With the global pandemic bringing the music scene to a hault, this had prevented music venues from opening throughout the majority of 2020 and some of 2021. It made a huge impact on keeping the music scene alive for a lot of places. The National Lottery decided to bring out ‘Revive Live’, a boost for the entertainment industry to bring big bands and artists to play at smaller, grassroot venues in which all have started out at to become who they are today. Venues across the country have seen the likes of Sir Tom Jones, Rag n Bone Man, Twin Atlantic and many more.
For Cambridge Junction they have had a few of the artists playing there but Wednesday 29th September saw The Vaccines performing at the venue in J1. This show is a very intimate one as the band have just announced they are doing a tour next April which sees them playing places like Wembley Arena which is a lot bigger capacity.
Supporting The Vaccines were two piece Icelandic band called BSI. On drums and vocals is Silla Thorarensen and bass guitar and toe-synths is Julius Pollux Rothlaender. The duo play anti fascist punk music. What stood out for me with them was Silla’s microphone being an old telephone adapted into a microphone and Julius using his toes to play synth and on the neck of his bass was written ‘No Borders’.
Behind the band was a guitar case with BSI painted on it and then a little sign saying refugees welcome. The crowd seemed to enjoy the duo. They wrote their EP during the height of the pandemic and released it back in May. The tour was the first time they had played in the UK. It will be good to see the duo back in the UK again soon.
With a short interval the crowd are eager to see The Vaccines to perform. Around the stage is tall light sabre like lights scattered around the area. When the lights dim on comes the famous Pulp Fiction intro music by Dick Dale. First song to be performed is ‘Wanderlust’ which off their latest album ‘Back In Love City’. Frontman Justin is rocking the whole stage with his glaring eyes into the crowd and reaching out with his hands.
During the night there is new and old music including ‘Post Break Up Sex’, ‘Headphones Baby’ and ‘If You Wanna’. Justin mentioned that the band have not played the Junction since 2011 and the area had changed since then. Also he thanked BSI for supporting them on their tour.
Just before the encore the band perform ‘XCT’ which is apparently their favourite song to perform live in which I found out on a recent Instagram question time.
After the encore drummer Yoann Intonti comes on drumming the beat whilst the rest of the band set up and hit straight into Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra). To finish the night was the performance of ‘All In White’. This will be a night that everyone will remember.
From Thursday 9th September 2021, Bedford town welcomed back event goers to it’s well known Bedford Park Concerts! As we are all very much aware the last year or so has been somewhat of a struggle to everyone, both personally and professionally. And of course, we all know why. During these trying times, many industries have been hit pretty hard, especially the entertainment industry. Sadly due to national restrictions in 2020 the main Bedford Park Concert event was unfortunately cancelled. However, after a lot of hard work and the easing of government restrictions it meant that this year’s event was able to take place as planned.
Unfortunately, this year I was only able to attend on the Friday night of this four day event. But, I will do a mini breakdown of the event’s full line up and entertainment.
So Bedford Park Concerts (put on by LPH Concerts and Events), kicked off it’s 2021 by providing everyone with a sense of nostalgia with a trip back to the 90s with performances by bands Dodgy and Ocean Colour Scene. Dodgy performed familiar tracks including the very catchy “Good Enough”. Ocean Colour Scene also gave everyone the 90s feels with songs including “Riverboat Song” and probably one of their most memorable hits “Day We Caught The Train”. There were also sets from Marquis Drive (a seven piece indie group from Staffordshire) and local lads, The Wholls. The Wholls have played at this event before and were very well recieved so it was nice to see them make a return, especially as they have not played a live gig since 2018.
Friday night attracted a very different crowd. The evening’s kicked off with support act Katie Kittermaster. A singer songwriter that already has a huge following with her music already, particulalrly on the well known social media platform TikTok where she has over 1.5 million followers and with her videos and gas gained over 500,000 likes on her uploads! Some of her most popular hits include “The Problem” and “Lukewarm Lover”. People seemed to really love her! After her set, she walked around the park greeting fans who were eager to take selfies with her and asking for autographs.
Of course in between sets music would play into the park to keep everyone entetained and feeling great! At one point I’m sure that my 6 year old son and I were singing along to Kool & The Gang hit “Celebration”, which in all honesty yes was super cheesy, but very much needed after everyone being stuck at home for months and not being able to go to events such as this one. So it really was something to celebrate. There was also a diverse range of stalls for food and beverages from pimms, to vegan cusine to bags of sweets!
