Zoot Serious and the Belly Full of Bop – Friday 1st July 2016 at Alexander’s #chesterculture

Zoot Serious and a Belly Full of Bop boogie their way into Chester playing Rhythm and Blues, Jump Jive, Swing and Soul. T

The music performed by Zoot Serious is seriously energetic and delivered by a band with the same traits as the music.
The ten piece band, which includes all that you’d expect along with saxophones, trombones and trumpets, play all the classic jive and R’n’B tunes from James Brown to Ray Charles.

Zoot Serious and the Belly Full of Bop
Alexander’s Live
Friday 1st July 2016.
Tickets are £7 in advance or £8 on the door, with an option of a pre-show dinner for £27. Tickets are available from alexanderslive.com or by calling 01244 401402. 

The Hills Are Alive – Tues 5th to Thurs 7th July 2016 – St Mary’s Creative Space #chesterculture

Singers and musicians from as far as the Philippines, Zimbabwe and Canada will be arriving in Chester to take part in a mini international celebration. The international performers will add to a programme which blends some of our finest local musicians with high ranking performers of all ages from across the world in a mini festival which is being hosted by St Mary’s Creative Space in the city centre.

Organisers at Theatre in the Quarter have been working with the International Eisteddfod to provide choirs and dancers the chance to visit the city on their way to Llangollen where they will be taking part in the high profile competitions there.

Artistic Director Matt Baker, who recently brought hundreds of singers together in Chester City Centre to perform for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, said, “The standard and range of international performers at Llangollen is breathtaking, and we have been working with the organisers to not only give some of these visiting groups the chance to visit our beautiful city, but to give people in Chester a glimpse of what amazing things happen just a few miles away from here in Llangollen every year.”  Matt added “But we also have some great choirs and musicians of all ages in Cheshire, and so we wanted to create line up of local and worldwide acts to form an intimate celebration with an international flavour.” 

The festival, entitled ‘The Hills Are Alive” takes place from Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 July and will feature the following groups:
Cantilon – an exciting young choir from Alberta Canada
Coro San Benildo – a choir of young performers from the Philippines
Mother Touch Dance Group – a children’s dance ensemble from Zimbabwe
Hillside Singers – dynamic young singers from Helsby
The Fireflies – a vivacious all women’s choir from Cheshire
Soundwall – a music sensation from Chester
Hope Street Harmonies – a terrific close harmony group from Liverpool
The Little Big Band – a fantastic musical ensemble from Chester

Matt Baker concludes “This is a wonderful addition to the city’s cultural calendar, and in the intimate and beautiful setting of St Mary’s Creative Space. We hope that people will come along and support these musicians, whether they are from another continent or just up the road. We hope that this is just the beginning of a celebration that will grow each year. It has been terrific to partner up with the International Eistedfodd for this, and we hope that visitors to our mini festival will also have a glimpse of what is on offer just over the border on the following days.”

The Hills Are Alive
Tuesday 5th July to Thursday 7th July 2016
St Mary’s Creative Space
More information can be found by visiting www.stmaryscreativespace.co.uk/whatson/ . Tickets for each event are just £5 from www.ticketsource.co.uk/creativemarys


Shellsuit – Saturday 2nd July 2016 – Telford’s Warehouse #chesterculture

Shellsuit began in the Granite City at around 4:32am, when Lee Scanlan drove into the Royal Mail Depot with the sound of James Carr escaping from his car window. A mutual interest in the soul singer brought him to the attention of Ed Doherty another North West of England escapee who had gone to Aberdeen , like Lee, to find work on the Oil Rigs but ended up working for the Queens Mail

Back in their respective homes of Cheshire (Lee) and Liverpool ( Ed) they began to collaborate on the tracks that were to form the Lo-Fi gem ‘Walton Prison Blues’, released on Welsh Independant label Higuera Records in 2009.

The LP contained the outstanding track –‘Postman’- which had brought them to the attention of Tom Robinson at Radio 6 and ensured a studio session at BBC Broadcasting House in 2008. Tom called the song ‘my favourite new song’ of that year.
He remains a strong supporter.

