Two legendary American artists will collide in London this summer, as Calling Festival welcomes Aerosmith and Stevie Wonder to Clapham Common. The Bad Boys From Boston and the man once known as Little Stevie will headline Calling Festival over the weekend of 28th-29th June. Both acts make an eagerly-anticipated return to an event that unites the biggest names in music, having headlined in 2007 and 2010 respectively. Jack Johnson, Paloma Faith and Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora are among the other acts on the bill. 2014 is the first instalment of Calling Festival since its association with the Hard Rock Cafe ended last year. The festival takes place on the famous south London common for the first time too. With Aerosmith capping the bill on Saturday and Stevie Wonder closing the event on Sunday, Calling Festival 2014 offers a unique opportunity to witness two titans of American music.
Since it started as Hard Rock Calling in 2006, Calling Festival has hosted some of the most famous names in rock and pop, bang in the middle of London’s summer. The festival was based in Hyde Park until 2012, when it was decided that the 2013 edition would be held at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Calling Festival has consistently paired icons of modern music history with exciting newer artists. Before The Who’s now-famous headline set in 2006, Razorlight and The Zutons celebrated their ascent from tiny sweatbox venues to the Hyde Park stage.
Calling Festival 2014 is no exception. Playing ahead of Aerosmith and Stevie Wonder are a slew of hot emerging acts. Radkey, a teenage punk trio from Missouri, make a speedy racket that might make Steven Tyler pine for his youth. Much tipped in the music press, their London shows so far have been noisy, sweaty affairs. Elsewhere, Australian indie band The Jezabels will perform, fresh from the release of their new album ‘The Brink’. The throat-ripping rock of Cambridge’s Lonely The Brave will no doubt resonate with Tyler too.
Jack Johnson and Paloma Faith are among the artists joining them on the bill. Johnson will play before Stevie Wonder on Sunday. The Hawaiian has grown into one of the most-loved singer-songwriters on the planet and will warm up the Calling Festival crowd with a set spanning his 13-year career. Faith, who recently released her third album ‘A Perfect Contradiction’, also plays on Sunday. Tinged with the soul and Motown Wonder made famous, the London singer’s songs, particularly recent Pharrell Williams-produced single ‘Can’t Rely On You’, should prove the perfect appetizer. Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Gregory Porter and million-selling soul and R&B singer India Arie are also set to perform on Sunday.
Joining Aerosmith on Saturday is Bon Jovi guitarist and songwriter Richie Sambora and blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa. Bonamassa has played with a host of musicians including percussionist Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. Sambora is taking a break from touring with Bon Jovi, who headlined Hard Rock Calling in 2011, and can draw from his own solo material as well as Bon Jovi’s extensive back catalogue. British hard rock act Thunder, who after several break-ups and reunions recently announced plans for a new album, will add to the noise on Saturday. Walking Papers, Heaven’s Basement, 3 Dudes, Tax The Heat, Chantal Claret and No Hot Ashes also play.
Aside from the entertainment onstage, Calling Festival offers you a selection of summer treats. Tuborg Town, is billed as a “one stop destination for all your festival needs”. Tuborg Town houses a bar, resident DJ, viewing platform and a Born To Be Chilled Zone. Summer-themed entertainment, including rides and food concessions helmed by Bell And Brisket, Big Apple Hot Dogs, Cock ‘N’ Bull, Churros Garcia, Fundi Wood Fired Pizza and Sauls Of Spratton.
With this vast selection of music, entertainment and food and drink, Calling 2014 will transform its leafy corner of south London for the weekend. Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, Jack Johnson and the other stellar acts on the bill will provide the soundtrack to celebrate the Calling Festival’s new home. The list of artists that have appeared at the festival since 2006 includes Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart and Paul Simon. Calling 2014 continues the remarkable tradition of bringing world famous artists to the heart of London.
Words by Ben Homewood
Images courtesy of Calling Festival and cbslocal.