Back To The Sixties celebrates its tenth anniversary this year – years during which it has raised more than £50,000 for charity and good causes.
The events brings together six bands numbering around 35 musicians on February 16 at Riverside Caravan Centre, Shripney Road, Bognor Regis. Tickets, priced £12.50 are available from Riverside on 01243 865823 and also GB Music at Aldwick Road 07795 566801.
The line-up features solo performer Dave Harris, The Southbeats, Johnny Devlin and The Detours and The Fenmen. Guest artist Mike Read who will perform a short set with The Fenmen and also co-compere.
Organiser Roy Haines said: “This will be our tenth year, and we really only ever thought we were going to do a one-off. We thought we would do one event and then that would be that, but it was so successful that we did another… and then another… and then another and so we have ended up with ten years. It just doesn’t seem possible that ten years have gone by since we first mooted the idea, and to be honest, we didn’t know that it would work. It was just an idea among a lot of local musicians.”
The success is partly in the heritage it evokes, memories of the days when Bognor had a big and important music scene and attracted some of the biggest names around.
“But with this event, it is not just the music. It is also the social thing of people getting together that have not seen each other for a year or maybe longer. It is a great chance to reminisce. We will have about 35 musicians across the six bands, and each band will come along with its entourage which means you can sell the tickets. We would always like to sell just short of the 500 capacity which we have got.”
The line-up this year is much the same as usual, plus Mike Read as an addition: “Mike has had a long and distinguished career in television and radio including many years presenting Top Of The Pops etc. He is also the author of many books including The South Coast Beat Scene of the 1960s which features all of the bands involved in Back To The Sixties. Mike will be joint compere for the evening and will also be performing a vocal set with The Fenmen, one of the bands taking part.”
This year, the night will be a fund-raiser for The Samaritans.
“We always try to look for a charity that serves the local community. Someone suggested The Samaritans. They do valuable work and they are always stretched for funds and they have got a Bognor Regis and Chichester branch.
“The idea resonates – just as we have done lots for St Wilfrid’s Hospice and Chestnut Tree House over the years. We know they work within the community. We have got strong connections.”
It’s all part of a big task, putting the whole thing together: “It does take a lot of organising. You would think that after ten years, it would get easier, but it doesn’t. It does take a lot of work. You are thinking of up to 500 people and you have got the bands and the raffle and the printing and the promoting side for things.
“And then we start about thinking about the next one immediately following the last.
“The Riverside let us have the venue for free, but at the end of the event we go around to book a date for next year. We need to be thinking of that because there is pressure on the venue and they can only do this in their close season.”