Friday night’s special guests were pop band Scouting For Girls. When the band originally formed and started to release music, I had instantly become a fan of their catchy sounds. Bringing something a little different to the sterotypical pop scene at the time their music gave this band the chance to become a fast growing success! This earned them number one singles, a triple platiunum debut album, and even brit award norminations. Band members Roy Stride, Greg Churchouse and Peter Ellard showed that they still know how to put on an excellent show. They performed songs including “Elvis Isn’t Dead”, the brilliant ballad “This Ain’t A Love Song”, “James Bond”, the very popular track “Heartbeat” and their most well known single “She’s So Lovely”, the final song of their energetic set that had everyone singing and dancing along with excitement.
Friday night’s main act was the fantastic Olly Murs! Olly shot to fame after appearing on The X Factor back in 2009. And in my opinion is one of the best contstants the show has ever seen. The singer songwriter is currently on a busy UK tour and kindly stopped by the town of Bedford for this event. I have actually seen Olly perform previously at The O2, so I can confidently say he is just one of those performers that really does give everything he has to offer into his shows. The singer has recently undergone surgery on his knee after causing an injury to himself while performing in a previous live performance and is still experiencing a lot of physical pain post surgery. Because of this, while standing in the audience of people waiting for him to take to the stage, I had heard people expressing concerns for the star’s physical well being while performing live that evening. But honestly, he still put on one amazing show! When I say amazing, I mean it really wasn’t obvious that he was performing with an injury (until he mentioned it himself on stage). Olly explained to his audience that he was in a huge amount of pain, but there was no way he was going to let it get the better of him and encouraged everyone to just keep smiling. His set was still full energy, charisma and cheeky antics.
Murs, who stood out in a bright blue tailored suit, performed many of his huge hits including “Wrapped Up”, “My Heart Skips A Beat”, “You Don’t Know Love” and “Trouble Maker”. However the singer had a few extra tricks up those blue sleeves. We we lucky enough to be treated to an absolute classic Earth Wind & Fire Medley featuring the songs “September”, “Let’s Groove” and “Boogie Wonderland”. Oh the cheesy, funky musical goodness in all it’s glory! Later in the evening Olly took the tempo down for a break to rest his poor injured knee. He sat down at the front of the stage to perform one of his biggest hits, the heartfelt “Dear Darlin”. Speaking of heartfelt, probably most poignant part of his show was something that really tugged on the heartstrings of many many people. Olly has decided that during this tour he wanted to dedicate a section of his shows to the late Caroline Flack. It is no secret that Olly and Caroline had an amazing relationship and were extremely close. So of course when the news broke of the television presenter’s sudden and tragic passing last year in February 2020, it was only natural for Olly to feel heartbroken, as many of us also were. He made the most beautiful speeches and spoke of their times together and explained that despite what the media’s harsh portrayal of her, Caroline was a very sweet person indeed. This gave Olly the perfect song choice to perform and dedicate to her. Of course this trIbute song was none other than his version of the Neil Diamond classic “Sweet Caroline”. The song alone gives out fun and bubbly vibes as people of all generations know it’s catchy lyrics. Olly was able to perform this amazing song with the true fun we know it to have, but also such emotion too as he sang to the sky. Simple, but absolutely beautiful.
The show then picked up it’s pace once more, we also got to see him perform a duet of his single “Up” which was originally recorded and released with singer Demi Lovato. Olly brought to the stage one of his backing performers to sing Demi’s sections of the track. This singer (Kirsten, I believe her name is), has only just begun to tour with Olly and his band with only one show previous to this one at Bedford Park and oh my goodness did she have such a beautiful voice and one that harmonised with and complimented Olly’s perfectly.
Having Olly Murs perform at Bedford Park Concerts really was one of the best decisions that the teams behind the event has ever made! It was such an amazing and fun night for myself, my son and my partner. We loved every moment and every act.
Let’s talk about what else Bedford Park Concerts had to offer for the rest of it’s 2021 shows! Saturday night gave the town of Bedford Cafe Mambo Ibiza! The evening was jam packed with fire dancers, laser light shows and DJ sets to give everyone the ultimate Ibiza music scene experience right on our doorstep! DJ sets saw live performances from Faithless, most well known for their hits “Insomnia”, “We Come 1” and “God Is A DJ”. Also Danny Howard who has been identified as ‘the tastemaker of his generation’ and a product for the UK dance scene, a DJ known for hosting his popular radio shows The Friday Night Show and Dance Anthems on BBC Radio 1. Danny also heads his own record label. There were also performances from Hannah Wants and Bedford’s own Mark Russel. The night’s headline act was none other than legendary DJ icon Pete Tong! A name that is known all over the world in the dance music industry. He has gained recognition as the ambassador of dance music with a hugely successful career that has spanned over two decades! This really was a night to remember.
