Have yourself a musical little Christmas

With the festive season now upon us, SO’s music editor Paul Dunton highlights a few of the wonderful live music events on offer over the Christmas period…


As you’d expect of this musical town, there’s plenty of live music to keep you entertained over the Christmas holidays. Lots of events have already taken place so far this month including Richard Durant’s atmospheric acoustic festive concert at Trinity and the Beta Band’s Steve Mason at The Forum, but rest assured there’s lots more to enjoy this December…

On December 6, the aforementioned legendary venue hosts its second offering of The Stable where gig-goers have the opportunity to see a number of exciting new bands perform. See The Forum’s website for what’s on.

Black Deer Festival favourites The Wandering Hearts headline there on December 15 with support from Laura Housley & The Northern Cowboys. For Eighties fans who enjoy a good boogie, the following day, December 16, offers a super feelgood night with 80s pop, dance, soul, indie, anthems, singalongs and forgotten gems hosted by Ministry Of Sound compiler, DJ Alex Macnutt who also runs The Tiger Tavern.

The iconic Anti Nowhere League return to headline at The Forum on December 17 and you can catch Wideboys + DJ AJK on December 22. For an alternative New Year’s warm up party definitely check out Animal Sh**house, Mindframe and Dread FM who are all on the bill on December 30. If you are looking to dance the night away on New Year’s Eve, then The Forum’s Boogie Nights, presented by DJs Holler & Scanty will be spinning classic house, disco & dance anthems on vinyl. This long-running and ever popular night sells out every month and is full of friendly, enthusiastic and music-savvy clubbers of all ages.

The Forum, which soon turns 30, has once again collaborated with The Assembly Hall to bring live music to the Ice Rink in Calverley Grounds. Up and coming local bands and artists will be performing on December 8 and 15, playing a mix of pop/rock to indie, Americana and folk. Two to three exciting acts will take to the stage every night from 7-9pm. 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 ice skate! For details of which acts are performing visit: twforum.co.uk/listings


“There’s plenty of live music going on in Tunbridge Wells to keep you entertained over the Christmas holiday”


There’s plenty of wonderful live music spanning the funk, soul, jazz and blues genres taking place at The Grey Lady Music Lounge during the festive period with The Tar Babies on the December 9, Dino Baptist & Harry Whitty on December 16, Over The Edge on December 17 and Hard Lines on December 23. All are superb live acts and will have you donning your dancing shoes in no time!  There’ll also be a tonne of excellent local singer-songwriters and original bands in action at The Grey Lady Sessions showcases including David Migden & The Twisted Roots + Essie West on December 11, the Paul Dunton Orchestra + Isabella Coulstock on December 21 with Steffan James, the Paul Dunton Orchestra and The Harry Whitty Band performing on Boxing Day. Mark Morriss + Mike Wilton are on stage the following evening with the Charlie Rivers Band playing on December 28. The Breretons + Sorrel Nation are doing two gigs on December 29 and 30, while the vibrant Salsa Camina will be hosting The Grey Lady’s annual New Year’s Eve party on December 31.

The Supajam Xmas Fundraiser takes place on December 17 at The Royal Oak pub on Bayhall Road with Silversouls, The River Flows, The Charlie Rivers Band and Kharma & The Devil all performing.

And did you know that the TN1 restaurant on Monson Road also has a bumper-packed December to savour and enjoy?

There’s an array of superb and uplifting acoustic-style soloists and duos on the bill – many of which hail from the local area. They include Guy Watson on December 8, Ash Dodd on December 11, David Mumford on December 15, Steffan James on December 22, Jamie Andrew (Heyzeus and from ITV’s ‘The Voice’) on Christmas Eve, Ben Hills December 29 and popular resident Duo The Masqueraders who will be performing on the evenings of December 16, 23, 30 and New Year’s Eve.

And there’s lots more live music to look forward to on the local scene for 2023 including the Black Deer Festival (June 16 –18 2023, blackdeerfestival.com) and Pub In The Park (July 7 – 9 pubintheparkuk.com/tunbridge-wells/ticket-info). Tickets to both are now on sale and would make a perfect Christmas present for the music lover in your life!

For now, all that’s left for me to say is please keep supporting live music all year round and best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!


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