We went along to York’s shopping and music extravaganza on Gillygate. 

By Amy McCarthy 

Photos by Chris Mackins 

Gillygate is the home for small, independent shops filled with quirky gifts. Just around the corner from York Minster, it provides pretty much everything a shopper could dream of. For the evening, Access to Music transform the shops into music venues and create the mini-festival: Jollygate. A group of talented, young artists invaded the street and made it their own.


Starting off in Love Cheese, Josh Murray played to a very intimate audience of four people. Covering George Ezra’s Budapest, Murray broadcasted his strong vocal abilities as well as his talented guitar skills. Continuing with covers of Lego House by Ed Sheeran and Pompeii by Bastille, shoppers couldn’t help but be lured further in to the shop to have a listen.

As Josh Murray left the stage, Richard Vallance took over and offered a unique performance. Playing an entirely instrumental set, Vallance began with the upbeat track When We First Met. Playing mostly original songs, it showed how serious the artists at Access to Music are about their work. Introducing a song titled Cloud Factory, the stream of consciousness guitar playing created the sound of a dreamlike melody. Ending with a cover of Don Ross’s Dracula and Friends Part 1, Vallance successfully showed off his ability to cover funk.


Next up in Gillygate Framers, Matt Philpott brought the Christmas spirit to York. Entering the shop’s personal winter wonderland decorated with over-sized paper-chain snowflakes, even the Grinch would warm to Christmas. With excellent covers of Rocking Around the Christmas TreeLet It Snow and Driving Home for Christmas, shoppers on the street couldn’t help but peek through the window and watch.

Image description

Richard Vallance

Image description

Matt Philpott


Cynthia and Joe were in Dog & Bone Vintage performing their amazing original track, Villa. With the combination of strong vocals cool blues sounds, the duo would fit perfectly on the radar page of NME. One of the highlights of the set was Joe’s cover of The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy. Surrounded by vintage clothes, the set could not have been more fitting for the duo’s indie sound with a hint of blues.


Amber Warren closed the show in Snowhome, armed with just a guitar. Starting with Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams, Amber’s soft voice sounded beautifully haunting. The light displays in the shop were shining above the stage, which created a cosy atmosphere for her cover of Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire and classic tune Zombie by the Cranberries. Each song turned into Amber’s own as she put her own unique style to the tracks and displayed her talent with confidence.


The artists that are part of Access to Music are like a family. Ending the night with an after party in Gillygate Pub, the musicians grouped together to spontaneously sing along to popular songs. Each individual seemed to be having as much fun as the spectators. Overall, the night was a success. Hopefully, in the very near future, these young and talented performers will have bigger audiences to play to.


Jollygate took place in shops and pubs along Gillygate on Thursday 11 November 2014.