Bedford Park Concerts 2017 Review

August 2017 saw the town of Bedford celebrating its 21st year of putting on its brilliant Park Concerts.  With everyone still reeling from the success of last year's event, which saw performances from rapper Dizzee Rascal and the one and only welsh legend Tom Jones, organisers really had to step up to top that for this year's concert weekend.  Boy did they certainly do that! 

The weekend provided three nights of amazing performers. Friday night (4th August) took us back in time to the 80s and 90s for the ultimate party that was oozing with cheesy pop goodness. The evening got off to a great start with performaces from 90s Zambian solo artist Rozalla who was most famously known for releasing the track "Everybody's Free" and singer/songwriter Nik Kershaw. Kershaw not only saw fame as a solo artist but also wrote big hits for other artists. Including Chesney Hawkes infamous "The One And only" which Nik also performed himself this weekend dedicating the song to Hawkes. Friday night also gave us the lovely and rather sparkly Baby D who performed three tracks, one of which was the amazing club classic, "Let Me Be Your Fantasy". One act of the night that was getting people talking was 80s english pop band Go West. The Duo enjoyed their peak of popularity between the mid 80s and onto the early 90s with hits including "We Close Our Eyes" and the iconic song written by the band for 1990 film realease "Pretty Woman" which was indeed the unforgettable "King Of Wishful Thiking". We were lucky to see both of these being performed on friday night also. Friday's biggest performances came from 80s pop hunk Jason Donovan, Livin' Joy and DJ Dave Pearce. Shortly after 8pm, the pit area of the arena was filled with middle aged women anxiously awaiting the arrival of their favourite 80s hearthrob. Donovan still looked great, and performed famous hits of his including "Sealed With A Kiss", "Nothing Can Divide Us", "Especially For You" which he sang with a guest female soloist for Kylie Minogue's segments of the single, the amazing "Any Dream Will Do" from the infamous musical Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" and he finished his energetic set with fan favourite "Too Many Broken Hearts". In My opinion, Aussie favourite Jason Donovan has certainly still got it! His stage presence was charismatic, cheeky and comical. During sets for Livin' Joy and Dave Pearce we were treated to many 90s club classics and heavy bass beats while watching an amazing laser light show from the stage which filled the grounds. 

Saturday evening (5th August) Bedford featured artists including, London based band Victoria, Bedford town boys The Wholls, 90s indie band Feeder and headliners Kaiser Chiefs! In amoungst thousands of people eating pizzas, mexican cuisine and drinking rather large quanitities of Pimms, I could feel how electric the atmosphere within the park really was. Chatter of people so excitedly waiting to see their favourite bands of the evening, including the performers families and friends.  Rock/indie, Bedford boys The Wholls drew in a younger audience while performing original songs "Give It Up", "Perfect Waste Of Time" and "Roll It Out". The local lads are quickly climbing up the music fame ladder after recently signing to big recording label Sony. If you like new up and coming bands, you should definitly check them out. Their debut album is out now. 

The first of the most anticipated acts of saturday night were met with a rather loud roar of excitement from the crowds of people in front of the stage.  Of course this excitement was when 90s welsh rock band Feeder stepped on stage. The band  formed in Newport in 1992 and were originally named Reel. The band found fame with the name feeder later on in their career. They are said to have been inspired by Nirvana, The Police and The Smashing pumpkins. Feeder gained much more media attention in 2001 during the release of their third album which featured lead track "Buck Rogers".  Now some time on are now looking very different, but can still play an amazing live gig.  Over the weekend we saw them perform a variety of hit singles including the chart topping "Buck Rogers", "Feeling A Moment",  "Just A Day" and the very mellow "Just The Way I'm Feeling" which caused the arena to become filled with fans gently waving their mobile phones with torches on in the air. Lead vocalist Grant Nicholas also revealed that they will be releasing a best of album in September 2017. This album will feature all the favourite hits and also debut nine new tracks. During the final song of Feeder's set a flare was lit in the crowd which to be perfectly honest looked quite spectaluar with its yellow glow and smoke filling the pit area. Despite looking rather awesome, this was a big hazard which could have caused harm and this was dealt with very swiftly by the security team looking after everyone over the weekend. 

Onto Saturday night's headline act! English rock band Kaiser Chiefs! The park was filled with screams and excitement when members of the band stepped on stage. Even more so for front man Ricky Wilson. The band was formed in Leeds in the year 2000 under the name Parva and released just one studio album which was titled '22' in 2003 before then establishing themselves as Kaiser Chiefs. With six studio album releases under their belts they are still going strong and continue to make great new music.  The five piece opened their exciting set with the ever popular "Everyday I Love You Less And Less" to which at the end of the song singer Ricky Wilson came to the very edge of the stage to encourage ticketholders to be louder and dance.  Over the course of the evening we saw them perform hits including "Never Miss A Beat", "Modern Way", "The Angry Mob" which we saw Ricky teaching lyrics to the audience to sing along with him, "Ruby", the massive "I Predict A Riot" and a favourite of Wilson's from their latest album "Hole In My Soul". Their latest singles from the 2016 album 'Stay Together' are quite different from the slightly heavier rock style that we are used to hearing from Kaiser Chiefs, they have a bit more of a slight pop/indie sound with catchy lyrics and more mellow rythms. During their set the very energetic front man was continuously playing up to cameras and playing one side of the audience off against the other during tracks. We were even asked by the band to sing "Happy birthday" as a birthday cake was brought out filled with candles on stage to celebrate the birthdays of a member of their sound crew and also drummer Vijay. After filling the park with music, strobe lighting and fans jumping around like caged animals the lads left the stage leaving us all shouting for "More, More, More" The rather tired looking band members returned to the stage once more to perform not one, but two more hits for us. They played "Misery Company" and then ended their set with the brilliant "Oh My God" I can honestly say Kaiser Chiefs have to be the best band that I have ever seen live! I am still feeling the buzz since seeing them on saturday night. And I'm pretty sure I will be for a very long time. Before this weekend I had enjoyed them, but now I love them! 

