It seemed a distant dream during the long winter months of lockdown but now glorious summer evenings of great live music with a picnic and a glass in hand are finally here!

This weekend, Sounds in the Grounds returns to the spectacular setting of Scampston Hall near Malton with socially-distanced picnic concerts, and a forecast of fine weather.  Tickets are still available through Seetickets, or at the gate for the last minute decision-makers.

In full compliance with Covid-19 safety guidelines, audiences can come together and enjoy three evenings of best-loved and internationally renowned bands from their own designated picnic patch - for two, four or six people - which will be socially distanced from others but close enough to share the fun.  

With less than a week to go, the bands are rehearsing, the parkland is mown and preparations are in full swing for the stage, lighting and sound to be installed for the three Sounds in the Grounds concerts:

Friday 11th June - The Definitive Rat Pack – relive the golden era of swing as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr are recreated with uncanny precision by the original cast of the West End’s sell-out show The Rat Pack – Live from Las Vegas.  With backing singers and Big Band musicians, enjoy an evening of showbiz magic with such favourites as My Way, Mr Bojangles, Fly Me To The Moon and of course New York New York.

Saturday 12th June – One Night of Tina - with simply the best performers and live band from London’s West End, enjoy a spectacular rock ‘n’ rollercoaster ride through four decades of the legendary Tina Turner’s greatest hits, including What’s Love Got To Do With It, Private Dancer and Simply the Best.

Sunday 13th June - Killer Queen - recreating the iconic songs and showmanship of one of the greatest ever rock bands with such electrifying precision you’ll have to pinch yourself, Killer Queen have been thrilling audiences around the world for 27 years.  With dazzling vocal range and high-energy charisma, Patrick Myers as Freddie Mercury delivers all the hits, including We Will Rock You, Another One Bites The Dust and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Returning by popular demand, York’s very own – and a Glastonbury favourite - The New York Brass Band will get the party started as the support act to each concert, performing a different repertoire every night, from jazz to 80s to current hits.

The gates to Scampston Hall will open at 4.30pm on Friday and Saturday, and at 3.30pm on Sunday giving visitors time to enjoy a picnic before The New York Brass Band starts at 6.00pm (5.00pm on Sunday), with the main act at 7.30pm (6.30pm on Sunday).

Sounds in the Grounds concerts are designed to comply with all official guidance on Covid-19, ensuring audiences can enjoy live music outdoors in a safe and responsible way.  The picnic patches are defined by painted lines in the 1888-capacity grass arena within the grounds, with views of the Regency-era stately home.  They are set out in alternating rows, of patches for two people, followed by a row of patches for four people, then for six people.  The patches have been designed to be one metre apart within each row, with two-metre aisles between the rows.

Organiser James Cundall says “I’m delighted that after the success of Sounds in the Grounds last summer, we are back!  These picnic concerts are a great opportunity to get together and enjoy a fun night of live music in a stunning setting in a socially distanced way.  From the glorious iconic songs of Sinatra to the rock classics of Tina Turner and Queen, I hope we have something for everyone.”

“Importantly it’s an opportunity for both musicians and crew to showcase their talent again after months of inactivity during these difficult times.”

“Our picnic patch concept enables patrons to have their own designated space, thereby eliminating that mad scramble for the best site which often mars an outdoor concert!  Our audiences can turn up when it suits them and know they will have a safe and fun evening.  Visitors will need to bring their own chairs, though we advise leaving tables at home for space reasons.  There will also be food and drink available to purchase.”

For those who prefer to leave the hassle at home and support local traders there will be delicious pizzas available from The Dough Disciples, who use their own secret dough recipe and the finest ingredients for toppings, as well as a range of Yorkshire beverages including fabulous local gins and the finest local ales from the Yorkshire Bus Bar, a restored red double-decker bus.

Sounds in the Grounds will take place at Scampston Hall near Malton from 11-13 June 2021, as well as at Ripley Castle near Harrogate from 20-22 August 2021.  Equivalent to £29.50 per person (+ booking fees, standard ticket) the socially-distanced picnic patches are available for 2, 4 or 6 people.  Tickets can be purchased at the gate or at https://soundsinthegrounds.seetickets.com.  All Covid-19 guidance from the Government is continuously monitored and followed.

Also this month, last year’s Sounds in the Grounds line-up from Scampston Hall make their debut at York Racecourse, so for those who missed them last year, or could do with another dose of fun …

Friday 25 June - Beyond the Barricade - past principals from Les Miserables perform showstoppers from the world’s greatest musicals.

Saturday 26 June - ABBA MANIA – direct from a three-week season in London’s West End, the world’s number one touring ABBA tribute with platforms, flares and all your favourites.

Sunday 27 June - A Country Night in Nashville – direct from the Royal Albert Hall, a true celebration of country music, with hits from its biggest stars both past and present.