Madness and Sugababes confirmed for York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend gigs on July 22 and 23

Madness this way lies: The Nutty Boys return to York Racecourse this summer

MADNESS are on course for the York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend for the second time post-racing at the July 22 evening meeting.

Camden’s Nutty Boys last played the Knavesmire track in July 2010, and once more Suggs and co will roll out such ska-flavoured music-hall hits as Our House, One Step Beyond, Baggy Trousers, It Must Be Love, House Of Fun, Michael Caine, Wings Of A Dove, Night Boat To Cairo, My Girl, Driving In My Car, Tomorrow’s Just Another Day and Embarrassment.

The veteran London band – they formed in 1979 – have performed outdoors over the years at Glastonbury, Camp Bestival and their own Madstock Festivals and they took part in Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

The second Music Showcase Weekend, immediately after the afternoon race card on July 23, will feature the original Sugababes line-up of Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena and Siobhán Donaghy. The London girl group last played York as long ago as 2003 with a line-up of Buchanan, Buena and Heidi Range at the Barbican Centre, as was.

Sugababes, who revived the trio of Buchanan, Buena and Donaghy in 2019, have six number ones to their name, placing them second only to the Spice Girls among British girl groups. Racegoers can expect chart-toppers Freak Like Me, Round Round, Hole In The Head, Push The Button, Walk This Way and About You Now, alongside cherry-picks from 20 more Top 40 hits such as Overload, Ugly, Red Dress, Girls and Get Sexy.

Sugababes: On track to play York Racecourse on July 23

Those booking now can take advantage of the early-bird and group rate deals on general admission tickets. To book, visit yorkracecourse.co.uk; admission to the main grandstand and paddock enclosure starts at £32 per person for a group of six and racegoers aged five to 17 enjoy a special rate of £10 (subject to limited availability). As well as free car parking, no booking fees apply.

On the course itself, the sporting action features seven races on both days, headlined by the Listed European Breeder’s Fund Lyric Stakes on the Friday and the Sky Bet York Stakes as Saturday’s six-figure centrepiece.

The race dates in late-July fall when the prevailing weather should further contribute to the positive steps made by the Covid-19 vaccination programme. Nevertheless, racegoers are offered a guaranteed refund in the event of Covid-related alterations, as well as the reassurance that all Covid-19 protocols applicable at the time will be followed.

James Brennan, head of marketing and sponsorship, says: “Everyone at the course is really excited that these magical racing and music events are scheduled to return. Bands that bring a smile to many faces, add in the spectacle of the racing itself, and we hope it will prove a summer weekend to savour.”

Please note, admission is not available on a concert-only basis; the gates will be closed at the time of the seventh and last race at both meetings.

There will not be a third race-day concert at York Racecourse this summer after the British Horseracing Authority removed that meeting from the 2022 calendar.

Back in that small car, big egos running rampant, podcasters Chalmers and Hutch set off to the Edinburgh Film Festival

Sign of the festival times in Edinburgh

GOOD to be back, good to be back. After a summer break, Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson resume their arts chat with reflections on their return to the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Did Graham’s day out among the 90,000 throng at Leeds Festival pass the test after all that Covid testing?

Verdicts too on Harrogate Theatre’s immersive play, Our Gate, and on British Sea Power’s name change in woke times can be heard in Episode 55 at: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/9127399 .

OFF: York Festival cancelled. OFF TOO: Scarborough Open Air Theatre season shut

Goodbye, not Hello: Lionel Richie’s York Festival and Scarborough Open Air Theatre concerts have been cancelled

THE inaugural York Festival with Lionel Richie, Madness and Westlife in June is off.  The entire Scarborough Open Air Theatre summer season has been cancelled too.

The “unavoidable” double blow for promoters Cuffe and Taylor was confirmed in a brief statement at high noon, enforced by the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We are sad to announce both York Festival and the 2020 programme at Scarborough Open Air Theatre will not go ahead,” they said. “We did not want to take this step, but it was unavoidable. The health and safety of concertgoers, artists, staff and community will always be our top priority.

Grey Day for Madness: no House Of Fun after all at York Festival on June 19

“We are working with our ticketing partners and they will contact customers very soon to process refunds. Peace, love, kindness and thanks.”

