TEDDY Rocks as a Festival and Teddy20 as a charity have come a long way since their inception in 2011.

The festival started with a small gig in the Greyhound in Blandford that raised four hundred pounds to where they are today. After a couple of moves over the years due to the increase in demand for tickets a home on Charisworth Farm a few miles outside the town centre has been found that will allow for further expansion in years to come.

The larger site also allows for the addition of parking facilities and a campsite allowing people to travel from further and stay longer, this is great not only for the festival but also for the local community.

The site seemed busier this year with the addition of more traders and other activities to keep people entertained. A varied range of food stalls selling everything from Dorset lamb, fish and chips and Mexican food and of course enough beer to keep everyone happy. Entertainment for the kids included a climbing wall, face painting and bungee trampolines with a tattoo studio and axe throwing for the slightly older crowd. I had a go at the axe throwing and left with all my fingers so consider that a success.

Of course people are here to see and listen to the music and there could have been no disappointment from anyone on that front. From Trevann Fanthorpe opening the Merry Woodland Stage at five on Friday to Matt Black closing the same stage a whisker into the Bank Holiday Monday the thousands in attendance are set for a wide range of acts. The strength in depth of the 2019 line-up is the strongest yet with acts spread across four different stages. The Darkness headlining Saturday were obviously big drawers but were run really close by a number of acts across the weekend. Ex-Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell was excellent, as were Download veterans The Dirty Youth and Stone Broken who are known for their excellent live show did not disappoint. The Bottom Line drew a well-deserved crowd to the Vocalzone stage as did Know Your Enemy on the Greyhound stage.

As Sunday dawns I am heading back to the site for another day of music and am particularly looking forward to Bang Bang Romeo, The Decatonics, Toploader, Black Water County and the Zutons. This will still leave plenty of time to have a relax at the Merry Woodland stage and wander in and out of the tents to see some new bands that I have not caught before.

This is a triumph of a festival and a shining example of what can be achieved by a group of motivated people who are willing to dedicate themselves to a cause and work hard to achieve it.

The festival has grown beyond all recognition since my first visit in 2013 but the values and ethos remain the same. Over a quarter of a million pounds has been raised for Teddy20 so far with even more to be added after this weekend. This is a real achievement and everyone that is involved can rightly feel proud to be a part of. This is a great weekend but it is also making a real difference to people’s lives. Long may it continue, see you next year.