The follow up LP-Wednesday Morning Bootle Strand- was approached differently. Using the proceeds of the first LP, plus gig income and Child Tax Credit, the two men recorded the LP over a 4 year period at numerous Studios around Liverpool (Parr St, The Motor Museum, Elevator) to create a more muscular pop sound, framed by Lee’s trademark guitar licks and Ed’s observations of everyday life as impacted upon by class, finance, and drugs.

The LP’s release in November 2014 saw ecstatic local media reviews and a distribution deal that ensured that people in Cornwall and Carlisle were suddenly getting it
Recent TV appearances on Bay TV Liverpool and Liverpool Live TV were cemented by a headline slot at New Brighton’s ‘Astral Coast’ Festival.

Parochial as the title of the LP is, you could substitute ‘ Exeter shopping Precinct ‘ and the impact on the listener would be the same- songs that are beautifully arranged, melodically smart and say something to you about your life.

Shellsuit are not going to expect you to listen to ten songs about rejection from a partner, they know the world is a lot more complicated and enjoyable than that.

The band have returned to the studio to work with producer Steve Powell, the hands behind ‘Michael Head and the Magical World of the Strands’. They will continue to perform the new LP at gigs across the UK.

People still want a soulful voice that articulates life in the grip of big egos with small compassion.

Saturday 2nd July 2016
Telford’s Warehouse
Free Entry Before 9pm, £4 Thereafter

The Somme 100 – Saturday 9th July 2016 – Queen’s Park High School – #chesterculture

In commemoration of the Battle of the Somme which took place 100 years ago the Chester Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with the Queen’s Park High School are taking part in the Somme 100 project.

img_0949The film ‘Battle of the Somme’ made in 1916 by Geoffrey Mallins and J.B. McDowell, has been re-mastered by the Imperial War Museum and an orchestral score has been written by Laura Rossi to accompany it.

The Somme 100 project aims to show the film internationally with Laura’s music at 100 different venues.

There will be two opportunities to view this moving historic film in Chester at 2.00pm and 7.30pm on Saturday 9th July 2016.

The Somme 100 Commemorative Concert
Saturday July 9th 2016
The Main Hall in Queen’s Park High School
Tickets priced at £12 and £10 for adults
Student tickets are £5
Tickets are available from Queen’s Park High School – Student Services on 01244 981506 or on the door.

A New Hope Music Festival. – 17th, 18th and 19th June 2016 – The Carlton Tavern #chesterculture

A New Design (7).jpg

The Carlton Tavern, with support from the local music community and chestergigs.com are proud to announce that they will be running a 3 day live music festival starting this Friday, starting at 5pm.

A New Design (8)

The event gets off to a cracking start with quality acoustica from Captain Andy Hignett and Dai Banjo, punchy indie from The Jigsaws & Brazen Swagger, Chester Hip Hop from Vil and ending with The Daymons bringing the love, harmonics and a bit of brass to the proceedings.

A New Design (6).jpg

On Saturday there’s another packed schedule starting with Carlton favourites and open mic hosts  Bean Rule & Mark Henderson, Urgent modfolk acoustica from Paul Williams, Action Transfers frontman Ian O’ Brien will be bringing 30 years of musical class, plus more leftfield leanings from Shem Sharples and Thor Brown.

After some punky grunge from Ryuko, the event finishes with Wrexham’s synth punk joy Def Neon.

On Sunday Chester Soul Club will be taking over for an afternoon of six decades of Funk & Soul, all on original vinyl. Mark Howell & Russ Hughes are your spinning winners for this Sunday daytime treat.

A New Design (5).jpg

And later on Sunday evening, Bean Rule will be hosting an Open Mic session featuring some of the cream of Chester’s gtass roots community.

The venue is completely free entry all weekend will be supplying free munch to soak up the beer and the music.

Come And Join The Alliance.