So, alas, this means goodbye to Hello and Lionel Richie at York Sports Club, Clifton Park, Shipton Road, on June 21, when the American soul legend, now 70, would have been supported by Grammy Award winner Macy Gray and Newcastle soul-pop duo Lighthouse Family.

Camden Town nutty boys Madness were to have headlined the opening night, June 19, joined by Ian Broudie’s Lightning SeedsCraig Charles, for a Funk and Soul Club DJ set, Leeds indie rockers Apollo Junction and York band Violet Contours.

Westlife: York and Scarborough shows grounded without wings

Irish matured boy band Westlife were booked to top the June 21 bill, backed up All Saints, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Scouting For Girls and Take That’s Howard Donald for a DJ set.

Over on the East Coast, Cuffe and Taylor had lined up big hitters galore for Scarborough Open Air Theatre’s 2020 season, opening with Lionel Richie on June 9, followed by Westlife on June 17.

Further bookings were: Supergrass, June 20; Alfie Boe, June 27; Snow Patrol, July 4; Mixtape, with Marc Almond, Heaven 17 and Living In A Box featuring Kenny Thomas, July 10; Keane, July 17; Little Mix, July 21; McFly, August 14; Louis Tomlinson, August 15, and Nile Rodgers & Chic, August 21. What’s more, further shows were to have been added. Not any more.

Leopard king: Rod Stewart at York Racecourse last June, promoted by Cuffe and Taylor

Last year, Cuffe and Taylor promoted Rod Stewart’s first ever York concert, erecting a pop-up amphitheatre in the centre of York Racecourse and duly drawing 35,000 people to Knavesmire on June 1. Ah, those were the days.

Earlier this spring, Cuffe and Taylor were given the City of York Council thumbs-up for a licence for their first York Festival, albeit with the proviso that the volume must be turned down. Now, there will only be silence.

York Festival seeks charity partners for next summer. Here’s how to apply…

Madness: June 19 headliners at the first York Festival

YORK Festival, next summer’s three-day music event headlined by Madness, Westlife and Lionel Richie, wants to raise thousands of pounds for good causes by supporting York charities.

The organisers, concert promoters Cuffe and Taylor, are seeking three charity partners, who will benefit from the June 19 to 21 concerts at York Sports Club, in Clifton Park, Shipton Road.

Charities in and around York are asked to send an email to hello@york-festival.com to “find out how York Festival can help you” and register their interest in becoming a partner.

Cuffe and Taylor director Peter Taylor said: “We are incredibly excited about York Festival. This is going to be three amazing days of live music in this wonderful and historic city, headlined by a host of global stars.

“York Festival is going to be something really special,” says Cuffe and Taylor director Peter Taylor. “What will make it extra special is if we can help good causes in the city.”


“We want to help raise funds and exposure for local good causes. Over the past decade, we have worked with a number of fantastic charity partners at our events right across the UK. Through these partnerships we have helped raise more than £100,000 and we are now looking for charities based in and around York who we can work with.


“York Festival is going to be something really special. What will make it extra special is if we can help good causes in the city.”


Cuffe and Taylor promote the summer concert seasons at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, bringing Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue and Lionel Richie to the Yorkshire coast.

They also staged Rod Stewart’s sold-out York Racecourse concert this year, drawing 35,000 people to a specially constructed pop-up amphitheatre in the centre of the Knavesmire course on June 1.

All night long: Lionel Richie has the York Festival stage to himself on June 21

Cuffe and Taylor previously set up Lytham Festival, a Lancashire event that has worked with various charities over the past decade.

Trinity Hospice and Brian House Children’s Hospice in Blackpool, for example, have benefited to the tune of £50,000.

Trinity Hospice Community fundraising manager Michelle Lonican said: “We feel very honoured to have worked with Cuffe and Taylor on a number of their high-profile events.

“Their support for both Trinity Hospice and Brian House has been phenomenal, and not only have we been able to raise thousands of pounds, but also every event has always been a fantastic opportunity for us to increase our profile and attract new supporters.

Westlife: Playing York Festival on Summer Solstice night

“It is great to see Cuffe and Taylor launching a new festival in York and we would urge charities there to apply to become a partner and get involved in what will no doubt be a very successful event.”

