Gig review: Bananarama at Grassington Festival

As one of the founder members of Bananarama, Keren Woodward used to visit the Yorkshire countryside to come walking and enjoy the great outdoors. We can only hope that this time she brought a compass, OS map and mint cake as the weather had closed in.

Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin on stage at Bananarama's show at Grassington Festival. Picture: David Hodgson

Black clouds blew across the Grassington horizon, bringing some traditional June inhospitable weather with it.

Together with Sara Dallin and soon to be rejoined by Siobhan Fahey, the original line-up has a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the all female group with the greatest number of chart entries, 28 in the UK between 1982 and 2009. A lot of them were on show at Grassington.

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The annual Grassington Festival has grown into a local institution with an ever impressive roster of headline acts. The marquee was sold out for the arrival of the duo and their band. Vast quantities of hair spray that were used in the 80’s swapped for a more natural wind swept look, but nothing that the weather could throw was going to dampen any spirits.

Opening with Cruel Summer, the hour long set was back to back hits, all strangely familiar having been deeply embedded in the brain over the past 38 years, only to burst out in loud unison as the crowd sang along with the band.

The band sang their two Fun Boy Three collaborations back to back It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way that You Do It) and Really Saying Something before the first dance routine made an appearance during I Heard a Rumour. Hit after hit followed, Robert De Niro’s Waiting, Shy Boy and their Comic Relief contribution Help!

Venus saw the most impressive crowd interaction as a members of the crowd were handpicked to come onto stage to sing and dance their way through the song, all of which served to epitomise the fun atmosphere Bananarama’s and their hits created.

Finishing with Love in the First Degree and Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, the capacity crowd were left feeling like Bananarama had been their favourite band for decades.

Grassington Festival has developed into an event that constantly evolves and attracts big name headline acts, Jools Holland and Newton Faulkner also made an appearance this year, brings local communities together, picnics in the car park beforehand, a mass disco in the marquee afterwards. They’re made of tougher stuff than any weather is capable of defeating in North Yorkshire so mix that with an hour of classic bubble gum pop and the result is inimitable enjoyment.