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Shango set for Saturday night shenanigans

Local troublemakers Papa Shango are a Bish Bash headliner for the first time. Closing the main stage on Saturday night (May 4), the raucous ensemble never fail to bring a bombastic flavour to proceedings; the last time they appeared at the festival, Toploader were less than impressed at the state they left the stage in. Tom Ryder quizzed bassist Papa Ryan about what Shango might have in store for this outing...

Papa Shango. (8975484)
Papa Shango. (8975484)

How much does it mean to Papa Shango to be headlining the Bish Bash?

We are honoured to be headlining Bish Bash. It's taken us 16 years to get there, and now we've been lucky enough to be given the opportunity. We very much look forward to headlining Bish Bash every year for the next 16 years.

What extra effort will you be exerting as a result of this top billing?

Usually we go for a full Papa meal together before a show, but as we are headlining, during the meal before Bish Bash I have banned everyone from having a starter or a dessert in order that the band doesn't feel too tired during the show. Richard O’Brien (Rocky Horror Show writer) really enjoys our show and will be guest of honour at our Papa meal.

Do you have any surprises up your sleeve?

No not this year, we are planning to play without costumes and gimmicks. We will however dress smartly, as it's an important show. We are going for clean black T-shirts, pressed jeans and sunglasses, with our backs to the audience at all times. This year we will really focus on the songs and the importance of the message behind the lyrics.

Will you be playing all the Shango hits?

Yes, just the classics, with no tenuous B-sides or album obscurities this time. We don't want people popping to the loo or queuing at the bar. It will be a greatest hits set, which is what the Bish Bash audience deserve.

Are you expecting many fans to turn up for you, given your sold out and successful Christmas Half Moon show?

No, we have very low expectations of our fan. He did send me a WhatsApp message last night though asking what time we were on. He said he might pop down if he hasn't gone home and is still at the festival.

When have you played before at the Bish Bash and what are your fondest memories of the festival?

Uncle Funk's Simon Baker got very cross with us for being naughty boys and girls the first time he invited us to play.

Any last requests?

Yes, it's a long way off, but we play the Half Moon once a year and will be returning on December the 14th to do it all again. Our fan said he might make it, so if anyone else can they are more than welcome.

+ Papa Shango close the Saturday night at the Bish Bash. Tickets to the event are available from the Bishop’s Stortford Tourist Information Centre in Market Square, the Rose and Crown pub in Station Road and The Marne Inn at Thorley Park. Visit www.stortfordmusicfestival.org.uk for more information.

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