Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Scarborough Music Scene - A Retrospective

Written by Paul Deyes.

It's very easy to view the past through rose-tinted spectacles, but has the music scene in the Scarborough area actually progressed or stagnated ? Well, let's review what the past had to offer.

Although I was born perhaps a year too late to have experienced the legendary venue that was the Penthouse, I am aware of the importance that particular club has in the musical heritage of our town. Many bands that have become household names have played in the St Nicholas Street rooms in the seventies and early eighties.

The Sex Pistols, one of the many 'big names' that appeared at The Penthouse in Scarborough
The Sex Pistols, one of the 'big names' that appeared at The Penthouse
It opened in 1969, and the list of luminaries that graced its boards makes staggering reading. David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, The Police - the fact these massive international acts chose to play in a little Yorkshire seaside town is testament to how much the place was loved by performers and punters alike. Just wish I'd been born a little earlier...

Not many people remember, but the Taboo club on Huntriss Row also played host to a future globe-straddling little band called U2 in 1981. I even managed to procure a badly-recorded cassette copy of the gig whilst I was in Northern Ireland, of all places ! The club itself had more of an indie vibe than most other places, but again was very popular.

The Lemon Tree (later called LT's) saw one of the earliest incarnations of perhaps the most famous Scarborough musical export ever. I was witness to a band called Mr Thrud, who if my (admittedly time-addled) memory serves me correctly, appeared onstage in tuxedos and proceeded to play (amongst others) Led Zeppelin covers.

Anyone with a scant interest in local live music will know this band as the all-conquering Little Angels. The late eighties saw the Angels being lauded by the rock press as the new young saviours of British rock. Indeed, they even went down well in America, where the likes of Def Leppard had already made inroads. They recently reformed for a farewell tour. A great band, who were just down to earth blokes who hung out at the Cask Inn on Valley Bridge.

Two fabulous venues linked by their rather talented landlord were the Stage Door and the Talbot Hotel. Mr Paul Toole always had an eye for a good band, and with his contacts in the music business managed to persuade the likes of the Buzzcocks to play at our favourite watering holes.

The Talbot Hotel, Scarborough
The Talbot Hotel, Scarborough © Copyright All rights reserved by johnmightycat1
Other notable local bands I had the pleasure of seeing at these venues were Cockroach, The Rhythm And Groove Experiment (RAGE) - whose ever-grinning guitarist Mark "Eddie" Woodward, whom I had known since school, tragically passed away a few years ago, a great loss - and, erm... Grandads Don't Indicate! Mr Toole is still involved in furthering people's musical education, playing his funk, soul and gospel to appreciative audiences, including this year's Glastonbury. Not sure if he enjoyed Metallica's set, though....

But live music wasn't the only thriving scene in Scarborough in my adolescence. The town also had (and still has) its own rock guru, in the form of Mr Paul Murray. I remember buying rock albums from his portacabin shop on the station forecourt, before he launched several quality night spots. The first I remember was Victoria's (upstairs on the site that is now Matalan). Every Friday Screwy would D.J. to a throng of "tired and emotional" rockers, and the dancefloor would be a kaleidoscope of flailing hair and air guitar poses. Great days.

Paul also promoted some great bands at Murrays (formerly Pavilion Vaults) at the Westborough lights. Limehouse Lizzy made me deaf in one ear there, The Bryan Adams Experience packed the place every time, and with Paul's never-ending love for the antipodean boogie merchants, there was never a shortage of AC/DC tribute acts to enjoy.

Scene One & Two in Scarborough
Scene One & Two in Scarborough
I don't have the space (or memory!) to include every act or venue from my formative musical upbringing in my home town, and I apologise for any glaring omissions, but Bacchus, The Silver Grid (a very scary place for a teenager in the eighties, located above what is now Pizza Hut), Chaplins, and Scene One and Two must all hold fond memories for those of us of a certain age.

As we progressed through the nineties and into this millenium, some of the venues mentioned fell by the wayside, and more pubs began promoting local talent as a way of fending off bankruptcy brought about by the smoking ban, the ridiculous taxes levied on alcohol, and the burgeoning greed of the big brewery chains.

