BAMfest – Bedale Acoustic Music Festival 2014 Review

Meet William, we shared a camp site with him the other weekend…

The 30th May 2014 launched the second running BAMfest and as incredible as the first year had been, this one somehow managed to top it even further. With 10 venues, over 50 performers and workshop providers, 2 camp sites, 1 stalls market, plenty of punters, lots of beer and a donkey, I’d call the weekend a success. The quiet village of Bedale came alive as performers took to the pubs and spilled out onto the streets to tell tales of folk and tradition, entertain plentiful crowds and, well, get pissed. 

That’s me, playing the town stage, photo curtsey of Nikki R .

Henry Priestman, former band member of The Christians, acted as the festival’s patron and described it as ‘my favourite small festival.’ I can second that.
There was nothing to be seen but smiling faces and sunshine and the entire weekend had a positive and welcoming vibe. Every single pub held masses of talent and a cosy atmosphere which turned later in the evening into a slightly more raucous one. No one had a bad word to say.
There were some great name bands headlining the main stage including the likes of The Blues Band, who got the audience singing so passionately that you could feel it from the other end of the campsite; The Duncan McFarlane Band, who’s pirate-like influences provided a laughable and infectious energy; and The Goat Roper Rodeo band with their ‘cosmic country blues’ causing a bit of a foot-stomping storm.
The campsite was full of friendly faces and I’m sure some of us will recognise each other next year when we return again (we will return again, I ain’t missing a festival as good as this).
The Riverside concert venue held a variety of performances from the amazing Martin Carthy who has been twice named folk singer of the year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, to the locally famed Merlin’s Keep who told tales of folk legend Havelock The Dane with a lively and enticing performance.
So there were some pretty big names at the festival this year. Not forgetting those less well known, all of which lived up to the high standards that the headliners set during the weekend. There was so much going on all day that you could just wander around the village and follow the trail of whichever voice caught your attention until you found the right pub. Then you’d look them up in the programme to see who they were, and all of a sudden you’d have a new favourite artist.
And that’s exactly how it went.
I look forward to experiencing it all over again next year!


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