SUMMER ends with Leeds Festival, apparently, but Charles Hutchinson begs to differ by highlighting plenty more reasons to be cheerful as nights start to lengthen.
Biggest crowd of the week: Leeds Festival, Bramham Park, near Wetherby, tomorrow (27/8/2021) to Sunday
AFTER a gap year in Covid-crocked 2020, Leeds Festival returns from tomorrow with a sold-out crowd at full capacity.
Among the first day’s top acts are headliners Lian Gallagher and Biffy Clyro, Gerry Cinnamon, Wolf Alice, Blossoms and Doncaster’s Yungblud.
Saturday’s names to watch are Stormzy, Catfish And The Bottlemen, AJ Tracey, Mabel, Sam Fender and Sports Team. Sunday promises Post Malone, Disclosure, Two Door Cinema Club, The Wombats and Slowthai.
On the other hand, Yorkshire’s gig of the week is…Shed Seven at The Piece Hall, Halifax, Saturday.
YORK favourites Shed Seven at last can go ahead with their all-Yorkshire bill after 2020’s two postponements and a move from June 26 to August 28 this summer.
The dates may change but the bill remains the same: York’s on-the-rise, rousing Skylights, Leeds bands The Pigeon Detectives and The Wedding Present and the Brighton Beach DJs on the decks.
Never mind the clash with Leeds Festival. “Let’s just say our fans are not their demographic,” says the Sheds’ Rick Witter.
Bird song of the week: Sea View Productions in Nigel Forde’s The Last Cuckoo, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington, tomorrow, 7.30pm.
ON his return home from his irascible ornithologist uncle Harry Baskerville’s ’s funeral, Duncan Campbell begins the slow, sad process of working through its effects in The Last Cuckoo, a one-man show about loss, hope and birds.
As he does so, he finds within the ghostly confines of this remote coastal cottage a way into a world he never knew existed: the entrance into a life he never dared hope for. However, this awareness brings with it costly choices and, most daunting of all, the possibility of real change.
Penned exquisitely by Warter poet and writer Nigel Forde, former presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Bookshelf, this beautiful theatre piece will be performed by Riding Lights Theatre Company alumnus Andrew Harrison, directed for Sea View Productions by Robin Hereford. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill.
Tribute show of the week: The Carpenters Experience, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Saturday, 7.30pm
IT’S Yesterday Once More as British singer Maggie Nestor and eight musicians capture the smooth American sounds of Richard and Karen Carpenter.
Expect echoes of Karen’s silky contralto, Richard’s pretty piano and seamless harmonies in a big production featuring Close To You, We’ve Only Just Begun, Top Of The World, Rainy Days And Mondays, Solitaire, Goodbye To Love, For All We Know and Only Yesterday. Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Theatre show of the week in York: Educating Rita, York Theatre Royal, August 31 to September 4
WHEN married hairdresser Rita enrols on a university course to expand her horizons, little does she realise where her journey will take her.
Tutor Frank is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and dedicated drinker, less than enthusiastic about taking on Rita, but soon they learn how much they have to teach each other.
Directed by Max Roberts, Willy Russell’s comedy two-hander stars Jessica Johnson as Rita and Stephen Tompkinson as Frank. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Theatre show of the week ahead outside York: Magic Goes Wrong, Leeds Grand Theatre, casting a spell from August 30 to September 4
BACK with another comedy catastrophe, this time dusted with magic, Mischief follow up The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery with a show created with Penn & Teller, no less.
A hapless gang of magicians is staging an evening of grand illusion to raise cash for charity, but as the magic turns to mayhem, accidents spiral out of control and so does the fundraising target.
On tour for the first time, the show is written Penn Jillette, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields and Teller and directed by Adam Meggido. Box office: 0113 243 0808 or at leedsheritagetheatres.com.
Top of the pots: Fangfest, Fangfoss, September 4 and 5, 10am to 4pm each day
FANGFEST, the celebration of pottery, crafts, art and scarecrows in Fangfoss, ten miles east of York, returns next month after a Covid-enforced hiatus in 2020.
To keep the family event as Covid-safe as possible, much of the festival organised by Gerry and Lyn Grant, of Fangfoss Pottery, will be taking place outdoors.
The weekend combines art, pottery, illustration, jewellery, printmaking, archery, wood carving, textiles, willow weaving, classic cars, East Yorkshire history, food and scarecrows. Entry is free.
Dinosaurs, stones and more in Yorkshire Fossil Festival’s fistful of films: Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, September 10 and 11
FOR the first time, the Stephen Joseph Theatre is teaming up with the Yorkshire Fossil Festival SJT to bring five palaeontology-inspired films to the McCarthy screen.
Highlights include September 10’s 8pm screening of stop-motion wizard Ray Harryhausen’s 1969 dinosaur classic, The Valley Of Gwangi, introduced by palaeo-artist James McKay, who hosts a post-screening Q&A too.
