Beer, bratwurst, Bavarian dress code, brass band and funfairs bound for Yorktoberfest

BEER, bratwurst and all things Bavarian are on course for York Racecourse this autumn at the debut Yorktoberfest.

Mounted by James Cundall’s Jamboree Entertainment and Johnny Cooper’s Coopers Marquees, the October 28 to 31 event will follow the traditions of the first Oktoberfest, staged in Munich in 1810, where citizens were encouraged to eat, drink and be merry at the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and his princess bride.  

So much fun was had that an annual tradition was born…and now residents of York and beyond will be invited to “eat, drink and be merry-go-round” at the Clocktower Enclosure on Knavesmire, where a giant Bavarian-styled beer tent and traditional funfair will set a festive scene.

Inside the marquee, authentic German beer and a range of German-inspired food will be served at an array of tables and benches, while York’s own Oompah Brass Band will add to the hearty fun with their “thigh-slapping, foot-stomping, feel-good music”.  

Dancing is encouraged, as it has been at such gatherings for more than 200 years, as is the wearing of Lederhosen [traditional Bavarian men’s short trousers], Dirndls [Bavarian women’s rural domestic clothing, made from grey or coloured linen, sometimes with leather bodice and trim] or any other fancy dress, with nightly competitions and prizes for the best dressed.

Prost! Friends drinking together Bavarian beer in national costume or Dirndl at Oktoberfest. Likewise, fancy dressing German-style will be encouraged at Yorktoberfest

The Bavarian Bar also will serve wines, prosecco, spirits and soft drinks for those who prefer not to ‘hop’. A variety of food stalls will provide such essential favourites as sausages, schnitzels and pretzels, as well as vegan and vegetarian options.

Funfairs are integral to German Oktoberfests, and so Yorktoberfest will have its own traditional funfair, with Dodgems, Twister, Speedway and Chair-o-Plane delivering thrills

Yorktoberfest will have a limited capacity, with specific opening times: October 28 and 29,  7pm to 11pm; two sittings on October 30, 1pm to 5pm and 7pm to 11pm, and one sitting on October 31, 1pm to 5pm.

Tickets for Yorktoberfest are newly on sale at, priced at £15 per person for unreserved seating; £90 for a reserved table of six, and £135 for a VIP table of six, situated closest to the stage and with table service. An Early Beer(d) offer of £5 off per person is available on all ticket categories until July 31. Tickets will be on sale at the entrance too, subject to availability.

Yorktoberfest is produced by CMJ Events, a joint venture between the two York family-owned companies of Jamboree Entertainment and Coopers Marquees. CMJ Events will be bringing the York Spring Fair & Food Festival to the Clocktower Enclosure at York Racecourse from May 28 to June 6, as well as Sounds In The Grounds concerts by Beyond The Barricade, Abba Mania and A Country Night In Nashville from June 25 to 27, again at the Clocktower Enclosure.  

Super troupers: Abba Mania will play at the Sounds In The Grounds concert at York Racecourse on June 26

Welburn producer James Cundall’s Jamboree Entertainment team brings 25 years of experience in producing live entertainment worldwide, and closer to home produces Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland ice rink and funfair, Sounds In The Grounds concerts at five venues around England and The Great Ryedale Maze at Sherburn.

Cundall also presented Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre on the Castle car park pop-up Elizabethan theatre site in York in 2018 and 2019.

Coopers Marquees was established in the 1990s and is now the tenth largest marquee company in Great Britain, supplying a range of structures to events large and small.

Co-producer Cundall, chief executive of Jamboree Entertainment says: “We’re determined to bring events to York that people can enjoy after the long months of Covid restrictions. Yorktoberfest promises to be an evening of jollity, with beer, bands, and bratwurst. Dust off the fancy-dress outfits and come along!”

Co-producer  Cooper, CEO of Coopers Marquees, says: “We’re looking forward to seeing one of our biggest marquees, at 160m long, installed on Knavesmire and themed with all things Bavarian, including a stage, bespoke thatched wooden barns, flags galore and generally everything needed for a great night out.”

