbers about Auntie May and multiple substance sniffing. Elvis got the bullet, along with Tom Jones, The Ronettes and many others.

Between the numbers, if you can call them that, were some offerings of pure philosophical introspection/outright twaddle. Even more impressive than the humour was the fact that they kept it up for well over an hour. During the show, the tent had rapidly filled up, mostly from passer-bys who heard the laughter.

It is a long time since I have seen a crowd enjoy themselves as much as that mob. All too soon the show was over, and the good mood they had created lasted me through another six hours of gate guarding. This year I enjoyed many of the bands, and most of all, I will remember the Biggles Warband with affection. If they are on next year, do go and see them. Bruce Johnstone-Lowe.

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Glastonbury Festival #3,
Croissant-Neuf Stage

You know how it gets at Glastonbury. You sit about smoking and drinking in cafes, or visiting and jamming with friends, and what with one thing and another, somehow you just can't be bothered to actually go and see bands.

This year, over four days, I saw just three: Al Green, Patti Smith, - and Biggles Wartime Band.

An astute critic at The Guardians "Essential Guide to Glastonbury" had picked out Biggles as one of the best acts to be seen on the smaller stages, so I made my way up to the Croissant-Neuf tent in the Green Fields for a delightful hour of fun.

Biggles are a comedy skiffle jug band, and are quite simply one of the most entertaining acts around. Their version of "Jollity Farm" signposts where they are coming from: We are in Bonzo's / Spike Jones country, and what a pleasure it is to be back there.

The line up of sousaphone, banjo, washboard (ably handled by Father Green, or Pere Verte, as he is known in Louisiana), guitar, fiddle, trombones, kazoos, swannee whistles and zob stick, swings along to great effect, keeping the audience both laughing and dancing, which is no mean achievement. Their Whaling Song has to be heard to be believed. Their version of the Laughing Policeman hit just the right note for the Glastonbury crowd, their Cajun numbere redefined "Franglais", and the punk classic "I Like My Auntie May" sent the audience packed into the big top into pongoing frenzy.

Between numbers, the jokes and the banter meant that Biggles would be at home on the stand-up circuit if ever they tired of music, which I hope they never do.

It's a long time since I've seen a whole audience beaming with pleasure while a band does it's thing. The Biggles Wartime Band turned out to be the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon that I've found in ages. Oh, and Al Green and Patti Smith were quite good too. Ian Marchant.

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