Live music is coming back to Sefton Park bandstand with a summer of free concerts
2 years ago
Live music is coming back to Sefton Park’s bandstand with a series of free weekend concerts starting this month and running right through summer.
The Sunday sessions are being staged as part of joint anniversary celebrations for the park, which is 150 years old this year, and for The Palm House which marked its 125th birthday in 2021.
A much-photographed historic feature of the park, with its distinctive pagoda-style roof, the beautiful old bandstand has had its electrics fixed, graffiti removed and been given a paint job ahead of the first concert on Sunday June 19 thanks to a partnership project with the city council.
Kate Martinez from the Palm House says it’s good to see it being a focal point of the park again.
“Other people have used the bandstand in the past, including Larks in the Park back in the 80s, but this is the first time we’ve taken it over and we really wanted to bring it back more regularly for both anniversaries.
“We’d been planning events for our 125th last year for about two years but then of course because of Covid some of what we planned had to be delayed.
“A lot could still go ahead, and we had some amazing events including the Princess Royal’s visit, but we decided to extend it into this year and then with it being the park’s 150th it made sense to continue our celebrations and do something together.
“Our director Roy Boardman had the idea to bring the bandstand back to life because that’s what it’s there for, it should have music on it and be enjoyed, and it’s a win-win because it’s not just getting used again, it’s getting cared for too.
“At first we were planning one or two free concerts, but then it just grew organically as more and more people were interested and we’ve now got 11 acts booked in, from June 19 to September 25.”
Kate says with the bandstand overlooking the lake and a big open grass bank facing it, it’s an ideal location for people to come with a picnic for an afternoon of free music.
“We love our music in this city, but it can be expensive to go to concerts especially if you’re going as a family. With ours, they can bring a picnic and not have to worry about paying for anything.”
To appeal to as wide an audience as possible, and all ages, they’ve scheduled lots of different music styles, from a Beatles tribute band to a ukulele band as well as some emerging local talent.
“We’ve got a really wide variety of acts performing so we hope there’s going to be something for everyone from a Beatles tribute band, a jazz band with Mersey Swing so there’ll be dancers as well as music, a ukulele band, choirs and a brass band. There are also some up and coming new musicians so it will give them a platform too.
“People are already asking if they can put their names down for 2023 and we hadn’t even started considering that it might happen again next year. But if it works well, why not? It would a lovely legacy for the anniversaries and really kickstart it back into what it should be.”
Concerts are on Sundays, between 2pm and 4pm. Here’s the full line-up of artists for the summer bandstand sessions:
June 19 – Grace Allwood and Rob Jones & Rob White
July 3 – D’Ukes of Hazzard ukulele band
July 10 – Da Beats, Beatles tribute band
July 17 – Fox Rivera, singer/songwriter
July 31 – Mersey Swing
August 7 – Barkla Buskers
August 14 – Connected Voices choir
August 21 – Singing Our Socks Off choir
September 4 – Formby Band, brass band
September 11 – Warrington West Concert Band
September 25 – Wall of Sound choir