As many of you know, I was recently in New York City attending the Bay City Roller Fan Events Tartan Week gathering. There were so many wonderful things about this trip that I’m going to break it down into three separate posts:
- This post talking about the BCR Fan Events gatherings
- Another piece celebrating the experience of being in the NYC Tartan Week Parade
- And another post talking about the other things I did while in NYC.
So grab your tartan, short pants, stripy socks and get ready for an amazing trip report. As the song says, Let’s Go! (But instead of hugging and kissing in the moonlight, we’re going to NYC with BCR Fan Events.)
BCR Fan Events
BCR Fan Events are fan-driven and fan-funded gatherings that celebrate the fun and friendships that formed around the 1970’s pop-rock band Bay City Rollers.
The events bring together fans from around the world, and this event in New York City was no different: there were fans from the US, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England, and even as far away as Australia. The events are family-friendly and multi-generational, too. At both of the events I’ve attended, there were mother-daughter participants and husbands tagging along with wives.
BCR Events Friday Concert
The group gathered upstairs at the Tailor Public House and Kitchen on the corner of 8th and 35th in New York City.
My roommates and I stopped briefly at the welcome table for hugs and our marcher’s goodie bags. Inside the bag was a pin, a hoodie, a t-shirt, and a name badge.
And here’s a tip for the hoodie! When I got home and tried the hoodie on, I realized it was just too tight around the neck, wrists, and waist. I snipped off the wrist and waist cuffs, then made another quick snip at the center of the neckline and removed the hood string. I cut up the sides just a little bit, too and now it’s super comfy to wear.
After gathering our goody bags, we walked into the main event room.
People were already gathering and talking.
There were two rooms reserved for our group. This room held not only the stage up front, but also two tables with a raffle and “Tip Jar” memorabilia.
The attendees of BCR Fan Group events are as generous as can be so there were plenty of people buying tickets for the raffle and purchasing memorabilia. The proceeds for the memorabilia went into a tip jar for that night’s performers.
I spy a copy of Bay City Babylon, a copy of Rollercoaster, and a couple copies of Eric’s An Edinburgh Lad.
More memorabilia went set up in the second room. These were super special items for a silent auction.
There were autographs from the “Classic 5” lineup, the famous “Bubi” book with photographs, a full set of BCR Poker cards, a full set of BCR bubblegum cards, a hologram BCR necklace, two “The Rollers” necklaces, the Voxx CD, and more.
Maybe the most anticipated auction item was the collection of BCR albums along with a portable record player.
I bid on a few of these items, but sadly, the bidding went was fast and furious and quickly beyond what I could afford.
BCR Fan Events Raffle Winner
Back to that raffle in the first room. The proceeds of the raffle were to go to the 2024 Edinburgh gathering celebrating the 50th anniversary of the band’s first album’s release.
I bought a handful of tickets and didn’t give it another thought… until the winners were announced and I got a beautiful, cozy fleece throw!
The throw is white with the logo for this year’s event. It’s not quite large enough to use as a throw, but a few people suggested it might be a great wall hanging.
After saying hello to about a million people, we all found seats and listened to some announcements. Then, the show started.
The next few hours flew by as the BCR Fan Events attendees listened and sang along to four amazing world class performers: Brian Gold, Craig Weir, Kyf Brewer, and Duncan Faure.
I mean, seriously, there were times where we were almost drowning out the performers. If they were singing BCR songs, we were singing along. There were a couple of times there where we (the audience) knew the words better than the performers!
If you’re like me, you may not know who most of these people are. I’d heard the first three names around the Bay City Rollers Fan Events Facebook page, but I’d never heard any of them live.
And Duncan? When my heartthrob Les McKeown left the band, Duncan came in and (together with the remaining Rollers) made a few ridiculously good albums that I had never heard until a few years ago.
So let me introduce you to some of these musicians who are well worth looking up.
Brian is based in the Northwest of England. He’s a guitar vocalist with more than twenty years experience, and his set lists vary depending on the audience. For us, Brian performed a dynamite combination of Rollers songs and other throw back sing-a-long songs from the 70s.
