Bingley Weekender had some teething problems, but overall gave Getintothis’ Conor Baxter a fine time at on the of the summer’s smaller festivals.
A lineup which gave Bingley Weekender so much promise, but on occasions did fall flat.
It raises wider questions about just how big local festivals can become when they sit in the shadow of big neighbouring cities such as Leeds and lose the funding powers of the local council.
To clear up any confusion, you may have heard of Bingley Live, the predecessor to Bingley Weekender which has ran for many years. That was an event ran by Bradford Council who rather controversially cancelled the event this year.
Bingley Weekender was run as an alternative, hosted at Bingley Rugby Club. The event organiser, Glen Shaw, is president of the club and SSD Concerts who were leading on organising Bingley Live. Glen saw the opportunity to keep live music in Bingley and the surrounding areas, and for that we say thank you for giving us a weekend with some hugely memorable moments.
On the whole it was a brilliant local festival, but with some big acts booked the marketing had to be brilliant to pull in people from further afield to fill the festival grounds.
For us, that’s where Bingley Weekender struggled somewhat, and it’s easy to see why. With just a few months to create social media accounts and get the message out there, it was always going to be difficult – especially off the back of an announcement that “Bingley has been cancelled” just months before.
Budgets were clearly stretched and the organisation of the event could have been better, with scaffolding still being erected after the crowd were held back for fifteen minutes on the opening day to get in the grounds.
Once in, we were held by the Discovery Stage and food stalls until the main stage was ready.
We actually didn’t mind that, and Saint Agnes certainly didn’t as it meant that as the opening act on the Discovery Stage, people had no choice but to listen to them absolutely smash their set. Louis Berry would have to wait until the disabled section was built by the main stage before he could do the same.
There were a few more slip-ups throughout the weekend. The most notable one being when Craig Charles came to the stage to announce he had no decks to play on.
He said he was asked what technical specifications he needed. Craig said he would require two Pioneer CDJ’s and a mixer. Unfortunately someone forgot to book them. Meaning Craig’s cameo at Bingley lasted two minutes and without a song being played. Definitely not the publicity Bingley Weekender wanted or needed.
Earlier that day The Night Café pulled out due to illness in the band. That was two big acts no longer performing on the Saturday.
We must also mention that we saw a teenager unfortunately fall ill amongst the crowd and it definitely could have been handled better. With a small festival site, it shouldn’t have taken so long for the medical staff to get to him.
When they did more should have been done by the security to control the crowd around him. At one point a member of the crowd (who said she was a nurse) began some pushing and shoving over the ill teenager’s body over a dispute as to what to do with him. She was clearly unhappy that he was being taken in a wheelchair when she thought he was “unresponsive”.
We can’t comment on who was right or wrong, but it seems when it came down to it, the security and organisation around that situation was found wanting. Which is a huge shame as we didn’t see another situation like this all weekend. It very much was a family atmosphere.
However, this is where the difficulties ended, as what we saw more than anything else at Bingley Weekender was brilliant live music. Whoever booked the acts deserves a huge congratulations as the lineup was brilliant. It was the perfect lineup for anyone into new music, with some heavy hitters such as Circa Waves, Ocean Colour Scene, James, and some musical diversity thrown in for good measure – most notably was a great set from Patawawa.
— brevin11 (@brevin11) September 2, 2019
It really did have a feel of the local community coming together to support live music. Which at times felt a little off with bands like Idles ready and waiting to bring huge energy off the back of a world tour on the Friday night.
It seemed it was more than a few teenagers’ first festival, allowed to come to Bingley Weekender before graduating to Leeds Festival the next year, perhaps. But they were treated to some brilliant moments. Circa Waves on the Saturday night saw the first pyrotechnical show of the weekend, coming in the form of a few flairs from the bucket hats front and centre.
The New Music Stage produced some fantastic sets from acts hailing from he Leeds area. Fudge were great value for money, and Apollo Junction pulled in a huge crowd for the smallest stage at the festival.
Ten Tonnes looks like he is going from strength to strength. The Sunday lineup was especially strong, but seeing him perform at 2pm did seem a little strange. The Discover Stage saw strong performances from Anteros, and The Snuts. Both of who pulled in a decent sized crowd and played brilliant sets.
Idles were, as expected absolutely incredible and was the perfect way to get the festival started. We had never seen so many Idles t-shirts at a festival they were playing. Their post-punk view on the world certainly reaches up north too. Tom Grennan continues to go from strength to strength.
It seems a shame that Sports Team clashed with them, as that set deserved to be seen by more people.
Take everything else away, £90 for a weekend ticket, it firmly sits in the bracket of “absolute bargain”. It’s great to see live music can still be found at affordable prices, especially off the back of the Council pulling their funding for the area.
It seems on reflection somewhat of a crime that more people didn’t go. We’re not sure if people from further afield weren’t aware of it, or if they didn’t fancy traveling to Bingley.
But for us, it was a brilliant weekend, some teething issues of course – as to be expected in year one. Our hopes are that these creases get ironed out for next year and if the line up is as strong as it was this weekend, that we are in for another superb weekend of music.
Getintothis’ top acts of the weekend
Opening to perhaps a larger crowd than they expected. They owned their set. We can’t talk about Saint Agnes without talking about the chemistry between lead singer Kitty and lead guitarist Jon. It leads you to ask more and more questions as the set plays out in front of you. Move Like a Ghost is the one to listen to if you are just discovering them. A strong stage presence and no doubt, bigger stages to play in the near future.
The stand out band from Leeds at the moment. Hitting you with a wall of sound mid song that makes anyone stand up and listen, even from the rugby stand way back. “This is the most fun you can have on a rugby filled without being in a scrum” and “Get on your mates shoulders, there is absolutely no health and safety rules that tell you not to” ensured that the crowd got into the set as it progressed. It was such a strong 30 minute set, one of the acts we wanted to play for longer. They’re supporting The Sherlocks on tour in November, The Olympia would be a great venue see them live for the first time.
Never one to shy away from the Elephant in the room. Sports Team chose to interact with two “energetic” teens on the front row by asking them “What have you two been taking? You’re at family fete for gods sake” before climbing to the very top of the scaffolding around the stage to perform Kutcher. Sports Team were brilliant, they’re got something about them that keeps you asking questions long after they perform. They have a lead singer who always pulls out a great performance, and a band member who seems to do nothing much else than shake his Tic-Tacs and wonder off to open another can back stage. Either way, we are here for it. Undoubtedly one of the top sets of the weekend.
There’s not much more to say about Idles that hasn’t already been said before. Whilst this won’t be a set that lives long in their memory, it certainly will for many in the audience. Unbelievable stage presence and playing many of their more notable tunes – opting to leave out Scum. “Don’t boo us because it is our last song. Boo the stage management who made us come on late. We were here very much on time”.
Scottish band The Snuts seem to have been around for a while now. Glasgow is the song many will know, especially those from that area. But they played a full-on set which held the audience throughout. Their tour dates are selling out fast. The Arts Club on September 14 is a notable one to sell out recently.
Patawawa apparently are categorised as indie/disco, but for us this is a pure disco. The tempo throughout their set allowed for the first two-steps of the weekend to be stomped into the rugby pitch. There were an absolute joy to witness live. It added a vibe to the festival that was somewhat lacking. Dare To Disco for us is their stand out single. Their music is a mix between poolside and outright disco. There is a variety of soothing and punchy vocals, mixed with a BPM which made us wish the set wouldn’t end. A welcome alternative at Bingley, and a band showing a lot of promise both on the stage and in the studio with their new single That Guy about to drop soon.
Images by Getintothis’ Conor Baxter