Yorktoberfest will conform to all prevailing Government guidelines regarding Covid-19.

Hush, hush, here comes the York Spring Fair & Food Festival at York Racecourse in June

A 1933 Hush Hush train

TWO York companies are joining forces to hold the inaugural York Spring Fair & Food Festival in the Clocktower Enclosure at York Racecourse from May 28 to June 6.

James Cundall’s company, Jamboree Entertainment, and Johnny Cooper, of Coopers Marquees, are bringing together one of the largest vintage funfairs seen in North Yorkshire for many years and a food festival that will showcase the “very best artisan products from Yorkshire and beyond”.

Running over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and through school half-term week, the event will conform to all prevailing Government guidelines regarding Covid-19.

The Vintage Funfair comprises a collection of restored vintage rides from the golden era of fairgrounds. Among them are an exhilarating 1936 Speedway; a rare Brooklands Dodgems from 1937 and a 1930s’ Chair-o-Plane, as well as a beautiful Carousel, Twister, Lighthouse Helter-Skelter, Octopus and Big Wheel. 

Three children’s rides will include the oldest ride, Hush Hush, the Monorail train, dating from 1933, as well as five game stalls offering prizes every time.

Co-producer James Cundall, chief executive officer of Jamboree Entertainment, says:  “It’s exciting to be able to put together a vintage funfair on a scale that hasn’t been seen in York for decades.  

“The rides are visually stunning with artwork going back almost 90 years.  There will be rides and game stalls for all ages, so it’s a great opportunity to get out and have fun in a Covid 19-compliant environment.”

The Food Festival will showcase approximately 40 artisan food and drink producer stalls and will be one of the first times that the public can interact with local food and drink suppliers.

Co-producer Johnny Cooper, CEO of Coopers Marquees, says: “As we emerge from the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 lockdown, we are thrilled to be staging one of the first events in Yorkshire that will place the very best Yorkshire products before an audience hungry for an exciting day out.”

Both Jamboree Entertainment and Coopers Marquees are York-based, family-owned companies. The team at Jamboree Entertainment brings 25 years of experience in producing live entertainment worldwide and, closer to home, produces the award-winning Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland ice rink and funfair, Sounds In The Grounds concerts and the Great Ryedale Maze at Sherburn.  

Coopers Marquees was established in the 1990s and is now the tenth largest marquee company in the UK, supplying a range of structures to events large and small, including numerous food festivals.

The York Spring Fair & Food Festival will be open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission will be £3 for adults; children aged 12 and under, free. This excludes rides and game stalls, which will cost £3 per person.  £1 of the admission fee will be donated to Ryedale Special Families, a charity that supports families with disabled children and young people, for their New Building Fund. 

Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday, March 30 at  Booking in advance is recommended as numbers will be restricted under Covid regulations.  If unsold, tickets can be bought at the gate.

Further information can be found at; food or drink suppliers interested in taking a pitch at the event should email

Jamboree Entertainment will present three Sounds In The Grounds concerts in the Clocktower Enclosure this summer: Beyond The Barricade on June 25; Abba Mania, June 26, and A Country Night In Nashville, June 27.

More Things To Do in York and beyond in the months ahead and at home now. List No. 29, courtesy of The Press, York

Becky Gee, curator of Fine Art at York Art Gallery, with Michael Lyons’ 1993 sculpture Amphitrite in the Artists Garden in May 2019. Picture: Charlotte Graham

ONLINE entertainment is still ruling the Stay Home world, but more promoters are announcing shows for the summer as the recovery roadmap begins to twitch our cultural satnav. Charles Hutchinson reaches for his diary.

Last chance to see: Michael Lyons’ Ancient And Modern sculptures, York Art Gallery Artists Garden and Edible Wood

THE free display of large-scale works by late Cawood sculptor Michael Lyons behind York Art Gallery will close on April 11.