Still reeling from the night before, we then attended Sunday's Bedford Park Proms. A much more relaxed kind of day with a lovely calm yet excitable atmosphere. This year's theme was Bedford Proms Goes To The Movies. Upon entering the grounds we were greeted by a replica of the famous Delorean from "Back To The Future", which looked amazing with twinkling lights and its doors up in the air so that we could see some fun movie props from the films. All that was missing was Doc Brown and Marty Mcfly. On the far side of the stage we could also see a huge inflatable of Staypuft from the Ghostbusters films and a birds of prey meet and greet tent inspired by the enchanting Harry potter film franchaise. The Proms really was an event for all of the family to enjoy.  The grounds were filled with people equipped with tables, chairs and fancy food spreads. We even spotted someone that brought their own drinks bar with them. While some were sitting in their fold up chairs, covered with blankets just soaking in the ambiance, others were chatting with friends and relatives while dining on some rather exquisite meals which even included snacking on  lobster! Very elegant stuff indeed. A popular and clever food choice taken by many ticketholders was large quantities of watermelon. Have you guessed why? It was a little reference to the iconic film "Dirty Dancing". 

To get the musical evening off to a start we saw the young, talented and very brave children of the Pilgrim School Choir enter the stage with their teacher. All smartly dressed in their school uniform sporting lovely green blazers the children began to sing some of their favourite classics from the movies. Their time slot gave them the chance to perform well known songs from musicals and feature films including "A Whole New World" from Disney classic Aladdin, "When I Grow Up" featured in Matilda, "Do-Re-Me" from the timeless film and stage show The Sound Of Music and popular Mary Poppins track "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" which was made famous originally by Dame Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. The small choir sang beautifully and were very professional on stage during their performance. It was very lovely to watch as the primary school children smiled at their families who were sitting in front of them in the pit area with cameras and tears of joy feeling immensely proud of their little ones for such an amazing achievement. 

Shortly after a small interval entered the next act of the evening. The students from The Redford School of Speech and Drama. The teens looked flawless as they were elegantly dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns as they walked onto the stage to take their places. The teenagers began their set with their rendition of the chart topping single "Skyfall" which was the title track originally made famous by popstar Adele from the James Bond film Skyfall. With gentle harmonies their version was just beautiful and soothing. The Choir then went on to perform Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" which was also featured in hit TV musical show Glee. The choir featured a male and female soloist during their version of the peppy pop song with the rest of the group performing in an accapella style.  One memorable part of the performance from this group of talented people, was a female soloist coming forward to sing latest disney release "How Far I'll Go" which happens to be the lead track on the soundtrack to Disney's Moana. The single was originally performed by Auli'i Cravalho who also voice's the lovely Moana in the animated feature film. The young blonde vocalist in the school choir sounded remarkably like the original voice actor while performing this song. She had the most beautiful and delicate voice, her rendition literally gave me goosebumps. The group performed a medley of music from feature films to finish their set, which again featured acapella vocals. During the medley the choir performed tracks which included "Part Of Your World" from The Little Mermaid originally sang by Jodi Benson, the "Star Wars Main theme", "Rule The World" originally performed by Take That for the film Stardust, "The Circle Of Life" from The Lion King, "The Time Of My Life" from Dirty Dancing, and an amazing leg slapping routine to "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone" which was used in the film Pitch Perfect and was performed by actress and singer Anna Kendrick. During this amazing medley of memorable soundtracks the group also performed approproate theatrics on stage to accompany each hit that they sang. These young people had amazling talent and really could go far in the music industry.

For the main concert, which started around 7.30pm our ears were treated to the sounds of the London Gala Orchestra who also introduced the Bedford choral society and west end stars Joanna Forrest, Daniel Koek, and opera vocalist Alison Buchanan. Daniel had performed "Born Free" and also sang "The Prayer" alongside Joanna. Alison Buchanan performed the ever wonderful "Ave Maria" with the orchestra also. During the concert we heard many well known soundtrack releases from feature films being performed by the London Gala Orchestra which also heavily focused on the amazing compositions of the award winning John Williams to which they played some of his most memorable pieces such as the "Star Wars Main Theme", "The Imperial March" also from Star wars, the "Jaws theme" from the movie of the same name, the "Superman Theme", the "Jurassic Park Theme", the theme from the whiptastic "Indiana Jones" and many many more. At the end of the night the orchestra brought their time to a close by playing the patriotic "Rule, Britannia" and "The Land Of Hope And Glory" as they were joined on stage by all three vocalists wearing great britain attire. The grounds was a sea of Union Jack flags waving in the wind. They then performed famous music from the James Bond film franchaise during a spectacular firework display, which also saw the organisers set off what I can only explain as mushroom cloud flame throwers which were situated in the pit area of the park. Sunday was definitly the most enjoyable night of the three for me (minus the Kaiser Chiefs on Saturday evening). There was no rushing around, no being trampled on by people trying to see their favourite acts. Just good old fashioned patriotic fun.

 

My weekend at Bedford Park Concerts was certainly a busy one. But nevertheless a very enjoyable one. I loved my time there as did our photographer and our 2 year old son. 

I wonder how Bedford will be able to top this next year? 
I can't wait to find out what they will have in store for their 2018 weekend!

All photos by Kane Howie

For more photos visit 

FRIDAY!

SATURDAY!

SUNDAY!

Bedford Park Concerts 2017 Preview

Bedford Park Concerts is back for 2017 after a very successful event last year which showcased the legendary Tom Jones,  rapper Dizzie Rascal and many more. This year we will see the return of an amazing jam packed three day line up. Friday 4th August will will see Bedford's biggest 80s and 90s themed party night with seven awesome retro acts which will include the likes of DJ Dave Pearce who is best known for hosting BBC Radio 1's Dance Anthems, Ex Neighbours star, musician and Australian favourite Jason Donovan, 80's band Go West, Nick Kershaw, 'Dreamer' artists Livin' Joy, Rozalla and Baby D who brought us singles "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" and "Everybody's Gotta learn Sometime".