Sunday saw the final day of performances at Bedford Park for 2021. The last day of this epic four day event is always reserved for The Bedford Park Proms. The perfect occasion for all of the family to enjoy together. I love the Proms! It’s a day of classical and operatic performances by both singers and instrumentalists while we as the audience gaze in wonder while sitting on blankets eating delectable finger foods (I’m not kidding I’ve seen ticket holders preparing and enjoing lobster here before) and relaxing by a candelabra while sparkling bubbles flow nicely.
Acts during the day of the proms included Forever Tenors, a new classical pop duo who describe themselves as “full of class, elegance and vocal perfection”. Also local singer-songwriter, Joe Bygraves who made a return to the proms. He is definitely an act to keep an eye out for, I saw him perform at the proms a couple of years ago and loved his performance! The 2021 proms also got to see the return of the well loved Bedford Rock Choir. I also can’t forget to mention a performance from the talented Soprano, Victoria Joyce.
The headline act for The Bedford Park Proms was Welsh Opera singer Wynne Evans. Do you recognise that name? Wynn has had over 25 years experience as a trained Opera singer and has featured in musicals including Andrew LLoyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera. Although most know him as the infamous spoof character The Go Compare Man. Yes this is the singer that kept those catchy operatic tones in our minds as we browsed the internet for car insurance. And in true traditional patriotic fashion, the proms closed with an amazing laser display and a firework spectacular. I absolutely love the Bedford Park event each year, it’s always one that I look forward to no matter who is performing. The atmosphere is both relaxed and energetic at the same time. And it really is so nice to be able to see people getting back to some sort or normality after a challenging 18 months or so. Seeing so many smiling faces is something that we have all needed to see. LPH Concerts and Events have made that happen with this fantastic weekend of joy and entertainment.
You can book your tickets for next years dates via the Bedford Park Concerts website, to get yours just head over to www.bedfordparkconcerts.co.uk
If you like gigs like this then the LPH Concerts and Events team are also putting on an amazing halloween event “Halloween Town Festival” which is said to the biggest halloween show in the UK. This event will be taking place at The Great Meadow in Bedford. Acts will include Craig David presents TS5 on the 29th October, Andy C on Saturday the 30th and lastly to close the halloween shows on Sunday 31st there will be performances from The Levellers plus special guests. There are still some tickets available for this awesome halloween weekend, you can purchase yours from https://halloweentownfestival.com/
After having to be rescheduled because of covid , the sold out Blossoms show at Cambridge Junction finally happened. The band were supported by Fever and The Lathums. Our photographer Kane Howie was there to document the event. You can see his photos below and also see more photography by him at https://www.instagram.com/kanehowiephotography/
After a long year away from live music it was great to be back at a firm favourite venue of mine, the one and only Cambridge Junction. Performing on Monday 23rd August was 22 year old London Indie singer/songwriter Declan Mckenna. Mckenna was also joined by his support act, Isle Of Wight duo ‘Wet Leg‘. The Cambridge show is the first of the current tour for Declan.
Upon arrival at the venue, the entry queue was literally winding all the way around to the back of the building and as far as the nearby multi storey car park. Ticketholders appeared to be mostly that of a younger generation than myself, in which it made me feel a bit vintage lets say, even though I’ve not hit 30 yet!
Once inside, it was clear to see that the room was filling up fairly quickly. There was plenty of chatting and drinking within the crowd of eagerly awaiting fans as they waited for the first act of the night, which was as mentioned previously, Wet Leg. This duo from the Isle of Wight which includes band members Rhian Teaslade and Hester Chambers. They play in a genre which is known as ‘post punk’ music with guitar riffs and some catchy lyrics. The band recently signed to the record company Domino and released their debut single ‘Chaise Longue’. When on stage, the duo were accompanied with three other members all postioned horizontally at the front of the stage. Their set included several songs such as ‘Wet Dream’,’ Your Mum’, and ‘Chaise Longue’. The audience seemed to really enjoy the music. I can see Wet Leg having a huge following this year.
