Scouting For Girls take cover for new album and confirm York Barbican gig for 2021

Scouting for gigs: Scouting For Girls have lined up their longest-ever tour for 2021, taking in York Barbican next autumn

SCOUTING For Girls will play York Barbican on October 10 on their 42-date 2021 tour, showcasing next spring’s Easy Cover album alongside all the hits.

Tickets will go on sale at 9am on December 4 at yorkbarbican.co.uk for the London indie-pop trio’s first appearance in York since the York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend in July 2015.

Roy Stride, piano and lead guitar, Greg Churchouse, bass guitar, and Dr Peter Ellard, percussion, first performed at the Knavesmire course in July 2011 and had been booked by promoters Cuffe and Taylor for the inaugural York Festival, at York Sports Club, Clifton Park, on June 20 this summer until Covid changed everything.

Scouting For Girls initially responded to this strangest of years by “surrounding themselves with sources of comfort and escapism, things from what felt like a simpler time”.

Going back to the 1980s’ music of their childhood days, the trio regrouped during what should have been a summer of festival appearances, and the result is a joyous album of cover versions and new compositions, buoyed by an optimism that “2021 can be everything that 2020 was not”.

For Easy Cover, Scouting For Girls revisited Eighties’ pop masterpieces and indie alt. band favourites alike, taking in Cyndi Lauper, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins (presumably Easy Lover?), Tears For Fears, The Waterboys and more besides.

Scouting For Girls’ artwork for their 2021 tour

Not only covers motivated the band to write original material inspired by the decade for next year’s March 26 album. So did their abiding love of those halcyon days, leading Stride to write I Wish It Was 1989 and festive new single Xmas In The 80s.

Looking forward to the Londoners’ longest tour of their 15-year career, Stride says: “Touring is our very favourite aspect of being in this band and to go out longer and harder than ever is a dream come true.

“We’re going to put 2020 behind us and put two years of pent-up energy into every night of this tour. We can’t wait to give people the most fun night out of 2021”

Since forming in 2005, Scouting For Girls have chalked up two million album sales and a similar figure for their singles, such as Top Ten hits She’s So Lovely, Elvis Ain’t Dead and Heartbeat and 2009 chart topper This Ain’t A Love Song.

BRIT Award and Ivor Novello nominations have come their way, as have sold-out concerts at Wembley Arena, the London Palladium and the Royal Albert Hall.

Oh, and apparently Scouting For Girls are the most played band on Spotify in York.

Westlife go East to play Scarborough Open Air Theatre as only 2021 outdoor north date

Westlife’s poster for next summer’s Scarborough Open Air Theatre concert

IRISH grown-up boy band Westlife will play an exclusive north of England outdoor show at Scarborough Open Air Theatre next summer.

The top-selling album band of the 21st century should have played both the Yorkshire coast venue and the inaugural York Festival in 2020, but the Covid lockdown enforced their cancellation.

Instead, Shane Filan, Mark Feehily, Kian Egan and Nicky Byrne will perform in Scarborough four days before their headline show at Wembley Stadium.

Westlife’s official statement reads: “Some exciting news! We are delighted to announce that Scarborough Open Air Theatre have invited us to join next year’s line-up on Tuesday, August 17.

“Given the current circumstances, we really are hopeful to announce more shows in the new year and look forward to being back with you all as soon as we can.

Westlife will perform such hits as Swear It Again, You Raise Me Up, My Love, Flying Without Wings, Uptown Girl, Unbreakable, When You’re Looking Like That and World Of Our Own, as well as picks from their chart-topping tenth album, 2019‘s Spectrum, Hello My Love among them.

Venue programmer Peter Taylor, of Scarborough OAT promoters Cuffe and Taylor, says: “Westlife fans were heartbroken when this summer’s tour was postponed due to the global pandemic, so we are delighted the boys will be coming to Scarborough OAT next summer.

“This is a real exclusive: Westlife’s only outdoor show in the north of England and four days before their headline show at Wembley. It’s going to be a brilliant night here!”

Westlife were booked to play Scarborough OAT on June 17 and York Festival at York Sports Club, Clifton Park, on June 20 as part of their 2020 Summer In The Stadiums tour before summer was scrapped.

Tickets for August 17 will go on sale via scarboroughopenairtheatre.com at 9am on Friday, October 30.

Scarborough Open Air Theatre’s 2021 season so far comprises: June 19, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro; June 20, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq The World; July 9, Keane; July 10, Olly Murs; August 17, Westlife, and August 20, Nile Rodgers & Chic. More concerts will be added; watch this space.

Did you know?

ALL ten of Westlife’s studio albums have reached the top five in the Official UK Albums Chart, five of them peaking at number one. Fourteen of their singles have made the top spot too.

Leeds Festival off. “Just not possible to go ahead in strange times,” say organisers

Cancelled: Oasis old boy Liam Gallagher’s headline slot at Leeds Festival 2020

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.

Madness: June 19 show at York Festival cancelled

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.

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.

Lionel Richie says Hello to Macy Gray and Lighthouse Family for York Festival bill

Lionel Richie: headlining York Festival’s Sunday line-up

MACY Gray and Lighthouse Family are big-name new additions to the bill for Lionel Richie’s closing night at this summer’s inaugural York Festival.

Grammy Award winner Gray, from Canton, Ohio, and Newcastle pop-soul duo Tunde Baiyewu and Paul Tucker will perform at the three-day event at York Sports Club, Clifton Park, Shipton Road, on June 21.

This is more good news for festival promoters Cuffe and Taylor after the City of York Council thumbs-up for a licence, albeit with the proviso that the volume must be turned down.

York Festival will run from June 19 to 21, with Camden Town nutty boys Madness headlining on the first night and Irish matured boy band Westlife on the Saturday, before American soul legend Lionel Richie says Hello on the Sunday.

Macy Gray: Sunday new addition

Macy Gray made her breakthrough in 1999 with the single I Try and the seven million-selling debut album On How Life Is, her American R&B and soul song-writing inspired principally by Billie Holiday.

Over the next two decades, Gray released ten studio albums, the latest being 2018’s Ruby, as well as featuring on songs with Dolly Parton and Ariana Grande and appearing in films and on TV shows.

Lighthouse Family singer Baiyewu and keyboardist Tucker released their first single, Lifted, in 1995, en route to selling ten million albums and charting with the singles High and Ocean Drive.

Six-times platinum debut album Ocean Drive was followed by Top Ten albums Postcards From Heaven and Whatever Gets You Through The Day. After an 18-year hiatus, the duo reunited last year to record Blue Sky In Your Head, their fourth studio set.

Lighthouse Family: reunited

York Festival director Peter Taylor says: “We’re delighted to add both Macy Gray and Lighthouse Family to our debut line-up. Together with the global icon that is Lionel Richie, this is going to be an amazing and unforgettable night.”

Opening-night headliners Madness will be joined by Ian Broudie’s Lightning Seeds, Craig Charles, for a Funk and Soul Club DJ set, Leeds indie rockers Apollo Junction and York band Violet Contours.

Westlife’s Saturday line-up features All Saints, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Scouting For Girls and Take That’s Howard Donald for a DJ set.

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