Friday's Schedule:
16:30 Gates Open
17:00 Rozalla 
17:40 Nik Kershaw 
18:35 Baby D
19:15 Go West
20:15 Jason Donovan
21:15 Livin' Joy
21:50 Dave Pearce

On Saturday 5th August, Leeds Indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs are expected to perform some of their most notable hits including "I Predict A Riot", "Ruby", "Everyday I Love You Less And Less" and more from their six studio albums.  Supporting will be Welsh band Feeder, The Wholls – a local Bedford Town favourite and lastly indie rock band Victoria.  

Saturday's Schedule:
16:30 Gates open
17:45 Victoria
18:45 The Wholls
19:45 Feeder
21:15 Kaiser Chiefs

Sunday 6th August the weekend event will present  Bedford Proms 'Goes To The Movies'.  This wil be an evening of beautiful west end style performances including a set from Australian Tenor Daniel Koek who starred in west end show Les Miserables.  He will also be joined by soprano singer Joanna Forest and opera vocalist Alison Buchanan who is originally from the town of Bedford.  As if there isn't enough to enjoy there will also be the London Gala Orchestra, Bedford Choral Society, a laser light show and even the infamous Delorean car from the memorable Back To The Future franchaise films and a firework finale to round up the weekend to bring it to a close.  

Sunday's Schedule:
16:30 Gates open 
17:15 Pilgrim School Choir 
18:00 Bedford School Of Speech and Drama
19:30 Main Concert 

I can see this being a very popular event. Tickets are still available to get yours while you can. 

To purchase tickets please click on the dates below

FRIDAY 4TH

SATURDAY 5TH

SUNDAY 6TH

For more information click HERE!

Kaiser Chiefs, Texas, The Shires & more added to Isle of Wight Festival 2017

Representing the Best of British are the Kaiser Chiefs, Texas, The Shires, Example + DJ Wire, Jonas Blue, Nothing But Thieves, The Sherlocks, Ward Thomas, The Undertones, The Alarm and Elle Exxe. They join David Guetta, Run DMC, Arcade Fire and Rod Stewart who top the bill over the weekend as well as George Ezra, Bastille, Jack Savoretti and Rag’n’Bone Man performing across the weekend.

Fronted by the charismatic Ricky Wilson, the Kaiser Chiefs’ are best known for anthems such as ‘Oh My God’, ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Never Miss A Beat’. The band have recently released their sixth studio album ‘Stay Together’ which charted in the top five in the UK Official Albums Chart.

Texas will perform at the festival for the first time following their 25th anniversary last year, which included the release of ‘Texas 25’ reaching the top five of the UK charts. Since their formation in 1986 the Glaswegian band have scored thirteen UK top ten singles, three UK number one albums and seven UK top ten albums with sales of over 35 million records with hits such as ‘Say What You Want’ and ‘Black Eyed Boy’.

Country duo The Shires is comprised of singer-songwriters Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes. The band released their debut album ‘Brave’ in 2016, becoming the first UK country act to chart in the Top 10 of the Official UK Albums Chart. Their second album ‘My Universe’ released October of last year, became the fastest-selling UK country album in history selling 14,500 copies in the first week.

Example + DJ Wire, real name Elliot Gleave, is renowned for his monstrous DJ sets. With eight UK Top 10’s, two UK Number One’s ‘Changed The Way You Kissed Me’ and ‘Stay Awake’, Example’s huge electronic bangers have earned him millions of fans from across the globe. Example is currently working on his sixth studio album which will see him return to his unique EDM-rap cross over style.

London based electronic dance producer Jonas Blue released his first single ‘Fast Car’ in 2015, a reworking of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit. Adding tropical house beats to the bittersweet original, the single topped the charts in 17 different countries. In 2016 Blue released his follow up hit to his global smash, ‘Perfect Strangers’ featuring JP Cooper, the single charted at Number Two in the Official UK Singles Chart.

British Rock band The Sherlocks consist of two sets of brothers, Kieran and Brandon Crook and Andy and Josh Davidson. They were the first unsigned band since Arctic Monkeys to sell out their local venue the Sheffield Leadmill. The band have received great support from the likes of Steve Lamacq, Annie Mac & Huw Stephens and kick off their headline UK and Ireland tour next month.

Modern country duo Ward Thomas is comprised of 22 year old twin sisters Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas. The duo produce modern country music with a British twist and released their second album ‘Cartwheels’ which reached Number One in the Official UK Albums Chart, making them the first British country act to do so.

Formed in Northern Ireland in 1975, The Undertones became renowned for combining lyrical invention and musical flair with intelligent simplicity. Their anthemic ‘Teenage Kicks’, much loved by John Peel, was one of the most influential songs of the post-punk era. Reformed in 1999, festival goers will play their classics hits alongside new material.

Welsh alternative rock band The Alarm opened for acts such as U2 and Bob Dylan, before becoming a popular alternative rock band of the 1980s. The band have 17 Top 50 UK Singles, a host of successful albums and over five million sales worldwide. The band have recently announced dates for their UK tour in May.

Rising Scottish popstar Elle Exxe has been championed by BBC Introducing and Kiss FM, flown high in Music Week Charts and Amazing Radio charts. At the start of 2016 her single ‘Lost in L.A’ was synced to a worldwide advert for Google Music. Elle has recently played sold out shows across London and her native Scotland.

The Isle of Wight Festival takes place from 8th – 11th June at Seaclose Park, Newport. Due to popular demand, 2017 sees the return of Day Tickets in addition to Weekend Tickets.

