The Band’s Obsession with the ‘Summer Show’


Live Music: Tours? Sounds about right. Festivals? A muddy British staple. Parade Performances? A bit out there but we love parade and event stages. Bands releasing a random list of shows at some random outdoor venues in the middle of nowhere… probably by a beach, or maybe a historical venue? Not particularly conventional is it? But when you’re bands like McFly and the Vamps with music made for the live stage and your tour is scheduled for a bit later on… a big festival-esque summer show is exactly right for you. 

In fact, I just made a staycation with my best friends out of this exact thing. Four girls, three days, two huge concerts, one band. Myself and four friends went to Margate and Rochester for a long weekend to see New Hope Club in support slots for McFly on a Friday and the Sugababes on the Sunday. We know we aren’t the first do something like it, and won’t be the last. It was an opportunity to indulge in music tourism while also spending time and bonding as friends. It was a memory-filled weekend and I am completely sure that the New Hope Club boys are completely sick of seeing our faces three days in a row (the Saturday mooching around a small market and beach town like Margate… it’s hard to not see the same people over and over). For those of you that know me, you’ll know McFly and New Hope Club at the same show is all my dreams come true, so really it was a fantastic weekend.

But really though, what is the appeal of the ‘summer show’? We don’t see artists putting on random one off shows in the dead of winter as often as we see these. To me, the appeal of these is it really feels like a full day out without it being a festival and worrying about camping. It’s open green space, a huge stage, and (sometimes) lovely scenery, with the classic festival Portal experience. It’s also more than just a tour concert in the sense that they will generally have food stalls as far as the eye can see, which really encourages it to become a family affair. Picnic blankets litter the grounds, hotdogs, churros, burgers, chips, huge ranges of drinks and slushies. It’s almost a tamer version of a festival with classic, iconic British performing acts, belting songs most of the crowd will at least be familiar. It’s a show to appeal to the masses. You’ll see the scattering of fangirls at the barriers but the further back, the more chill the vibe becomes. People aren’t always there to see their favourite artists, its just an opportunity to experience some live music, outside with some good (albeit overpriced) food.

Bands often make mini-tours out of these shows and it really does add to the quintessential British summer experience of outdoor music, while the weather is still in good sorts. There are lots of iconic venues that host these sorts of shows, places like Trentham, Dunorlan Parks, Newmarket Racecourse, and so many other places you wouldn’t expect to host either. Our staycation, or “girls on tour” as it became known as, was at Dreamland Margate, a lovely theme park – redrawing that family feel back in – and Rochester Castle, for some lovely historic vibes and gorgeous grounds to look out onto. We had an absolute blast just being there for out favourite band and enjoying the iconic bands that are McFly and the Sugababes later on. At the core of it, we are a group live music lovers, and doing this “tour” of sorts, allowed us to kick back as a group, enjoy each others company, chat to the band leisurely afterwards when we enjoyed the other supports acts together and it not be the same pressures and time crunch as hurrying around the country following them on a full tour (which we obviously will do anyway… duh).

I think as long as I go to concerts and love live music, summer concerts like these will always be so special to me, and no matter how old I get, I hope my body can still let me tolerate these chill vibes which, to me, capture the essence of live music in summer. I am simply not cut out for the festival hustle!


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Third Year history student - Deputy Editor and Live Editor

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