Inside View

Inside View

Paul Dunton takes us through what’s happening on the local music scene this Christmas


With the festive season now upon us I thought this would be a good opportunity to highlight many of the wonderful live music events on offer.

Internationally renowned guitarist Richard Durrant will be performing a candlelit show at Trinity Theatre on the December 20. Durrant is a world class virtuoso, compelling storyteller and genial host. Audiences will be treated to a varied repertoire spanning renaissance, christian, pagan and folk music plus Durrant’s own tunes.

On the afternoon of December 4, The Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra will be hosting their opera gala featuring soloists Susana Gaspar, Jean Rigby, Jung Yoo Yun, Richard Morrison and Conductor Roderick Dunk. The programme includes a whole afternoon of favourite operatic excerpts including La Bohème, The Magic Flute, La Traviata, Aïda, Fidelio, The Thieving Magpie and The Barber of Seville. The orchestra will also feature a number of items, including the lively Bacchanale from Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah, the Grand March from Verdi’s Aida and the rousing overture to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger.

The Forum have a jam packed music programme during December and my top recommendations include local band The Bay Rays on December 3 supported by Purple Stains, Havelock and Artificial Pleasure. Legendary Punk Rockers The Anti-Nowhere League will be headlining on December 17 supported by Zombie Met Girl. Local three piece The Standard Lamps headline on the 21st with support coming from Bluetones front man Mark Morriss and local group The Crew.
Local & Live has a stellar five act show on the 30th with local groups Riff Raff, Sarah Tonin, The Floodgates, Higgs & The Bosuns and Alex Metcalfe’s Catastrophic Organ Failure.

The Forum has also collaborated with The Assembly Hall Theatre to bring live music to the ice rink in Calverley Grounds. Up and coming local bands and artists will be performing on Thursday nights playing rock to indie to folk. Until December 15, exciting acts will take to the stage from 7pm to 9pm. Situated inside the skate marquee, there will be the chance to see live music, enjoy a drink and have a bite to eat. And of course – the opportunity to have a skate! For details of which acts are performing visit 

There is plenty of wonderful live music taking place at The Grey Lady during the festive period and if you’re donning the dancing shoes then The Violet Jive on the December 10 and Funkin’ Function on the 17th are both superb live acts. Plenty of excellent local bands will be in action at the thrice weekly showcases too.

You can catch local three piece Cracks In The Land on December 9 at Cassidy’s Bar and The Beau Nash Tavern will be hosting Matt Bridle on the December 10 and Kharma & The Devil on the 17th. Renowned guitarist Paul Malsom will be performing at The Cross Keys pub on the December 7 and for fans of blues, I highly recommend the Steve Morrison Duo on the 16th. For Jazz piano enthusiasts, the highly talented Ed Watts will be at Scallywag Cafe on the 16th and 23rd. There are two Christmas shows at The Royal Oak pub with The Heartbeats on the 10th and The Harveys on the 17th.
The Bedford Pub has a busy programme too, with The Badfl ys on the December 3, Sean Fennessey & Friends on the 17th and a three act special on December 19 with Amber Anderton, Jem & Paul and TW3.

My top choice for New Year’s Eve is the Hug-Many event on the Pantiles, which raises money for numerous local charities and features live music on the bandstand, culminating in a superb fireworks display.

Keep supporting live music all year round and best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!