For a VIP festival experience, exclusive glamping options are also on sale. Eve’s Tipis offer a luxury stay with a cocktail bar and hot breakfast options to kickstart your day. The much loved colourful Podpads will also be returning which include a power point to keep your phone charged throughout the weekend. Love Your Tent, Tangerine Fields and Pink Moon Camping also offer unique camping experiences for a weekend in style.

2017 will be the 16th Isle of Wight Festival since it was successfully relaunched in 2002 to become one of the most popular weekends of the summer, with a proud heritage of show-stopping headliners such as Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones, The Killers, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Blur and Fleetwood Mac.

 

LCD Soundsystem, Slaves, Faithless and more for Ibiza Rocks 2016

Last summer Ibiza Rocks celebrated 10 phenomenal years of being the home of live music in Ibiza and the ground-breaking brand are back with another blistering line up including the hugely anticipated return of LCD Soundsystem who will headline the coveted birthday slot for this Ibiza exclusive. Mercury prize nomineesSlaves will kick things off at the opening party on 15th June before an incredible array of open-air starlit summer shows follow from a mix of music’s finest including dance music pioneers Faithless, Grammy Award winner Jess Glynne, festival giants Kaiser Chiefs, BBC Sound Of 2016 and BRITs Critic Choice Award winnerJack Garratt, electronic music troupe Major Lazer Soundsystem and multi-platinum selling rapper Tinie Tempah

Slaves were part of the standout show of the summer last year when they supported The Libertines for Ibiza Rocks sold-out 10th Birthday show.  Following the success of their critically acclaimed debut ‘Are You Satisfied?’ and widely regarded as one of the most exciting live acts on the scene right now, the garage-punk duo will proudly return as headliners in their own right.

Slaves said: “Last year it was madness and one of the best experiences we’ve had as a band so far.  We’re fans of The Libertines so that was an honour and we had non stop fun. Ibiza being associated with clubbers makes it all the more special when you’re playing really loud rock to everybody. We can’t wait to get back to Ibiza Rocks. What a crowd.”

Staying true to Rocks longstanding reputation for championing the very best new talent, next up in June is BBC Sound of 2016 and BRITs Critic Choice award winner Jack Garratt.  Already part of the family, Jack captivated the crowd during his intimate set at the Ibiza Rocks Christmas party last year and now he will bring his multi-instrumental live show to the world-famous Ibiza Rocks main stage for the very first time, supported by supreme new talent, electronic-soul duo HONNE.

Jack Garratt said: "I've already packed my tie-dye vests, speedos and enough UV body paint to paint the town LIT.”

Three times Grammy award winners LCD Soundsystem play a very proud part in Ibiza Rocks’ history.  When the band played the Music Box at Manumission’s 10th Birthday in 2004, it proved so inspirational that it cemented the belief that live music had a home on the White Isle and in 2005 Ibiza Rocks was born. The headline shows LCD Soundsystem subsequently played at Ibiza Rocks Bar (2007) and Ibiza Rocks Hotel (2010) stand out as another two of the most significant Rocks events of all time.  Just months after their last Rocks gig James Murphy announced one final farewell, sold-out show at the iconic Madison Square Gardens, making the memories of the Ibiza shows all the more poignant. It’s now time to celebrate the bands hotly anticipated comeback and their choice to return to Ibiza Rocks for one of only a handful of live shows anywhere in the world this summer.  Almost exclusively headlining major festivals such as Coachella and Primavera, LCD Soundsystem will bring the fans much closer to the music with this long-awaited gig back ‘home’ in the intimate poolside setting of Ibiza Rocks Hotel for Part 1 of Rocks’ Birthday celebrations in July.

Super-producer Diplo and his electronic dance troupe Major Lazer Soundsystem will keep the party vibes in full flow with their eclectic soundsystem mix of house, dancehall and electro. Having first played the Rocks stage In 2012, Major Lazer have gone on to become one of the most in demand acts in the world and achieved the biggest hit of last year with ‘Lean On’ – the most streamed single of all time, achieving over 540 million streams and 1.21 billion youtube views. Fresh from playing a historic concert in Cuba to over 500,000 people, Major Lazer will bring the same electric energy to the world- famous Rocks stage in July to conclude Rocks birthday celebrations.

One of the biggest female artists in the world right now and no stranger to Ibiza, Grammy award winner Jess Glynne first played Ibiza Rocks in 2014 supporting Rudimental and will now return as a No.1 album selling, chart-topping solo star for her own headline show in July.

Ibiza Rocks will proudly welcome back a band that were pivotal to shaping the success of Ibiza Rocks when it launched over 10 years ago. Kaiser Chiefs played one of the first ever shows in 2005 before the gigs moved to the 500 capacity Ibiza Rocks Bar (Bar M) in 2007 and the band featured on a truly memorable summer line up that included Arctic Monkeys, LCD Soundsystem, Mark Ronson and Kasabian. The Leeds lads will return for their 5th headline show in August and clearly can’t wait to celebrate one of summer’s most special gigs once again.

Kasier Chiefs said: “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, we played Ibiza Rocks for the first time, in the backroom of club Manumission. It gets better and better every time, so here we go with the 5th installment. See you by the pool!”

Tine Tempah loves Ibiza and Ibiza loves him.  A firm fan favourite with a high-energy, captivating live show, Tinie will be Balearic bound once more to wow the crowds with new material and huge hits including his UK No.1 single ‘Not Letting Go’ wihich features fellow Rocks artist Jess Glynne.

With over 15 million record sales under their belt, pioneering dance outfit Faithless were one of the first acts to play Ibiza Rocks in 2005 and reunited last summer to celebrate their 20th anniversary, performing as part of Radio 1’s ’20 Years in Ibiza’ weekend at Ibiza Rocks Hotel.  It is with huge excitement that Ibiza Rocks welcomes the band back for a full headline Ibiza Rocks show in August.

