Ceremony #2 festival to bring best up-and-coming acts to Esquires this month

“We're delighted we have managed to pull together an amazing line up full of exciting new artists.”
Pip Blom are headlining Ceremony #2.Pip Blom are headlining Ceremony #2.
Pip Blom are headlining Ceremony #2.

Pip Plom, Opus Kink and Babi Ali are among the acts which will play at Ceremony #2 festival at Esquires later this month.

Returning for its second year, the one-day festival will again take place across three stages at the Bedford music venue on Saturday, May 21.

Esquires owner Gareth Barber said: "We really wanted to build on the success of last year's sold out event and we're delighted we have managed to pull together an amazing line up full of exciting new artists.

Baba Ali will be playing at Ceremony #2 at Esquires.Baba Ali will be playing at Ceremony #2 at Esquires.
Baba Ali will be playing at Ceremony #2 at Esquires.

“We’ve been trying to book Pip Blom and Big Joanie for ages, to finally bring them both to Bedford as part of this all-dayer is very rewarding.

“There is a proper industry buzz about all the acts playing this year and this is an opportunity for people to catch them in a small venue before they blow up.”

Headliners Pip Blom will be joined on the main stage by Big Joanie, Opus Kink, Keg, Low Hummer and Low Girl.

The Pad stage will be headlined by Baba Ali who will be joined by Hallan, Wooze, Panic Shack, Damefrisor and Enjoyable Listens.

The Blender Outdoor Stage will be headlined by Blab with sets by Luna Rosa, Currls, Beattie, Anyone’s Ghost, Viddy and The Tarrows.

Organisers have aimed to make Ceremony #2 a gender balanced festival which highlights some of the best new music around.

Dutch four-piece Pip Blom released their second album Welcome Break on Heavenly Records in 2021 to universal acclaim.

They recently sold out London’s Islington Assembly Hall and will be performing in Bedford for the first time to head up a line-up that includes the horn-fuelled sleaze of Brighton’s Opus Kink, the eclecticism of New York’s Babi Ali and the soaring post-punk shoegaze of the hotly tipped Damefrisor.

London based feminist punk band Big Joanie combine the melodic pop of 60s girl groups with the fury of 90s riot grrrl and have been championed by the likes of Idles and Skunk Anansie.

They will be performing at Esquires ahead of an appearance at the Meltdown Festival.

Talking about why he and fellow promoters at Esquires wanted to establish Ceremony, Kev Bailey from The Pad Presents said: “The idea of an all-dayer at Esquires had been on our mind for some time, with the venue being shut for over 18 months in lockdown when things started opening up this seemed a perfect time to try and launch an event as the gig going crowd were hungry to get out there again.

“As Esquires and many other venues reopened there were plenty of bands out there with free dates in their calendar due to the recent uncertainties, so we were able to curate a really good line up from the off.

“The beauty of an all-dayer is we can put a really good line up together and keep the costs down on the ticket price offering a great value package.”

As well as live music, there will be street food vendors on site to cater for vegans, carnivores and everyone in-between.

This summer, some of the biggest names in music will be playing in Bedford, including The Specials, Tom Grennan and Paul Weller.

However, Esquires’ all-dayer provides a different perspective where the promoters can bring a wealth of up-and-coming acts together.

Mr Bailey said: “2022 is probably the biggest year for music in Bedford ever with some huge outdoor headline shows.

“More events happening in Bedford can only be a good thing for both the people of the town and the local economy and shines a light on the area of a place to go and see live music - be it the likes of local artist Low Girl recently getting playlisted on Radio 1 or Paul Weller making his debut in Bedford Park.”

Returning to this year’s Ceremony #2 line up, Mr Bailey said Holland’s Pip Blom, Baba Ali and Keg were just some of the bands he was looking forward to seeing.

He said: “Pip Blom are sailing in especially from their native Netherlands to headline the event, we managed to miss this band on the way up and thought the chance of getting them at Esquires had been and gone with them having recently sold out 1,000 capacity gigs in London.

“To secure them to headline the festival was a great result from all of the team.

“Other highlights for me are Baba Ali who keeps releasing constantly great singles, Big Joanie - who were booked for the 2021 event but were scuppered by covid - are a welcome rebooking but my ‘tip’ for 2022 would be to make sure you catch Keg, I think we are in for a treat.”

Organisers have created a Spotify playlist of acts on the line-up which is available via


Ceremony #2 follows last year’s inaugural event which featured acts including Billy Nomates, Crows, John, Pins and Feet.

Tickets cost £27.50 in advance before fees via

They are also available from the venue and Slide Record Shop in Bedford.

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