#chesterculture – Last Rites – Cellar Bar – Friday 17th June 2016


Dig out those black skinny jeans and smudge on the eyeliner as Chester’s only dedicated Goth night returns to The Cellar this Friday evening; brought to you by Die and Mark.

Playing Goth, Deathrock, Post-Punk, New Wave, Industrial, Alternative 80s and 90s music as well as all manner of embarrassing. but amazing, guff.

Last Rites
Cellar Bar

Friday 17th June 2016
8pm ’til late


The Good Life Experience – 16th, 17th and 18th September 2016 – #chesterculture

tgle-2015-photos-nenad-obradovic-IMG_2085The Good Life Experience presents an impressive and eclectic line-up for the three day festival –now in its third year- from 16th to 18th September 2016 on the Hawarden Estate in Flintshire.

The music and poetry programme is entirely hand-picked by co-founders singer, author and broadcaster Cerys Matthews and music manager Steve Abbot.

Festival goers can look forward to a mix of the very best music with everything from DJ Gilles Peterson, Canadians Gordie Mackeeman + His Rhythm Boys to Saturday night headliners Romanian Gypsy band Fanfare Ciocarlia – which Cerys has described as her favourite live performance of all time – poets John Cooper Clarke + Mike Garry (with his band), The Booka Brass Band from Dublin, Mari Samuelsen + The 12 Ensemble’s performance of Max Richter’s Vivaldi Recomposed, a DJ set from Mercury Rev, Cerys herself performing and much more.

On top of the music, there are some wonderful speakers lined up, including adventurer Ben Fogle, broadcaster Jeremy Vine and multi-award winning author Michael Morpurgo.

There will be an exciting array of world class chefs, all of whom have been challenged to cook over the campfire, from Bill Granger, to Thomasina Miers, Valentine Warner, Welsh barbecuers Hang Fire Smokehouse, Fabulous Baker Tom Herbert, Petersham Nurseries’ Head Chef Damian Clisby, Anna Jones, forager Roger Phillips and many more.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As founders of homewares brand Pedlars, the Hawarden Estate Farm Shop and award-winning pub The Glynne Arms, co-founders Charlie and Caroline Gladstone know something about hosting a brilliant party. Together with, Cerys and Steve they have created an atmosphere of warmth and inclusion for all ages.

Join the party this year for a weekend celebrating family, friends, dogs, music, talks, adventure, workshops, good food and good drink and The Great Outdoors.

There will be around 40 workshops with traditional craftspeople for all ages, from spoon carving to paddle making, henna art, blacksmithing, axe workshops and more. Almost all these workshops and other activities are free, including axe throwing, archery, tree climbing, tai chi and abseiling to name just a few.

And last but not least there is a wonderful 1930s Vintage Fairground, where all rides are free, running all weekend.

The Good Life Experience
16th, 17th and 18th September 2016
Hawarden Estate
To buy tickets click here
Adults: £69 Non-camping, £99 Camping
12-17 years: £34.50 Non-camping. £64.50 Camping
Under 11s: Free
More information at https://www.thegoodlifeexperience.co.uk

#chesterculture – Chester Philharmonic present A Night At The Movies – Saturday 25th June 2016

Chester Philharmonic’s Final Cathedral concert this season will be a departure from the normal Classical Musical format.

On the 25th June you will be able to hear a selection of music which was either composed for the ‘Silver Screen’ or pieces from the Classical repertoire which have been used in Hollywood’s films.

Who can forget the sight of Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney’s film Fantasia as ”The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or who cannot fail to be moved by the music from the film Schindler’s List?

Both these pieces along with many more will be performed by Chester’s own symphony orchestra in Chester’s cathedral. Elmer Bernstein (Magnificent 7), Leonard Bernstein (no relation….West Side Story), Eric Coates, Ron Goodwin and the prolific John Williams (W.T. Star Wars), are the major composers.

The soloist in Schindler’s List will be Lucy Holmes, a very young musician currently studying at Chetham’s School of Music Manchester.