The Ibiza Rocks brand consistently boasts a bill crammed with the biggest international artists, best breakthrough talent and cutting edge DJs.  Summer 2015 will see the celebration of Ibiza Rocks 11th Birthday during the 14 weeklong season of spectacular outdoor gigs.

Shane Murray, Brand Director, Ibiza Rocks Group said: “This year is hugely exciting for us at Ibiza Rocks as we embark on our second decade on the island. LCD Soundsystem debuted for us way back in 2004 for a show that was pivotal in inspiring our live music revolution in Ibiza. It felt special – upstart promoters and a maverick producer challenging the way things were. They return as one of the world’s biggest bands and we couldn’t be prouder. With Faithless and Major Lazer Soundsystem joining us we’ve got three global festival headliners at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel this year and that’s because there simply isn’t another gig atmosphere like it for artists and fans alike. Then we have new talents like Slaves, Jack Garratt and Jess Glynne who we’ve brought up through the ranks from support slots to headliners and firm favourites like Tinie Tempah and Kaiser Chiefs who consistently put on a brilliant live show. There’s more to come and we can’t wait.”

Ibiza Rocks 2016 line up so far:

15/06  OPENING PARTY WITH SLAVES
29/06  JACK GARRATT  | HONNE
06/07  IBIZA ROCKS BIRTHDAY (PART 1) WITH LCD SOUNDSYSTEM 
13/07 IBIZA ROCKS BIRTHDAY (PART 2) WITH MAJOR LAZER SOUNDSYSTEM  
20/07 JESS GLYNNE  
27/07 TINIE TEMPAH
03/08 KAISER CHIEFS
31/08 FAITHLESS

Ibiza Rocks every Wednesday from 15th June – 14th September 2016
We Are Rockstars every Friday from 3rd June – 16th September 2016
Craig David’s TS5 Pool Party every Sunday – 17th July  – 4th September 2016

James Bay set to headline Boardmasters 2016

Boardmasters, Cornwall’s own surf and music festival, has today announced its first headline act set to take to the main stage this summer will be UK singer-songwriter of the moment, James Bay. Boardmasters returns to the stunning sun-drenched Cornish coastline for another year, giving festivalgoers the best in surf and music. The festival runs from Wednesday 10 – Sunday 14 August 2016.

British homegrown talent, James Bay is riding the wave of platinum-selling success, with his No.1 debut album, ‘Chaos and the Calm’, featuring one of the biggest hits of the year ‘Hold Back The River’ and his current worldwide tour is selling fast. Having been honoured with the Critic’s Choice award at last year’s BRIT’s, he’s been nominated for a massive four awards at the 2016 ceremony and is also in the running for three Grammys. Continuing its role in bringing the hottest new acts to the South West, Boardmasters is stoked to welcome James Bay as he continues to dominate the UK and global music scene.  Fans are in for a treat, with James Bay set to put on a spellbinding performance when he takes to the main stage for his first headline appearance.

Boardmasters has also announced further acts to perform at this year’s festival. First up is the undisputed king of the UK garage sceneCraig David, tipped as one of the most hotly-anticipated comeback acts of 2016, with his latest hit ‘When The Bassline Drops’ currently storming the charts. Also announced are some of the UK’s hottest music acts – Kaiser Chiefs, Jamie Lawson who signed to Ed Sheeran’s record label last year, Example, Sigma, Wilkinson, BRITs British Breakthrough Act nominee Wolf AliceJack Savoretti, Gabrielle Aplin, MNEK, Nahko and Medicine for the People who will join James Bay and Craig David for what’s sure to be a weekend of high-octane performances from the biggest names in music. 

Camp Bestival 2015 Review

Camp Bestival, the spin-off to the Isle of Wight legend, Bestival, is nothing short of a festival treasure. Lovingly curated by DJ Rob da Bank and his wife Josie, this is a festival exclusively for families and offers one of the most varied musical line-ups alongside children’s attractions and huge television stars.

From the moment you pull up in the car park, you know this is a festival that is going to work out those leg muscles, with everything built on steep hills covering an area the size of a small town! 

Arriving on the Thursday, before the festival really starts, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was going to be a small and unassuming event, with only a few stalls (thankfully including Nandos!) and one arena open, it was easy to believe that this was going to be a weekend that dragged. However, this initial belief was proved wrong from first thing Friday morning with an amazing opening set by the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band to warm the crowds. 

With the Blue Coats keeping the crowds happy it was not long before everyone was on their feet and laughing along to Dick and Dom’s performance of ‘Dick v Dom Go Wild!’ – an act full of audience participation and lots of water guns and a foam fight, the adults were laughing along with the kids at all the obvious innuendos and humorous use of Richard’s nickname. 

The first day flew by quickly with plenty to see and do such as the Insect Circus, the multiple fairground rides and interactive experiments at the Science Museum tent. Before you knew it you were pitched up back at the main stage watching the sun set to the pounding beat of Professor Green and Clean Bandit before a slow crawl back up the hill to the camping site and a steaming cup of tea brewed over the gas stove. 

After a long night anyone would expect it to be a rather quiet and slow morning… But at a festival full of little ones, and Mr Tumble opening the main stage it was a rather early, and very excitable morning! After a set of ‘Hello Hello’, the ‘Hokey Cokey’ and ‘Old MacDonald’s Farm’, the parents were screaming for a break while the kids were ready for some more! My day was spent lazily roaming the huge site, visiting the wall of death, riding the carousel and enjoying more of the fantastic food on offer (as well as trying out the ‘Solar Power Shower Tower’), winding down to Level 42 with a box, yes a box, of Rosé was just what was needed!

With Kaiser Chiefs rocking the stage until late into the night, it was yet another late night, with everyone sadly trailing back to the tent after an explosive set fuelled by classics such as ‘Riot’ and ‘Ruby’, more tea, but yet another early morning!

