Bingley Weekender, the festival that very nearly didn’t happen!
For several years, this event has been held at the local Myrtle Park and in recent years had been run by the local council. Sadly the council decided in their infinite wisdom that they weren’t going to run the event in 2019, primarily due to laughably bad reasons, that have already been well documented elsewhere.
The announcement from the council didn’t actually come until the end of April, and with only 4 months left to organise something it was assumed that 2019 wasn’t going to happen!
Bingley rugby Club stepped into the breech, said that they would run the whole event on their grounds, and despite only having a short time to get what usually takes the best part of a year to arrange, it has to be said that given the timeframe they were working to, they achieved what seemed on the face of it, nigh on impossible, and what a great weekend it was.
Headliners this year, were Ocean Colour Scene, The Doves and on Sunday night bringing the weekend to a close, festival stalwarts James. In addition to the main stage there were also 2 additional stages, New Music and Discovery stages, and with over 50 bands on across all three stages over the weekend, there was something for everyone.
And so it was that come Friday 30th Aug, Bingley festival was once again open for business, and first band on the Discovery Stage it was Saint Agnes who set the tone for the weekend with a blistering opening set, and Kitty Arrabella Austen menacingly prowled the stage fronting the loud and rocky band who deserve a slot on the main stage if they come back next year.
Then it was over to the main stage to catch the back end of the set from Liverpool born Louis Berry and his indie acoustic set was well received by the rapidly increasing crowd.
Staying with the main stage, Gang of Four were up next and having gone through several lineup changes over the years, they still sounded as good as ever with their punk/dance fusion kind of crossover style.
Energy levels then went up several notches with the arrival of The Idles, who are an absolute dream to photograph! From Bristol and formed in 2009, their live performances are rapidly becoming legendary, not only for their punk/Indie style, but visually you can’t take your eyes of them. Frontman Joe Talbot prowls the stage and guitarist Mark Bowen proceeds to perform the set in his boxers only and clearly loves a bit of crowd participation, at one point having a bit of a surf over the crowd!
A tough act to follow, but that’s exactly what Ocean Colour Scene had to do, and the crowd loved the closing set of day one and classics, ‘The Riverboat Song’ and ‘The Day We caught The train’ ensured that everyone headed off into the night happy and thankfully dry.
Day 2 and highlight of the day for me was Tom Grennan who had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.
Unfortunately Craig Charles had to cancel his Funk and Soul set, simply because the decks he needed hadn’t been sent to the venue, and to be fair to him, he did come out on stage to apologise to all, explain what happened, and hopefully he will be back next year, complete with decks!
Over on the Discovery stage singer songwriter Zuzu and her 3 piece band delivered a stylish guitar pop set, and is certainly someone who could be destined for great things, based on the set I saw. Over on the New Music stage, Apollo Junction were on great form and got the crowd involved at every opportunity with their infectious dance/Indie crossover style.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, with the three stages, there was always something for everyone, and back on the main stage The Marsicans were followed by Circa Waves who were real crowd favourites.
Tom Grennan then took to the stage and to be honest he was the act many people had actually come to see on Saturday. From the start he didn’t disappoint and he had the crowd bouncing along with ‘Found what I’ve been looking for’ being just one of highlights of his set. 2019 has been a great year for him, and 2020 could be even better at this rate. Wasn’t too sure about the shell suit look though.
Headliners The Doves brought day 2 to a close with their epic indie wall of sound. Clearly their 8 year break hasn’t done them any harm at all and since reforming earlier this year they are now back on the tour trail and new material is on the way!
Day 2 had more or less gone off without a hitch and into the final day we went with the sun shining!
Sadly this is England and the occasional shower did decide to pay us a visit during the day but this didn’t put the crowds off at all.
As Ten Tonnes otherwise known as Ethan Barnett, took to the stage the heavens immediately opened, but this didn’t deter the crowds from enjoying his Indie guitar breezy style delivery. By the way, he does have a famous lightly older brother, which I will leave you to find out for yourselves who it is!
Over on the Discover stage, Patawawa, Rothwell and Anteros kept the crowds entertained, and these three bands certainly deserve a slot on the main stage if the opportunity arises in the future.
Billy Bragg on the main stage was another genuine highlight of the day and it was good to see that time has not stunted his passion and social values. It’s been many years since I’ve seen him on stage and his back catalogue just gets better and better.
Miles Kane is gaining a sizeable following these days, and on the performance today it’s easy to see why. His swaggering rock n roll style was perfect for the main stage and if you get chance to catch him on his tour later this year I would urge you to take it.
80’ stalwarts Echo and The Bunnymen arrived on stage and sadly they weren’t allowing any photo access for their set, but this certainly didn’t detract from their performance with original members Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant both in fine form.
All too quickly it was time for the closing act of the weekend, and of course James didn’t disappoint. Still releasing new material, they are and continue to be a huge festival attraction, with front man Tim Booth working both the stage and the crowd to great effect. 30 years later their still releasing new material to critical acclaim, and it seemed quite fitting that James who have become Bingley regulars should bring the weekend to an epic close.
I can’t over emphasise what a magnificent job Bingley rugby Club and all associated with this event did in getting this years festival up and running it what seemed like an impossible time frame.
They deserve much credit and indeed as I write this article I can confirm that Bingley Weekender 2020 has just been announced, and it’ll be on the 4th to 6th Sept 2020, and tickets are on sale right now.
Think it’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to it already!!