On show in his biggest ever exhibition on York soil are nine sculptures created between 1982 and 2000, inspired by nature, myth and ancient cultures, with the central space dominated by Amphitrite, a large painted steel structure evoking the sea that he fashioned in 1993.

Opened in late-May 2019, Ancient And Modern originally was booked to run until May 2020, but has remained in place through these pandemic times.

Caroline Gruber as Vashti in E M Forster’s The Machine Stops, now starting up again in a York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre webcast. Picture: Ben Bentley

Recommended resonant webcast of the week and beyond: The Machine Stops online

YORK Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre’s 2016 co-production of The Machine Stops can be watched at until April 5.

Adapted for the stage by Neil Duffield, E M Forster’s 1909 short story is set in a futuristic, dystopian world where humans have retreated far underground and individuals live in isolation in “cells”, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. 

Director Juliet Forster says: “It’s even more striking today than it was at the time we staged it: things like human contact and human touch becoming something that’s almost taboo, things that didn’t seem relevant back in 2016 but are really, really striking and even more relevant now.”

Ensemble Augelletti: Recording for the Awaken online weekend at the National Centre for Early Music, York

Springtime celebration of music online: Awaken, National Centre for Early Music, York, Saturday and Sunday

THE NCEM’s Awaken weekend will present York countertenor Iestyn Davies and Fretwork, the all-male vocal group The Gesualdo Six, I Fagiolini and the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, Ensemble Augelletti and The Consone Quartet.

The six-pack of online festivities will celebrate the sublime sounds of spring, recorded in a range of historic venues to mark “the unique association between the City of York and the exquisite beauty of the music of the past”.

Among the architectural gems will be Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, St Olave’s Church, Marygate, the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and the NCEM. Full details can be found at

Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham: Ready to host Thunk-It Theatre’s online youth theatre sessions

Online youth theatre opportunity: Thunk-It Theatre sessions with Pocklington Arts Centre

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre’s youth theatre partnership with York company Thunk-It Theatre is to continue for a second series of online drama classes.

Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham’s all-levels drama sessions for children aged six to 11 will be held on Zoom every Sunday during term-time from April 25 to May 30.

The 10am to 11am sessions for Years 2 to 6 children will include fun games, exercises and storytelling, aiming to encourage confidence building, life and social skills, creativity and positivity. Participants will work collaboratively to create a short performance that will explore storytelling. To book, go to

Abba Mania: Booked for Sounds In The Grounds at York Racecourse

Live music returns to Knavesmire: Sounds In The Grounds at Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, June 25 to 27

NORTH Yorkshire impresario James Cundall’s Sounds In The Grounds is adding a new location to its picnic-concert portfolio for summer 2021.

Complying with Covid-19 guidelines, the Clocktower Enclosure of York Racecourse will play host to the Beyond The Barricade celebration of musicals on June 25, Abba Mania on June 26 and A Country Night In Nashville on June 27.

The capacity will be capped at 1,400 for the fully staged productions with LED screens on either side of the stage. Tickets are on sale at:

Paul Winn: Co-organiser of the 2nd York Blues Festival in July

Here comes a dose of the blues: York Blues Festival, July 24, 12.30pm to 11pm

THE 2nd York Blues Festival will be held on Saturday, July 24 at The Crescent Community Venue, York, organised by Paul Winn and Ben Darwin.

No strangers to the British Blues scene, they present Blues From The Ouse on Jorvik Radio and are members of York band DC Blues.

Winn and Darwin have booked a bill of Robbie Reay; The Swamp Hoppers; Dori & The Outlaws; John Carroll; Dr Bob & The Bluesmakers; DC Blues and Nick Steed Five. Tickets are on sale at, and

Racing cert: Shed Seven will ride out at Doncaster Racecourse next May after moving post-racing gig…again

Sheds on the move…again: Shed Seven, Live After Racing, Doncaster Racecourse, May 14 2022

YORK heroes Shed Seven’s twice-postponed post-racing gig at Doncaster Racecourse will come under starter’s orders on May 14 202.

