14th February 2020 — The Bedales Rock Show 2020 completed its three-night run on 7 February in aid of the John Badley Foundation (JBF), as it returned to the school’s Olivier Theatre for the seventeenth time.
Through ticket sales, a drinks bar, retiring collection and online auction, this year’s show raised a record breaking £8,226 for the charity, which enables more young people to benefit from the transformative opportunity a Bedales education can provide.
The slick two-and-a-half hour production, which this year involved 56 senior school students, featured the most ambitious opening 20 minutes in the show’s history – with Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love, Bruno Mars’ Perm, Tower of Power’s Diggin’ on James Brown, Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground and The Police’s Roxanne all included.
As in previous years, an eclectic mix of genre-spanning covers – from Jamiroquai’s Virtual Insanity to Édith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose – featured alongside students’ own material, with originals from Safi Kazim, Molly Montagu, Isabella Montero and Jake Scott demonstrating the depth and versatility of Bedales’ home-grown song-writing talent.
An annual fixture ever since a light-hearted suggestion from The Who’s Pete Townshend led to its inception in 2004, the now legendary Bedales Rock Show has become one of the highlights of the school calendar – and a springboard to success. Several Rock Show alumni have gone on to carve out careers in the music industry: in the last 12 months alone, Marika Hackman has released a critically acclaimed third album; Delilah Montagu has been featured on Apple Music as ‘Artist of the Week’; Leah Mason – aka Minke – has racked up millions of streams on Spotify with her EP, The Tearoom; and Freddy Sheed has joined Lewis Capaldi, one of 2019’s biggest breakthrough artists, on tour.
Bedales student Isabella Montero commented: “This year was my third Rock Show, and every year I’m more and more inspired by the hard work and dedication from all those involved on stage and behind the scenes. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people who are passionate about performing and collaborating to share a project together for the enjoyment of the community. I love being part of something so special and memorable. It takes an immense amount of planning, rehearsing and coordination beforehand and it keeps getting better every year.”
Fellow student Aidan Hall added: “A mark of how powerful the Rock Show is for those who perform is how attached I feel to it having only been in it for two years. Neil is the architect of this experience and it takes so much determination to orchestrate an opportunity that allows each musician to bloom. His ability to create a night that stays with people for so long is something we are all grateful for. I’m really going to miss it, but the greatest thing is that taking part in it has helped me to realise that I want to go out and do more of this – the Rock Show is how we find our calling.”
Bedales Head of Contemporary Music Neil Hornsby, who has been the brains behind the project for the last 17 years, said: “Every year after the Rock Show, the students and I face the same dilemma: how on earth are we going to raise the bar yet again?! However, each and every year, I am totally in awe of the diverse talents of Bedales’ incredible students that allows everyone who works on the show to strive for greatness. This was highlighted last week by some absolutely breath-taking performances. It is also a source of great pride that the Rock Show has raised so much money for the JBF, giving more young people a chance to experience this amazing school.”
Local schools and charities came to enjoy the Rock Show including members of Fitzroy's Love4Life service, which provides a place for people with autism and learning disabilities to have fun, make friends and even find love. A number of visiting schools were also given a special Rock Show preview; these included Steep Primary, Trosnant Junior, Havant, The Petersfield School, Bohunt, Thomas's Battersea and West Hill Park School, Fareham.
Sue Prior, Fitzroy’s Love4Life Project Manager commented: “Our Love4Life members were so excited about coming along to the Bedales Rock Show again this year and were certainly not disappointed. It was an absolute privilege to see so many talented young people perform such a wide range of music. Thank you so much for inviting us to an amazing evening. ”