One of the best things about Bingley is its intimacy. You don’t have to trek miles to get from your tent to the stage, or from the stage to the food, or from the food to the toilets.
It also means that you can get really close to the bands and artists that you love and see the sweat bead on their foreheads (if you’re into that sort of thing). Another great feature of this festival is the eclectic nature of the acts that perform. From 60s motown legends through to morbid indie bands to modern dubstep artists, there is something for everyone, and people from all walks of life turn up.
Narrowly avoiding girl band Stooshie (think wannabe P!nk x3), the Soundsphere team arrive just in time for Kids In Glass Houses. Really working the crowd, the welsh pop-punk rock band had everyone bopping along to favourites such as ‘Give Me What I Want’ and ‘Matters At All” as well as a song from their newest record, ‘In Gold Blood’ that (most of) the public have not yet heard. Encouraging the crowd to “dance like idiots”, the vocalist Aled Phillips proceeds to lead the charge and bounce like a fool enjoying the music and managed to tangle himself in the mic cord. Thoroughly entertaining.
Next up, a bit of classic 60s motown from Martha Reeves And The Vandellas. Not our usual fare here at Soundsphere but there was no denying that Martha belts out those well-known songs with style and grace.
The Charlatans are on the main stage next, and the lead singer Tim Burgess’ bleach blonde crop of hair and grungy style evoked britpop 90s perfectly, though being able to see his face might have been nice. They give a stellar performance, performing songs from their back-catalogue such as ‘The Only One I Know’ that the crowd sang along to and enjoyed immensely.
Making it in to the arena at about 3pm, The Jim Jones Revue are playing and they own the stage with their old school bluesy rock and roll. A fun set, they seem to enjoy their time entertaining the masses. Space. The final frontier? Nope, a 90’s Liverpudlian band that rocked the world with the words: “Shock shock horror horror, shock shock horror/ The female of the species is more deadly than the male” back in the day. An enjoyable watch, their stage presence verges on the edge of magic act (see the keyboardist’s fez for proof) but their newer tracks like ‘Attack Of The Fifty Foot Kebab’ are endlessly entertaining, if nothing new.
Deciding to miss a young woman named Delilah on the account of she was too poppy and R&B inclined for our untrained ears, we head back to the stage for The Pigeon Detectives (pictured above, in the intro). The whole band is full of energy, soon the lead Matt Bowman’s usual curly mop is wet from sweat as he put his all into the performance. A Yorkshire band, they play popular songs ‘Take Her Back’, ‘I Found Out’ and ‘I’m Not Sorry’, rocking the crowd with their high-energy indie rock.
Headlining act Razorlight finish off the day pleasantly with their name in lights and their brand of soft messy-haired indie hooks. Playing such hits as ‘In The Morning’ and ‘Golden Touch’ as well as all the others, Razorlight perform their songs with the expected gusto and there is (honestly) nothing to fault.
The night ends spectacularly with a bout of stunning fireworks that reaffirms why Bingley is growing in popularity – that feeling that the organisers really care about everyone who attends.
The last day of the festival; the sun is shining and the people are happy. Not least because Norwegian girl band Katzenjammer are on the main stage. Their blend of folk, pop rock and country is brilliant, and their happy demeanor and the way they swapped instruments every song made it impossible not to bounce along the tune and clap raucously at the end. Definitely one of the highlights of the festival. Hard-Fi are next up and they have the crowd going crazy with their pumped up guitar hooks and anthemic beats.
White Lies are the next band we choose to watch, and we wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Their uplifting sound clashes with lyrics about death, but their emotive words have people swaying and dancing while singing along.
The next artist and final act of the festival is Nero. A dubstep act, they were almost hidden behind their set, made from a wall of TVs, as well as a wall of sound. Striding on with leather jackets and sunglasses (despite it getting darker), they almost looked cool as they dropped the bass on their famous songs, ‘Crush On You’, ‘Promise’ and ‘Guilt’ among many others. Turning the festival into a rave, the younger members of the audience and the much older ones retreated into the darkness, their tents, and home.
Bingley is a festival for those who enjoy the atmosphere of eclectic music, an intimate feel and a caring, family-friendly environment. Each year it gets better and better, whether that be featuring more music, or providing a kids’ Area, Bingley is firmly set to become one of the bigger national festival names in future years.
Words: Darcie Hewitt-Dudding
Images: Jonathan Sillence