Sunday’s stage times left a trail of confused festival go-er’s with Ella Henderson and Bob Geldof swapping stage times. While there was an notice on the website, and also on the screens to the side of the main stage, there was still a lot of confusion which left many fans unable to watch their favourite act. One lady said that her young daughter was watching another act over at the Big Top and ended up missing Ella Henderson, who was her main motive for booking the ticket. 

The disappointment was short-lived however as Ella Henderson smashed her set and paved the way for the amazing Kent duo, Slaves, who powered through their set with just two drums, symbols, and a pleasing lack of shirts, with a guest appearance from a friendly manta-ray. Soul II Soul graced the stage next with a set of classics, such as ‘Back to Life’ which gracefully slipped into a blazing set by Ella Eyre which got everyone smiling as we waited patiently for the night’s headlines, Underworld, to take the stage.

As Underworld’s set slowly came to a close, the crowd all turned around to watch the spectacular fireworks which closed the entire festival.

The final trek back to the tents was slow and with everyone slowly coming down from the amazing high of the weekend at the realisation that it was all over, the air was thick with mixed feelings. 

Monday morning was another early rise but everyone was moving slowly. The tents slowly disappeared in a slow trail of little truck’s being pulled up another hill to the car park, it was clear that this amazing festival was one that would be missed by all those in attendance, until next year at least.

Kendal Calling announce family entertainment and cinema lineup

With the summer on our doorstep and festival season fast approaching, it’s nearly time for festival goers to descend on Lowther Deer Park in the beautiful Lake District for the sold out Kendal Calling 2015!

With the huge music lineup including headliners Elbow, Snoop Dogg, Kaiser Chiefs, The Vaccines and James, the festival is pleased to announce its family and kids programme for the year. With an ever-present focus on fun for all ages this year there is plenty to do for the whole family.

Kids Calling 2015 presents The Little Bugs Hub! The 2015 kid's theme is BUGS and Kendal is buzzing to bring festival goers the biggest and best kid's offering for Kendal Calling's 10th birthday. Kendal kids are invited to the BUG BIRTHDAY BASH and all festival long families can expect a hive of activity including games, creative performance, madcap mayhem, chill out zones and critter craft activities to decorate your little bugs and The Little Bugs Hub!

A huge array of other performance art, theatre and entertainment will be happening over the weekend. Marie Celestial is a very special commissioned performance including a mixture of aerial, circus, acrobatics, dance and theatre where you can explore curiosity with child like wonder. Walkabout pirate crew and all round loveable rogues Desperate Men will also be thrilling festival goers as will the interactive puppetry of Flying Buttresses Present: Hodman Dodmariott and Sally Forth.

Although jam-packed with entertainment, Kids Calling is a welcoming beautiful area for families with children from 0 – 10, shaded by lovely teepees and activity bell-tents for under 3's, where parents and little ones can relax and take time out from the crowds.

Kids’ TV favourite Alex Winters from CBeebies will be hosting the ever-popular kids’ version of Tim Burgess’ on site café, Tiny Tim Peaks. Full of hula hoops, temporary tattoos, giant jenga and face painting too. Other activities include a cartoon workshop with Tony Husband, incredible crafts class ‘Hey Ho, Let’s Sew’ and Andy Hunt’s DJ;ing masterclass for the teenage future DJs on site.

This year the cinema returns by popular demand with its own all day venue for any festival goers looking for a breather or just to enjoy one of their favourites in great company. Film fans of all ages can enjoy music docs, blockbusters, kids favourites and cult classics like Levellers: A Curious Life, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Happy Gilmour, Big Hero 6, The Big Lebowski, Ghostbusters, Mr Nice, Indiana Jones, Aliens, Terminator 2  and The Thing.

Other activities on offer include:

  • Big Fish Little Fish – Kendal Calling's first ever Kids rave.
  • Bug Training
  • Insect Olympics
  • Birthday Cupcake Decorating
  • The Bugs Birthday Bash Party 
  • Fancy Dress Parade
  • Early Evening Family Cabaret Featuring Kids Comedian James Campbell
  • Parkour (the art of freerunning)
  • Mufti Does Games – Huge boardgames including Battleships and Hangman.

Elbow, Snoop Dogg, Kaiser Chiefs lead Kendal Calling 2015 lineup

It is with great delight that the festival welcomes Elbow to the Lake District for a northern festival exclusive.  One of the most beloved and revered British acts of recent times, Elbow will headline the main stage in the fashion which has seen them rise over six studio albums  to become arena-filling voices of the nation. Their tales of love and wonder are sure to echo around the Lake District, and their headline performance will be a defining moment in a decade of Kendal Calling history.

Hip Hop phenomenon Snoop Dogg will make a headline appearance on the Sunday.  Snoop has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and will bring some Californian sunshine to the Lake District.  With an arsenal of hit singles and a reputation as one of the most powerful live bands in the country, Kaiser Chiefs are an explosive headline performer and are certain to see Kendal Calling out in fitting style.

Indie upstarts The Vaccines have cemented their position as the most exciting young band in British music. They burst onto the scene in 2011 quickly rising through the ranks with two hugely commercially successful albums and their new album English Graffiti is due out this year. 

The return of James to Kendal Calling for the 10th anniversary celebrations sees these quixotic Mancunians close the festival on the Thursday. James have had a staggering 30 year career and their huge catalogue of sing-along anthems is sure to provide a remarkable finale to the first ever Thursday night festivities.

Other main stage highlights from the first announcement include acclaimed singer-songwriter and Mercury Award nominee Nick Muvley, psychedelic rockers, The Horrors, Brit-Award winning songstress Ella Eyre, political bard Billy Bragg, edgy folk star Lucy Rose and the folk confessionals of Emmy The Great.  Kodaline will be bringing their epic stadium rock to the lakes to compliment indie stalwarts Embrace, pioneering British club act Soul II Soul, classic British rockers the Levellers and UK Afrobeat artist and TINA pioneer Fuse ODG.

