Music Preview: Bandstand Busks

Dave Newbury
By Dave Newbury Last edited 89 months ago
Music Preview: Bandstand Busks

Bandstand Busks have been taking place across London since 2008 with wonderful bands playing acoustically for free. The latest Busk takes place on the Eve of All Hallows Eve (the day before Halloween to you and me featuring performances from dreamy London duo Big Deal and swooning Swedish electronica- The Deer Tracks.

Starting from a desire to make use of London’s unused bandstands, Bandstand Busks have had artists like Guillemotts, Emmy The Great and Lulu and The Lampshades play the city’s bandstands and even hosted a stage at the 2011 Meltdown festival. The busks are all filmed and avaialble to watch on the Bandstand Busks blog.

Having been to several busks, it’s a pleasure to see crowds gathered around the often overlooked bandstands, breathing new life in to a classic feature of London’s parks, and gives the musicians an opportunity to play stripped down and for free to new audiences.

Londonist caught up with Anika Mottershaw, one of the four organisers to find out how Bandstand Busks came about.

What kind of musicians do you get to play, and who would you like to play?
Anyone good! They don't have to be signed, local, new or old- we really have no rules. Dream bands... well, I'd love to have Wildbirds & Peacedrums back.

If you could hold a busk anywhere in London where would it be?
We're quite happy at our regular spots of Arnold Circus and Northampton Square, but if other councils would make it easier for us to use their bandstands, that would definitely be a blessing.

What's been the best one?
It's hard to say, but Wildbirds & Peacedrums will always be one of my personal favourites. Recently, the Sea of Bees, Peggy Sue, Veronica Falls triple whammy in the summer was a lot of fun.

How do you decide where to hold the busks and what attracts you there?
We mostly use Arnold Circus and Northampton Square; the Tower Hamlets and Islington councils try to make our lives easy when we apply for the licenses, and we really appreciate that and enjoy those locations and using those bandstands.

What is London like for hosting events and what has the support/audience been like?
It's great. We always have good fun and the audiences are the best. The atmosphere is always really friendly, and I think the bands enjoy it too.

What kind of people come to the Busks?
Teenagers, adults, old, young, hipsters, music nerds, parents, kids, and simple passers-by.

The next Bandstand Busks takes place at Northampton Square, Clerkenwell (Just of St John’s Street) featuring Big Deal and The Deer Tracks, Sunday October 30, from 3pm. It’s all for free!

Bandstand Busk favourites,Lulu and The Lampshades, play a special gig in aid of Cystic Fibrosis at the Victoria, Dalston, November 9, Tickets £6 in advance from We Got Tickets.

Last Updated 28 October 2011