First diarised for August 15 2020, then May 15 this spring, each show was declared a non-runner under the Government’s pandemic lockdown restrictions.

Let Donny Races wax lyrical: “So don’t have your friends asking ‘where have you been tonight?’ We have ‘high hopes’ that ‘the heroes’ Shed Seven will deliver an outstanding night of music. ‘It’s not easy’ but you’d be stuck to find a ‘better days’ entertainment in Doncaster next summer.” To book raceday tickets, go to:

Graham Gouldman, second from left, will be returning to York Barbican with 10cc

Gig announcement of the week: 10cc, York Barbican, March 26 2022

10cc will play York Barbican next spring in the only Yorkshire show of their 13-date Ultimate Greatest Hits Tour.

“It’s difficult to express just how much we have missed playing live and how much we want to be back playing concerts for you,” says Graham Gouldman, the one group founder still in the touring line-up. “We look forward to seeing you all again in 2022.”

Tickets are on sale at and

Ronan Keating moves Twenty Twenty tour date at York Barbican from 2021 to 2022

RONAN Keating is rearranging his Twenty Twenty UK tour date at York Barbican for a second time, but the title will not change to Twenty Twenty Two.

First moved from June 19 2020 to July 6 2021, the show has been rescheduled to January 23 2022.

A statement on the York Barbican website explains: “It was very much hoped that following the Government’s roadmap-to-lockdown-easing announcement, Ronan’s Twenty Twenty UK tour could take place as scheduled in the summer of 2021.  

“Despite efforts by Ronan’s team working closely with the venues, sadly it will not be possible for these tour dates to take place at this time, and as such the date has been rescheduled to January 23 2022. 

“Ticket holders should hold onto their tickets as they will remain valid for the rescheduled date.”  

The Twenty Twenty tour takes its title from the Twenty Twenty album that Irish boy band graduate Keating released in May 2020 on Decca Records to mark the 20th anniversary of his chart-topping solo debut, Ronan.

Twenty Twenty vision: Ronan Keating wanted to make “a greatest hits of brand new music”

“There’s not a lot of artists that have been lucky enough to do 20 years and still be here,” he said at the time,” appreciative too of sustaining solo and band careers. “I’m very honoured to have had that, so I wanted to mark it with an album like this.”

Dubliner Keating, who turned 44 on March 3, describes Twenty Twenty as “a greatest hits of brand new music”To help his 20th anniversary celebrations, he made two inspired choices: to dive into his back catalogue to revisit three of his biggest hits and, for some new numbers, to call in some friends.

First single One Of A Kind, despite its title, is a duet, wherein the Irishman is joined by Emeli Sandé. “I guess I’ve been known for those first dance songs at weddings and this has me written all over it,” says Keating. “It’s all about the night before the wedding, the day of the wedding and spending the rest of your life together.”

He decided the song demanded a duet partner, and for Keating there was only one choice: the Sunderland-born, Scottish-raised Sandé.“I was completely honoured when Emeli said she’d love to do it,” he says. “I was just blown away by her vocal. She’s obviously got a brilliant voice, and she’s a lovely, warm person, so the personality she’s brought to the song is just incredible.”

For Twenty Twenty, Keating had production assistance from his longstanding wingman, Steve Lipson, who has worked with such big hitters as Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Annie Lennox, Simple Minds, and Whitney Houston.

Among further collaborations were Love Will Remain with Clare Bowen, The One with Nina Nesbitt, The Big Goodbye with Robbie Williams, Forever And Ever, Amen, with Shania Twain and a 2020 version of When You Say Nothing At All with Alison Krauss.