Once the evening’s support band had finished their set, music then started playing over the speakers the most memorable of which was ‘American Boy’ by Estelle in which everyone automatically started singing out loudly. By 9pm everyone was geared up ready for Declan to come on stage. At the back was a giant backdrop with a black and white chequered optical illusion style circle. Three sparkling disco balls and a platform with keyboards and drums at the top, also a set of steps to get to them.
When waiting in the photo pit, there were young fans with their phones open on camera apps waiting to get a glimpse of Declan coming onto the stage. The first song performed was ‘Beautiful Faces’ which ended with confetti canons into the crowd. Who doesn’t love a confetti cannon? Declan donned a white polo neck shirt and a black sequin suit, with matching glitter facepaint. Giving us all Elton John style fashion vibes.
During the night he Declan performed an array of his music which included the songs ‘My House’, ‘The Key To Life On Earth’ and ‘Be An Astronaut’. After that there was an encore which then went onto another FIVE songs. The room was lit up with lights glistening and arms waving around. It was great to see fans enjoying music again at a live event venue! If you get the chance to see Declan Mckenna perform live, then honestly don’t waste that chance as he does not dissapoint.
Finally after waiting almost 2 years since the last show at Bedford Park there is 4 amazing dates with some of the world’s best musicians.
On Thursday 9th September Bedford welcomes 90s British rock band Ocean Colour Scene with special guests Dodgy and more support from MarquisDrive and Bedford very own rockers TheWholls who performed at Bedford Park a few years ago.
On Friday 10th Septmber there is pop icon Olly Murs and support from ScoutingForGirls who are famous for their single ‘ She’s So Lovely’ and female artist KatieKittermaster.
Saturday 11th showcases Cafe Mambo Ibiza in the Park once again with an awesome lineup with a Faithless DJ set, Danny Howard, Pete Tong, Hannah Wants and Riton. You can definitely party late into the night!
Sunday 12th is a much more relaxed event with the 25th Anniversary of the Bedford Proms which will have the magnificent Wynne Evans who we all know as the Go Compare man. Also there is Victoria Joyce and Joe Bygraves who is a local singer.
For more information and tickets you can visit the Bedford Park Concerts site below! Have a fab time!
After being cancelled for 2020 due to the pandemic and then being postponed till September 2021, Slam Dunk is finally just a month away from hosting a brilliant weekend of music. The festival is held at Leeds TempleNewsam on the Saturday 4th September and Hatfield Park on Sunday 5th.
Headlining the festival is Sum 41 and DonBroco. Also appearing will be NOFX, AlkalineTrio, Waterparks, Funeral For A Friend and many more. At Summer Festival Guide we have picked out a few bands that you may want to check out which are below
Crown The Empire
Hopefully you like the bands we picked out and have a fabulous and safe time at Slamdunk.
With just under a month to go till all restrictions are lifted we can look forward to getting back to festivals. One of the first is Standon Calling set in Hertfordshire on 22nd -25th July.
Headlining the event is Bastille Reorchestrated, Hot Chip and Primal Scream.
Also playing over the weekend is Arlo Parks, Jake Bugg, Craig David presents TS5, Griff, De La Soul, Mystery Jets, Everything Everything and many more. Also there will be an aray of activities for all the family like a dog show, hot tubs, costume parade and much more.
Summer Festival Guide like to give you a few bands that we think you should check out.
Griff- Main Stage Friday
Everything Everything- Laundry Meadows Friday
The Cuban Brothers- Main Stage Saturday
Talk Like Tigers- Laundry Meadows Sunday
Arlo Parks- Main Stage Sunday
Pigsx7- Laundry Meadows Saturday
For more information and tickets visit the Standon Calling site!
After the past year with being in lockdowns and a worldwide pandemic we all look forward to getting back to some normality. One of the best things of 2021 is the return of festivals. A firm favourite of Summer Festival Guides is Truck Festival, located on Hill Farm in Steventon, Oxfordshire. There has been 2 announcements on who will be performing. This year has a fantastic line up with Bombay Bicycle Club, The Kooks and Royal Blood headlining the weekend as well as Blossoms headlining the Thursday night before the weekend kicks off. Truck has got bigger and bigger every year with such a great variety of bands and artists. The weekend will see the likes of Idles, Fontaines DC, Arlo Parks, Circa Waves, DMAs, Shame and many more. Also there will be morning exercise with Mr Motivator and even and Oxford Symphony Orchestra. Tickets for the weekend have SOLD OUT. Before the event they shall release the band app in which you can check out times for the weekend and plan what you want to see PLUS more bands.