The conductor will be Daniel Parkinson who has just graduated in conducting from the Royal Northern College of Music.  Daniel has a long history with the Chester Philharmonic. As a teenager, he played in many concerts both as a violinist and orchestral pianist. Since becoming a conductor, Daniel has returned to conduct the Chester Philharmonic on several occasions. He holds the record for the longest introduction by a compère and infamously conducted Copland’s Rodeo sporting a cowboy hat.

In 2016, Daniel was the Off-Stage and Cover Conductor for The Royal Ballet’s critically acclaimed production of ‘The Winter’s Tale.’ He will make his debut with Northern Ballet in September. In 2015, Daniel conducted Manchester Camerata in Chester Cathedral as part of the MBNA Chester Music Festival. He has also been an Assistant Conductor to the BBC Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras.

A Night at the Movies

Chester Cathedral

7.30pm – Saturday 25th June 2016

Tickets at £16; £12; £9 – students £5 – available  by calling 01244 500959 or www.chesterphilorchetra.co.uk.


#chesterculture – Alexander’s Live, Loud and Local Festival – Sunday 29th May 2016 

Alexander’s Live, Loud & Local Festival is an outdoor, independent music festival taking place on Sunday 29th May 2016, live music from midday till midnight across two separate stages – come rain or shine, there is guaranteed to be something on show for everyone.

With a bill featuring over 20 of the finest acts from across the North West & North Wales, live music fans will have the chance to catch homegrown Hip-hop from VIL; red blooded synth rock from Def Neon; scuzzy garage punk from Chupa Cabra and foot-stomping Blues from The Terry Burgin Blues Band. Alongside the sinister outbursts of SPQR; riotous psych-rock of PSYBLINGS; the captivating talent of Jon Coley and the eccentric alt-rock of Elevant.

img_0815The audacious funk of Liverpool’s 12-piece funk battalion, Galactic Funk Militia will be closing the evening, as their thumping dance floor smashers explode with horns and electric guitar, while liquid ballads seduce your ears with sensuous synth and exquisite melody. All driven by impulsive groove, quick-fire rap gymnastics and completed by the incredible voice of Amber Kuti.


After their impressive performance at this years’s Gathering Festival, emerging buzz-band Greenroom (and Alexander’s Live house favourites) will also be headlining our outdoor stage.

There will also be a variety of independent stalls from local businesses on show, face painting and fun-filled activities for the whole family and a pop-up bar/BBQ serving Alexander’s locally sourced burgers!


Festival wristbands cost only £6 and can be bought in-house or online here

Full line-up with full band bio’s and further info can be found here

#chesterculture – Chester Folk Festival 2016 – Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May 2016

It’s almost time for Chester Folk Festival 2016 and once again the organisers will be putting on a celebration of all that’s best in traditional and acoustic music. Running from 27th to 30th May.

A small, friendly, family festival that takes place in the village of Kelsall. It mixes showcase concerts, featuring some of the biggest names around, with more informal events such as ceilidhs, dance displays, sessions, workshops, a craft fair and a full programme of children’s entertainment, including things like circus skills and Punch & Judy, provided by Panic Circus.

This year’s stellar guest list has breadth and depth aplenty. Multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and legendary duo Richard & Jess Arrowsmith (Crucible, Hekety) will be appearing as two separate couples as well as combining to play as the amazing Melrose Quartet. These Sheffield-based friends and neighbours have been capturing imaginations wherever they go with their bold take on old and new English songs and tunes. Glorious four-part harmony singing combines with crunchy twin fiddles, full-bodied melodeon and powerful bouzouki in a set that will leave your heart singing and your feet tapping.

Bringing their brand of gutsy folk rock back to Chester are 2016 Folking Award winners Blackbeard’s Tea Party. Traditional songs and folk tunes are given a heavy rock edge with playful arrangements and driving dance rhythms. This is all mixed up in an engaging, high-octane stage show that frequently leaves audiences cheering for more, so it’s unsurprising they’re one of the most sought-after bands around.

