North Parade was abuzz with thousands of people from the city and further afield for its third annual street party, which saw all the businesses throw open their doors and stretch out into pavement cafes to entertain visitors with drink, food, live music and fairground rides. Under bright skies the closed-off street was packed, from the huge stage at one end through the multiple stalls, stands, food outlets and outdoor bars to the busker’s tent at the other end, which saw numerous acts performing during the day.
With venues such as the Sparrow, Al’s Dime Bar, the Record Café, Beer House, Plonk and the new Rum-shack-a-lack taking part, it was a great celebration of independent businesses from the shopping area that appeared as a finalist in last year’s Great British High Street Awards.
Complementing the drink, for those hungry during the party, there was everything from pie and peas to Caribbean cuisine, pork-filled baguettes to rustic pizzas made fresh in a converted horse-box.
Alongside the packed food and drink outlets those there got treated to five huge acts on the main stage, beginning with the catchy blues numbers of Atlanta’s Doug Nissley including a song about races with the catchy hook ‘When the lights turn green, you move your machine’. Other acts on the day included the funky Howlin’ Ric and the Rocketeers, Sleepy Jake and the Duvets, and an acoustic set from two members of local band Issimo, who delivered the goods with their high-energy versions of covers such as Don’t Worry About A Thing, Three Little Birds and Cheap Thrills, which they gave a fun reggae-lilt, alongside original tracks like Carpe Diem and Pretty Simple from their upcoming new EP. The main stage was wrapped up with the rock and energy of Foxes Faux who delivered some early-evening volume to the street.
Also performing during the day were a range of unplugged buskers, including the welcome return of Dave Hanson to the city, entertaining the crowd outside the Record Café with numbers from his new album. The volume was raised during the afternoon at this end of the party as the Bare Brass Band paraded through the crowds and gave a lengthy hour-long performance to a huge audience. They weren’t the only moveable acts present, as two drummers from the Peacock Bar also got into the spirit and at one point even accompanied an act on the busking stage, adding drums to his electric guitar.
The street party became awash with colour during the day thanks to Forks who were handing out Hawaiian leis to the crowd, whilst there was fun for all the family with three fairground rides, ice-creams and the chance for a selfie not only with Bradford City’s Billy Bantam but with the dragon from North Parade’s Singkee Chinese Supermarket.
With laid-back reggae-infused tracks played out from the Rum Bar between acts, the smell of delicious food drifting across the street, and a genuinely packed-out North Parade full of people – not only returning after enjoying the previous two year’s events but many discovering it for the first time – the street party was an incredible celebration of everything that makes Bradford great, from its independent businesses to its diverse cultures of music and food, to the community spirit of all gathering in the area for a massive thumbs up to everything going on. Everyone we spoke to during the day had nothing but positive things to say about the party, and everyone young and old either went away from the event with a smile on their face or stayed after the main day’s events to continue celebrating the city and its businesses well into the Saturday night.