I live in the best town for live music, i have possibly told you this before but i use to go to live music events or jam nights 7 nights a week. We have a fantastic array of brilliant venues, bands and musicians that I will be posting about on here. I even have a video of one of my favourite bands who have given me permission to post on here.
I have a lot of friends in the local music industry and I very much miss going out to see them play their music. I miss going to the jam nights to see the young talent and I miss organising the occsional gig. I hope this page can lead to maybe more of the gigs being live streamed.
So lets start with current venues shall we! (if you notice any venues missing please send me a message to correct the information thank you). Of course I have to start with the best venue we have.
I worked a brief stint as a stage sound engineer at esquires. It was probably the best time of my life. I saw some fantastic bands over the six months I was doing that job. Some of these bands are still going today and i shall go into more detail about some of them later. Some of the bands that I remember engineering for are The Quireboys, Don Broco (before they were Don Broco they were Summerfall) Pearl Handled Revolver, The workshop boys, The A Band, Cutting Out (no longer together), The Tendons, New Groove Formation (who have just reformed this year) and a few others who are no longer together and my memory must also be failing me a little bit now.
This venue has been open for nearly 30 years it has all updated equipment both sound and lighting and they are expecting to become fully accessible although i am not sure what progress has been made on this as i have not been able to visit the venue since i lost my car and the pandemic hit. (Which if truth be told i am still a little scared of going to indoor events due to the pandemic).
I used to organise gigs at this venue for an organisation called The Sid Worth Memorial Tribute Fund (SWMTF). This was an organisation that was originally set up to help musicians (particularly young musicians) with funding for recording as this can be very expensive and other funding that may have been requested. One of the bands that we helped was Don Broco who are doing really well and playing big gigs and festivals all over the world now. They played our last ever gig which happened to be my 40th birthday (although i don’t think anyone knew it was my birthday) I was doing the front of house sound on the main stage with the help of Amy Mason. I think she also performed for us that day. We also had bands in what we referred to at the time as Danny’s Bar. I also can’t remember if we used the room that was referred to as the club originally, went on to be known as Holy Moly’s and is now Room 2 or The Pad Stage. But it was a great day of live music as a celebration of Sid’s life. The people who remember Sid gather every year at Esquires, in the bar down stairs with The A Band (Sid’s band still going today). Sid was part owner of The Music Centre and was a great friend to all musicians no matter who you were. He also organised a lot of events and was partly responsible for the set up of Esquires when it first opened providing most of the equipment with his partner in the business Bruce Murry (who used to manage The Quireboys and a fellow band mate in The A Band.
They have a jam night every Sunday evening with the lovely Mat Roberts. Also i love that there is no dress code well i say no dress code but you definately have to wear something on top of your birthday suit. The only way you would feel uncomfortable in this venue was if you were to wear a suit it’s a dress comfortably or dress outrageously and I love that about the venue. It is also a venue that has seen very little violence and the atmosphere is more like a community pub than a music venue. I consider myself to be very lucky to have this on my doorstep even though i am currently unable to visit due to having no transport for both me and my electric wheelchair. Update – Jun 2022. I’m hoping to go to The Patio Party if i happen to be one of the forst 50 people to this event i will donate my pint of Red Stripe to something/someone else as i don’t really drink and i would prefer half a Guinness obviously.
This is not a pub that i frequented when i was able to get out and about but i did go occasionally. There was a little bit of a blip with this pub but i’m happy to say that it is back in the hands of people that care about this pub and is now a live music venue again.
The Castle Bedford
This is a pub with a long standing tradition of having bands play and hosting jam nights with Mat Roberts and his Effort Studios Crew. I remember taking my daughter here when she was around 8-10 years old Mat asked the audience to choose a subject and he would write a song on the spot. I have no idea what subject she chose but it was the first time i had ever seen this done it was very clever I was very impressed. Mat still does his jam nights all around the town, occasionally changing venues due to owner/manager changes.
The Three Cups
This is another pub that I have only been to a few times when there has been a particular band that I have wanted to see or a jam night.
The Flower Pot
The Flower Pot has been a pretty stable live music venue over the last 20 years or so and continues to this day. Before the pandemic they had a jam night every Thursday. I’m sure they still have them but i have no idea what night of the week they are now. If this interests you please contact the venue.
The Barley Mow
This is another pub that i have not frequented very often but they have put on some great entertainment over the years. It had a little blip itself a few years ago. But i think it is back in safe hands and is a sister pub to The Bear now. This is one of the longest established LGBTIQA+ pubs in the country which first opened in 1836. That is some acheivement considering that for most of it’s tenure it has been illegal to be a member of the LGBTIQA+ community. Something that is thankfully no longer the case. Now i don’t understand what it is like to be a member of this community because i’m only an ally. But i do know what it is like to be discriminated against. Which this community receives almost more than people with disabilities which i am a member of. But for both groups liberation is in very short supply.