The phenomenal Public Service Broadcasting will headline in the Calling Out stage. Other acts performing here include 2014’s breakout rapper and poet Kate Tempest, Bipolar SunshineHyde & BeastBlack Honey and many more. 

Local heroes British Sea Power make a welcome return having played the very first Kendal Calling festival 10 year ago and they will headline the beautiful Woodlands stage.  It wouldn’t be Kendal Calling without an appearance from veteran tea drinker and musical maverick Mr Scruff and a full dance programme of the most pioneering electronic music is due to be announced in the much revered Glow Tent.

This is just the beginning!  Many more acts will be announced including the full Glow Tent, Calling OutChai Wallah and Woodlands line-up’s and much, much more.

Full lineup announcement:

ELBOW, SNOOP DOGG, KAISER CHIEFS, THE VACCINES AND JAMES ALL HEADLINE

KODALINE / THE LEVELLERS / THE HORRORS / ELLA EYRE / EMBRACE / NICK MULVEY / BILLY BRAGG /SOUL II SOUL / BRITISH SEA POWER / FUSE ODG / LUCY ROSE / PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING / KATE TEMPEST MR SCRUFF / EMMY THE GREAT / BIPOLAR SUNSHINE / THE BOHICAS / PALACE  / TURBOWOLF / WALKING ON CARS / PORT ISLA / BLACK HONEY / FLYTE HYDE & BEAST / REMI MILES / MAN MADE / TREASON KINGS / NIGHT FLOWERS / THE LANCASHIRE HOTPOTS

MR B THE GENTLEMAN RHYMER / LISBON / JEZ KERR / THE WATCHMAKERS / BAGGY MONDAYS / DAVE HASLAM / ACOUSTICA PRESENTS / RIDING THE LOW / FEED THE KID / JAMES ATKIN / GARETH BROOKS (XFM) / BEAT BOUTIQUE / JUICY DJS / GOOD VIBERATIONS / NORTHERN SOUL DANCE CLASSES / DJ MEGATUNE / EVERLY PREGNANT BROTHERS / YUCATAN / MY LITTLE BROTHER’S CHRISTMAS PARTY / AVEC SANS / FREEK’N / NORTHSIDE

The Who to play British Summer Time Hyde Park 2015

One of the greatest live bands of all time, THE WHO will take to the Great Oak Stage in London’s iconic Hyde Park on Friday 26th June with very special guests PAUL WELLER, KAISER CHIEFS AND JOHNNY MARR and others to be announced. The all-day bill will feature many more brilliant acts who owe an artistic debt to one of the most influential of all British bands. Tickets are on general sale 9am Thursday 20 November.

The band, who recently released a career-spanning set and were the subject of a rapturous sold out tribute show at Shepherds Bush Empire, are about to undertake the ten date WHO HITS 50 UK tour including two shows at the London O2 Arena.  During these shows  the band will take their audience on an ‘Amazing Journey’ through their entire career from the days of THE HIGH NUMBERS to classic albums such as WHO’S NEXT, TOMMYQUADROPHENIA, MY GENERATION, LIVE AT LEEDS up to the present day.

Hyde Park will be the final UK show of the ‘WHO HITS FIFTY’ tour which ROGER DALTREY described as “This is the beginning of the long goodbye."

Friday 26th June will see THE WHO play Hyde Park for the fourth and possibly final time (three times as headliners and once as part of Live 8) they join Taylor Swift, performing on Saturday 27th June as part of an incredible array of talent who will make Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park the greatest music experience of the summer.

THE WHO’s very special guests include PAUL WELLER, widely considered to be one of the UK’s greatest song writers, has just released his second best of compilation ‘More Modern Classics’ with a new album due in 2015Weller has had a lifelong relationship with The Who, citing them as an early influence, covering their songs whilst in The Jam and playing with both Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey at Teenage Cancer Trust shows.

KAISER CHIEFS will also be playing on the 26th June, the band are riding high off the back of their ‘Education, Education, Education And War’ album which has been widely hailed as a return to form. The band have a long history with The Who from playing early Teenage Cancer Trust Shows, covering Pinball Wizard at the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony and singer Ricky Wilson performing at The Who Hits 50 tribute show at Shepherds Bush Empire.

JOHNNY MARR who has just released his second solo album ‘Playland‘ will be making his Hyde Park debut. The legendary guitarist also has history with The Who, in the early days of Oasis (specifically in the ‘Live Forever’ video) Noel Gallagher used to play a 1960’s Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar lent to him by Johnny who in turn had originally bought it from The Who’s Pete Townshend.

AEG Live, The Royal Parks and Barclaycard are proud to present the third year of this unique and world-class event.  Over the past two years, hundreds of thousands of fans have been entertained and 2015 will be no exception. As well as the huge ticketed headliners the midweek activities will return with free access for park visitors to enjoy film, music, sport and literature.

Jim King, Senior Vice President Live Events, said: "The Who are THE consummate live band and we are extremely excited to bring them back to Hyde Park. In addition to Paul Weller, there will be a great bill of artists who have been influenced by The Who over the years and we look forward to what will be a full day of fantastic music.”

Penelope Boyd Head of Events and Filming at The Royal Parks, said“Next year’s BST Hyde Park is already shaping up to be the must see event of 2015 – bringing a diverse range of entertainment to the heart of the capital with Taylor Swift making her Hyde Park debut on the Saturday night and now The Who making a welcome return on the Friday.”

V Festival 2014 Review – Chelmsford

This years V Festival saw 120,000 revelers over the twin site event who were in luck for some supreme delights. In its 19th year there was a whole host of different acts on offer for festivalgoers. From disco to indie to dance to good old-fashioned Rock n Roll. there was certainly something for everyone.

Dublin band Kodaline kicked off Saturday at V Festival Chelmsford with summer sing-alongs.  Setting the tone for the day with uplifting songs the crowd were in full verse by the time they belted out their well known hit ‘High Hopes’.