Head to Brian’s website to listen to some of his songs. And if you love the Rollers, he’s got Roller’s songs on his website, too. Besides, his wife is a huge Rollers fan!
Craig Weir is the bagpiper and vocalist for the bagpipe rock band Gleadhraich. Yes, bagpipe rock band: the band regularly combines bagpipes with rock music and it works.
For the set for our group, Craig did a combination of traditional Scottish songs and originals on both guitar and bagpipes. Weir is an acclaimed musician, having performed for The Queen, the Dalai Lama, among others. He’s also shared the stage with Rollers, Queen, and more.
Here’s a snippet of Bay City Roller Alan Longmuir joining Gleadhraich on stage for the Rollers song “Shang-A-Lang.” That’s Craig on lead vocals and Alan to the right on acoustic guitar.
Here’s Craig with the reformed Rollers several years ago playing the pipes on Loch Lomond. Les McKeown on vocals, Alan Longmuir on bass, and Stuart “Woody” Wood on guitar; they’re backed by Les’s touring band. (I don’t know all of their names, sorry.)
And here’s Craig’s performance at the BCR Fan Events gathering last year. Recordings of this year were made, but aren’t available on YouTube yet.
Kyf Brewer was both a performer on Friday night and the piper leading our group up Sixth Avenue on Saturday. Kyf found success with the band “The Rayvns” who had a song on the Fast Times At Ridgemont High soundtrack called “Raised On The Radio.”
Kyf was also in the band “Company of Wolves.” While that band was filming the below video, Kyf fell in love with Celtic music and the bagpipes.
And eventually, he formed the band Barleyjuice which has released eight albums and counting. Learn more and find more music at the Ryf Records website.
You may also know Kyf from audiobooks. He’s the narrator on a whole slew of David Baldacci books, a couple of Danielle Steele novels, and The Return by Nicholas Sparks.
The highlight of the evening was Duncan Faure’s performance. Faure moved seamlessly between electric piano and guitar, and between solo material and old songs from The Rollers. Here’s his performance from last year’s event.
Faure is an internationally acclaimed artist who first found fame in his native South Africa with 70s pop-rock group Rabbitt. He was inducted into the RockGodz Hall of Fame in 2014; the RockGodz recognize contributions of “stunningly gifted musicians and professionals who flew under the radar while delivering to the world music that has orchestrated the soundtrack of many lives.”
Here’s a fan favorite solo recording of Love and Dream Wishes, followed by Duncan’s superb cover of John Lennon’s Imagine.
All too soon the evening ended. My roommates and I caught a cab back to our hotel near Times Square. We had to rest up for the parade the next day. I’ll tell you about that in a post soon.
The weekend closed with a brunch at the Tailor Public House and Kitchen. By Sunday I think we were all worn out. But still, there was plenty of talking and lots and lots of love in the room.
While I took a lot of pictures all weekend, I think this picture of Jan, Laura, and Suz really really captures the spirit of these gatherings.
We share stories, lives, silliness, and countless hugs. At both of the events I’ve attended, there is so much smiling that even now writing these words I’m smiling. And the love felt from everyone is palpable.
I feel that love every Friday night listening live on the TD1 Radio out of Scotland from 7p-11p Eastern. We have the most fun in the live listening party: Dedication – Fans Remember The Bay City Rollers. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be on that show one of these days – but you didn’t hear it from me.
That love carries on in so many ways – to the performers, to the Facebook Group, the Bay City Rollers Archives, and beyond.
Can’t wait to see everyone in Edinburgh in 2024! We’ll gather then to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the group’s first album release. And if you loved the Bay City Rollers like I loved the Bay City Rollers, come on and join us!
what a perfect place to relive a perfect time with friends old and new in New York! xx
Julie Wallace says
It really was a magical experience.
Doris Kinnen-da Costa says
We met new and ‚old‘ friends and honoured our favourite band. The Roller Family events are always a great experience.
Julie Wallace says
Thank you, Doris – it was a pleasure to meet you! I love your idea of a “Roller Family.” The weekend really felt like one big loving hug after another, didn’t it?