Further films on September 10 will be Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur (2pm) and Jurassic Park (5pm); September 11, The Land Before Time (2pm and 5pm) and Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan (8pm). Box office: 01723 370541 or at sjt.uk.com.
Meals on wheels, jokes on a plate, here comes George Egg’s cracking tour show…
COMEDY and cooking combine when anarchic cook George Egg serves up his Movable Feast on tour in Yorkshire in October.
Determined to make food on the move, Egg offers his guide to cooking with cars, on rail tracks and in the sky. “It’s time for Planes, Trains and Automob-meals (sorry),” he says.
Sprinkled with handy hacks, the 7.30pm shows conclude with the chance to taste the results on the three plates. Tour dates include Stillington Village Hall, near York, October 10; Pocklington Arts Centre, October 13, and Terrington Village Hall, near Malton, October 17. Box office: georgeegg.com.
THE return of live entertainment is on the horizon at last, hopefully from May 17, prompting a surge in show confirmations, but in the meantime Stay Home activities remain prominent in Charles Hutchinson’s diary too.
Children’s streamed show of the weeks ahead: Park Bench Theatre’s Teddy Bears’ Picnic, February 26 to March 7
ONE of the hits of last summer’s Park Bench Theatre open-air season at Rowntree Park, York, is to be streamed by producers Engine House Theatre from tomorrow.
Children’s show Teddy Bears’ Picnic was performed by Cassie Vallance under Covid-safe conditions with more than 1,000 adults and youngsters seeing the show at 30-plus performances.
Suitable for everyone aged three and over, the streamed show will be bolstered by a Make Your Own Teddy Bear craft video. Tickets cost £5 at tpetv.com.
Streamed comedy gig of the weekend: Rosie Jones and Hal Cruttenden, Your Place Comedy, Sunday
ROSIE Jones, Bridlington-born comedian, scriptwriter and actor, will join television comedy mainstay Hal Cruttenden in a virtual double bill on Sunday night, streamed from their living rooms into homes via YouTube and Twitch at 8pm.
Co-ordinator Chris Jones, manager of Selby Town Hall, says: ““I know that times are tough for many people, and so we’re committed to keeping these shows completely free, so please do come and join Hal, Rosie and Tim via yourplacecomedy.co.uk for some top entertainment at an unbeatable price, as for now streaming is the only show in town.”
Youth theatre project launch: Thunk-It Theatre in tandem with Pocklington Arts Centre, from this weekend
YORK company Thunk-It Theatre are partnering with Pocklington Arts Centre to provide youth theatre for the East Riding and beyond.
Weekly drama classes will be available to children aged six to 11 from February 28, initially on Zoom until it is safe to re-open the Market Place venue, when sessions can be held in person.
The all-levels drama sessions for Years 2 to 6 will take place from 10am to 11am every Sunday during term time, run by Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham. To book a place, visit pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Game-changing festival announcement of the year so far: Leeds Festival, Bramham Park, near Wetherby, to go ahead
LEEDS Festival, Yorkshire’s biggest outdoor musical gathering of the year, is ON. Organiser Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Reepublic, confirmed the decision yesterday (24/2/2021) in the wake of the Government’s Monday statement on the four-step route out of Covid lockdown strictures.
Already confirmed as headliners are Stormzy, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Post Malone, Disclosure, Liam Gallagher and Queens Of The Stone Age in a new initiative for the August 27 to 29 event that sees the long-running festival introducing a second main stage to enable two bill-toppers per day.
Dance delay: Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara: Remembering The Oscars, York Barbican, put back to April 2022
STRICTLY Come Dancing regulars Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manraraare moving their Remembering The Oscars show at York Barbican for a second time. The persistent pandemic has enforced a switch to April 7 2022 for the only Yorkshire performance of next year’s tour, after an earlier change from Spring 2020 to March 2021. Tickets are still valid.
In the meantime, Aljaž and Janette will star in a streamed one-hour performance of Remembering The Oscars for a limited three-week season from March 27 to April 17. To book, go to: rememberingtheoscars.com.
York gig announcement of the week: Seasick Steve, York Barbican, November 11
CALIFORNIAN country blues singer-songwriter Seasick Steve will return to York Barbican on November 11 on his Just Steve, A Guitar And You Tour.
Tickets go on sale tomorrow (26/2/2021) from 9am at yorkbarbican.co.uk for the only Yorkshire gig of the American’s nine-date autumn solo tour in support of his second album of 2020, last November’s Blues In Mono.
“I’m lookin’ forward to coming and playing for y’all,” says Seasick Steve, 69. “Just gonna be me, you and my guitar. A few songs and a few stories, kinda like we just hangin’ out together! Gonna be fun. See ya there.”
East Yorkshire gig announcement of the week: Jesse Malin, Pocklington Arts Centre, December 7
POCKLINGTON Arts Centre has secured a new date for New York City singer-songwriter Jesse Malin. He will play on December 7 2021, fully 18 months after he was originally booked to perform there in June 2020 as part of PAC’s 20th anniversary programme.
