WHILE most music festivals fight among themselves to get the hottest new bands, one Oxfordshire gathering is perfectly happy to stage artists who were in their prime more than 30 years ago.

Rewind is a festival dedicated to the sounds of the 1980s and today reveals its line-up of acts – most of whom found fame when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.

They include Jimmy Somerville, Wet Wet Wet, Billy Ocean, Bananarama, Trevor Horn Band, Nick Heyward, Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals, Hue And Cry, Grandmaster Flash, Captain Sensible and The Christians.

The event, which takes place from August 14-16 at Temple Island Meadows, Henley, also features Queen Symphonic – a tribute to Freddie Mercury’s band featuring musicians from the West End stage show We Will Rock You.

Despite its decidedly long-in-the-tooth line-up, the festival is among the most successful in the country, spawning sister events in Cheshire and Scotland.

The 12th instalment of Rewind South will also see it play host to ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ star John Parr, Soul II Soul, Go West, Peter Hook & The Light, Limahl, Cutting Crew, Pete Wylie – The Mighty Wah!, Aswad and Katrina From Katrina & The Waves.

The highlight of the festival is usually the Saturday night spectacular, which will this year be presided over by former Bronski Beat and Communards singer Jimmy Somerville and his Big Band-Tastic Boogie – a hit packed show with brass, strings and special effects including the world’s biggest party popper.

It will also feature special guest Sarah Jane Morris, with the pair recreating their 1986 chart-topper Don’t Leave Me This Way.

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Wet Wet Wet make their Rewind debut by headlining the Sunday.

Frontman Kevin Simm said: “We’re very excited to play Rewind for the first time, it looks like a lot of fun!”

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Drummer Tommy Cunningham said: “We can’t wait to play all our hits; it’ll be a brilliant night.”

Banbury Cake:

The band have sold in excess of 15 million singles and albums, featuring in the official UK charts for 500 weeks. Their albums have been certified 20 x platinum in the UK alone.

Adding a splash of colour are the neon-hued 80s fancy dress party, a street food area (not just 80s food we hope – although at least the chocolate bars would be bigger), and Club Tropicana – an 80s club in a massive big top featuring a host of star DJs – and the Electro Picture Lounge, where punters can chill out watching classic 80s videos, documentaries and classic 80s film footage.

There’s also a Silent Disco and oodles of fireworks.

  • REWIND SOUTH
  • Temple Island Meadows, Henley
  • August 14-16
  • Tickets go on sale at 10am on Thursday from rewindfestival.com