bma-logo-fwThis years’s Barnsley Music Awards will take place on Friday 4th December at the Barnsley Rock & Blues Venues (last year’s winner of favourite live music venue). Voting for the awards opened on 2nd November. You can cast your vote by visiting
To celebrate, I’ve been taking a look at my own musical highlights of 2015 and with just over a week to go to cast your votes in official awards, I now take a look at my choices of Favourite Venue, Open Mic/Session, Event and Local Contribution.

Barnsley Rock & Blues Venue @ The Polish Club
Barnsley Trades Club (Barnsley Folk Club)
The Darley
Opium No10
The Underground

Of my five shortlisted venues, the Barnsley Rock & Blues Venue remains my favourite once again. It has the best sound, stage, lights by far. After all, unlike the others, it was built for live music. I choose to hold my own events here because of this. Over the last year the venue has expanded to 200 capacity and now includes and extra bar for those really busy gigs.

It won the official award last year and in the last twelve months, was also nominated for Local Venue of the Year, alongside 12 Bar, London; Brudenell Club, Leeds; The Black Heart, Camden and The Parish, Huddersfield.


Acoustic Nights @ The Darley
Barnsley Folk Club
Cabaret Doonican
One Over the Eight @ The White Bear

We have a very healthy acoustic scene in Barnsley, with a plethora of both acoustic acts and venues. To be honest, I’ll leave it to the public vote here because it would be impossible to pic one. Barnsley Folk Club is in its 53rd year, One Over the Eight now has a very regular crowd and rosta of musician at its current home of The White Bear and Cabaret Doonican has hosted open mics in up to three venues a month, across Barnsley.
However, special mention has to go to The Darley, who in the last year has showcased original music to audiences in Worsbrough, which was pretty much known for club-land bands until then.


The Bitter Boy Club Stage, Underneath the Stars © Lewis Ryan

We Shall Overcome Weekend @ The Polish
Allusondrugs @ Opium No10
Sleaford Mods @ The Underground
Underneath the Stars Festival @ Cannon Hal Farm
Live In Barnsley

It’s hard not to list a couple of my own events, like Clay Garden’s sell-out gig in January, my fundraiser for International Women’s Day featuring Hands Of Gretel and Aztec Doll or the Alabama bluegrass band Pine Hill Haints in September.

However, there has been much more than that and these are five of my favourites.


Barnsley’s Music Photographers
The Immortals’ Alternative Nights Out for teens
Of National Importance Records
Scott Doonican (The Bar-Steward Sons…)
Tony Wright (The Hurriers)

The Immortals is an organisation that promotes alternative, alcohol and drug free nights out for those 12 – 18 year olds. Their events always host live music and have recently featured Redmist Destruction, Taxi For Bob and Ginger Tom among others.
Scott Doonican is listed for his work with his band, his open mic nights and his extensive charity work and you also probably struggle to find a musician that champions Barnsley in towns across the UK as much as he does.
Tony Wright from The Hurriers is listed for similiar reasons. Campaigner, activist, one of a handfull of people who gave birth to the national We Shall Overcome campaign and of course this year, released one of the most important albums to come out of Barnsley in years, From Acorns Might Oaks.
Just this week, Of National Importance Records called it a day. Not since Torment Records in the 80s, has a local labels released so much quality music, most recently from The Exhibition, Aztec Doll and the debit album from The Black Lamps.
Finally, a group of people who often go unmentioned – the live music photographers. If it wasn’t for them and their brilliant work, local bands – especially those who cant afford to record just yet – might go unnoticed on social media. So big-up the likes of Mark Lathan, Mark Tighe, Christopher Sedgewick, Sally Lomas, Rory Garforth, Avishek Choudhury, Ian Parker, Baz Groom and many others I have no doubt missed.

To cast your votes in the official Barnsley Music Awards, visit To vote, you have to have a google account, which is free. Voting closes Monday 30th November at 5pm.
The Barnsley Music Awards Ceremony takes place on Friday 4th December at Barnsley Rock & Blues Venue at 8pm.

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