World class talent at Rhythms of the World - day 1

Saturday at Rhythms of the World was damp but nothing could rain on the enthusiasm of the audience or, it would seem, the performers. All six stages were thronged from 12pm through to the final notes just before 11pm.

It's more of the same on Sunday, with better weather promised and some great artists still to perform.

Saturday highlights were CC Smugglers, especially with their audience participation in their encore and Neville Staple, with too many great local acts to mention.

My personal favourite, though, was always going to be The Shires, who are both world class and local. Fresh from their performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and Isle of Wight festival, they performed an acoustic set which kept everyone singing along and dancing.

The singing along surprised Crissie Rhodes and Ben Earle, who seemed unaware of how big their album Brave is and how much airplay the single State Lines has had.

"It was amazing," Ben said. "We didn't expect so many people to know the words of our songs. There were definitely some country fans in the audience."

Crissie also agreed it was amazing. "All we could see was a sea of people," she said. "It was a bit daunting to be on such a big stage in front of thousands of people but without the boys behind us. It's really bizarre not to have guitar, bass and drums backing us up but the audience certainly didn't seem to mind."

Not minding is an understatement. The audience loved it and if you're one of their new fans, check out their website and get hold of Brave.