Gig Scene: BAMfest’s feast of blues and roots

BAMlive concert series - Radio 2's Paul Jones is appearing with the Blues Band next year.
BAMlive concert series - Radio 2's Paul Jones is appearing with the Blues Band next year.

By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers

It’s all go in Bedale for music fans with more famous blues and folk acts being welcomed to the town, it seems.

Not only is BAMfest returning next year bigger and better (how does The Blues Band, The Men They Couldn’t Hang and Jez Lowe sound for starters) - but organisers are also adding a news series of great live gigs before that.

The BAMlive concert series is launched with BAMfest stalwart Henry Priestman on Saturday, November 23 at The Riverside Club in Bedale with his band.

Support comes from Scottish singer Dave Gibb and local music veterans Mic and Susie Darling – who are also part of the BAMfest organising committee.

Henry has an impressive musical pedigree – he has supported major rock bands such as The Who, written music for TV and film, and was the man behind the songs for Nineties band The Christians, who had a massive hit with Ideal World.

More recently Henry has released an impressive solo album to national acclaim from the music press and also spends a lot of time in schools across Britain working with youngsters in songwriting workshops.

Henry, who has agreed to become the first appointed Patron of BAMfest said: “I am surprised, but flattered and chuffed to have been made a patron of BAMfest.

“I really enjoyed playing the festival earlier this year. It was a fantastic event and I hope I can help in any way possible to ensure that BAMfest goes from strength to strength in the future.”

Tickets for the BAMlive concert series are now on sale via the BAMfest website at or from The Green Dragon Pub and Riverside Club in Bedale.

As for next year’s actual BAMfest, local people are being offered a special discount if they purchase early bird tickets before December 31 - at some amazing prices, quite frankly.

After the success of two gigs at Henshaws in Knaresborough, especially the recent Fright Fest, musician Rufus Beckett is to launch Friday Night Mix at the same venueon November 29.

Since headlining Bedfest in the summer, Fold have really taken off, so much so, that critics’ favourites Public Service Broadcasting even asked them to remix one of their tracks.

They will be joined at the first Friday Night Mix by Modern Day Dukes and Red Ocean Nectar.

Last year’s AMP Awards winners Purple Mafia are still going strong. As well as gigging regularly, this young Ripon band gave me a sneak listen to new work in progress. Trap Door Bounce is a great little number - a bit like a poppier Bombay Bicycle Club.

Finally, I predict Harrogate’s prog rock giants Wally will come together next year for a special gig. More info when I get it. . .