Bearwood Street Festival, 11th June 2017

Who said the High Street was dead??

Bearwood’s inaugural Street Festival held on Sunday 11th June 2017, saw Bearwood High Street (officially known as Bearwood Road) closed off and quickly filled with people to enjoy great food, great music and performances and (by and large) great weather. From 11:30 on Sunday morning until 5:30 when the festival came to a close, crowds flocked to the high street to enjoy a grand day out.

Main Stage

On The Main Stage outside The Bear Tavern, Sandwell’s Lord Mayor Councillor Ahmadul Haque M.B.E. formally opened the festival with a fine introduction from our MC for the day, the magnificent Dr When, resplendent in his red jacketed dinner suit and top hat.

The Frenzies (Rockabilly Rebels with a cause) kicked off in high gear with a lively set of rock n roll tracks, that certainly got the crowd going.


Junior Blue Notes up next, a bunch of supremely talented youngsters from the local Silvershine Jazz Club (and with a few older youngsters too) treating the crowd to some classic Jazz.

Electric Swing Circus brought us their mash-up of twenties inspired vintage sounds fused with electronics and turned up to 11.

Rhino and The Ranters were a terrific act, whipping the crowd up and some great Hendrix style moves from the lead singer.

Kioko, (formerly Tempting Rosie), who have graced the Shuffle Stage before, brought the big horns out with their ska/reggae infused music, with a couple of members playing brass in the crowd, before hastily getting up on stage to start their set.

Lycio brought the stage to a close with their more chilled vibe and some great electronica and distinctive vocals from their singer.

In between the acts, DJ Jon Harris kept up the momentum with some classic tracks, with some appearances by a mysterious ‘Grey Lady’ in front of the stage.

Street Food Parade

The sides of the High Street were lined with food stalls brought by Bearwood Pantry and Digbeth Dining Club. With something to suit everyones taste, the queues for food were huge, and many of the usual High Street traders had also opened up and were doing a brisk trade too, particularly one trader who sold bubble guns to many of the youngsters in the crowd. At times the air was filled with bubbles. The local hostelry got in on the act too, with both The Bear Tavern and The Midland, supporting the event too, and both pubs were full of customers for the day. Bearwood Indoor Market also opened up for the day and had many ‘pop-up’ stalls for the event.

Digbeth Dining Club

  • Platinum Pancakes
  • The Middle Feast
  • Baked in Brick
  • Street Souvlaki
  • Esmies
  • Holy Moly Macaroni
  • The Indian Rasoi

The Bearwood Pantry

  • The Baking Housewife
  • De Fruit Bar

Family Zone

Over in the playground at Bearwood Primary School, a giant geodesic dome appeared as the gateway to the Family Zone where children had lots of fun with craft workshops from Off Our Trolley Arts, amazing automatons from Rowland Emmett (of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fame), the brilliant Highly Sprung Performance Co and lots of themed games with Out To Play, face painting and the local Scout groups teamed up for some scout skills challenges.

Freestyle Stage

Over at The Co-Op, the Freestyle stage was a super little stage in a converted Airstream caravan, its silver body glowing in the sunshine. This stage showed off some of Bearwood’s diverse range of talent with spoken word, dance, guitars, cigar box guitar and a whole lot of great music going on whilst a huge collaborative graffiti wall took shape to the right of the stage, ably assisted by Bearwood’s residents.

The Freestyle Stage Line-Up

  • Semi-Quavers Childrens Choir
  • Aldo
  • Daniel & Filip Jakubec
  • The Bearwood Bard (so good we got him twice)
  • Numa
  • David & Nina Edwards
  • Zumba with Kay Millar
  • International Alenas
  • Alim Ashraf
  • Alan Tomlins
  • Karina Edwards
  • Chickenbone John
  • Time Movers by Lordswood Dance Collective
  • Bearwood Bandits


The Bearwood Bard (aka Keith Bracey)


International Alenas

Alan Tomlins

Chickenbone John

Time Movers by Lordswood Dance Collective

The sight of seeing Bearwood High Street filled with people having a great time was something quite magical. From the main stage outside The Bear Tavern right up to the The Freestyle Stage was a sea of people. This was a Street Festival put on by the community, for it’s community. From the original seed of an idea, this event was 18 months in the planning, with funding from the Arts Council and The Lottery and support from Sandwell Council and Creative Black Country enabled this festival to take place with an army of volunteers from the community getting stuck in and working together to make something very special happen.