Ronan Keating last played a York concert in July 2018 with Boyzone at the York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend

Over the past 21 years, Keating has chalked up 30 consecutive Top Ten solo singles, 11 studio albums, multiple tours and 20 million records sales, on top of 25 million sold with Boyzone, as well as judging on The X Factor and The Voice in Australia; acting in television drama and film; playing Guy in the romantic Irish hit, Once The Musical, in the West End and co-hosting Magic FM’s breakfast show.

In York, Keating last performed with Boyzone at a York Racecourse Music Showcase post-racing show on July 28 2018 on their 25th anniversary tour. His last solo appearance in the city was at York Barbican on September 21 2016. In 2019,  the dangers posed by a massive thunderstorm led to his open-air solo concert at Castle Howard, near York, on August 4 being cut short.

To check on ticket availability for January 23 2022, go to:

IN a second change of date, York Rocks Against Cancer is moving from July 17 this summer to January 8 2022.

All tickets remain valid for the new show; please contact your point of purchase with any questions.

Raising vital funds for York Against Cancer, the 7.30pm concert will feature The Emmerdale Band, featuring cast members from the Yorkshire soap opera; singer-songwriter Chris Helme, the former Seahorses frontman; Sister Madly and “the best musicians and singers York has to offer”. Expect a party atmosphere and a fun night.

Sounds In The Grounds summer concerts confirmed for York Racecourse enclosure

Beyond The Barricade: Les Miserables et al at the Clocktower Enclosure at York Racecourse on June 25

AFTER making its socially distanced debut in North Yorkshire last summer, impresario James Cundall’s Sounds In The Grounds is adding a new location to its picnic-concert portfolio for Summer 2021.

Complying with Covid-19 guidelines, the Clocktower Enclosure of York Racecourse will play host to Beyond The Barricade on June 25, Abba Mania on June 26 and A Country Night In Nashville on June 27.

Welburn producer Cundall says: “Audiences can come together and enjoy three evenings of best-loved and internationally renowned bands from their own designated picnic patch – for  two, four or six people – that will be socially distanced from others but close enough to share the fun.”

The capacity will be capped at 1,400 for the fully staged productions with LED screens on either side of the stage.

“We’re just trying to do some fun events for this summer, and we’re encouraging concert-goers to come in fancy-dress: will it be showbiz sparkle, platforms or cowboy boots?!” says Cundall, who is best known in York for two summers of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in a pop-up Elizabethan theatre on the Castle car park in 2018 and 2019.

Beyond The Barricade, now in its 22nd year, features past principals from Boublil and Schonberg’s Les Misérables in the West End and on UK tours performing much-loved songs from the greatest musicals, among them The Phantom Of The Opera, The Lion King, Evita, Miss Saigon, Chicago, Hamilton and Jesus Christ Superstar, topped off by a spectacular finale from Les Misérables.

From London’s West End to Las Vegas, Abba Mania is billed as the world’s number one touring tribute to the ubiquitous super-Swedes, playing more than 30 countries over the past two decades, delighting millions with platforms, flares and all the hits.

A Country Night In Nashville re-creates the energy and atmosphere of a buzzing Honky Tonk in downtown Nashville in a celebration of country music built around songs from its biggest stars both past and present.

Abba Mania: York Racecourse will be the platform for platforms on June 26

Returning by popular demand, York’s very own party starters, the New York Brass Band– a Glastonbury favourite too, by the way – will be the support act to each concert, performing a different repertoire every night, from jazz to Eighties’ pop to current hits.

Cundall has booked them for no fewer than 17 engagements this summer when his picnic-concert programme will return to 2020’s debut double act of Scampston Hall, near Malton, from June 11 to 13 and Ripley Castle, near Harrogate, from August 20 to 22.

In the new line-up of popular acts for these North Yorkshire country-estate venues will be The Definitive Rat Pack, One Night Of Tina and Killer Queen.

The Definitive Rat Pack presents an uncannily accurate recreation of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr in an evening of swing; Tina Turner’s greatest hits are rolled out in a rock’n’rollercoaster ride through four decades, and Killer Queen recall the iconic songs and showmanship of Queen’s shows in the late Freddie Mercury’s 1980s’ pomp.

