THE experience of watching live music at Westonbirt Arboretum is like attending a mini festival.

The weather is a factor, but you know if the worst comes to the worst and it rains all night, you get to pack up and go home.

Appropriate clothing is a consideration, will you need a sun hat or wet weather gear? A warm blanket or sunglasses? Sun cream or wellies.

The answer is probably yes. All of it. And the beauty is that you can take it all. And a chair. And a picnic.

It’s the perfect combination of a relaxing social gathering and a music lovers dream. One minute you’re sipping cider and adjusting your pashmina, the next you’re on your feet dancing and shaking your tail feather (optional).

The backdrop of 360 degree woodland scenery is breathtaking, and really enhances the whole experience, adding a primal edge to the atmosphere.

UB40 is the first band I’ve seen at this venue and even though my expectations were high, I was not disappointed.

When Radio Riddler came on stage, most of the crowd remained seated. It was an unusual set dedicated to Prince. This made for a unique mash up of reggae and Prince songs that was not necessarily a match made in heaven. Some purple things are after all, sacred.

After a tour of the varied food and drink stalls, and a sample of their wares, it was time for the main act.

The effect this time was much more energetic.

With three of the founding UB40 members in the line up, including vocalist Ali Campbell, it was definitely the real thing.

Right from the first song, everyone was on their feet, with the reggae sway rippling through the crowd.

The band moved through old favourites ‘One in Ten’ and ‘Rat in mi Kitchen’ and songs from a new album, saving some of the best known such as ‘Red Red Wine’ until well into the encore.

Due to the time of year, an almost full moon and clear skies, it remained light almost until it was time to leave, not wanting it to end, but also satisfied.

Following the crowds back to the car park, the dreaded queues never materialised and in no time at all we were on our way home, making definite plans to return next year.