I just don’t get it what the F*** has someone’s identity got to do with you? How is someone being gay, trans, lesbian or disabled impacting your life? Just because something becomes more visible doesn’t mean it didn’t exist before you became aware of it. Before you became aware of these liberation groups how often were you propositioned by someone from one of these groups? These are the questions you should be asking yourself. Because we all have a right to be here and that is something that no one has a choice over. So if you are scared of this or any otherr community group then eitherr go and learn more about that communiity or just stay away. Simples in it.
The Kings Arms
I’ve had many a good night in this pub. A band called Rubberneck used to play here on a Saturday night about 20 years ago (no longer together but members are in new bands now) i was mad about this band as was my friend who i think i have tagged as Exibit B (mainly because i haven’t asked permission if i can refer to them by name publicly) along with a few others whose name i can’t remember at this time. I remember one band that used to do a rather spectacular version of Stevie Wonders – Superstition but i can’t remember the name of the band which is tragic (perhaps one of my music friends will message me with the band name). Looks like they still do some live music but like all the other venues i haven’t really been able to get to any of them.
LPH Concerts And Events
We have some outdoor events in Bedford now from LPH Concerts who hold gigs in Bedford Park. They do a proms in the park every year (again something i have not been able to get to for about 20 years or more. They have an ibiza event that i would really like to go to this year but probably won’t be able to go. No transport to get there and i would be going on my own probably.
Bedford River Festival
I also found this video from 2018.
This is a festival that has been going for longer than i’ve lived in Bedford. I t has evolved so much over the years although it is a long time since i have been to this festival. However, a few years before esquires took over running the main stage and around the time of me working for the SWMTF i was not happy with some of the music that was being put on at the time. None of the local bands were performing in there home town at this festival and to me that was tragic. So i contacted the then organiser to change this. This would have been around 2004 (before i fell ill in 2006) that i got involved with this. I was given some application forms to give out to bands to apply to play one of the stages which i was handing out to whoever wanted to play the river fesitval. I went back into a meeting with the organiser as he wanted my opinion on which bands should go on what stage. The Workshop Boys went onto the community stage in St Mary’s Garden’s and New Groove Formation got onto the main stage in Russell park. I also ran the band stand that weekend with other members of the SWMTF (in it’s early stages) and had solo acoustic acts on all day on the Saturday and Sunday and I provided the sound equipment myself. This was quite an apt place to be holding an SWMTF gig because the band stand is not far away from the memorial bench that now sits along the river. So back in 2004 there were 3 music stages. This year there is 8 live music and perfomance stages.
Now Esquires runs the main stage in Russell Park. It’s so lovely to see this long standing festival still going strong with the most amazing music and 8 stages. (I think i’m going to make an effort to go and sit in my wheelchair somewhere near the main stage this year).
At this point I am going to start putting links and videos of local bands. I think this is probably going to be a page that will be changing quite a lot so i am still in the process of adding more to the page but this should get you started.
First up is my favourite band Full Circle. I have known these guys for about 20 years now and they never fail to entertain. They are very popular and The bar in Bedford Esquires is always packed when they play. The Song is called ‘Galileo’ it is an original and I bloody love it. I really must find a way to get to the Sunday afternoon sessions again.
Thanks to Punk Rock Sal For recording this video of Thr3e – Walking
I haven’t yet managed to get to see thr3e but i have seen other bands that both Steve & Carlos are involved with. They are both top of my list of favourite bands/musicians.
I love Easydread. They are such lovely people, some of whom i have known for close to 20 years. They agreed to play a fundraising gig that I organised at Bedford Esquires to raise money for the Prebend Day Centre (Now Smart – Bedford) (which is a homeless shelter for daytime activities) and the sponsors Luton and Bedfordshire Green Party.
It was a fantastic night (at least I thought it was) and I know that Councillor Ben Foley did too (although I think this was before being elected) Councillor Lucy Bywater was also there helping with the door entry fee and the raffle (again before being elected).
Anyway back to Easydread. Here is a photograph of the band and a video of their song Scrotes.
New Groove Formation
Another one of my favourite local bands who after taking a break have just reformed. They have already played a few outside events this year like Strawberry Fair in Cambridge and have a slot at this years Bedford River Festival on the Sunday on the main stage in Russell Park at 4.15 pm. I plan to go to this and may end up at Esquires for the Sunday Afternoon Session as i haven’t been for a while.
This video was taken the last time New Groove played the main stage at Bedford River Festival in 2010. I think that Bedford Esquires now sponsors this stage.
Here are all the links for New Groove Formation.