Sounds In The Grounds concerts are designed to comply with all official guidance on Covid-19, ensuring audiences can enjoy live music outdoors in a safe and responsible way.

The picnic patches will be defined by painted lines in the grass arena within the grounds, with views of the racecourse and grandstands or stately home. They will be set out in alternating rows, with patches for two people, followed by a row of patches for four people, then for six people. The patches have been designed to be one metre apart within each row, with two-metre aisles between the rows.

Looking back on last year’s launch, Cundall says: “What happened was that Sounds In The Grounds came about because we were sitting in the garden, looking out, thinking, ‘surely there must be something we can do to get artists back to work?’.

“We thought, ‘what if we put people in ‘boxes’ for concerts in the open air, with patches of two, four and six?’.

A Country Night In Nashville: Presenting a country night in York on June 27

“After the shows, people came up and said, ‘that’s amazing, not just for Covid-safe conditions but for the future’. The advantage of this [configuration] is that you can book a patch like you book a theatre ticket: you have a guaranteed place.

“Everyone asked us to continue the concept, which we’ve done, and vaccine or no vaccine, the message is that in our 40s upwards, we’re not going to want to be really close up to other people at concerts.

“Our picnic patch concept enables patrons to pre-book their own designated space, thereby eliminating that mad scramble for the best site, which often mars an outdoor concert. Our audiences can turn up when it suits them and know they will have a safe and fun evening.”

Cundall already had settled on returns to Scampston Hall and Ripley Castle for “fun concerts by bands that play music you know, performed by musicians who’ve worked in shows you know in the West End”.

“Then, late in the day, we thought, ‘why don’t we do something at York Racecourse, where we could get 1,400 people in the Clocktower Enclosure?’,” he recalls.

“We’re thrilled to be adding York Racecourse to our list of prestigious venues!  These picnic concerts are a great opportunity to get together and enjoy a fun night of live music in a safe, socially distanced way. From the glorious Broadway classics to Dancing Queen and Dolly Parton, I hope we have something for everyone.”

He is delighted to have signed up the New York Brass Band too. “Without doubt, they are one of York’s best exports and it will be wonderful to get them on stage in their home city,” he says.

“Importantly, it’s an opportunity for both musicians and crew to showcase their talent again after months of inactivity during these difficult times.”

Artist’s impression of the Great Yorkshire Pantomime tented palace for Aladdin that may (or may not) be staged at York Racecourse in the winter

Cundall recalls the finale to last September’s last Sounds In The Grounds concert. “There was a feeling of ‘when will we see each other again’, so what’s key for us with the new season of shows is we’re trying to re-connect artists and audiences.”

York Racecourse may play host to another James Cundall entertainment enterprise in the winter ahead: the Great Yorkshire Pantomime production of Aladdin in a big top.

Produced by Cundall and directed by Chris Moreno, writer-director of the Three Bears Productions pantos at the Grand Opera House in York, the “tentomime” was first mooted for last Christmas, then confirmed for an Easter run from today (19/3/2021) to April 11 before killjoy Covid forced a postponement decision on January 18.

Billed as “a dream come true”, Aladdin would have played in a luxurious heated tented palace to an audience capacity of 976 in tiered, cushioned seating.

The 36 performances would have been socially distanced and compliant with Covid-19 guidance, presented by a cast of 21, including nine principals, and a band on a 50-metre stage with a Far East palace façade, projected scenery and magical special effects.

Will the show go ahead this Christmas? “We’re waiting to see what the Government will do on Covid measures before deciding on what we’ll do with the pantomime,” says Cundall. Watch this space.

Tickets for all Sounds In The Grounds concerts are on sale at with prices starting at £59 (plus booking fees) for a standard picnic patch for two people. All Covid-19 guidance from the Government is continuously monitored and followed.