The old pub crawl route of Victoria Road/Castle Road changed with the opening of the no-music Lord Rosebery and the three big bars on St Nicholas Street. Now I have friends who work for these establishments, so I'm not going to bad-mouth their employers here, but suffice to say these places have added nothing to the town's musical development.

Beached Festival Poster
So where are we at today? Well, we had eight years of free live festival entertainment on the beach with...erm...Beached. A fabulous concept that ran from 2001 to 2008, giving local artists a platform alongside more established acts. The Fratellis, The Libertines (sans Docherty), Thunder, The Quireboys, The Kaiser Chiefs (then known as Parva), The Bluetones and The Hoosiers all played to hugely varied audiences. Sadly, the event ceased after 2008, although a smaller event was staged at the Open Air Theatre in 2011.

Acoustic Gathering at Peasholm Park has grown since its inception, the event being the brainchild of Mr Steve Dickinson (who also played keyboards in the aforementioned RAGE, amongst other local bands). However, the event is taking a hiatus this year.

Rock In The Castle, Scarborough
Rock In The Castle, Scarborough
In September 2005, one of the great musical experiences of my life occurred in the Castle grounds. Rock In The Castle was an all-day festival at our most prestigious edifice, and the line-up had me running to the computer to buy my tickets soonest. Hanoi Rocks, Terrorvision and the greatest band on the planet (in my humble opinion) - The Wildhearts. A superb day, spread across two stages, and featuring diverse and local acts, gave way to a glorious night, with my heroes giving a tremendous performance. Pity hardly anyone got paid....

The re-vamped Open Air Theatre has been going a couple of years now, and the calibre of the acts it is attracting (although I'm not really their target audience) is quite impressive. Still think it needs a rock festival, mind...

'Seaside' Danny Wilde
The pub live music scene is still thriving, whether it's stalwarts of the town such as Jessie Hutchinson, "as seen on TV" Danny Wilde (think it was Crimewatch for his stage outfit - only joking, Danny !), my friend and musical genius Paul Tilley, the perennial punk pranksters Snatch, the leviathan rock of Aftermath, the fun times of Bongoman and his Bongomaniacs, or the Irish lunacy of the Shamrockers, there is usually something to cater to most tastes. There's even a couple of jazz clubs....nnnice !

The Spa on Victoria Road has some interesting and talented acts, and has reinvented itself as a music pub. The Tap & Spile still has an eclectic mix of bands and singers, continuing the good work started by Ian - the previous landlord - thanks to Mick and his main man Jon.

The Commercial and The Ship have both been overhauled and now have some cracking acts performing. Mike at the Indigo Alley also gives a chance to local talent. The Merchant (formerly the Jolly Roger) also has many new young bands to check out. There are numerous Open Mic and Beer Jam nights popping up all over the town. And we have a Rock Night at the Black Lion every fortnight - sorry, had to slip in a plug !

All in all, there is still a great deal of muscal talent for us Scarborians to be very proud of, and long may it continue....
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Sunday, 6 July 2014

UPDATED: Staxtonbury 2014 - Your Photos & Videos

Staxtonbury 2014

As Staxtonbury Festival draws to a close we take a look back at some of your photos and videos from a great weekend of music.

If you'd like to see your Staxtonbury photos featured on the website then drop us an email to or message us on Twitter or Facebook.

Photos © Cherie Brown
Photos © Cherie Brown

Photos © Rachel Marie Watson
Photos © Rachel Marie Watson

Photo © Holly Dixon
Photo © Holly Dixon

Photo © Wendy Smith Audsley
Photo © Wendy Smith Audsley

Photos © Sue McNally Rodgers

Main photo © Steve Cox
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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Staxtonbury 2014 Line-Up


This weekend is Staxtonbury 2014 the 6th incarnation of what the NME described as 'North Yorkshire's most notable musical event".

Staxtonbury is a family music festival held at Manor Farm in Staxton, near Scarborough and is know for showcasing local talent from across Yorkshire.

If you're lucky enough to be attending, here's a full line-up of the weekend's festivities.