York Festival’s debut line-up brings together headliners Madness, those Nutty Boys from Camden Town, Lightning Seeds,funk and soul DJ Craig Charles, Leeds indie rockers Apollo Junction and York’s Violet Contours on June 19.

Irish boy band Westlife top the Saturday bill – next year’s Summer Solstice night – as part of their Stadiums In The Summer Tour, joined by All Saints, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Scouting for Girls and Take That’s Howard Donald for a DJ set.

The Sunday night focus falls on American soul and funk legend Lionel Richie for a set of Commodores and solo hits.

For more York Festival information and tickets, go to York-festival.com.

Lionel Richie, Madness and Westlife are “perfect line-up” for first ever York Festival

Hello…is that York Festival calling? Lionel Richie says yes to playing at York Sports Club


AMERICAN soul icon Lionel Richie, British ska legends Madness and Irish pop stars Westlife will headline the first ever York Festival next year.

Mounted by Cuffe and Taylor, the three-day music festival will be held at York Sports Club, Clifton Park, Shipton Road, from June 19 to 21 2020.


Three-day passes, giving access to every night, are available at £129 from today at york-festival.com. Tickets for each night go on sale at £39.50 at 9am on Thursday.


Opening-night headliners Madness, the Camden Town Nutty Boys with a music-hall wit and ska roots, will be joined by Ian Broudie’s Lightning Seeds; BBC radio presenter Craig Charles, for a funk and soul DJ set; Leeds indie rockers Apollo Junction and rising York act Violet Contours.

Westlife will play York Festival on the Saturday as part of their Stadiums In The Summer Tour. Billed as “Britain’s top-selling album group of the 21st century”, they will combine such hits as Swear It Again, Flying Without Wings and You Raise Me Up with songs from their November 15 album, Spectrum.

Joining Westlife in the June 20 line-up will be All Saints, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, indie rock band Scouting For Girls and Take That’s Howard Donald for a DJ set.

On the closing night, Lionel Richie, 70, will be the star attraction as the four-time Grammy Award winner performs both solo and Commodores material.

Good sports: Madness sign up to bring the nuttiest sound around to York Festival at York Sports Club

Promoters Cuffe and Taylor present the Scarborough Open Air Theatre concert programme each summer, bringing Lionel Richie, Madness and Westlife to the East Coast in past years, as well as the likes of Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Sir Elton John and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

They also staged Rod Stewart’s York Racecourse concert on June 1 this summer, drawing 35,000 to a specially erected amphitheatre in the centre of the Knavesmire course.

Director Peter Taylor says: “This is the very first York Festival, so we wanted to make this a very special debut year.


“To have Lionel Richie, Westlife and Madness as headliners – alongside many other brilliant chart-topping artists – is a real coup. We feel this is the perfect line-up for the first year of what we hope will become a major annual event in this wonderful and historic city.


“We cannot wait for Friday, June 19 and opening night. This really is going to be a weekend to remember.”


York Festival will be staged at York Sports Club, the home of York RUFC, York Cricket Club, York Tennis Club and York Squash Club, where The Best Of York Music Festival was held on May 26, The Big Nineties Festival on October 25 and Oktoberfest on October 26.


Nigel Durham, Trustee of York Sports Club and Chairman of York Cricket Club, said:“We are delighted to be hosting the first York Festival, a major new event for the city of York.

Full Spectrum: Westlife will perform songs old and new at York Festival next June


“An historic city the size and stature of ours truly deserves a high-profile music festival like this. And to be attracting such massive stars as Lionel Richie, Westlife and Madness is just brilliant.


“And with the festival being staged in the heart of the city, right here at York Sports Club, this really will capture the imagination and be a great thing for the city, residents, local businesses and visitors.”


Cuffe and Taylor are working closely with City of York Council and Make It York, whose role is to showcase and promote the city around the world.


Championing the inaugural York Festival, Sean Bullick, managing director of Make It York, says: “York Festival will be a brilliant addition to the city’s already busy calendar of summer events for both residents and visitors to enjoy.

“Welcoming such music legends and chart-topping artists, as well as showcasing local talent, is another step forward for York’s cultural offer and we are delighted to help spread the word to audiences.”

In addition to three-day passes and day tickets, a range of VIP offers are available. For more information, go to york-festival.com.

Charles Hutchinson