It started in 1991 as part of a program to get people back into parks, and has survived every cut, the withdrawal of its local radio backer, and attempts to fill it full of tribute bands. Now Bingley Music Live is one of the biggest and arguably best music events in West Yorkshire full stop, let alone in Bradford.
The Music at Myrtle / Party in the Park format that had been an annual event in Bingley’s Myrtle Park was axed in 2006 when local radio station The Pulse withdrew from the event. But the Bradford public pressured the Council to bring it back, and so Bingley Music Live rose from the flames in 2007, independent, and arguably better for it.
Festival Manager Andrew Wood recalls the uphill struggle he had getting the festival out of the ‘lame Council event’ bracket and into the major music event league.
For Andrew, whose beginnings in the Council were more to do with the horticulture of the parks than of the management of any live music events, this is a hugely successful project that has only grown beyond the reach of anything that budget cuts or bad taste could do to stop it. “I remember my director saying ‘I want you to put Bjorn Again on, they’re the best ABBA tribute band going’, and I said if I didn’t get any of the bands I wanted then I would book Bjorn Again, so that was my challenge.
“Luckily I managed to get From The Jam – which is The Jam without Paul Weller – and the Bluetones, but it was a struggle to get bands with no real history behind the event. Agents wouldn’t put their bands on at an unknown festival because they thought anything ‘local’ wasn’t going to be well run. But then we got Ocean Colour Scene and just built on that.”
Last year’s festival had Public Image Ltd, Reef, Seasick Steve, Levellers, GAGGLE, Hadouken!, Sound Of Guns, Dreadzone, Dan Le Sac Vs Scoobius Pip, Example and Professor Green over the course of three days, with one day being free entry, and a weekend ticket being a bargainous ÃÂ£30.
The location certainly helps, with Myrtle Park being an impressively lush setting, and so close to the town centre that the bogs and bars of local pubs supplement those of the actual festival for a lot of punters.
Camping isn’t available on site, but if people really want to camp, the festival website tells them where. Even better, though, is just to realise that this is in a park, not the middle of nowhere, so just stay in a B&B you nutter.
Bingley Music Live 2011 Line-up
saturday 3 september
sunday 4 september