A Little Off Base: Thetford rocks as part of the Forestry Commission’s concert tour
Stars and Stripes June 27, 2007
THETFORD FOREST — Thousands of concertgoers erupted into incoherent hollers and hand-waving as the popular British singer James Morrison appeared on stage and quickly jumped into his hit song “Under the Influence.”
With that, the 2007 Brit Awards’ best male solo artist winner helped launch this summer’s Forest Tour, a concert series that rotates through seven forests of the U.K.’s Forestry Commission.
The High Lodge inside Thetford Forest, a few miles east of RAF Lakenheath, hosted the first three-day concert event that also featured the Scottish band Travis one night and the legendary Van Morrison another night at an outdoor amphitheater.
Another concert event is scheduled to roll back into Thetford Forest July 12 to 14, with headliners The Feeling, M-People and Blondie. All concerts are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
“The forest is an ideal location. It’s a perfect amphitheater because it absorbs sound and you get a real intimate feeling within the forest,” said Roger Woods, Thetford Forest press officer, who estimated that about 18,000 spectators attended its last concert event.
Despite Morrison’s loud intro, the concert’s atmosphere on this Thursday night in early June was pretty mellow. A dedicated crowd stood in front of the stage singing the words to each song, while others sat on blankets and lawn chairs on a grassy area nearby.
Many concertgoers brought picnics with coolers full of food and drinks. However, if you do choose to bring something, remember that glass and cans are not allowed in the forest.
A long line remained steady at a coffee stand on this chilly night, as a beer stand with pints of beer for 3 pounds was mostly ignored. Barbecue food and hot potatoes, all reasonably priced for a concert, also were available.
The high-visibility concerts are a way to promote the forest and its year-round activities, Woods said.
“Concerts drag people to a venue that they might not have been to before. The payback is that people come to see us again and again,” said Woods.
The concerts are in their 11th year and expect to attract about 130,000 people this summer, he said.
When there are no concerts scheduled, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy Thetford Forest by strolling on nature trails, using its recreation facilities or just plopping down on one of its open grassy areas for a relaxing picnic. A 6-pound parking fee applies to those who visit during nonconcert days.
If you go ...Tickets for July’s outdoor concerts at Thetford Forest range from 24 to 29.50 pounds. To purchase tickets online or for more information on the Forest Tour, check out www.forestry.gov.uk/music.
A ticket hot line number, 01842-814612, is also available.
Directions: The Thetford Forest concerts are held at the forest’s High Lodge, off of the B1107 Thetford to Brandon Road, about a half-mile from Brandon.