BMAD festival a great success

BMAD Festival News – Monday 7th May 2012

Despite the event starting under cold grey and drizzly skies, for the first time in three years the sun made a very welcome appearance on the final day of the event and the crowds flocked to the BMAD Music and Bike Festival (which took place on Paignton Green over the bank holiday weekend Friday 4th– Sunday 6th May 2012), helping to raise over £13,000 for good causes. A substantial increase over the £9,000 raised during the 2011 festival.

The sun had made a brief appearance on the Saturday afternoon, attracting the crowds to the BMAD (Bikers Make A Difference) organised event, but it was on the Sunday when everything really came alive.

“A show like ours is so weather dependent” said BMAD Chairman Andy Hobbs, “on Saturday morning it was grey and overcast with low visitor numbers, but once the clouds lifted a bit and it got brighter, the crowds came out.”

“We had around 1,000 bikes visit on Saturday, but when the sky cleared and the sun came out, visitor numbers rocketed and the site looked fantastic filled with bikers and families enjoying a day out. We think many people had come to visit the newly opened Geo-park play area and wandered over to take a look at what was going on, I hoped they liked what they saw and will come again next year.”

“The bikes just kept arriving; we filled the Esplanade from end to end, including the overflow parking area on the Southern Green and if we had anymore we would have had to park them on the beach (joke), at the least the tide was going out!”

“With over 1,350 bikes counted on Sunday, the total for the whole festival was around the 2,500 mark, so as ever it is a big thank you to all those bikers who made the effort. Without them BMAD would be unable to raise the funds which help so many needy people around Torbay and South Devon.”

Highlights of the music side were standout sets from festival favourites and Seaton’s finest ‘The ZZ Tops’, probably the best ZZ Top tribute act around. Whilst stars of the local Ska scene ‘The Simmertones’ brought a crowd of fans who helped pack out the band tent, bringing the event to a fantastic conclusion. The crowd being revved up by Simmertones very own cheerleader ‘Skatacus’, complete with full Roman centurion costume!

“Bands love coming to play the BMAD festival” says Hobbs, “and thanks to the support of our friends at Plymouth Harley-Davidson, we are able to lay on a full professional sound and light system, with a 20,000 watt PA and 8,000 watt monitor system. All the bands have to do is turn up, plug in and play to a crowd of around 1,000 people every night. They love it and always want to come back.”

“We had a full programme of around 15 hours of live music this year, it’s great to be able offer local talent a chance to impress in front of a large crowd in their local environment.

Traders attending were not only drawn to the event from the South West but as far afield as London and South Wales, whilst wowing the crowds in the main ring was Steve Colley, the skills of Isle of Man based motorcycle trials rider Steve Colley have to be seen to be believed. A multiple championship winner, Steve does things with motorcycles that we mere mortals would consider impossible, how he rode his bike up the vertical side of a van the crowd will never know!

Visitors saw some fantastic bikes in the well-attended custom show, as the wacky and the wondrous came together to chase the cash prizes on offer for class victories and the overall title sponsored by BMAD supported ‘The Inn on the Green’.

Newton Abbot’s Terry Arnold, carried out a 400 mile round business trip on the Saturday to ensure he got back to the festival on time and his efforts were well rewarded when his Yamaha Dragstar was awarded first prize in the class for ‘Cruiser and Custom’ bikes.

Biggest winner of the weekend was Hayden Meredith, the proprietor of ‘The Trike Shop’ in Cardiff, South Wales, whose latest creation ‘3 of 3’ not only won ‘Best Trike’ but also the prestigious award for ‘Best in Show’.

The festival marks the opening of the BMAD season, shortly followed by Paignton’s ever popular Bikes Nights which are held every Wednesday week night from June until September. BMAD raise money to go to charities, which include sick and disabled children and their families/carers of Torbay, Devon Air Ambulance, Devon Freewheelers (aka Blood Bikes) and St John Ambulance.

The first Festival was held in May 2005 and proved to be a total success not just for our charities but also for all concerned including the many sponsors and traders that attended.

BMAD background information

BMAD started way back in 2002 with an idea by the founders of ‘Bikers Make A Difference’ Kelvin and Jane Halloran, which was to have a social gathering of bikers on Paignton Seafront in Devon, they wanted to raise money for charity and have a good time as well.

Over the years this is exactly what has happened, Paignton Bike Night finally saw its birth in 2003 and has gone on to become the longest running and largest regular social gathering of bikers in the South West of England.

Each year on Paignton Seafront there is regularly a mile of bikes parked side by side every Wednesday evening from May to Sept. Bikers mix with locals and holiday makers alike, the bikers enjoying chips, coffee or ice cream, the locals walk their dogs and the holiday makers stroll through the bikes enjoying the evening sunshine whilst walking off their evening meals! The atmosphere is wonderful!