Towards to tail end of the UK’s festival season calendar emerged a pocket-sized contender for one of this year’s most promising newcomers to join the party alongside the plethora of musical must-see events, from which a surprisingly early testament to it’s success story has already seen the release of ‘early-bird’ ticket sale advertisements released across numerous social media platforms for a return event in 2020. We welcome into the frame – the Bingley Weekender Festival.
Located west of Leeds in the picturesque Aire Valley town of Bingley, Weekender plants itself in the grounds of Bradford & Bingley Sports Club by the banks of the river Aire, over conveniently arranged training grounds and sports pitches which combine to provide plentiful event arena space for a dominant main stage and two subservient stages, all within close proximity for easy migration between, and with surprisingly minimal sound crossover allowing artists to perform simultaneously on all stages across the fields.
Not to be mistaken with the more established Council organised Bingley Festival which takes place annually in Myrtle Park, Weekender boasts an easily accessible family-friendly three day event across three music stages, a variety stage, numerous event activity tents and a dedicated camping site. Catering by an adequate array of carefully selected niche eateries and refreshments opposed to the ubiquitous fast food outlets found at the larger festivals and with a capacity of circa 5,000, you’re not going to find yourself in tiresome queues for slices of soggy pizza and lacklustre beverages. Instead, expect more rustic options such as boutique pizza served from the flaming ovens skilfully engineered into a vintage Dodge Camper, crepes and wraps and a variety of bespoke cocktails and quality beverages on tap. There’s also a large beer marquee and clubhouse facilities for VIP and artists, a plentiful array of toilet facilities and substantial recreational space.
The main stage sited on the rugby pitches gets a careful rubberised matting cover, so ideal in the event of a downpour and for group gatherings and kids activities. No wellies and mud-slides here! All credit too for the ground staff who kept the arena litter-free for the duration with what appeared to be the much welcomed sight of a limited use and dispersal of plastics. The adjacent spectator terrace providing an ideal seated and unobstructed view of the main stage with the advantage of a canopy roof, raised banking perimeter viewpoints and a dedicated accessible viewing platform.
The artist line-up certainly appealed, with diversity across mainstream rock and pop, echoes of brit-pop, indie-rock and alternative. Headliners of the three days being Ocean Colour Scene, Doves & James respectively – alongside the likes of Idles, Miles Kane, Gang of 4 and Tom Grennan. Importantly the neighbouring stages presented opportunities to showcase the talents of local and regionally based emerging bands, all of which had excellent lighting and sound facilities.
Despite initial teething problems with the delayed completion of the main stage halting entry for some of the more eager attendees, and Craig Charles’ equipment not being to hand therefore couldn’t not perform his ‘Funk & Soul Show’, the festival proved a remarkably enjoyable success owing to the efficiency and professionalism of the stage management and event staff coordination and promotions – SSD Concerts
For full photography coverage – visit here: https://jamesamumbyphotography.co.uk/portfolio/bingley-weekender-2019/