Main Stage Acts - Friday 4th July 





6pm Boolas Young Rock Scarborough
6.40pm The Mothers Rock York
7.20pm Jez And Tim Comperes
7.30pm Aftermath Covers Scarborough
8.15pm Ishka Traditional / Irish Scarborough
9.00pm Skapegoat Covers Filey
9.45pm Becky Andthe Techs London
10.25pm Qwikshift Rock Scarborough
11.10pm Snatch Rock Scarborough
12 Mid Close

Main Stage Acts - Saturday 5th July 





12noon Travellin Band American Rock York
12.40pm Another Manhattan Young Rock Band Scarborough
1.30pm Trilogy Rock Covers Scarborough
2.15pm Rat Catchers Mallet Rock York
3.00pm Tfi Rock Scarborough
3.45pm Terri-Ann Prendergast Rock Scarborough
4.30pm Cover Ups Rock Malton
5.15pm Alabama Paydirt Rock Scarborough
6pm Soul Rida Soul\Rock Scarborough
7.00pm Dead White Doves Rock Scarborough
7.45 Pm Special Guests To Drop In Secret
8.15pm Huge Covers York
9.30pm Innes Rock Croatia
10.20pm Shamrockers Rock Scarborough
11.15pm Snatch Rock Scarborough
10.20pm Close

Main Stage Acts - Sunday 6th July 





12noon Bluephunk Young Tork
12.45pm Twister Covers Durham
1.30pm Tom Gee Band Originals Leeds
2.15pm Unit 3 Rock Scarborough
3.00pm Blue Alibi Covers Malton
4.00pm Close

Acoustic Stage Acts - Friday 4th July 




6pm Amy Cutler Scarborough
6.30pm City Blues York
7pm Ross Dransfield Scarborough
7.30pm Seamus G Mann York
8.00pm James Coley Wakefield
8.45pm Natalie Wardman And Mick Murtagh Scarborough
9.30pm Ash Gray U.S.A
10.15pm Luke Smythe Scarborough
11pm Two Men And A Beard Staxton
12pm Finish

Acoustic Stage Acts - Saturday 5th July 





11.45am Lauren Varley Scarborough
12.10pm Armania
12.40pm New Strings Norton
1pm Magic Mike Kids Show S,Boro
1.45pm Stringtheory Duo S.Boro
2.30pm Lizzie Wilson York
3.00pm Leane Burton Bridlington
3.45pm Innes & Mr T Scarborough
4.15pm Steff Little Rotherham
5.00pm Magic Mike Kids Show Scarborough
5.45pm Ashleigh Mcpherson Scarborough
6.20pm Tom Turner
6.45pm Linda Simpson Leeds
7.30 Pm Tom Davenport Scarborough
8.15pm Jo Bywater Leeds
9pm Ryan Spendlove York
10.Pm Dog Finger Steve Driffield
10.45pm Jimbo York
11.30pm Two Men And A Beard Staxton

Acoustic Stage Acts - Sunday 6th July 





11.45pm Phil Holliday Scarborough
12.25pm Adam Chodan Brid
1.10pm Magic Mike Kids Show
2.00pm Phil Hooley
2.40pm Rachel Skelton York
3.20pm First Quarter Scarborough
4.Pm Close

Marquee Stage Acts - Friday 4th July 





6pm Vinnie Andthe Stars Indie Hull
6.40pm Ash Gray USA
7.25pm Sub Gents Original Scarborough
8.05pm Tyler Smith Covers Filey
8.45pm Bongo Mania Scarborough
9.30pm Clearwater Revived Covers Leeds
10.15pm Travellin Band Southern Rock York
11.15pm Ryan Spendlove Rock York
12mid Close

Marquee Stage Acts - Saturday 5th July 





12noon Alterego Covers York
12.45pm Unit 8 Covers York
1.30pm Jade Hellewell Band Original Wakefield
2.15pm The Kets Originals Durham
3.00pm Stolen Embers Originals Harrogate
3.45pm Stringtheory Covers Scarborough
4.30pm Entertainment Company York
5.15pm Supersonic Jets Original Material Hull
6.Pm Becky Andthe Techs London
6.45pm York Trust Turnpike Covers York
7.30pm Bogus Beatles Malton
8.30pm Abba Girls 70’s Cayton
9.30pm The Stingers 60’s Selby
10.30pm Little Big Horn Covers Scarborough
12 Mid Close

Marquee Stage Acts - Sunday 6th July 





12noon Tom Davenport And Friends Covers Scarborough
12.45pm Strangers In Paradise Originals Harrogate
1.30pm Overthe Limit Covers Scarborough
2.15pm Hi Heel Sneakers Covers Scarborough
3.00pm Mood Swings Covers Scarborough
3.15pm Audio Subscene Originals Hull
4.00pm Close

Please note, the running order is subject to change. Noticeboards will be displayed at every stage with up-to-date line ups.