Every year we like to give you a few bands or artists that we think you should check out over the weekend. Below are a few of them.
Wednesday February 26th (a rather chilly evening), well known venue Cambridge junction welcomed Canadian musician and actorKiefer Sutherland. Sutherland is extremely well known for some major movie roles as well as playing the unforgettable role of CTU agent Jack Bauer in the very popular TV series 24.However he isn’t just known for his acting career. As you may or may not know, he is also a dedicated and talented musician with many of his songs relating to his personal experiences in his lifetime. His musical style is primarily that of traditional country music however there is a great mix of rock and roll too.
Of course that evening, he wasn’t the only act to perform in J1. The night of music was kicked off by the country music all female trio The Adelaides. The band is made up of Paris Georgia, Alicia Alba & Abi Phillips and are originally from Birmingham, UK. They are gaining more and more recognition and growing their fan basewith each performance ever since their first tour with The Only Way Is Essex beauty turned country star Megan McKenna back in 2017. The ladies took to the stage around 8pm looked radiant dressed in somewhat stereotypical but fabulousboho/country chic attire including the infamous ‘cowboy hats‘ as they performed their hits while playing their own acoustic instruments.
The ladies had a great stage presence as they interacted well with the audience as they flew through their set. During their time on stage they performed a number of their singles including their first release “Leave” as well as their latest record “I’d Do It Again”, “Sweet Temptation” (which was actually recorded in Nashville,USA, the home of country music) and not forgetting the song that had me in hysterics with its memorable lyrics, “Jelly Baby” which by the way is the perfect song to listen to after a break up to see the funny side of things during a difficult situation. The Adelaides also performed a number of cover songs which included “Hit The Road Jack”, “Sweet Dreams” and the infamous “Jolene” which we all know from the ultimate country queen Miss Dolly Parton.
These Birmingham country sassy lasses are definitely worth checking out.
As expected after the finale song of the first act of the night there was a short interval where ticket holders were left to mingle and keep their cups topped up. Speaking of cups, the venue has recently moved to a more eco friendly option when it comes to purchasing from the two bars in the room. Attendees are encouraged to purchase a plastic refillable drinking cup for a small fee to save on waste and more than likely finances too. A lot of music venues and festivals have now adapted to this idea, so it’s great to see that Cambridge Junction have jumped on board too rather than using single use materials for beverages.
Around 9pm the lights dimmed, instrumental music played and band members walked onto the stage. The last person to make their appearance was of course the night’s main act. Kiefer Sutherland!
The actor/musican was hidden for most of his opening song by his wide brimmed hat, however that really didn’t matter. The music was great, the lighting was colourful and the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement. Now I knew that the man had stamina going by his numerous acting roles that I had previously seen him in but I really didn’t expect as much energy as I had seen from him that evening. Just amazing! The musician performed a wide variety of genres, country, rock and heartfelt ballads. Before he performed each song of the night he would take a few moments to tell the audience a story or a history of just how the song came to be. I’ve not seen an act with such great communication with their audience as much as Kiefer showed during his show. He would often talk to the fans in front of him as if he had known them for years, he had also shared many personal stories about himself and his family. One of the most prominent ones was about his mother becoming incredibly unwell and him rushing to be by her side only to arrive and find her happy and filling the room with her lovable humour. It was definitely a story that tugged on the heartstrings. He also expressed his fondness for country music legend Johnny Cash.
The recording artist performed his hits “Shirley Jean”, “Going Home”, “I’ll Do Anything”, “Saskatchewan” and many more. He finished the evening with the energy fused “Agave” where Sutherland was seen regularly interacting with his band and making good use of the space on stage while generally just rocking out like the awesome guy you’d expect him to be.
On a personal note, this is the first live music event I had attended in the last year due to the fact I was expecting my second child. Now here and being rather sleep deprived I was apprehensive about feeling too tired to go to this show despite desperately wanting to go. Honestly I am so, so glad that I did. Not only did I get to stand in the same room as Jack Bauer (being a total ’24’ fan) which was awesome in itself but the music I heard that night was definitely what I needed to hear to introduce myself back into the writing game. If you ever get the chance to see either The Adelaides or Kiefer Sutherland live then I highly recommend that you take up such an opportunity.