The first band I saw on Sunday was Ten Tonnes. The lead is Ethan Barnett, George Ezra’s younger, a little less safe brother, and with his blend of indie and 50s Rock n Roll deserved a larger crowd. My personal favourite was ‘Born to Lose’. A great start to my day!
Next up on the main stage was Billy Bragg. He might’ve spent more time talking politics than playing, but he managed to hold your attention, even if you disagreed – even getting a few laughs out of everyone watching. When he played it was good for an old man who’s been around the block. Especially poignant was ‘New England’ dedicating it to the late Kirsty McColl and getting a rise out of the crowd who sang along in fine voice.
The weather was up and down over the whole weekend with the heaviest showers coming on the Sunday so I stuck mostly to the Main Stage, where I could at least shelter a bit. It wouldn’t be an English festival without some rain but maybe a couple more undercover areas to seek refuge in could have helped
Miles Kane was next with his rock swagger and repertoire of festival hits, but it sometimes felt as if he was impersonating Liam Gallagher with his pouting and posturing.
I’d been looking forward to seeing Anteros on the Discovery Stage, the lead singer – Laura Hayden – was captivating and had a Lady Gaga look about her. I stayed for the full set and towards the end, in what I learned is a regular occurrence at Anteros gigs, she got several young girls up on the stage to bounce and dance along with the music. It was indie pop at its finest and they are a band I will look out for in future.
The next band, Echo & the Bunnymen, sadly lacked energy and sounded a bit worn down. Going through the motions, they were the only act of the weekend to ban photos from the pit. They played the hits, but it seemed like they’d been hit pretty hard themselves.
In comparison, James were full of energy with Tim Booth coming down the runway and standing on the barrier practically in the crowd, getting a great response. His distinctive dancing was fun to watch and they sounded brilliant, even if their set relied more on recent material than crowd pleasing hits.
I have to mention the impressive performance of the event manager, SSD Concerts. The festival had an easily navigable layout, with plenty of food vendors and even the prior mentioned delay was handled as well as could have been expected.
SSD Concerts and the rest of the team have done a great job with Bingley Weekender and I’m sure they’ve learnt loads for next year. One of the things that impressed me, even though I didn’t manage to see any of the comedy acts, was the organisers willingness to listen to feedback – they moved the comedy stage to a different location mid-festival to try and improve the experience.
The overall layout was excellent with access to a variety of food vendors and drinks tents. The stages drew crowds but weren’t so packed out that people, families in particular, did not get squashed or could stand a bit further back and still feel the atmosphere.
Get ready for next year, because it seems like Bingley Weekender is firmly on the map!