Pop Up Record Shop Day: Bedford – live event review

Pop Up Record Shop Day
10th May 2014

Bedford stages its very own Pop Up Record Shop Day and Martin Haslam joins in the fun

Like a lot of you, I’m sure, music helps to keep me sane. Not just happy, distracted or relieved. Sane. We are music obsessives; it is part of who we are, a celebration of life and a release from stress.

The loss of the record shop on every high street was, I suppose, inevitable. The internet has always been a blessing and a curse. We all love a bargain and many of us are pretty skint. On top of that, the larger brands of record shop really took us for a ride for years, with obscenely inflated prices and a severe lack of choice.

However, I still lament the loss of the local record shop. It was more than somewhere to browse and buy, at least it was in my youth in Bedford. It was somewhere to meet friends, place ads and form bands. Someone else with similar views is Alan Cooley. Since returning to Bedford, he and local music enthusiast Erica Roffe have pondered the idea of taking over a derelict high street shop, of which there are many, for an annual guerrilla style ‘pop-up record shop’. This year the plan became reality.

So, for one day, the old Pizza Hut on Bedford high street was transformed into a hive of musical activity. There were acoustic performances, a record fair, dj sets and a licensed bar (which clearly impressed the adults; hello Mr Mugridge). Local bands and artists were able to sell their products and promote themselves.

The acoustic sets were varied as expected. Sadly, I missed Cicero Buck‘s morning set and the honeyed vocals of Jonny Mudd, who I know for a fact would put the ‘soul’ boys on The Voice to shame. I will spare you details of my own short set, but The Jebs‘ (see photo right) indie-stylings went down well with the growing crowd as well as the mellow jazz tunes provided by Pillow (see photo below). Liam Burke and Adam Urwin of The Scruff brought the acoustic proceedings to a close. All in all, a varied and talented group of people who show that Bedfordians should count themselves lucky to have such a blooming music scene.

Photo above Pillow

I’m guessing we’ll see more of these events in towns around the UK giving people fed up with the absence of record shops a place for like minded music fans to meet. Certainly a good use of unused shops. Well done Alan and Erica for making this a reality. See you next year.


Artists in this review can be found on the following pages – Cicero Buck, Jonny Mudd, The Jebs, Pillow, The Scruff

All words by Martin Haslam. More work by Martin can be found in his Louder Than War archive.

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