Last year the Wilson Family of five brothers from Teesside celebrated forty years of singing on the folk circuit. Their strong unaccompanied harmony singing of traditional songs and songs of social comment, together with their humour and camaraderie on stage, have attracted innumerable fans over the years, including Sting who asked them to be part of his Last Ship production which premièred on Broadway in 2013. Their appearance at the BBC folk Prom concert with Kathryn Tickell was another highlight, winning them many five star reviews.

This year’s festival will be the fortieth since its inception and to celebrate, organisers have booked a series of returning favourites who have been regular visitors for much of that time. They include the dark brown voice and relaxed singing style of Yorkshireman Dave Burland; the hilarious performances of his own crazy (and clever) poetry of the self-styled professional idiot, the inimitable Les Barker; the glorious singing and gentle Irish humour of Seán Cannon, formerly lead singer with The Dubliners; the masterful playing and singing of Bill Caddick, one of the foremost songwriters on the scene; and the distinctive voice of the multi-talented ‘one man folk industry’ Pete Coe, this time appearing with Alice Jones.

But don’t think the festival is all about the past; there is plenty on offer that is new to Chester. There’s Kelly Oliver who The Times speaks of as ‘an artist who blends traditional values with hints of a bold indie-pop sensibility’; Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker whose performances, laced with ‘misery, mirth and sheer beauty’, helped make them winners of the Best Duo category at the 2015 BBC Folk Awards; folk singer & songwriter Kim Lowings who fronts a collective of musicians called The Greenwood; “one of England’s finest young singers” Gavin Davenport, teamed with the energy, exuberance and emotion of fiddle player Tom Kitching; and banjo player and songwriter Dan Walsh who is described as ‘eclectically inspired and consistently brilliant’.

From further afield the festival will welcome the scintillating Miriam Backhouse-Erasmus. Fondly remembered from when she was a force to be reckoned with on the UK folk scene before her move to live in South Africa, she has continued to impress on her return to performing. BBC Radio 2 producer John Leonard said of her, ‘Miriam’s haunting voice and tasteful instrumental work never fail to impress”. Jeff Warner, from a family of renowned folk song collectors, is a frequent and always welcome visitor from the US. ‘Quite simply, he’s one of the most charismatic, enthusiastic and genuinely versatile performers on the whole scene, with a warm and approachable personality to match his encyclopaedic knowledge of traditional song.’

These are just some of the many delights on offer. In addition there’s a full line up of talented musicians, singers and dancers from around the country including some regular local performers such as Fiddlestone; Full House; Roy Clinging; Graham Bellinger; and The Waite Collective.

And the festival isn’t only about concerts. Once again there will be a daily series of events aimed at the 12 to 20 age group, each one led by Festival guest artists from a similar age range. The Youth Room gives young participants the opportunity to exchange ideas, questions, and experiences, and to create music together; they are encouraged to bring their own instrument and/or voice or just come along to listen. These are non-ticket events, so friends and fellow musicians who aren’t sure about buying full festival tickets can still come along and sample what goes on.

There’s plenty for dancers too with a ceilidh each evening as well as a Saturday afternoon dance aimed at all the family. Some of the top exponents of ceilidh dance music will be taking part, including The Black Box Band, All Blacked Up, Hekety and local heroes The Time Bandits. Experienced callers, like Baz Parkes, Pete Coe, Gordon Potts and Martyn Harvey, will also be on hand to help everyone join in, experts and beginners alike.

With so much going on over the weekend, why not go along and join in the fun?

Day and evening tickets as well as full weekend tickets are available and can be purchased on site by going to the festival office which is located near the Lord Binning pub.

Chester Folk Festival
Friday 27th May to Monday 30th May 2016
Weekend: £75 including camping
All Day Sat or Sun: £29
All Day Mon: £22
Afternoon Only: Sat or Sun £15, Mon £11
Evening Only: Fri £9, Sat or Sun £21, Mon £13
Children 10 – 18: half price
Under 10 years: free
Concessions for students, OAP’s and unwaged:
£5 off weekend tickets, £2 off day tickets, £1 off afternoon or evening tickets
(please bring evidence of eligibility with you to the festival)
Click here to buy tickets