For more information on Staxtonbury VI visit the website at or watch the promo video below.

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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

‘Tour of Yorkshire’ - Scarborough Tipped for Key Role in New Major Cycling Event

After missing out on the Tour De France Grand Départ this year, Scarborough could be first to host a major new cycling event in 2015.

The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) has tonight revealed plans for a new, world class cycle race to be held in Yorkshire, following on from the start of the Tour De France in the county this weekend.

If approved by UCI, the world governing body for cycling, the ‘Tour of Yorkshire’, will begin next May and is set to be an annual 3 day event.

Early signs suggest that Scarborough could well be the first beneficiary of this new Europe tour level professional race which could see the world’s elite cyclists heading to the Yorkshire Coast.

Speaking to the BBC Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, said:

"Alongside the public interest for cycling, highlighted by the Grand Départ, Yorkshire boasts beautiful breathtaking scenery worthy of any of the cycling season's major events."

"It therefore seems perfectly natural for Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and ASO to continue working together in this new land of cycling, through the Tour of Yorkshire."

Speaking later on BBC Look North Mr. Prudhomme hinted later that the Yorkshire coast would be first to benefit from this new event saying:

"Yorkshire is beautiful, but with only two stages it’s impossible to do 3 of 4 more stages. We knew that some parts of Yorkshire, the coast, the coast is magnificent, and it will be in the new race for sure."

Gary Verity, of Welcome to Yorkshire said:

"We wanted to go to parts of Yorkshire that the tour has not been to. It doesn't have to be the same route every year. So we can move it around Yorkshire and make it more interesting from time to time."

"It must incorporate for us a ladies race as well - women’s race for sure. We are very, very excited about that. We have said we want to make Yorkshire the European capital of cycling."

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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Osborne's 'Northern Powerhouse' Could be a 'Blessing in Disguise' Says Goodwill

We reported last month on how George Osborne's 'Northern Powerhouse' plans could see Scarborough cut off from the rest of Yorkshire.

According to Transport Minister and local Robert Goodwill however, if the plans do go ahead, they could be a 'blessing in disguise'.

In June BBC Look North revealed consultation documents on rail franchises from 2016 which suggested that Scarborough could lose its direct trains to Leeds, Manchester & Liverpool.

In a news report by Yorkshire Coast Radio however Mr Goodwill says that there are actually three other options, one of which could see dual-mode trains in operation.

Dual-mode trains are designed to be powered from either an electricity supply or by using the on-board diesel engine making them ideal in this instance.

Goodwill also says that the line could still be electrified all the way to Scarborough and that even if the York to Scarborough line did become a 'branch line', it could be a "blessing in disguise".

The thinking here is that, as a branch line, there would be no restrictions on the number of services that could operate between the two destinations, which could lead to an improved service than the one in place today.

Have you say on the future of Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises here:
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Saturday, 28 June 2014

VIDEOS: What a Sight! The World's Only Flying Avro Vulcan Flies Over Scarborough

The world's only flying Avro Vulcan took to the skies above Scarborough's South Bay today as part of Armed Forces Day.

This amazing sight was captured on film by several onlookers. Check out their videos below.

Vulcan take off at 1210 heading for Goodwood Festival of Speed and then to Scarborough

The Avro Vulcan display at Scarborough Armed Forces Day, 28th June 2014. Filmed from Scarborough castle.

Vulcan flypast, Scarborough Armed Forces Day 2014

Main photo credit © Andrew McCauley
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UPDATED: Your Photos From Armed Forces Day 2014

Sea King Helicopter Flies over Scarborough's South Bay
As another Armed Forces Day comes to an end, we've put together a collection of some of the best photos from today's events.

If you like to see your photos featured then drop us an email at of message us on Twitter or Facebook.

Photo above © Andrew McCauley

Photos above © Danny Knight

Main photo credit  © Simon White
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