It’s been a long time since one man and his piano sparked such an engaged crowd as Tom Odell managed. Even though the onlookers did not seem old enough to have experienced such angst ridden relationships; Odell had them jumping along to ‘Another Love’, whilst the blues hipster passionately pounded the keys.

With all the classics, Kaiser Chiefs reminded the crowd why they were all there., to have a bloody good time. Ricky Wilson put in a performance to answer all the critics, running up and down the stage more times than anyone could count, he was back in full form, even surprising the backstage crew when he went slightly too far. Ricky’s passion could not be mistaken; he puts everything into the performance. Evidently someone is prompting him that this is to sell records as between the mosh pit inducing hits he enlightens the audience that they are the Kaiser Chiefs and that the new album ‘ Education, Education, Education and War‘ is out now. Clearly agitated from the sound of Bastille’s drums in his ear, Ricky mischievously jokes with the stagehands before lifting everyone with the ‘Angry Mob’ and ‘Oh My God’.

Meanwhile there was no mistaking the summer vibes of the Wailers on the MTV Stage, how can you resist singing along to tunes such as ‘Jammin’, ‘ One Love’, ‘Could You Be Loved’. Everyone left beaming from side to side.

Back on main stage was the penultimate act before what everyone had been waiting for.  Ed Sheeran, one man and his guitar, brought the vibe to serve as the perfect warm up act for JT.

The stage was set, the crowd were pumping, the most anticipated set of V was ready to kick off. JT certainly brought sexy back  looking suave as ever in Tom Ford suit and backed by The Tennessee Kids, could be mistaken as arrogant but no he actually looked overwhelmed at ‘how far back you all go’. Hit after hit,  in a perfectly polished fashion that you would expect from this superstar, the night was Timberlake’s.

Even festivalgoers who would not admit to being Timberlake fans were swept into it, everyone singing every song. The acoustic rendition of What Goes Around (Comes Back Around) was a highlight of the night.  Justin served what appears to now be the theme of this weekends V Festival taking a selfie with a fan.  He wowed the fans at every moment, didn’t put a step wrong and was pitch perfect. The crowd obligingly taking their part in Senorita, finishing the night with ‘SexyBack’ and ‘Mirrors’ everyone wanted to leave with you, Justin.

Sunday started with threatening skies, you couldn’t blame fans for hiding in the comedy tent. Newton Faulkner brought out the sunshine and the crowds on the gloomy Sunday. Followed by San Francisco band Train, with hits ‘Hey Soul Sister’, ‘Marry Me’, ‘If Its Love’ they even managed to get Bananaman crowd surfing.  Pat Monahan gets the award of the weekend for the most selfies taken, it would appear that everyone in the front row has a piece of photo memorabilia.

Closing the set with ‘Drops of Jupiter’ the crowd was well and truly warmed up for the party that was about to ensue Nile Rodgers and Chic.

The most lovable performance of the weekend goes to veterans Nile Rodgers and Chic. Who knew how many hits Nile Rodgers had written. He is a true legend, inspiring character, telling the crowd how he battled cancer by going out and living life. Using music the way it was intended, uplifting everyones spirits and bringing the funk to V. It was true carnival atmosphere. Too many hits to believe one man wrote them all; ‘I Want Your Love’, ‘I’m Coming Out’, ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Lets Dance’, ‘Get Lucky’, the list is endless. No one was standing still, jiving along, doing the salsa as the legend requested. Fifty lucky punters were brought on stage for the last song and all the rules were broken. Nile Rodgers left everyone exhilarated wanting more.

Rizzle Kicks brought the largest crowd to the MTV stage, all ages, connected for ‘The Lost Generation’. Two hip-hop boys who genuinely looked like they were having a blast in the middle of this corporate festival. What a sight to see 15,000 people ‘Doing the Hump’.

Lily Allen looking svelte as ever bounded onto stage in a silver leather catsuit. Lily baffled a large number of the crowd with a stage full of milk bottles, as if people needed to be reminded she is now a mother. Allen did feel the need to quash rumours of a split with her husband, and passionately sang ‘As Long As I Got You’.  This performance felt like it was a big ‘Fuck You’ to all the critics along the way, comparing her song ‘LDN’ to a William Blake poem, this was lost on the festivalgoers.

Paolo Nutini followed in Allen’s footsteps intriguing the audience by appearing in a different world. Whilst slurring when speaking, "feeling a little bit drink" he was mysteriously in tune when singing. With hits ‘Jenny Don’t Be Hasty’ and ‘New Shoes’ providing the perfect warm up for The Killers.

Embrace vs The Killers. The clash of the weekend. Embrace were back after an 8 year break from the festival. Whilst having one of the worst clashes of the weekend, with The Killers, the McNamara brothers attracted a 300 strong crowd . With festival favorites ‘Come Back To What You Know’ and  'One Big Family’ Embrace have certainly hit the ground running on this comeback. Fans lucky enough to have got tickets to their now infamous Secret Festival are in for a treat. Danny was very proud of his "little brother Rich" encouraging everyone to dance, with Danny himself joining the fans in an out of character dance along.

Meanwhilst completing the all American headline, Brandon Flowers of The Killers stormed onto stage in a glittery purple suit. Ever crowd pleasing, ‘Somebody Told Me’ was the first of a multitude of triumphant songs. After a few beats  everyone was set for 90 minutes of singing, word for word, all the tunes.  The classics from Hot Fuss, pulled the most promising reaction, with a handful of covers driving the audience to a new level of excitement. Jimmy Carr, comedian, introduced the band for a well received encore. The Killers closed the festival with ‘Mr Brightside’ and the obligatory fireworks.

V Festival certainly had something for everyone this year, VIP bar, posh toilets, celebrity packed Louder Lounge, hammocks, comedy, funfair, skydivers and of course a plethora of music acts. As the sun goes down on another year, the organizers set the bar high for next years 20th anniversary.