For everyone who has supported this event, we thank you.

We Are (all) Bearwood.

Which leaves one rather large question… how are we gonna top this in 2018?

Follow the Bear and stay tuned for more news on future events.

Take a look at our pictures from the day;

Bearwood Street Festival 2017 (Full Set)

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Aziz and Dal at the bluedot Festival


Last weekend I was photographing the bands at the bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire.

Aziz Ibrahim and Dalbir Singh Rattan who played our Shuffle Stage at this month’s Picnic in the Park played bluedot’s Nebula Stage on Sunday night, and what a great set it was too.

Aziz and Dal-8


Aziz and Dal-7


Aziz and Dal-6


Aziz and Dal-5


Aziz and Dal-4


Aziz and Dal-3


Aziz and Dal-2


Aziz and Dal-1



Fantastic Day!!

Wow! What an amazing day was had at Warley Woods Picnic in the Park on Sunday 3rd July.

Shuffle Stage-18

This annual free event put on by The Trust attracted large crowds who enjoyed a glorious sunny afternoon of live music, food, drink, craft stalls, dog show, donkey rides and even a Horse and Carriage.


Again this year, Bearwood Promoters curated the music stage on behalf of the Trust, and 6Music DJ Stuart Maconie did a fantastic job of compering the afternoon’s music and reuniting a few lost items with their owners… including a husband who had lost his wife… My guess is, she tried to lose him.

Shuffle Stage-2

The acts this year were;

  • Fused Dance Academy
  • Dr Greenwood
  • Bearwood Tabla Group
  • Michael Pritchard
  • Independent Country
  • Rehydrated Turkeys
  • Dalbir & Aziz
  • Rich Stokes
  • Carlton Curtis

Bearwood Promoters would like to thank Warley Woods Community Trust for organising the Picnic in the Park and for inviting Bearwood Promoters to curate the musical entertainment this year.

An event such as this, takes a lot of planning and organising to find the bands, get them confirmed, all the stage set up, marquee, sound equipment and a million and one other things put it all together.

A MASSIVE thanks to all the volunteers and everyone who supported us to make the event possible, and also to everyone who turned up on the day and clearly enjoyed their afternoon in the park. This is what happens when the community come together to make something happen. We couldn’t have wished for a better day.

Follow the Bear and stay tuned for more news on future events.

Take a look at our pictures from the day;

Picnic in the Park 2016 (Full Set)

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Fused Dance Academy

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Doctor Greenwood

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Bearwood Tabla Group

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Michael Pritchard

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Independent Country

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Rehydrated Turkeys

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Dalbir & Aziz

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Rich Stokes

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Carlton Curtis

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Drumroll please….! Picnic line up is announced!!

Performing from 1pm onwards Bearwood Promoters are delighted to be curating the music stage at the Picnic in the Park for the 5th year running.


Details of performing artists can be found on our Facebook page Shuffle Stage at Picnic in the Park 2016. Please like and find out more about them.

Aziz & Dal

” They sound like The White Stripes of Mumbai. I love it!’” – Paul Weller

We are very excited about the return (Last played the picnic 2011) of Aziz & Dal to play the Shuffle Stage at The Picnic in the Park just ahead of their of their gig in July at Jodrell Bank’s Bluedot where they will be performing alongside Underworld. Jean-Michel Jarre. Brian Eno and many more.

Aziz Ibrahim’s unusual musical history is a journey unparalleled in rock. From humble Manchester British Pakistani roots playing in reggae, rap and rockabilly bands, he began professionally in Simply Red (then ‘Asia’), and the Stone Roses, then was a songwriter for Ian Brown and Paul Weller – not to mention numerous other stars on the way. These experiences have culminated in his brain child – ‘Aziz’.

