IF THERE'S one thing sure to put a dampener on festival spirits, then it's being lashed by a proper Met Office-named storm. 

But, as Storm Antoni raged on, the first storm to gain a name this year, doing its best to derail the Wickham Festival, festival-goers proved they were made of sturdier stuff - as did the event's big tops. 

You would be forgiven for thinking that if you hold a folk festival in Hampshire fields on the first weekend of August, you would be immune from the elements, however, 2023 has proved that you can never bet on the English weather. Especially during school holidays. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Wickham Festival 2023

Luckily, festival organiser Peter Chegwyn is an old hand at preparing for the unexpected, and bad weather in 2021, as well as juggling all the requirements of holding a festival during pandemic restrictions, has set him and the Wickham Festival 2023 in good stead. 

Yes, this year is muddy. Yes, some cars got stuck. Yes, some campers got extremely wet. But on the whole, the event battled on, well prepared, and emerged victorious. 

Extra straw was laid, tractors pulled cars, and extra pegs were put into the tents. 

And, after two whole days of downpours and lashing wind, the sun decided to make an appearance on Saturday for a few moments giving a glorious sunset, and a taste that on Sunday, it may actually be ok...

Hampshire Chronicle: Wickham Festival 2023

But don't fret, even if the rain returns, all stages at Wickham are undercover, and once inside, there's a host of excellent artists performing excellent sets. You can almost forget the mud bath outside. 

As for music, The Fisherman's Friends proved a draw on Saturday, followed by acclaimed blues guitarist Eric Bibb who stepped in at the last minute to headline after the Proclaimers had to pull out due to sickness, bringing the main big top to an emotional close. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Wickham Festival 2023

While at the same time, on the second stage, The Dohl Foundation, a Wickham Festival favourite, brought high energy, Bangra dancing, laughs and entertainment to the large crowd of muddy boots. Everyone was dancing, some learnt new moves, the tent was pumping and everyone left with a smile. 

Sunday promises Midge Ure, Afro Celt Sound System, The Zombies and The South - and who knows?

There may even be a little sun and warmth, but do bring your wellies.