Concert times at Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse:

June 25

Gates open at 4.30pm; New York Brass Band, 6pm; Beyond The Barricade, 7.30pm, concert finishes at 10pm.

June 26

Gates open at 4.30pm; New York Brass Band, 6pm; Abba Mania, 7.30pm; finale, 10pm.

June 27

Gates open at 3.30pm; New York Brass Band, 5pm; A Country Night In Nashville, 6.30pm; finale, 9pm.

Parking Lot Social have to call off Easter Festival drive-in extravaganza at York Racecourse but hope to arrange new dates

Hands up who wants the Parking Lot Social drive-in festival to find new dates after the Easter shows at York Racecourse had to be postponed under Covid strictures

PARKING Lot Social’s drive-in Easter Festival will not roll into York for two days of socially distanced outdoor entertainment on March 31 and April 1 after all.

Instead, in light of the Government’s four-step route out of pandemic lockdown still precluding outdoor performances on those dates, event organisers XL Event Lab are seeking to rearrange their UK-wide tour, including the York Racecourse shows on Knavesmire.

In an official statement today, chief operating officer John Kinnersley said: “Following yesterday’s lockdown announcement from the UK Government, we are working to reschedule the event and will make an announcement as soon as we have confirmed details with our various suppliers and partners.

“We have successfully adapted to changes in guidance for previous tours, and conversations are already underway to secure new dates which we expect to announce shortly.”

The 2021 Parking Lot Social Easter drive-in was set to feature comedy, drag acts, films, pantomime and the new addition of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azbakan, complete with costume competition and wizard-themed quiz.

The Easter Panto would have built on the debut Parking Lot Social drive-in Cinderella show last Christmas, giving a seasonal makeover to The Wizard Of Oz, with cast members putting on a special performance tailored uniquely to the drive-in format.

Central to the tour show, as and when it does go ahead, will be the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, entertaining adults with “iconic performances” by season one alumni Baga Chipz, Divina De Campo, Vinegar Strokes and Gothy Kendoll, alongside season two queens Ginny Lemon, Ellie Diamond and Tayce.

A host of drive-in movies for all ages are integral to the show, as is the Social Kids event, where families can safely enjoy an interactive showcase with an afternoon of quizzes, Car-a-oke, games and even a silent disco.

More entertainment from the Parking Lot Social …as and when the York Racecourse shows are rescheduled

For drive-in laughs, the Parking Lot Social presents the Parking LOL Comedy Night with some of the UK’s finest comedians.

Kinnersley says: “Our debut summer and winter tours were a huge success last year, and we’re keen to keep up momentum and continue to deliver first-class events which are not only enjoyable, but also completely Covid-19 friendly.

“Every detail of our drive-in tour – from entering the site to parking up and ordering food – has been designed with customer and staff safety front of mind, with ticket holders able to enjoy the experience with complete piece of mind.”

Whenever the York Racecourse shows take place, once rearranged, attendees will be entertained in their cars from a vast custom-made stage, the entertainment being broadcast across two 40ft screens. Audio will be transmitted from the stage directly to each vehicle through a dedicated FM radio channel.

Safety is at the heart of the event, say the organisers: “Audiences take part in the immersive, interactive shows from their own cars. It’s a completely contactless event ensuring a safe and socially distant experience.”

The Parking Lot Social Easter Festival was to have played York, Liverpool, Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, Cheltenham, Bristol, Newcastle and Luton.

For updates on new dates and ticket arrangements, go to 

What is the Parking Lot Social?

THIS touring entertainment concept blends live music, films, DJs, interactive games, quizzes and comedy into a thrilling day/night out. While guests are required to remain in their car, the focus is on mass participation at all times to bring the audience together, but always keeping everyone a safe distance apart. Take a look at this video:

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 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.

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.

Winner takes it all at Bjorn Again, karaoke and Silent Abba Disco day at York Races

Super troupers Bjorn Again say thank you for Abba’s music

BJORN Again can pick a host of Abba winners when rounding off the day’s racing at York Racecourse on June 27.