Dalbir Singh Rattan, local resident of Bearwood and ‘Viceroy’ of Tabla, is a gifted player from the Banaris style. The power house that is Dalbir Singh Rattan introduces the future of British drumming in the shape of his mighty Tablas. Never has anyone experienced the rhythms and dynamics, not to mention the speed that this man is capable of!

Aziz Ibrahims’ song writing skills and Asian Mancunian guitar playing, coupled with Dalbir Singh Rattan’s exceptional aggressive drum skills, have an energy that that takes their music through and beyond rock punk and indie that has given birth to a new genre of British music ‘Asian Blues’.

Carlton Curtis

Multi-talented singer songwriter from Birmingham Carlton has collaborated with fellow Birmingham musicians – Andy Cox of the Fine Young Cannibals, Paul Foad of the Au Pairs and Kevin White of the Beat and has just finished a tour with Fish, (ex Marillion front man) and has recently toured in Jamaica. Carltons musical influences are various but notably include Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Sting, Earth, Wind & Fire and Leonard Bernstein.

Carlton is currently fundraising for the Refugee Council through his new Single: Troddin

The Re-hydrated Turkeys

The Re-hydrated Turkeys (Unplucked)’ is a local Bearwood three piece band playing acoustic covers.

Fused Dance Academy

We welcome back the children from the Fused Dance Academy created by Jem n us Danceworks and Animations School of Dance who have fused together to give you the best dance training in the local area! They specialise in all forms of dance and strive to be different, fun and educational.

Bearwood Tabla Group

Born out of a class based at Thimblemill Library these local young people bring authentic traditional Indian drumming and tabla playing

Michael Pritchard

One half of the band We Are Demons musician and producer plays acoustic with a twist

Rich Stokes

Rich Stokes has been described as an infectious personality playing quirky songs. He is a musician, performer, writer of stories and songs and plays, comedian, storyteller and actor.

Independent Country

Independent Country are a 7-piece band that formed in Birmingham, in 2015, who play Country versions of classic ‘Indie’ hits from the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s. With a line-up that contains the sounds of pedal steel, lush 3-part harmonies, twanging guitar solos, banjo and fiddle, this is a bar-room country band with a difference.

Their 10-track debut LP, “Trailer Park Life”, will be released in Summer 2016; The band are currently preparing a second batch of songs ahead of recording their second album in Autumn 2016, These new songs are currently being added to the band’s live set, which they will be debuting at numerous UK festivals this summer including our own Moseley Folk Festival on 3rd September ahead of their debut LP release.

About Bearwood Promoters

Bearwood Promoters is a voluntary group of local music enthusiasts funded entirely by audience donations. They aim to develop and nurture a culturally rich musical environment which promotes a range of musical genres and supports a sustainable live music infrastructure in Bearwood. Incorporated in 2011, they have delivered 7 Bearwood Shuffles in Lightwoods Park at the Bandstand and have supported many other music events, including Picnic in the Park.

Bearwood Promoters promote and provide live music in Bearwood and facilitate local music talent to play and be heard.

Let’s shuffle 

Bearwood Promoters are open to any musical genre and like to mix things up a bit to give audiences a real taste of what’s on out there. Given this open door approach they are also hoping to continue strengthening community spirit and bringing people together throughout Bearwood. Look out for this year’s activities. Stay in touch on our Facebook page Bearwood Shuffle and website .

If you would like to play at future events organised by Bearwood Promoters or if you’d like to lend a helping hand please email them via



Picnic in the Park, Sunday 3rd July

Bearwood Promoters are proud to be supporting Warley Woods Community Trust again this year, by providing the music for Picnic in the Park.

The list of bands will be published soon and as ever, it promises to be an eclectic mix, so there should be something for everyone.

We are fortunate to have 6 Music DJ, Stuart Maconie acting as Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon’s music.


See you all there