Live music returns to Swanage venues

It’s time to get back to live music in Swanage, yeh yeh yeh! – as a Beatles tribute band is lined up to relaunch concerts at The Mowlem, and beyond, in a summer of music.

The performance by ‘The Beatles for Sale’ is due to be the first live music at The Mowlem on Friday 30th July 2021, after government restrictions are set to be lifted on Monday 19th July 2021.

It kicks off a series of musical events in the town, with Bookends – a Simon and Garfunkel tribute band – appearing at the theatre on Wednesday 4th August 2021 and the Beach Boyz tribute show on Friday 6th August 2021.

Inside the Mowlem auditorium
The Mowlem

Sound of silence: the auditorium at The Mowlem has been empty because of Covid restrictions

Raring to play

Then for seventies’ music fans there’s Abba’s Angels at Harmans Cross Village Hall on Friday 3rd September 2021.

The organisers behind ‘The Beatles for Sale’ concert are Bob Bunyar and his wife Sue, who are also staging the Abba-tribute event at Harmans Cross.

The leader of the Beatles-tribute band, Simon Adams was at the same school as Sue in South Wales, and they have been raring to play at the theatre since before the Covid pandemic halted live performances.

Abba's Angels
Abba’s Angels

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Lack of music “left a void”

Bob Bunyar said:

“It will be so nice to get back watching all types of live music. It has been greatly missed and I’m certainly looking forward to it. 

“It certainly has left a void in people’s lives, whether watching or performing live music. My wife sings with the Harmony Rocks choir based at Harmans Cross, and she has certainly missed it.”

Bob Bunyar
Sue Bunyar

Morningtown Ride: former fireman Bob Bunyar is also a musician

Used to play in a folk band

Bob loves the music of the 60s and 70s and says his all-time favourite band is Judith Durham and The Seekers from Australia and his favourite song by them is ‘Colours of my Life’. The Seekers are closely followed in his affections by Al Stewart and ‘Year of the Cat’. 

Bob, who used to play in a folk band in the Bath area with his wife and friend Ian Bell, said:

“I love Al Stewart’s lyrics and he has a local connection as he went to school in Wimborne.

“As for tribute acts, I really enjoy the Beach Boyz who are of course coming to The Mowlem. You can close your eyes and think you are listening to the original band with Brian Wilson and the others. I have seen them several times, but sadly will miss them this time round. They do a great show.”

Sue and Bob Bunyar
Lindy Platt

Two of Us: Sue and Bob Bunyar used to promote concerts and play in a folk band

Seekers’ fan club

Bob Bunyar was in the fire service for 31 years and after he retired, he and his wife ran their own music promotion company called WildThymeMusic based in Bath. 

This started after he was able to put on a concert featuring Keith Potger from The Seekers, as a solo act. Bob was one of the co-founders of ‘The Friends of The Seekers’ fan club. After the first concert he was bitten by the bug and put Keith on two more times. 

Bob added:

“I have arranged and put on concerts of all types from Gilbert and Sullivan, jazz, folk and pop/rock.  More well-known groups/artists I have put on from the 60/70/80’s include The Strawbs, The Corgis, Julie Felix and Beverly Craven. 

“More up to date are ‘The Churchfitters’, who are well known in this area. They are a great band, very talented and lovely people to know.”

Harmans Cross Railway volunteers
Pat Cattle

Train whistle blowing: Bob and pals of the Harmans Cross Railway volunteers. Front Row (L to R):  Jane Kerwin, Don Butler,  Mike Ellis Next Row (L to R): Jeff Gregory (Station Manager), Graham Jakes, Bob Bunyar, David Castle & John Kerwin; Very Back:Michael O’Neil

Musical events with Swanage Railway

Bob continued:

“When I moved from Bath to Swanage I did give up the promotion business, but I helped with live concerts at Harmans Cross Hall, and I still book the occasional act there, including Abba’s Angels in September. These concerts are in aid of the village hall funds.” 

As a volunteer on the Swanage Railway, Bob also helped organise and run the summer MusicTrain and Christmas Carol Train with colleagues from the Harmans Cross station team.

Tickets for The Mowlem concerts can be booked online or at the book office during its opening hours (after Monday July 19th 2021). 

The Beatles for Sale concert is priced at £18.50. Abba’s Angels at Harmans Cross can be booked online via the Harmans Cross Village Hall website from Thursday 1st July 2021, tickets priced at £14.

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