Malin, 53, released his seventh studio album, Sunset Kids, in 2019, produced by Lucinda Williams, American roots icon, country music queen and 2016 Platform Festival headliner at the Old Station, Pocklington.
And what about?
THE return of Grayson’s Art Club for a second series on Channel 4 on Fridays after Grayson Perry’s championing of people’s art was such a spirit-lifting boost to home creativity in the early days of Lockdown 1 last spring.
Perry, by the way, is booked into York Barbican for September 6 on his A Show For Normal People tour and his delayed early pottery exhibition, The Pre-Therapy Years, should open at the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA), York Art Gallery, on May 28, if Step 3 re-opening comes into effect from May 17, as planned.
LEEDS Festival will have headliners at the double next summer after last week’s no-show in Covid-2020.
Croydon rapper Stormzy and ex-Oasis lippy lead vox Liam Gallagher, bill toppers from this summer’s scrapped event, will have their day in the Bramham Park sun/rain, joined by four 2021 additions: American rapper Post Malone, rock bands Catfish And The Bottlemen and Queens Of The Stone Age and dance duo Disclosure, who released their new album, Energy, last Friday.
Only Rage Against The Machine from the 2020 headliners will not be at next summer’s August 27 to 29 event.
The six headliners will be split between Main Stage West and Main Stage East in what Melvin Benn, managing director of promoters Festival Republic, calls Leeds Festival’s “most epic plan yet”.
Gallagher will be the Friday headliner on Main Stage East; Queens Of The Stone Age, Friday, Main Stage West; Stormzy, Saturday, East; Catfish And The Bottlemen, Saturday, West; Post Malone, Sunday, East, and Disclosure, Sunday, West.
Further acts confirmed for next summer are Lewis Capaldi; Two Door Cinema Club; Doja Cat; Mabel; AJ Tracey; Fever 333; DaBaby; Ashnikko; MK; 100 Geks; Lyra; Madison Beer; Sofi Tucker and Beabadoobee.
Tickets go on sale on Thursday (September 3) from 9am at leedsfestival.com and via Ticketmaster. Tickets bought for this summer will remain valid; alternatively, refunds will be available.
Benn envisages that entry to Bramham Park, near Wetherby, will be monitored by an NHS-linked tracing app, to be shown at the security gates.
LEEDS Festival is off. The last mighty oak on the summer’s rock calendar has fallen, bowing inevitably to the Coronavirus pandemic prohibitions.
Along with its southern marrow, Reading Festival, the open-air event at Bramham Park, near Wetherby, would have run over the bank holiday weekend of August 28 to 30, headlined by Liam Gallagher, Stormzy and Rage Against The Machine.
Organisers say Leeds Festival will return in 2021. Tickets bought for 2020 will remain valid for next summer’s August 27 to 29 festival run, while refunds will be available too.
The official statement says: “Leeds Festival will no longer be taking place this year. We’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation and we were hopeful we could deliver the ultimate festival to you in August, something to look forward to in these strange and confusing times. However, it has become clear that it’s just not possible for this year’s festival to go ahead.”
“We want to extend our gratitude to our teams, artists and partners who work so hard each year. And to our fans, we’re nothing without you. We thank you for your continued support and understanding.”
Leeds Festival joins a long list of Corona-cancelled music events, such as the inaugural York Festival from June 19 to 21, headlined by Madness, Westlife and Lionel Richie; Forest Live at Dalby Forest, with Kaiser Chiefs on June 26 and a James Morrison/Will Young double bill on June 27, and the summer season at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.
Off too are the Platform Festival in Pocklington in July, headlined by Robert Plant’s Saving Grace, Shed Seven’s Rick Witter & Paul Banks and Richard Thompson; Deer Shed Festival 11 at Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, Thirsk, from July 24 to 26, featuring James, Stereolab and Baxter Dury, and Shed Seven’s all-Yorkshire bill at The Piece Hall, Halifax, on September 19.
York Racecourse is yet to announce the fate of its Music Showcase Weekend of race-day concerts by Pussycat Dolls on July 24 and Rick Astley on July 25. All seven meetings on the Knavesmire track up to June 27 have been cancelled, so watch this space for an update.
Meanwhile, the Leeds Festival organisers are working closely with ticketing partners. “They will be in touch very soon to process your refund, or, if you prefer, you can retain your ticket and carry it over to next year,” the statement says.
“Look out for an e-mail from your ticketing agent and please only contact them if you have not been contacted after seven days as they are very busy at this time. If you purchased your ticket from a physical outlet, please contact that outlet to obtain your refund.”
Looking ahead to next summer, the organisers strike a positive note: “We’re already counting down the days to when we’re back in the fields we call home for the August bank holiday weekend,” the statement waxes lyrical. “We promise you that Leeds 2021 will be worth the wait.”
“Keep safe, keep healthy and look after each other,” the message ends.