First up, Money, Money, Money will be The Name Of The Game as the runners and riders invite you to Take A Chance On Me and The Winner Takes It All (along with other winning bets too, before pedants start writing in) from the seven-race afternoon card on Summer Music Saturday.

Next, the long-running Abba tribute act will take to the stage, notching up another addition to a list of 7,000 shows in 100 countries since forming in Melbourne in 1988 en route to Bjorn Ulvaeus saying the Aussie doppelgangers single-handedly initiated the super-Swedes’ revival.

Bjorn Again’s post-racing set will be preceded earlier in the afternoon by Abba karaoke singing and a Silent Abba Disco.

Prizes will be awarded in the 1970s’ Fancy Dress Contest, for which racegoers are invited to create a stylish look from such fashion favourites as flares, platform boots, 1970s’ jackets and kipper ties. Look out for the “selfie stations”, on hand to help share the good times with the wider world.
On the Knavesmire track, £150,000 will be won over the seven races. Tickets for the racing and music double bill are on sale from £25 (for an advance booked group of six), with no booking fees and no parking charges. Under 18s will be admitted free of charge with an accompanying adult.
James Brennan, head of marketing and sponsorship at York Racecourse, says: “We wanted to offer people the chance to have fun, we hope in the sun, and what better way than in celebrating all things Abba.

“You only have to remember how popular the Mamma Mia films and Mamma Mia The Party have been to understand the affection across the country for the famous Swedish quartet. Obviously, they aren’t able to join us, but the rave reviews for Bjorn Again demonstrate the show is a great performance.”
Brennan continues: “There’s a lot of choice for music events around Yorkshire this summer, so we think this offers something different, a little more relaxed and at a more affordable price.

Of course, we have the additional excitement of Pussycat Dolls and Rick Astley set for late-July, so a little bit of ABBA fun seems a great way to kick off our music events.”
The York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend will bring the re-formed Pussycat Dolls to Knavesmire for the July 24 evening race meeting, followed by Newton-le-Willows crooner Rick Astley at the July 25 afternoon card.

Tickets can be booked at and on 01904 620911.

Pussycat Dolls are playing York Racecourse this summer, don’t cha know, but when?

Pussycat Dolls: prepare for Doll Domination at York Racecourse in July

REVIVED American girl group Pussycat Dolls will perform York Racecourse’s first 2020 Music Showcase Weekend show after the evening race card on July 24.

Eighties’ soul-pop icon Rick Astley was confirmed already for the weekend, signed up to play after the afternoon racing on the Knavesmire course on July 25.

Pussycat Dolls sold more than 54 million records in a run of hits from 2003 to 2010 and returned to the live platform after a nine-year hiatus at last year’s final of The X Factor: Celebrity: familiar territory for band member Nicole Scherzinger, a long-standing judge on the ITV talent show.

Scherzinger is joined in the Pussycat song-and-dance line-up by Ashley Roberts, Kimberly Wyatt, Jessica Sutta and Carmit Bachar. Expect them to sing the chart-topping Don’t Cha and Stickwitu, Beep, Buttons, I Don’t Need A Man, When I Grow Up, Whatcha Think About That and more besides, all coupled with dance routines.

Rick Astley: July 25 concert at York Racecourse Music Showcase Weekend

James Brennan, head of marketing and sponsorship at York Racecourse, said: “Announcements don’t come much bigger than being able to say that Pussycat Dolls will be bringing their Doll Domination to York Racecourse for a special Friday night performance to open the Music Showcase Weekend.

“Performances on a Friday evening have always had a special atmosphere with the excitement of the stars on the turf and the stars on the stage combining to make this an event to put in your diary now.”

To book, visit; no booking fee applies and car parking will be free. On the race track that evening, the European Breeders Fund Lyric York Stakes will be the centrepiece of a six-race card.

One York race-day concert is yet to be announced: the Summer Music Saturday on June 27. Watch this space.