June - Sheila Southam
I went up to Scarborough for the Vaqueros weekend event, which had a staggering variety and quality of artists. Elaine, Darran and Chris make everyone feel welcome and they cannot do enough for every person attending. Sammy was on the desk for the weekend, apart from the Saturday evening when John Taylor came down, and they both made everyone sound good. Friday began with the The Hayleys, giving us the harmonies and amazing slide guitar that we have come to expect. The middle set went to Chris Raddings, with his dulcet tones and fun banter, who was also acting as compere and DJ for the weekend. Rounding off the night in true style were The Landons, who sounded even better than at Towerfest and once again gave a fantastic set, including a terrific version of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’.
An extremely hot Saturday saw Scarborough celebrating Armed Forces Day, which included marching bands and flying displays. In the hotel, Kezia Gillopened the afternoon with a cracking set, her powerful voice and lovely personality really touch the audience and she got a rave reception. Texas Tornadoswere next up and what Pete lacks vocally he more than makes up for in sheer entertainment, ably matched by the musicianship of Stuart.
The evening began with Jonny and Lynettegiving us the classic country they excel at, although a recovering Jonny was leaving a lot more of the talking to Lynette. Then it was time for Vaqueroto once again have me roaring with laughter and loving their mix of music, they have really got the harmonies working well and it is obvious that they all get on well. Headlining the Saturday, the John Permenter Bandwere back and it was almost like they had never been gone. John had added Darren Binns to his old line up of Barry Cooper, Tony Kaempf and Derek Thurlby and the band sounded as professional as ever.
Last but not least the Sunday lunch session began with another set from Chris Raddings, who had us all laughing at his comments and enjoying the different songs. Finishing off the event were The Full Nelson, a five piece tribute band to Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. They got everyone singing along to the old classics and ended a fabulous weekend. Thanks to everyone from the Vaqueros team and I’m looking forward to the next one.
February - Peter Fairhead
Vaquero’s first 2019 Weekend at Scarborough's Royal Hotel certainly benefitted from the warmest February on record, so much warmer and calmer than last year. Vaqueros drummer and club booker Darran Gibson left nothing to chance for the festival, with extra lights for the excellent ballroom, and sound controlled by recording engineer Sammy Sands. High standards were in evidence from Friday evening with host Chris Raddings, himself an award winning singer, introducing Darren Busby to start proceedings. A smart move, as the audience were obviously warmed up - as if it was needed - when Chris himself performed a solo spot as second on the bill. Bradford’s Never Too Late are seasoned musicians all, and Gary, Martin, Richard, Alan & Tony’s playing and harmonies thrilled us all. Saturday’s music got underway after lunch with another spot from Chris Raddings, before Badlands’ brand of Country Rock, tight harmonies and rehearsed backing left a high bar for the evening’s acts to follow. Nadine Somers had a set drawn from Country’s best female vocalists that equalled the task, with the Darcy Band fresh from reconquering Australia following on with a mix of well-chosen covers and great originals. Vaquero were a brilliant finale to a great day’s entertainment, with thanks to John Taylor for guesting on the sound desk. Sunday morning brought us Stonecold Country with their award-winning musicianship, and Richard Palmer, who’s vocals exceeded my highest expectations. Dancers and listeners alike had been well catered for throughout, and Elaine and Darran are to be congratulated not only for their successful monthly club nights in Bradford but also their festivals, already booked for 2020! Try and get to the next one if you can.
Photos from our 2019 festivals.