Harrogate village attracts world's biggest music acts

A Harrogate village music venue with a tiny capacity is attracting some of the top names on the planet.

Monday, 14th January 2019, 8:58 am
Updated Monday, 14th January 2019, 9:04 am
Coming to Ripley - Taj Mahal is a three-times Grammy Award winner who appeared in the Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus film in 1968.

Despite the fact the venue only holds 125 seated and 250 standing, Ripley Town Hall regularly puts on the type of acts normally seen on Jools Holland's Later on BBC 2.It's mainly thanks to the amazing job music fan Andy Herrington has done in the last 15 years or so.

The lovely town hall in this picture box village located between Harrogate and Ripon has become one of the UK’s most respected blues, soul and rock venues.

Thanks to the efforts of volunteers at the town hall, inspired by, and still helped by, Andy himself under the Ripley Live banner, musical acts of the highest international calibre now turn up at Hotel de Ville almost as regularly as tourists.

The first band Andy Herrington booked back in 1999 was Nine Below Zero when the event was called RipleyBlues.

Since then Ripley Town Hall has welcomed the likes of legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, Paul Jones of The Blues Band, Georgie Fame, The Yardbirds and The Animals in the past, attracted partly by the venue’s growing reputation and the special atmosphere created by an enthusiastic and respectful audience standing directly in front of the stage in the main hall.

Now the volunteer committee members behind the live concerts are promising an even more exciting year ahead in 2019 for music fans.

A couple of true blues legends are already booked for the forthcoming early months of 2019.

Neither Lil Jimmy Reed (March 23) nor Taj Mahal (May 31) really need any introduction.Reed is regarded as the last of the original Louisiana blues men while Mahal is a three-times Grammy Award winner who appeared in the Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus film in 1968.

Nearer at hand Sunday, January 27 will see The Spikedrivers bring a flavour of southern juke joints and Midwest dust bowls to Ripley.Saturday, February 2, meanwhile, will see the highly-regarded The Stumble return with their high energy blues.And Queen fans can look forward to a screening of Bohemian Rhapsody at the same venue on January 25.

Not only do the gigs at Ripley Town Hall bring much musical joy, they also contribute to charity.Last year saw sums of £1,000 each given to Saint Michael’s Hospice, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Harrogate branch of the National Autistic Society.

The more intimate Ripley Live concerts in the upstairs room called the Star Club also brought in £2,000 which was put towards installing disabled access at the town hall.